The Bush Administration has put the quash on a group of congregations whose members traveled to Cuba to assist Baptist churches there. Some of the members may have naively believed that could return to the States with a box of Cuban cigars, but the scrutiny and hefty fine these church folks are receiving is unnecessary and counter-productive. Read the article Churches Fined for Banned Activity During Cuba Visit at Beliefnet.
4 thoughts on “Go Ye To All Nations (except Cuba)”
“the scrutiny and hefty fine these church folks are receiving is unnecessary and counter-productive.”
The fact that they are “Church folks” does not exempt them from obeying the law, nor from the penalties of the law if they disobey it. It is clear from the story that you linked that the Church members did, in fact, break the law, and there is no indication that selective or politically-motivated enforcement was involved here.
Given that, to say that “the Bush administration has put the quash on” these groups is quite tendentious. It insinuates that the President targeted these people for political reasons. But there is no evidence that such is the case. To all appearances, the Treasury department staff involved were non-political appointees simply enforcing the law on the books — law that was in place since President Bush was in high school.
I’m not a big Bush fan, either; but there’s absolutely no reason to use this particular incident to bash President Bush.
Yes, perhaps some of the actions of the group were illegal and naive (purchasing and transporting cigars, for example), but our government’s policy towards Cuba is rediculous and counter-productive. If we really wanted to undermine Castro, it seems that we can do that by simply allowing our people to go there, share ideas, worship, spend money, and walk with the people of Cuba in their walk towards freedom.
So yes, what this group did was illegal, but it wasn’t wrong. In fact, it was just.
“our government’s policy towards Cuba is ridiculous and counter-productive.”
That is a respectable and widely-held view, and not one which I am prepared to debate. But that is not my point. In this case, “our government’s policy” (however ridiculous it may be) is not the policy of the Bush administration; it is the policy of the Kennedy administration and of every administration since. When low-level government employees are enforcing something that has been settled government policy for over 40 years, it makes no sense to blame what they are doing on the current administration. They were just doing their jobs, according to the settled law. The Bush administration had nothing to do with it.
There are plenty of things to complain about that are indeed the fault of the Bush administration. To blame this incident on Bush just makes you look silly. The attitude seems to be, anything the government does that you don’t agree with must somehow be Bush’s fault.
Well, Chris, I do not mean to be snippy or silly, but Kennedy has been out of the White House since 1963 and hasn’t made significant policy decisions since then. Bush is the guy in the White House right now – the buck stops with him.
In relation to Cuba, President Bush has increased the restrictions on travel to Cuba. I traveled to Cuba in the late 1990s on a Treasury Department-sanctioned program through Tulane University, something that could not easily happen today.
Futhermore, the reality is that with limited resources each Administration has to make a choice as to which laws it chooses to enforce rigorously, and which laws receive less attention. That this administration is wasting its resources going after a church group’s trip to support Cuban churches is simply rediculous.
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