Jan 152015
 

With Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959, Cuba ended nearly 500 years of Spanish and United States influence. Our unsuccessful Bay of Pigs revolt against this revolutionary took place in 1961 after we broke diplomatic relations with his government. Cuba then allowed the Soviet Union to build missile installations on their soil before President Kennedy talked Premier Khrushchev into abandoning this plan. When attempts to overthrow and assassinate Castro failed, we tried to destabilize his regime with an embargo that has lasted 50 years. These steps failed to remove Fidel from power and he designated his brother Raul to take over when he became ill in 2006. Raul won presidential elections in 2011 and 2013 but has stated he will not run for reelection in 2018. Embargo supporters, many of whom are ex-Cuban nationals living in Florida, claim the Castros are a danger to our nation and the Cuban people. Embargo critics say Cuba has not been a threat since the fall of the Soviet Union and that our embargo serves no purpose. They claim Cubans are suffering because of our past military and diplomatic policies. Many claim normalizing relations with Cuba would allow us to more easily assist the Cuban government as it moves towards capitalism and true democracy. President Obama has expressed an interest in negotiating with Cuba to end to the embargo but such an action would require Congressional approval.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1917 – United States-Cuba Normalization Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current Cuba Sanctions policy and wish to defeat H.R.1917

I support repealing the embargo on trade with Cuba; removing Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism; amending the Internal Revenue Code to terminate the denial of the foreign tax credit; ending agricultural and medical export restrictions; establishing telecommunications and postal services, and wish to pass H.R.1917

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Over the years, the United Nations and Western countries have imposed many economic sanctions on Iran. We enacted sanctions following the 1979 hostage crisis and expanded them in 1995. In 2006, the UN imposed sanctions after Iran refused to abandon its nuclear enrichment program. It is feared this rogue nation is attempting to build nuclear weapons and the missile technology required to deliver them. These sanctions restricted bank transactions, prohibited petroleum exports, and blocked business dealings with Iranian individuals and its Revolutionary Guard Corps. Over time, these sanctions took a toll on Iran’s economy and its people. However, it still refused to curtail its nuclear program, claiming it is needed for medical purposes and to generate electricity. Critics claim Iran is attempting to enrich uranium at levels that go far beyond what is needed for peaceful uses. In 2012, following the failure of the UN Sanctions, Western governments enacted even tougher economic sanctions which have had an even greater effect on Iran’s economy. These new sanctions resulted a short-term deal between Iran and the U.S., Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany in which Iran agreed to freeze portions of its nuclear program in exchange for $7 billion in sanctions relief. This deal was seen as a prelude to a long-term agreement. However, Iran has not yet agreed to Western demands to halt its enrichment efforts. Israel, which feels threatened by Iran, has not only supported these tough sanctions but has also advocated for military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities. It is adamant in its belief that Iran should not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons. Analysts say military strikes will delay but not stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program because its facilities are widely dispersed and some are located deep underground. They also say that a nuclear-armed Iran is no more and no less dangerous than North Korea and to a lesser degree, Pakistan. They claim Iran will be deterred from using nukes, should it ever acquire them, by the vast nuclear arsenals of Western nations. They also Claim that Iran has not showed the same determination to make nuclear weapons as North Korea has exhibited. They say it is possible the West could convince Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program in exchange for acceptance back into the world community.

Pending Legislations:

H.R.783 – Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act

H.R.850 – Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current Iran sanctions policy and wish to defeat H.R.783 and H.R.850

I support harsher sanctions designed to force Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program including enacting sanctions on a foreign person that knowingly conducted or facilitated a significant financial transaction with the Central Bank of Iran; sanctioning a financial institution that facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services for a person that is subject to human rights-related sanctions, or exports sensitive technology to Iran, and wish to pass H.R.850

I support appointing a high-ranking envoy in charge of Iranian affairs who shall seek to ease tensions and normalize relations between the United States and Iran through bilateral and multilateral negotiations; rescinding the no contact policy with Iran; establishing an office in the State Department to support the work of the envoy, and wish to pass H.R.783

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

In violation of signed agreements, North Korea is operating a nuclear reactor to produce weapons-grade plutonium. Since 2006, this rogue nation has conducted three nuclear weapon tests and claims to possess enough plutonium to make about a dozen nukes. It has also tested several intermediate-range missiles and unsuccessfully launched a satellite. Our military believes North Korea has the ability to miniaturize nuclear warheads for missile use. It says Alaska and Hawaii are already within range of these missiles, and that our West Coast could soon be also. Pyongyang blames its standoff with the West on the “hostile stance” taken by the United States. Some say North Korea believes our pre-emptive war with Iraq proves its own security can only be ensured with a nuclear deterrent force. It has withdrawn from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, voided the Korean War armistice treaty and threatened nuclear war if its facilities are attacked. In the past, the West has traded food and medicine for agreements to halt its nuclear weapons program. Currently, negotiations are at an impasse. China, North Korea’s long-standing ally, has provided it with crucial aid and diplomatic protection for many decades and is regarded as the only nation that can influence its behavior. Our government, and those of South Korea, Russia and Japan, has tried to convince China to intervene with its bellicose ally, but these requests have not yet been successful.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1771: North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current North Korea sanctions policy and wish to defeat H.R.1771

I support applying sanctions to any person, business entity, nongovernmental organizations, and governmental entities operating as business enterprises who import or export items related to weapons, technology or luxury goods; or those providing, selling, leasing, registering, or re-flagging a vessel, aircraft, or providing insurance or any other shipping or transportation service used to transport goods to or from North Korea; or those transferring, paying, exporting, withdrawing, or otherwise dealing with any property or interest in property of the government of North Korea for purposes of facilitating such unlawful activity or evading such regulations, and wish to pass H.R.1771

 Posted by at 12:00 am