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US Trade Embargo Of Cuba Backed By Politicians December 21, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Congress, World News.
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP)–With Fidel Castro’s health waning, federal and state officials reaffirmed their support of the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba in hopes it will lead to the communist government’s downfall upon his death.

“The hour is upon us and the time is now,” Sen. Mel Martinez told supporters of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy political action committee at the group’s annual luncheon Wednesday. Gov. Jeb Bush and Governor-elect Charlie Crist also attended.

Martinez was born in Cuba, but his family sent him to Florida when he was 15 to escape the Castro government.

Castro’s exact medical condition has been a state secret since he underwent surgery for intestinal bleeding in late July and temporarily ceded power to his younger brother, Raul Castro. Castro, who took power in 1959, has not been seen publicly since July 26.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., urged political leaders to act as a voice for Cubans and expressed his support for the embargo.

“Trading with Cuba is not the way to bring about democratic change in Cuba,” Brownback said.

Critics say the embargo is outdated and has not worked because Castro remains in power and the nation is still communist. They also say the U.S. trades with other communist countries, such as China and Vietnam, and the policy hurts average Cubans more than it hurts Castro.

But Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said she was committed to bipartisan support of the embargo.

“The freedom of the people is not a Republican or Democratic issue,” she said. “It is an intrinsically human issue.”

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