- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 25, 2001

With respect to the Aug. 23 Op-ed column, “Cuba sanctions work,” by Manuel Miranda, I respectfully request an opportunity to respond.

I charged former President Bill Clinton with having “a character of Jell-O, backbone of Jell-O” because he had just waived Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, which allows U.S. citizens to sue in U.S. court foreign investors who acquire stolen U.S. property in Cuba and also for many other reasons.

By that time, it had become clear that Mr. Clinton would not vigorously enforce any aspect of the embargo against Cuba's Fidel Castro and that he was orchestrating the creation of a coalition of traditional Castro allies and business interests to lobby Congress to lift the embargo. Mr. Clinton made it clear that he would avoid confrontation with Mr. Castro at any and all cost, work with Cuban dictatorship to seize and return freedom-seeking refugees to Cuba, and turn his back on the brave Cuban internal opposition.

President Bush is very different. He has firmly and repeatedly committed to oppose all efforts to weaken the embargo against the Cuban dictatorship and has already used his leverage in that fight. He has also committed to vigorously enforce existing sanctions, find ways to strengthen and assist the Cuban internal opposition, and to find ways to break Mr. Castro's jamming of U.S. Information Agency news broadcasts to the Cuban people.

I was the author of many sections of the Helms-Burton Act, and I continue to support all aspects of that law, including titles III and IV. I asked Mr. Bush not to waive Title III and disagreed with his decision in that instance. But this president supports freedom for Cuba and not the continued oppression of the island by a demonic, aging tyrant.


REP. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART

Washington


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