From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 07:34:34


                       by Alexa Smith 
WASHINGTON--A bill pushing for stronger international sanctions 
against Cuba was introduced last week by U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R- 
       At a press conference surrounding introduction of the "Cuban 
Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act," Helms told reporters he 
"categorically rejects" suggestions to lift the 36-year U.S. 
embargo of Cuba -- that it is, in fact, time to "tighten the 
screws" to elevate pressure on Fidel Castro. 
       "Let me be clear:  Whether Castro leaves Cuba in a vertical 
or horizontal position is up to him and the Cuban people.  But he 
must -- and will -- leave Cuba," said Helms. 
       The bill is Helms' first piece of legislation as chair of the 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 
       Proposals within the act include: 
       * reaffirming the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act 
       * revitalizing U.S. broadcasting to Cuba 
       * cutting foreign aid to any now-independent country of the 
former Soviet Union that aids Cuba 
       * urging the president to seek, in the United Nations Security 
Council, an international embargo against Cuba 
       * authorizing programs to promote free market and private 
enterprise development and encouraging free elections when a new 
government is in place. 
       Calling him a "brutal and cruel communist" dictator, Helms 
told reporters Castro is the world's "longest-reigning tyrant" and 
there must be "no retreat" in U.S. policy there now. 
       "If anything, with the collapse of the USSR -- and the end of 
Soviet subsidies to Cuba  
-- the embargo is finally having the effect on Castro that has been 
intended all along.  Why should the U.S. let up the pressure now?  
It's time to tighten the screws -- not loosen them," Helms said.  
"We have an obligation -- to our principles and to the Cuban people 
-- to elevate the pressure on Castro until the Cuban people are 
       He said the U.S. has maintained a bi-partisan policy of 
isolation directed at deposing Castro for 36 years.  Helms said the 
"Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act" is built upon the 
work of three members of the House of Representatives:  Lincoln 
Diaz-Balart, Bob Menendez and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. 
       From Cuba and US Presbyterys' reactions t the Helms 
legislation, see the following story. 
(With Information from the U.S. Senate Commitee on Foreign 
                      # # # 

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  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
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