U.S. Congress Ratifies Restrictions against Cuba

Washington, Dec 16. -The U.S. Congress rejected a legislative proposal that would allowed Cuba to purchase goods in that country.U.S. congressional leaders, pressured by conservative lawmakers of Cuban origin, agreed to eliminate the initiative presented by Republican representative Jo Ann Emerson to ease Cuba's payments, which should be made on cash and in advance.

In 2001, The U.S. Congress approved an amendment as an exception to allow food sales to Cuba after hurricanes affected the island nation severely.

The measure maintained the economic, trade and financial blockade on Cuba that Washington established over 50 years ago intact and that has cost Cuba 975 billion dollars intact.

According to congressional sources, the Emerson Amendment was removed at the request of the extreme right wing, as compensation for the elimination of a section in the Budget Law to restrict trips and money remittances from Cuban residents in the United States to their relatives in the island.

Jose Serrano, a democratic representative from New York and a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said the restrictions proposed by Republican congressman Mario Diaz-Balart had been the last obstacle in the negotiations on the general draft bill on the 2012 budget.

Diaz-Balart pretended that the restrictions would return to the level established during the George W. Bush administration, when Cuban-Americans could only travel to their homeland every three years and could send remittances of up to 1,200 dollars a year.

The U.S. Congress approved those resolutions in the final days of discussions on a draft bill on next year's federal budget. The Cuban issue introduced by Diaz-Balart, had become an obstacle that blocked the debates on the draft bill. (Prensa Latina)