Cuba: U.S. Policy in the 115th Congress Cover Image
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Cuba remains a one-party authoritarian state with a poor record on human rights. Current President Miguel D az-Canel succeeded Ra l Castro on April 19, 2018, although Castro is continuing in his position as first secretary of Cuba's Communist Party. Over the past decade, Cuba has implemented gradual market-oriented economic policy changes, but critics maintain that it has not taken enough action to foster sustainable economic growth. Most observers do not anticipate significant policy changes under D az-Canel, at least in the short term, but the president faces the enormous challenges of reforming the moribund economy and responding to desires for greater freedom. U.S. Policy Congress has played an active role in shaping policy toward Cuba, including enactment of legislation strengthening and at times easing U.S. economic sanctions. The centerpiece of U.S. policy has consisted of economic sanctions aimed at isolating the Cuban government. In 2014, however, the Obama Administration initiated a major policy shift away from sanctions toward engagement. The policy change included restoration of diplomatic relations; rescission of Cuba's designation as a state sponsor of international terrorism; and an increase in travel, commerce, and the flow of information to Cuba implemented through regulatory changes. President Trump unveiled a new policy toward Cuba in June 2017 that partially rolls back some of the Obama Administration's efforts to normalize relations. The most significant changes include restrictions on transactions with companies controlled by the Cuban military and the elimination of individual people-to-people travel. In response to unexplained injuries of members of the U.S. diplomatic community at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, the State Department ordered the departure of nonemergency personnel from Cuba in September 2017 and subsequently ordered the departure of 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington, DC, in October. Legislative Activity In the 115th Congress, debate over Cuba policy continues. To date, several bills have been introduced to ease or lift sanctions altogether. For FY2017, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (H.R. 244, P.L. 115-31) provided $20 million in democracy assistance and $28.1 million for Cuba broadcasting. For FY2019, the Trump Administration is requesting $10 million in democracy assistance and $13.7 million for Cuba broadcasting. The House Appropriations Committee's State Department and Foreign Operations appropriations bill, H.R. 6385, would provide $30 million for Cuba democracy programs while the Senate version, S. 3108, would provide $15 million; both bills would provide $29 million for broadcasting. Two other House appropriations bills, Commerce (H.R. 5952) and Financial Services (H.R. 6258 and H.R. 6147), have provisions that would tighten sanctions. In other action, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for FY2019, P.L. 115-232 (H.R. 5515), signed into law August 13, 2018, extends a prohibition on the use of funds in FY2019 to close or relinquish control of the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; the conference report to the bill also requires a report on security cooperation between Russia and Cuba. The Senate version of the 2018 farm bill, H.R. 2, approved in June 2018, would permit funding for certain U.S. agricultural export promotion programs in Cuba. In April 2018, the Senate approved S.Res. 224, commemorating the legacy of Cuban democracy activist Oswaldo Pay . The House passed H.R. 3328 in October 2017, which would, among other provisions, require information on Cuba's airport security measures. For more on legislative action and initiatives in the 115th Congress, see Appendix A.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781727356519
ISBN-10: 1727356519
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: September 14th, 2018
Pages: 88
Language: English