Tags: Congress | Spoiled | His | Plan | Weaken | Castro | Clinton

Congress Spoiled His Plan to Weaken Castro, Clinton Says

Thursday, 09 November 2000 12:00 AM

The bill tightened sanctions against Cuba in retaliation for Cuba’s downing of two unarmed Florida-based planes flying in international air space.

"I signed it. But it tied the hands of the executive so much that it's hard for us to use the full panoply of pressures we had,'' Clinton said Saturday in an interview with Telemundo, a Spanish-language television station.

It was, he added, a "great mistake'' for the Congress to have put him in a position where he couldn’t promote positive change in Cuba.

"The Congress believes the only way it can show it's anti-Castro is to make sure that the president has no leverage,'' he said.

Clinton charged that 1996 legislation, which was sponsored by Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., and Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., undercut a 1992 law that provided for more people-to-people contacts between Cubans and Americans.

"I think we could have done a lot more for the dissident movement in Cuba because we would have been in a position to have carrots and sticks in return for openness and change, and we could have supported them,'' he said without explaining why, if the bill was so destructive to his alleged strategy for weakening Castro, he signed it.

Clinton also complained about legislation approved recently by Congress as part of an agriculture bill that he said had further limited Americans’ ability to travel to Cuba.

"The real purpose of the bill was to further restrict the ability of Americans to travel to Cuba and have person-to-person contact. I think that's a mistake,'' Clinton said. "I am disappointed that Castro is still in power. I am disappointed that democracy has not been restored to Cuba. I am glad that we have had a very tough line these last eight years.''

He made no comments on the charge leveled against him by Cuban exile groups that his action in handing Elian Gonzalez over to Castro helped strengthen the Cuban dictator’s hold on Cuba.

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The bill tightened sanctions against Cuba in retaliation for Cuba's downing of two unarmed Florida-based planes flying in international air space. I signed it. But it tied the hands of the executive so much that it's hard for us to use the full panoply of pressures we...
Congress,Spoiled,His,Plan,Weaken,Castro,,Clinton,Says
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2000-00-09
Thursday, 09 November 2000 12:00 AM
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