Ron Paul
2002 Ron Paul Chapter 74

Treasury And General Government Appropriations Act, 2003

23 July 2002

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2002 Ron Paul 74:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Flake and Rangel amendments to the Treasury-Postal Service Appropriations Act. The argument that allowing Americans to travel to Cuba props up Fidel Castro’s regime is just not supported by fact. History has shown that allowing — even encouraging — American citizens to travel to and engage commercially in less-than-free societies ignites the spark of freedom and hastens democratic transformations. Unfortunately, special interests have driven some to argue even against demonstrated fact in pursuit of their political agenda.

2002 Ron Paul 74:2
It is time to face reality on the policies of isolation and embargo: they have not worked in the past, they are not working in the present, and they will not work in the future. Can anyone claim that our policies of isolation and embargo have made life for the average Cuban citizen the slightest bit better? Conversely, is there any evidence that our policies of isolation and embargo have made life for Castro and his ruling clique one bit worse? The answer to both questions, of course, is no. So why continue to pursue a foreign policy that is producing the opposite effect of what is intended?

2002 Ron Paul 74:3
While there is no evidence that sanctions and isolation work, there is plenty of evidence — real concrete evidence — that engagement and trade actually bring about democratic change. In the former Soviet-dominated world — particularly in Central Europe — it was American commercial and individual engagement that proved key to the demise of the dictatorships. It was Americans traveling to these lands with new ideas and a different attitude toward government that helped nurture the seeds of discontent among a population living under the yoke of tyranny. It was American commercial activity that brought in products that the closed and controlled economic systems would or could not produce, thus underscoring to the population the failure of planned economies.

2002 Ron Paul 74:4
With the system of one-party rule so obviously and undeniably proven unworkable and unsatisfactory in Central Europe, even those who had served the one-party state began to shift their views and work in opposition to that rule. Thus began the fall of the Soviet empire. Yet those who support sanctions and isolation still seek to deny history in their drive to pursue a policy that has not worked for forty years.

2002 Ron Paul 74:5
Mr. Chairman, finally and importantly, I strongly oppose sanctions for the simple reason that they hurt American industries, particularly agriculture. Every time we shut our own farmers out of foreign markets, they are exploited by foreign farmers. China, Russia, the Middle East, North Korea, and Cuba all represent huge potential for our farm products, yet many in Congress favor trade restrictions that prevent our farmers from selling to the billions of people in these areas. We are one of the world’s largest agricultural producers — why would we ever choose to restrict our exports? Why would we want to do harm to our domestic producers by pursuing a policy that does not work? The only beneficiaries of our sanctions policies are our foreign competitors; the ones punished are our own producers. It is time to end restrictions on Cuba travel and trade.

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