"There appears to be broad agreement among those concerned with Cuba on the overall objective of U.S. policy toward Cuba--to help bring democracy and respect for human rights to the island. But there have been several schools of thought on how to achieve that objective. Some advocate a policy of keeping maximum pressure on the Cuban government until reforms are enacted, while continuing current U.S. efforts to support the Cuban people. Others argue for an approach, sometimes referred to as constructive engagement, that would lift some U.S. sanctions that they believe are hurting the Cuban people, and move toward engaging Cuba in dialogue. Still others call for a swift normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations by lifting the U.S. embargo. Policy debate in the past several years has focused on whether to maintain U.S. restrictions on food and medical exports as well as on travel to Cuba. Legislative initiatives introduced in the 107th Congress reflect these divergent views on the direction of U.S. policy toward Cuba and also cover a range of issues including human rights, food and medical exports, travel restrictions, drug interdiction cooperation, and broadcasting to Cuba. On July 25, 2001, in action on the Treasury Department Appropriations for FY2002 (H.R. 2590), the House approved an amendment that would prohibit the Treasury Department from using funds to enforce restrictions on travel to Cuba. Ultimately, the Cuba travel provision was not included in the conference report to the bill. The Senate version of the 'Farm Bill,' S. 1731 (Harkin), would strike language from U.S. law that prohibits private financing of agricultural sales to Cuba."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30806
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