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Mr. Chairman, I appreciate this opportunity to review with you US policy toward Cuba and our views on the Cuban Democracy Act (HR 5323). I commend the thorough review Congress has given this legislation. As you are aware, last week, I testified before the Subcommittee for Western Hemisphere and Peace Corps Affairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and, in April, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This has been a truly bipartisan effort. On behalf of the Administration, I would like to thank you and the bill's sponsors for considering our views on how best to bring democracy to Cuba.
I understand that your interests are in the trade provisions of the Cuban Democracy Act, and I welcome a full discussion of these issues. However, I would like to begin by putting the legislation into the context of US policy toward Cuba.
A Successful Policy
In the last few years, our policy has succeeded in helping to significantly diminish Cuban support for insurgency abroad and terminate Cuba's special relationship with the former Soviet Union. Today, Cuba stands alone. No government has stretched out a hand to stop the inevitable decay and disappearance of the Cuban dictatorship. No government has attempted to replace the former Soviet Union's military and political ties with Cuba - quite the contrary. Russia's relationship with Cuba has withered to the point that it now has little inclination to support Cuban intransigence.
Cuba's position in the world community and at home is far different from what it was only a few years ago. Today, leaders around the world are pressing the Castro regime to adopt representative democracy and end its repression of human rights. In Madrid - as in Guadalajara - Castro's vision was rejected by his Latin American colleagues. A few weeks ago, at the Ibero-American summit, the leaders of Latin America, Spain, and Portugal made it clear to Castro they wanted change in Cuba when they called for "representative" democracy in the final communique. Not Cuban-style "democracy" but a true democracy in which the people of …