Monday, 1 August 2011

Dance of millions against Cuba

Source: The

A study by the Center for Responsive Politics suggests the millions of dollars given by Political Action Committees (PACs) motivate members of Congress to influence U.S. policy against this island.

by Randy Saborit, 31 July 2011.

The study reveals that the anti-Cuba PACs have awarded upwards of three million dollars between 2009 and 2010 to finance the election campaigns of congressional Republicans or Democrats alike.

The biggest beneficiary was the Cuban-American democratic Senator Robert Menendez, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, who received $112,500, according to the report of the nonpartisan independent organization based in the capital.

Menendez is the leading advocate on Capitol Hill for the allocation of an additional $20 million on top of the already approved 21 million to encourage subversion in Cuba under the cloak of USAID, a modality that some like Senator Jonh Kerry question because there is suspicion of corruption in the disbursement of those public funds.

According to the analysis, more than $100,000 from the PACs was also received by Representative Howard Berman of California, who presided over the House of Representative’s Committee of Foreign Affairs, and former Representative Isaac Skelton, of Missouri, who leads the Army Committee.

Meanwhile, Senator Chuck Grassley became the most favoured Republican, with 100 thousand dollars for his campaign in the 2010 legislative elections, the study asserted.

According to the Centre for Responsive Politics, the United States-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee alone had contributed 483 thousand dollars to candidates in the 2009-2010 legislative electoral campaign.

Democrat candidates received 284 thousand 500 dollars and Republicans 106 thousand, including the current chairman of the House of Representatives John Boehner, his old ally Dan Burton, Latin Texan Henry Cuéllar and Elio Engel, who until 2010 presided over the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs. In the Senate, the aforementioned PAC granted funds to its president, democrat Harry Reid, to Joseph Lieberman and to Cuban-American Marco Rubio, of Florida, among others.

Concerning pressure groups, attorney Ariadna Cornelio, states that these groups intervene in the formation of U.S. foreign policy, and sometimes ensure that their specific interests are taken into account, which reveals the falsehood of Washington’s democracy, pointed out Cornelio in an exclusive interview with Prensa Latina.

The author focused her study on the influence of four groups that exert pressure on Washington’s policies toward Havana: the Cuban American National Foundation, the Council for the Freedom of Cuba, the US-Cuba Democracy PAC and the Cuba Study Group.

To achieve their objectives, she specified, those organizations use methods aimed at influencing policy makers in committees and subcommittees of Congress and in Federal departments and specialized agencies of the Executive.

The researcher also referred to indirect methods such as media campaigns, conducting opinion polls, support for think tanks, building coalitions, boycotts and protests.

A PAC is an entity registered with the Federal Election Commission organized to raise and distribute funds to elect or defeat political candidates and mostly represent interests of business, union or ideological sectors.