25 February 2008

The Berman Committee

On 5 March 2008, Acting Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman will hold hearings on US-Cuba relations:

It is my intention to hold hearings with representatives of the Administration and outside experts to assess the impact of Castro’s retirement and to review U.S. policy toward the island.

I have three questions:

(1) For the last 49 years, the Cuban government has demanded that the USG vacate and abandon its claim to Guantanamo Bay. Our response has been that there is a lease.

Can you explain how it is that a lease should trump Cuba’s sovereign right to her territory?

(especially in the context of the Reagan administration's claim that at anytime a nation could back out of an agreement--see Nicaragua v. US, specifically the Reagan Administration's position on the '1946 Declaration.')

(2) Brazil. Recently, Brazil has extended a slew of loans and credits to Cuba. Brazil is also a beneficiary of as many as 100 IMF projects.

In the context of the Helms-Burton provision ordering the USG to withhold money to the IMF by the amount any nation financially assists Cuba, can you tell us

(a) if any of those projects are in jeopardy?

And (b) what significant actions the State department has taken to discourage Brazil from financially assisting Cuba?

(3) In 2004, the Bush Administration declared that its official policy was to subvert the succession of power from Fidel Castro to his brother Raul.

Did that policy fail?