Anti-Castro ads – Campaign backs sanctions

A powerful anti-Castro lobbying organization has launched a series of television ads attacking those who support lifting economic sanctions against Cuba, the Washington Post reported June 17.

Ads from the Cuban American National Foundation accuse Cuba of allowing forced child labor and child prostitution, sponsoring international terrorism and imprisoning political dissidents. The spots are initially set to air in Spokane, Wash., Little Rock, Ark., and Washington, D.C.

Although the ads mention no names or specific legislation, a spokesman for the foundation told the Post that the initial targets are Rep. George R. Nethercutt Jr., R-Wash., and Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.

Nethercutt has sponsored a House measure to lift all unilateral U.S. embargoes on food and medicine. Lincoln led a recent delegation of Arkansas agricultural producers to Cuba to seek new commodity markets there.

Nethercutt has criticized the ads as “misguided and misleading,” arguing that if sanctions were effective they would have produced some change in the last forty years. Lincoln, through a representative, pointed out that the embargo has cost her state half its rice export market, and trade with Cuba would boost Arkansas’ economy.

The Center for Public Integrity has called the Cuban American National Foundation “the most potent voice on U.S. policy toward Cuba.” The foundation provided financial and public backing to the Miami relatives of Elian Gonzalez.

The foundation declined to provide the Post with a budget for the campaign.

For full text, go to the Washington Post.

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