Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) backs biotech deal with Castro dictatorship
In regards to Cuba policy, U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) has been pretty quiet and for the most part has been following the lead of his fellow South Florida congressional delegation since taking office this year. Although this group of U.S. representatives is made up of individuals from opposing political parties, to their credit, they have all banded together to maintain a unified, principled stance against the repressive and violent tyranny of Cuba's apartheid Castro dictatorship. But Joe would not be Joe if he just did the right thing. Joe likes to make headlines, outrageous headlines, embarrassing headlines. It almost seems that the worse some statement or position makes him look, the more Joe likes it.
Therefore, you knew it would only be a matter of time before good ol' Joe would pull some kind of stunt in regards to Cuba and U.S. policy. If there is anything we have learned about Joe over the years is that eventually, la caga.
Apparently ignoring the advice of his fellow congressional members in South Florida, Joe has decided to back a scheme to bring drug trials of a drug produced in Cuba to the U.S. Naturally, like everything else in Cuba, the drug is manufactured and owned by the Castro dictatorship. This means that based on the Castro regime's history when it comes to drugs and other chemical manufacturing, the origins and efficacy of this drug are dubious and highly suspect. And finally, it also means that the costs to bring these farcical drug trials to the U.S. will be paid in cash directly to the Castro dictatorship, in direct violation of U.S. sanctions.
It obviously appears like a terrible idea and a scheme that is not even worth considering, which of course seems to make it all the more attractive to Joe.
Rep. Garcia’s push for Cuba drug trial tests support for embargo
In a significant break with Cuban exile leaders, Miami Congressman Joe Garcia is supporting the efforts of a Havana research institute that wants U.S. approval to test and market a diabetes treatment in this country.
Garcia’s endorsement marks the first time a Cuban-American in Congress has overtly backed a measure that, in the eyes of critics, undermines the embargo and could eventually give the Castro government access to U.S. markets without making democratic reforms.
The move splits the Cuban-American congressional delegation for the first time, could become a campaign issue in the Democrat’s reelection campaign and, more broadly, indicates a shift in Miami politics as the exile community’s power appears to wane amid new waves of immigrants.
Garcia said his decision was not political, but was intended to help people who suffer from diabetic foot ulcers.
“This is about something that can maybe save lives. This is about medicine,” Garcia said. “There are 70,000 amputations that happen yearly from diabetes. I’m not going to be the guy who decides that people will suffer because of the embargo.”
Continue reading HERE.
Nevertheless, there is still time for Joe to back away from this extremely poor decision. He has an opportunity to surprise us all and do the right thing here. In all honesty, I cannot say I am very confident he will reverse course, but this is politics -- South Florida politics -- and stranger things have happened.
Unfortunately, Joe did not come up with this dubious scheme all by himself. There are some very powerful backers behind this ruse who may very well be illegally lobbying for the Castro dictatorship.
Delahunt and Sununu's (Illegal?) Lobbying Push for Castro's Biotech
The Miami Herald has published a story regarding a lobbying push by former U.S. Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA), now a federally-registered lobbyist, and former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu (R-NH), to obtain U.S. approval for testing of a diabetic foot drug by Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CGEB).
The Castro regime claims the diabetic foot drug has already been tested on 125,000 people -- 100,000 of which were in Venezuela.
The CGEB was personally created by Fidel Castro in the late 1980's, in order to foment its foreign medical propaganda and obtain hard-currency through questionable biotech exports.
None of its products are accessible to the Cuban people. They are reserved for hard-currency exports.
In recent years, ethical questions have been raised about some of these exports, i.e., the use of political contacts to sell useless bacterial larvicides for malaria in Africa and salmonella-laced rat poison sold to China and Vietnam.
Also of great concern is the long suspected "dual-use" of the CGEB's technology and its collaboration with other rogue regimes.
In 2001, Iran began constructing a $600 million biotechnology institute (Pasteur Institute of Iran) with the support of Castro's CGEB. Iran's Pasteur Institute would later become key to Syria's biotech development.
Jose de la Fuente, a former director of research at Castro's CGEB until his defection in 1999, wrote in the journal Nature Biotechnology at the end of 2001 that he was "profoundly disturbed" about CGEB's sale of dual-use technology to Iran.
"No one believes that Iran is interested in these technologies for the purpose of protecting all the children in the Middle East from hepatitis," wrote de la Fuente.
Now, Delahunt and Sununu want to open the doors of the U.S. market to Castro's CGEB.
Continue reading HERE.