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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Executive Session February 12, 2015
Jack Reed, D-RI
"On the cyber front, China is engaged in massive theft of U.S. intellectual property from American industry and government, which threatens our technological edge and sows distrust and profound misgivings. China will remain one of the Department’s most persistent and complicated challenges. With the focus on so many crises overseas, it is easy to overlook the challenges on our own continent. We have a violent threat of transnational organized crime in our own hemisphere. When the United States faced a threat stemming from violence and the drug trade in Colombia in the 1990s, it dedicated significant resources and entered into a decade-long commitment to provide training and other enabling assistance."
Our Southern Border And Immigration Reform February 10, 2015
Thomas Carper, D-DE
"The other item that came home to me was that we spend a huge amount of money on these measures—one-quarter of a trillion dollars in the last 10 years on securing our borders. We spent less than 1 percent of that trying to help—along with Mexico, Colombia, and the Inter-American Development Bank—the countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to become less places of desolation and fear. We want to help them. It is not for us to do this by ourselves. It is not our job. What do they say at Home Depot? You can do it; we can help. In this case it would be like Colombia. In Colombia, 20-some years ago, what happened was a bunch of gunmen rounded up their supreme court justices, took them into a room and shot them to death—11 justices of their supreme court. Colombia was oppressed on the one hand by leftist guerillas and on the other hand by narco drug lords. A lot of people said they were going down. But they made it, in part with our help and Plan Colombia."
Cuba A Sponsor Of Terror January 12, 2015
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL
"The most senior U.S. delegation in decades will soon be in Havana to engage a declared enemy of the United States in discussions about “normalizing” relations. Covering much more subject matter than routine migration issues, these meetings stem in large measure from the December 17 return of spies to Cuba who are responsible for American deaths. Obama sent three Cuban spies back to the island, trading them for the release of American Alan Gross. Mr. Gross had been held hostage for five years for the “crime” of teaching Jewish Cubans how to connect to the Internet. As part of this lopsided deal, the Obama administration also declared American policy a failure and offered a large basket of potential economic and diplomatic benefits. This was a significant ideological and political victory for the Communist regime. And there are more rewards in the offing. Administration officials are reportedly considering removing Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism—a request Raul Castro made in May 2014 and one that the Cuban regime has made many times in recent years. Under Section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, a country’s designation as supporting acts of international terrorism may be rescinded in only two ways. Cuba is not ready to come off that list. Quite the opposite. In the first instance, the President must certify to the Congress that there has been a fundamental change in the leadership and policies of the government in question, as was the case with Iraq after the removal of Saddam Hussein. There is no legitimate way that administration officials can make such a claim with respect to Cuba. Moreover, the criteria for determining such a systemic transformation is clearly defined in the LIBERTAD Act, known as the Helms-Burton law. For starters, as stated in the law, Fidel and Raul Castro cannot be part of the governing structure. That leaves only the second option for removal from the list. To remove Cuba’s terrorism designation, the president would need to submit a report to Congress, 45 days prior to the proposed removal, certifying that 1) the regime has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding six months and 2) the government has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future. Most would agree that Cuba fails on both counts. Cuba has supported and provided safe haven to members of the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Both are U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). The Obama administration would therefore need to remove ETA and FARC from the FTO list, before removing Cuba from the state- sponsors-of-terrorism list. Both actions are untenable at this time. Unless Spain’s foreign-policy establishment is about to make a radical shift in thinking, ETA remains a terrorist organization and there are ETA sympathizers in Cuba who are wanted for terrible crimes against the Spanish people. As for FARC, despite the faux peace process in Havana the past few months, it continues to carry out violent acts in Colombia, has no plans to lay down arms anytime soon, and has links to al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb "
United States-Cuban Relations January 7, 2015
Sam Farr, D-CA
"I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Latin America, in Colombia. I lived in barrios without water and without lights. People in Cuba might have access to water and lights, but the living conditions that they live in are really restricted, and some of the conditions in Havana are the greatest poverty I have seen in the world."
Legislative Session July 22, 2014
Tom Harkin, D-IA
"This spring I was in Colombia—Cartagena—on a trip with other Senators, Congressmen, and I remember our colleague Senator Johnson from South Dakota and his wife were there. I remember Mrs. Johnson—Barbara—saying: Boy, I can’t wait to get back to the United States because it is hard for Tim using his wheelchair to get around anywhere."

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