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A Letter to my Congressman/woman RE Cuba

This is intended as a model for anyone who wants to write to his/her Congressperson and ask them to limit or lift trade sanctions against Cuba. I think it's important to press the issue this year, not only to help the Cuban people, but also to slightly change the election politics, where Cuban-Americans, and Florida play such an important role.
Dear Senator or Congressman/woman,

In October 2003 President Bush announced the tightening of trade sanctions against Cuba. He also announced that the Department of Homeland Security will be utilized in this effort. Lastly, he announced that the State Department has begun working on plans to "bring democracy" to Cuba.

I write you today as a concerned citizen who worries that all three of these new efforts are unnecessary and counterproductive, costly to the American public, harmful to the Cuban people, and potentially disastrous. Let me elaborate:

On the tightening of trade sanctions: Communism fell 14 years ago, and Cuba doesn't pose as much of a threat as it once did.

On using Homeland Security in this effort: It seems that this agency was created as a response to terrorism. I realize that many agencies have been incorporated into it, but wouldn't taxdollars be best spent if Homeland Security was used to monitor people coming IN to the country, and not to put intense scrutiny on people traveling to Cuba?

On the plan to bring democracy to Cuba: To me, this is the most troubling part of President Bush's October speech. He listed a few reasons why America should get more involved in Cuba, one of which was that there is an illicit sex trade in Cuba involving women and children, and that Castro is encouraging that. As someone who watched closely the events leading up to the invasion of Iraq, I have a hard time believing this claim. It's about the worst thing you can say about a country, or the leader of a country.

I watched closely as the US brought democracy to Iraq, and I'm not alone in worrying that that model will be applied to other countries

While Cuba is in desperate need of economic reform, tightening the sanctions isn't going to remedy that, or drive Castro out of office. In fact, it seems that nature will drive him from office, and sooner rather than later. Since he came to power, he's been able to point to the sanctions as the reason Cuba is so impoverished, and has thus excused himself from any of the blame. Limiting or lifting the sanctions would let the Cubans see how dysfunctional Castro's Communism really is. It would also help lift them out of poverty, it would benefit American companies who could trade with Cuba, and it would end 45 years of "bad blood" between the two countries.

The speech that President Bush gave was a short speech to a small crowd of Cubans, but it contained a big message.

For all of these reasons, I strongly urge you to support any future Congressional measure(s) to limit or lift the economic sanctions against Cuba.

Sincerely,

your name here

This is a good model to use if your people in Congress are democrats, as mine are. I'm sure they will enjoy reading it, if they read it at all. If your people in Congress are republicans, maybe something like this would work:

Dear Congressman/woman,

Lifting the sanctions against Cuba would be good for business. The Cuban people are devoutly religious and believe strongly in family values. Lifting the sanctions would bring them up from poverty. It would be good for American businesses that want to trade with Cuba, and farmers who would love to export products to that country. For these reasons....etc.

Sincerely,

your name here

I'm also going to write something similar to this and send it to Jimmy Carter, who made the historic trip to Cuba in May 2002 trying to open up diplomatic relations. I'll ask him if maybe he can repeat that trip or organize a similar one this year.