What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Individual Rights : H.R. 2989. Fiscal 2004 Transportation-Treasury Appropriations/Vote to Restrict Travel to Cuba for Educational Purposes. (2003 house Roll Call 488)
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H.R. 2989. Fiscal 2004 Transportation-Treasury Appropriations/Vote to Restrict Travel to Cuba for Educational Purposes.
house Roll Call 488     Sep 09, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

In March of 2003, the Treasury Department issued a new rule which would halt certain educational trips to Cuba known as "people-to-people" exchanges. For years, educational institutions, churches, and not-for-profit organizations have engaged in people-to-people exchanges with Cuba to promote learning, the free exercise of religion, and democratic ideals among the Cuban populace; if adopted, the Treasury Department rule would end those exchanges. During debate on the 2004 Treasury and Transportation appropriations bill, Congressman Davis (D-FL) offered an amendment which would effectively prevent the Treasury Department from enforcing its restrictions on people-to-people exchanges. Progressives supported Davis's effort; in their view, democratizing Cuba is best accomplished by exposing the communist country and its citizens to the democratic ideals of the U.S. through interactions with U.S. citizens and groups. Conservatives favor a more hard-line approach to Cuba; in their view, an economic and travel embargo on Cuba offers the best hope to topple the Castro regime. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) articulated this view clearly during debate on the Davis amendment. In her words: "[educational] travel is subject to manipulation and control by the Castro dictatorship and its tourism industries in order to meet the regime's political and economic agenda." Despite opposition from Conservatives, the Davis amendment was adopted on a 246-173 vote and funding to enforce the additional restrictions on educational travel to Cuba was eliminated from the underlying appropriations bill.

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