April 02,2003

Baucus Letter to Cuban Interests Section

Below is a letter, regarding U.S. relations with Cuba, which Senator Baucus and nine of his colleagues sent to the Cuban Interest Section in Washington DC. Please be advised that Senator Baucus will be speaking at The Carter Center in Atlanta, on Friday April 4, 2003 11 a.m., to discuss U.S. Engagement of Cuba.

April 2, 2003

Dear Mr. Rodriguez,

As you may know, a bipartisan group of Senators recently announced the
formation of a Senate Working Group on Cuba. This group will work to ease the trade
and travel restrictions that have been in place for the last forty years.

However, as members of the Working Group - and as advocates for improved
relations between the United States and Cuba - we are deeply troubled by recent actions
of the Cuban government against Cuban dissidents. Dozens of Cuban citizens have been
arrested or threatened with arrest for promoting human rights or practicing independent
journalism. These arrests are deplorable, and we hope that your government will
immediately release these dissidents. Unless corrected, the recent actions of the Cuban
government will only undermine efforts to expand contacts between the two countries.

In addition, we understand that the Cuban government has begun to restrict the
freedom of movement of U.S. diplomats in Cuba. There are reports that the Cuban
government may impose further restrictions on U.S. diplomats - or even close the U.S.
Interests Section in Havana. This, in our view, would be a tremendous mistake. Indeed,
the increasing tensions between the Cuban government and the U.S. Interests Section in
Havana only threaten to deteriorate further our diplomatic relationship. We in Congress
believe that the U.S. Interests Section in Havana should follow all diplomatic norms in
order to lessen tensions between our two governments, and your government should do
its part to bring about a lessening of tensions as well. The current state of relations serves
neither country.


Max Baucus
Michael Enzi
Byron Dorgan
Norm Coleman
Blanche Lincoln
Jeff Bingaman
Chris Dodd
Pat Roberts
Chuck Hagel