BIDEN Issues Statement on the Resignation of Cuban President Fidel Castrohttp://biden.senate.gov/press/press_releases/release/?id=9fe90af2-c349-405c-a319-7119988f8e0f
February 19, 2008
Washington, DC - Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) issued the following statement after the official announcement that Cuban President Fidel Castro is stepping down:
"With Castro's resignation, Cuba's darkest days could finally be coming to an end, opening up a new age of possibility for the Cuban people and Cuban-American relations. But a possibility is not a guarantee.
"Whether Raul Castro, or another, is named successor, we should not consider lifting the embargo until Cuba frees political prisoners, respects human rights and allows independent civil organizations. However, we should not sit back and wait for the successor to act; there are steps we should take now to support the Cuban people and to start to put in place a strong foundation for freedom and free enterprise.
"First, we should allow increased travel of Cuban Americans to the island for family or humanitarian visits. Second, we should expand family remittances from Cuban Americans to include extended family. Third, we should allow U.S.-based companies and non-profits to send remittances to Cubans to support small business, and we should establish an Enterprise Fund, like the ones we set up after the end of communism in Eastern Europe, to jump start small and medium-sized private enterprise. Finally, we must establish direct mail service to Cuba.
"The Cuban-American community has a lead role to play in these efforts. Together, we can build the kind of bright future Cuba's people deserve after decades in the dark."
At Brown and Black Forum, Des Moines, 12/01/07:
Joe Biden: (1:38:31) We have to reach out to the Cuban people right now because he’s not going to last no matter what you say and the bottom line is we have to have a plan. There is no plan. Chris is right. You’ve got to normalize relations with them eventually and it seems to me that’s going to come very quickly.
MN: (1:28:43) Normalize relations whether or not Fidel Castro is in power?
JB: (1:28:47) Not as long as he in fact has his human rights policy but you’ve got to compete with it.
His "Chris" reference:
Chris Dodd: (1:27:20) I served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic and spent a lot time on Latin American issues and chaired the [sub]committee of the Foreign Relations Committee for the last 26 years dealing with Latin American. I think we are making a huge mistake by not normalizing relations with Cuba. The only one who is benefiting from this in my view, the only one who has benefited is Fidel Castro. This is outrageous in my view. If you want to create change in the country as we did with the eastern block countries, this is the way, is to allow travel to occur. This is the only country in the world where Americans are not allowed to travel there because our country forbids them from going there. That is how you create change in these countries. This embargo has done nothing but keep Fidel Castro in power. I think we ought to abandon
the embargo, open up travel restrictions and he’ll create change immediately in my view of Cuba.
Also, in 2003 Senators Michael Enzi (R-WY), Max Baucus (D-MT), Larry Craig (R-ID) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) offered an amendment to the Transportation/Treasury appropriations bill that would end funding for the travel ban to Cuba. A motion to table (kill) the amendment failed 59-36 and the amendment itself passed on a voice vote. Biden voted against tabling, i.e. a vote for allowing all travel.