tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 4, 2015 8:00pm-10:01pm EST
authors. c-span2 brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd like us on facebook and collis on twitter. >> former florida governor and potential candidate jeb bush was in detroit today and his remarks are next on c-span2. in a house panel looking at changing relations with cuba and we will show you the conversation with supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg. president obama's defense secretary nominee ashton carter took questions on capitol hill today at a press conference held there. [inaudible] decrease the defense budget to a least half of what it is now. that is that facebook.com/east
van. a reminder that you can watch ashton carter's confirmation hearing on c-span.org and it's also airing in its entirety in just a few minutes on c-span. florida governor jeb bush spoke about economic opportunity in the united states. mr. bush who recently said he's thinking about a presidential run spoke at the detroit economic club. this is 45 minutes. >> thank you. leadership makes a difference. right here in michigan we are witnessing the power of old new and creative leadership in our companies and in our cities and in our states.
the alignment of these leadership qualities over multiple sectors has resulted in a paradigm shift of what we as michiganders believe is possible. our nation has seen the paradigm shifts before and in 1980 our nation ushered in an era with the election of ronald reagan and george h. w. bush. the power of clear and strong principled leadership infused with good well and a sense of humor that changed our nation. and across the country other states have experience a type of rebirth that we are now seeing in michigan. one of those states that charted a new course was a state the state of florida, the nation's
third-largest. florida's economic powerhouse status was not a foregone conclusion. building blocks were not set in place until our speaker that we are fortunate enough to have here today, jeb bush arrived. his time is the 43rd governor of the state of florida was a time of dramatic change. education moved to the top of the agenda with corresponding increases in student achievement. the business environment was reformed along with the size and scope of government to unleash a tour in of investment and innovation job creation. he was the first of reform minded governor's that have
swept across the nation and in many ways has become the template for other governors to follow. since leaving the governor's office after two terms and returning to the private sector, jeb bush has maintained his commitment to the important public issues of our time. notably fixing our nation's immigration system and reforming how we deliver all the education to the next generation of leaders. views have been called conservative, they have been called mainstream. they have been called bold and they have been called common sense. for those of us who have been watching jeb bush for well over a decade now call them kids because what he says is what he means because he is not tailoring his remarks to the
audience of the day. as you likely know, governor bush has had some close family members who have been also elected to high public office. without further delay please welcome the father of george bush the texas land commissioner, the honorable jeb bush. ♪ ♪ of. >> thank you, sandy. when i heard he was bringing up family members i was going to use that line but he stole it. i am very proud of my son who got the highest vote total percentage wise george has done a great job and we are very proud of him. i'm pretty proud also owe 41 and 43 i loved them very much. it's hard for the political world to accept.
but it's pretty easy for me to love them and i love them unconditionally. but i'm not here to talk about that. i'm really appreciative of the chance to be your and i'm delighted to be here because you are all a part of a great story part of the story of all americans. you have been confronted with great challenges and you have seen the opportunity to reform the city that you love and you have done to repair the damage done by mismanagement and empty promises. i want to congratulate rick snyder for his leadership and i want to acknowledge everyone for being here and the mayor for his determination to serve the city of his birth. i also want to recognize as well the hard work of kevin who am proud to say is a son of florida. finally i want to recognize all those who are involved in making
very difficult and often painful decisions. your work is not complete. in your effort to capture the attention of our nation's because across the united states we are asking ourselves the same question. how do we recapture prosperity and opportunity. how do we restore america's faith in the moral promise of our great nation, that any child born today can reach further than their parents. this is a really urgent issue. far too many americans live on the edge of economic ruin. many more feel like they are stuck in place working longer and harder even as they're losing ground. tens of millions of americans no longer see a clear path to rise above their challenges. and something is holding them back. not a lack of ambition, not a lack of hope and not because they are lazy or see themselves as victims but something else.
something as an artificial weight on their shoulders. and it will now offer a new vision that is different than what we are hearing in washington dc. it is a vision rooted in conservative principles untethered to our sure belief in opportunity and the unknown possibilities of a nation giving the freedom to act and to create and to dream and to rise. we see that believe every day in action. and in the oilfields or once given up her dry, we are assuring american security. we are extending and beating back once untreatable diseases. we are connecting students with their incredible potential, and this comes from every corner of society. including learning how to create and innovate. people can be more than what
they are today and that each one of us must be part of it. but they also know this as well that we have a lot of work to do and today americans across the country are frustrated. they see only a small portion of the population riding economy up. it's true enough that we have seen recent gains in welcome news in the economy and it has come very late. incomes are down household averages are for people, and millions have lived paycheck to paycheck. any extra expense can push them into financial ruin recovery has been everywhere but in the family paychecks and the american dream has become a moron for far too many. the central question that we face here in detroit across
america is can we restore it the moral promise that each generation can do better. and this includes our way of life because america's promises are broken when someone is lovely that's not the case, but when achieving success is far beyond our imagination. america is a place where as lincoln dreamed any person may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and then finally to hire men to work for him. america has not given up on the dream of lincoln. it is live at 5:00 a.m. in the inner city as workers get the jobs in hotels and restaurants and hospitals. it is live in the breath of a construction worker running cable under a city street in the bitter night air and in the heart of a college student that
is working to graduate debt-free. it is live every day and at every moment when people choose to buy home were started business or enroll in school or save for the future. they know that such commitments are not easy and they don't pay off right away but they are worth doing. americans are working harder than ever and earning one sunday last it lasts, and her leadership step up and offer a plan to fix what is wrong or they should step aside. and let's start in detroit because in a sense the troubles of detroit and those that they face are echoing the troubles facing washington dc, decades of big government policies and petty politics, impossible to make promises, mismanagement and broken services combined with a loss of jobs in the auto industry and tens of thousands of people in this region. for example, detroit under the
previous administration was so proud of shutting down businesses that had not paid their licenses and fees. they bragged about it in press releases and the city threatened businesses with closure and followed through on nearly 400 businesses shutting them down. and that includes people that just wanted to take that first step up the economic ladder. one of the business owners have a simple way to describe his frustration. i am running a legit business, the they could be doing something better. and the city was busy writing parking tickets. of course they lose track of money and they literally have a captive audience it's an incredible feat, but this is not just irritating, it is
instructive. if the government cannot collect parking fines, why would they know how to enable every person to move up in life? that is why i have launched this so that someone would speak for people who don't want to wait for the government to deliver prosperity. and they want to earn it themselves, government is not the only issue here, there are far more at work, but in a sense they say in government policy is the easiest policy to salt and the one that is most responsive to the demands of voters. so getting involved in politics again because that is where the work has to begin. the opportunity gap is the defining issue of our time. more americans are stuck at their income levels than ever before and it's very hard for people to go from the bottom rungs of the economy to the top or even to the middle. and this has alarmed me. we start to feel the one thing
that can unlock the economic status quo, the freedom to compete and work as a team to build great things. the cab companies fight the web-enabled car services and the restaurant's fight against the food trucks, the brick-and-mortar fight against internet companies, i'm not here to take sides but when government protects one business against another or interferes with the field of competition there is a loser. anyone who wants to create something as a team anyone who wants to innovate and shake things up, anyone who wants to have more choices and better service. and we know that in the end this is a losing battle. in 195560 years ago a fortune 500 list first appeared. of the companies on that list 80% don't even exist today or
have fallen away and it will be replaced by new companies that are just starting today and this is hard for some people to accept. because entrenched interests don't like giving up what they have. that is why they fear small companies that have nothing to lose. you know the stories. the president of michigan savings bank imparted wisdom to a young lawyer for a small start up company. the horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a fad. >> our nation has always believed that economic freedom because each citizen has the power to propel themselves forward and upward. this really is not understood in washington dc. you can see why.
it is a company town. the company is government. it is all they know and we have seen the definition of a full-time job for 30 hours to 40 hours, to make ends meet. and we have seen them create welfare women's and tax rules that punish people with loss benefits and higher taxes for moving up the first rungs of the economic ladder instead of what cushions are occasional falls, we have built perpetual dependency. and that instinct doesn't solve any problems.
and the cost is enormous. let's say that you are a hard-working middle-class emily and you work hard and you pay your mortgage on time as president obama likes to say play by the rules. but one of the rules is it does come he reserves the right to change the rules. just last month he thought that was a good idea to tax college savings plans. they were created to be tax-free ways to save for college and literally hundreds of thousands of people have done so. millions, in fact have started them for their kids and grandkids and it's no surprise that people hated the president's idea and thankfully he dropped it. but it was instructive as a lesson in the liberal and progressive mindset that saving for college is the responsible thing to do. but instead of embracing this, the liberals moved to tax them. it's frustrating, but it shows you how they think and if you want to know how they act ask sharon who founded the
recruiting company in ohio, and here's what she said. it's as if the politicians and regulators want me to fail. and spend all their time thinking up new ways to ensure that i do really want to be part of the economy or the you don't. here's the message, there is a better way. let us talk about this with the society this society because once we do, the policies and the law and the way forward becomes a lot clearer. let's start with the first sensible. when it comes to ensuring opportunities and a chance at success, the most important factor is a committed family. social sciences across the ideological spectrum agree on this and you just have to find out when thing. were they raised with loving parents?
if you didn't, they can overcome it but it's really hard. if you did, you'd have a built-in advantage in life and the evidence is overwhelming. every child has a greater chance when they are raised by a loving and committed family. this is in the work of government and its critical bed government leaders recognize that unsupported and a second principle, this one is often overlooked, growth above all. weather here in detroit or throughout the country is a difference between poverty and prosperity for millions. you want to close the opportunity gap grow the economy. this is a principle that concentrates the mind. if the law or a rule doesn't contribute to growth, why do it? if they subtract from growth why are we discussing it. for what it is worth, i don't think the united states should settle for anything less than 4% growth per year, which is about twice that is estimated with most economists and then in the
coming months i will send a detailed how he can get there with a mix of smart policies and reforms to tap our resources and the capacity to innovate whether it is in energy manufacturing, health care or technology. and the right to rise depends on a government that makes it easier to work then not work. that means fewer laws restricting the labor market and reducing penalties that come from moving up the lowest rungs of the a ladder and then to address the income gap, let close the opportunity gap and that starts with doing everything that we can to give every child for maybe every year going forward, every child in every neighborhood a wonderful education, accountability for teachers in school and administrations assessment for student learning high rigorous standards and school choice across the board, these are the key elements that
make education work for more and more of our students and we have the results to prove it. finally, let's embrace reform everywhere especially in our government and let's start with the simple sensible of who holds the power. i say give washington last and state and local governments more. we make multibillion dollar decisions based on a labor law britain in 1921. president obama proposes making rules on the internet using lots written in the 1930s. we regulate global airlines using lots for railroads and our immigration laws were written a half-century ago. government policy seems frozen and incapable and fearful of change. and we deserve better than this. if we don't transform ourselves to meet the new challenges and seize new opportunities we know what happens next. look around the city and it history has a warning to all of us, a century ago detroit was
america's great innovation hub and the silicon valley of its age, it was bigger than chicago. it was the nation's wealthiest city in 1960. detroit put the world on wheels and created jobs are listed millions of americans into middle-class areas the city was the arsenal of democracy and delivered arms needed. it promised prosperity ended delivered. santo sharecroppers coming up from the south, farmhands from the midwest from it immigrants that spoke polish, yiddish, arabic and others. there are grandchildren that are in this room today. now to be building of the city. i know that you will be that great city again. because americans by nature work and strive to succeed. it is already happening. new companies are rising. one of them i rule is led by two young men. one born in russia and the other in israel.
and they left secured jobs as automotive engineers are their business in 2009. at the very bottom of the recession. and i imagine it wasn't it was in an easy decision with the spouses. here's what one of them said. we know that detroit has its baggage, but we believe that we are part of the solution in three years later they had 21 employees including this man's father who was the cfo. it must be nice to hire your dad. and i thought about it but he's kind of retired. and this activity is happening downtown in an area once ignored not ignore the growth in the suburbs and he rarely came downtown as a child but today he works there and he lives here and here is what he said. we see the city for what it can be and not for what it was. and that is how you should see everything, not just detroit but in all of america. and i know some think that
conservatives don't care about the cities, but they are wrong. we believe that every american in every community has a right to pursue happiness and have the right to rise. so i say let's go where ideas will matter the most. and so let's deliver real conservative success and we know that we will create a whole lot of new conservatives. i know that because i have lived it. i come from miami, and other areas that face the same struggles. in my city the schools were failing and opportunity with skiers, simply being born in the wrong neighborhood meant the american dream was coolly out of reach and i join with my friends, the longest-serving urban league and the united states, and a courageous leader in the civil rights movement, we decided that this was also a civil right and we went to work to change education in florida and boy, did we.
including have true accountability so moms and dads know exactly where schools stand. we raise expectations and standards and we assess safely to those standards and we make sure that every child in the system that they weren't cast aside if they were struggling leaders. we eliminated this in third grade that's insidious policy that exist in most parts of the country where if you are functioning a letter you ability to grow and grow and the social thought was well and we expand school choice programs in every capacity whether visual learning or vouchers for the expansion of charter schools. the net result after 10 years of struggle and believe me the tire marks on my forehead are there for this reason, we move though needle in student learning in and florida is the state that has consistently improved the gap between outcomes amongst african-american people and white people.
florida hispanic kids are the best of any hispanic group of students in the united states. in fact, two grade levels ahead of the average in the united states. the graduation rate was 50th out of 50 states. so we have moved it successfully each and every year to the point where it is something that had a 25 to 26% gain in the graduation rate and that will continue to grow. >> so don't let anyone tell you that it's not possible with reform and leadership to be able to move the needle. the hundreds of thousands of kids that now can read and write are going to be living productive lives in miami. and will be blessed as a community because of that. all communities ought to be able to do that and having a reformed orientation is part of that strategy. while there is much to do much more to do because this is a continuous journey, we have seen lives change and hope are stored. you can do it here in detroit.
you can do it across america. because this morning 320 million americans got up and they are on 320 million different paths in life. it's our goal to see them succeed and it's our responsibility to do everything possible to help them. because they will not only build prosperity for themselves, but they will bring new the promise of this nation. where everyone has the right to rise. those are the stakes and that's why we're here. please join me in this cause. thank you all very much and may god bless detroit and america. [applause] [applause] >> governor thank you so very much. we have some questions for you. actually we have a lot of questions for you.
and we will start with the first one. you talked a lot about education. why is education such a big issue for you as your time as governor? >> it is important for a lot of reasons. so many reasons including higher education being oriented towards helping deal with this opportunity gap. so it's an economic development issue for sure. but it's also i think, a great moral issue of our time. a third of our kids around their, depending on how you measure it that is such a slow-motion tragedy. in the world we are moving
towards with automation and the acceleration of innovation making it harder and harder for the first job to be created for people that are unskilled and imagine what it will be like 10 years from now or 20 years from now if we continue to just blame it on the poverty and excuse away why we have so few kids that can enter the military or so few -- so few that don't have to take remedial classes and so few that have that career skills to be able to get a job. it is an economic issue and huge moral issue and are country does not do this well. the huge gaps that exist is not the america that has led the world, other countries have dealt with this better. we do better when everyone has a chance to rise up. if you don't have a quality education and if you can't read and write and calculate math and have a sense of this in your own
life, no matter what drug you have come i think a lot of young people have huge drive and determination to succeed and they won't have the ills or the capacity to do so. so i hope everybody -- i would like to see more people marching in the streets for a variety of student achievement. most people marching for things -- [inaudible] >> your last name is bush. many people wanted to make sure that you do that. what impact is having a father and a brother who has served as president way on your decision to potentially run? >> on one level i've had a front row seat watching history unfold. it has given me some perspective
that is helpful and on another level i know that it is an interesting challenge for me. one that if i have any degree of self-awareness, this will be the place where my want to be applied. and this includes connecting with human human beings on a personal level. to be able to offer ideas that are important to people so that when they think of me they think i'm on their side and that i care about them and that the issues that i'm passionate about will help them rise up. and so that is a compelling strategy and that of the gods honest truth. as governor i have done this. my brother was governor and my dad was just -- they ended up losing the first time, which by the way for those that are
thinking that there are some young people in the crowd, it's always better to run against a bad candidate and a good candidate and i prove that 1994 and lost against a guy that never lost and had better luck next time. in that experience i knew that i had to share my heart. so i had these deeply held views about education but people didn't connect with me and so then they didn't shrug their shoulders. we have to care for people before you can get their vote. in 1998 i had the same views about education but i went to visit about 250 schools. by the end of that journey they knew that i wasn't just the sun -- i was just my own person. especially working people on a national scale is part of the strategy. my dad is the greatest man alive
[inaudible] unless you are much younger than me and taller. i love my brother i think that he's been a great president, it doesn't bother me a bit to be proud and love them but i know for fact if i'm going to be successful and go beyond the consideration that i'm going to have to do it on my own. >> a couple of years ago you spoke a lot about immigration reform and you touched on it in your remarks what is this need to go in terms of immigration reform and were the prospects for this? >> that's a great question it should be the low hanging fruit because this is a huge opportunity. immigration is not a problem. the country makes us unique and special and different and it is part of our extraordinary success over time. so while the political fights go
on, we're missing this opportunity. and fixing a broken system is a huge opportunity to get to that 4% growth. if we are going to dig around to this that is kind of what the economists say, that's the new normal. have you ever heard that term? the new normal is european-style growth, for going if were going to do that, the demands on government are going to overwhelm a lot of people. if we grow 4% immigration has to be a part of that. we need young and dynamic people that can make an immediate contribution to our economy. we shouldn't be fearful this but say what an incredible opportunity. so i would hope that that mentality shifting to an economic issue rather than a political issue will be helpful. and it starts with regaining confidence that the federal government can enforce the border. and first and foremost there's no denying that and that ought
to be the highest priority. i don't think the president should use it to record of authority where he's gone beyond his constitutional powers because that creates greater doubt as well and i don't think people are totally confident that the system that we have in place right now is working to the extent that it needs to and we need to fix that. i know for a fact that the people are surprised and that many have come with a legal visa but have overstayed their time and we need to figure a way to deal with that. once we got that done, it seems that we should think strategically about this and [inaudible] especially with dramatically expanding immigrants are coming to work. a guestworker program dealing in
the areas where they have shortages, high skill agenda that is desperately important thrust which many of the visa holders languish and don't get their status improved. investors, dreamers, people that come, all of these people should be welcomed in our country and the unwritten contract ought to be embraced the values and you can pursue your dreams in this great country and by doing so you are creating opportunity for more people. because if we don't do that 10 years from now i'm guessing and i hope that this is the case, family formation rates in this country are at an all-time low and birth rates are below breaking even come there are more single women and married women at this time tomography could be a huge strength for high sustained economic growth or if we do nothing it could become a significant problem.
maybe not like japan or europe, but a problem. shifting this to a driver is important and one other thing is important that we see the struggles of immigration in places like japan and an identifier of racial identity, or europe where there are many immigrants, but are not necessarily embraced as full europeans, french, german, whatever. but the american experience works when people embrace a set of shared values and it doesn't work when we divide ourselves up into different parts. so i would urge every state to focus on how we expand civic education as well and we should love our country and embrace our heritage and encourage immigrants to do so as well. that will establish this american experience which is where you come and work hard and you embrace the values and you are as an american as anyone
came in the mayflower. that is the america that is going to yield great results. >> governor. any truth of the rumor that you approached about being nfl commissioner in 2006? that job might be open again. [laughter] >> it's kind of true. he's got a tiger by the tail right now. and actually i was encouraged to consider it it was nine months prior to ending my tenure as governor and to be honest, that is the greatest job in the world. being governor of the state. i never could have imagined
abandoning that job because i thought i put my hand on the bible but it was to swear to uphold the law for all eight years and not seven years and three months. so it took me about 10 minutes after the flattery to realize that this was not possible. and i finished strong as i could as governor. >> what is your opinion on vaccinations? >> do we need to get any detail of that? >> will it is easy i have done this and i have said things that have been misinterpreted when
our heads explode and all sorts of media, creating all this controversy and i think it's better just to have responsibility to make sure that the children are protected over and out. >> lots of political questions. if i were to summarize them, it would be this. the 2012 republican presidential primary system looks like the campaign scene in star wars. [laughter] how you anticipate the 2016 republican primary. >> i'm going to get in trouble just listening to that. >> politics is chaotic. it is not the idea that there is some smoke filled room where we have men and women who are going to side want to be as that.
and it's lonely at times. eight years as a long time. i think there will be some discipline to be able to including recognizing how important this race is for the future of the country and secondly they have narrowed the number of debates, which i think is probably helpful and shorten the primary process, as well, probably helpful. and so they have done what they can to take away some of the chaos and it is a big deal there's a lot riding on this and my guess is that there will be a lot of people running and people will hopefully focus on this as i was asked by a student to answer the question.
and those are huge questions to answer, not to tear down the people the time. i don't see how that's productive. and they say this is better that is bad or whatever, i don't think that you can resolve effectively. i'm believe is that for five big complicated things if they are fixed, this is the greatest time to be alive as americans and i can totally believe it. it is the god's honest truth. until that go beyond the consideration of the possibility of running, i hope that we can
talk about this as far as both parties go. >> we have had a slow recovery. had we get the rest of the world to continue to grow? >> given the scale and the size of our consumer base and a lot of reasons, we have the chance, if we can create an energy policy based upon american innovation and north american resources on a canada and mexico and the to create the energy source over the longest time to help consumers with their disposable income and help rid us realize her country.
and this is as convoluted beyond belief it is now a ceiling on the creation of next-generation of job creators. start up rates are lower than they were in the 1980s. there's dramatic declines workforce participation is back to that level as well. and the countries that are going to make than the ones they can't deal with their entitlement issues and believe that more stimulus and monetary policy and fiscal stimulus is the answer and all you have to do is, you know, look at these countries
like greece that haven't made the necessary structural changes and even a blip many problems that they're never going to get out of. >> final question. how would you handle the new asymmetric threats counterterrorism? >> okay the new threats you can't pull back, the minute you're not nurturing the alliances and relationships that make this a global fight, as we pull back from the middle east look at what happens with isis and syria in iraq. the big victory that the president has talked about last about six months.
and our president always wants to frame it in a way that makes it appear like he is engaged in those that don't agree with them think that they are warmongers and that is not the case. engaged america means diplomatically in terms of intelligence gathering and military that we are totally engaged and that we have relationships with our strongest allies and they will never doubt us. ask israel if the united states has their back or if the baltic countries, does the united states have their back and there is growing concern that we have pulled back. ask the middle eastern countries if we have their back and the answer there is not with great certainty that they believe that. so being engaged doesn't have to mean launching attacks.
and it creates we have to be engaged in this -- we have to be engaged because this is part of our economic growth and prosperity is america. >> what title what would you call me? >> president. [laughter] [applause] >> mentor. i would like to make a plug if you're interested in learning more about this, you can text 44144 in say -- you will get information. they do all very much, thank you for letting me come. >> thank you so much governor.
[inaudible conversations] >> coming up next, officials testify about the change in policy toward cuba. and then supreme court justice ruth bader ginsberg talks about her legal career. and later the health and human services department 2016 budget requests. coming up next, the national prayer breakfast. former nascar driver will
deliver the keynote address. we will have live coverage tomorrow starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span2. and on c-span3, a summit panel looking at the future of the guantánamo bay center. we will hear from the director of the counterterrorism center. live coverage starts at 9:30 p.m. eastern. a state department official whose leading negotiations with cuba. roberta jacobson testified about the administration's recent shift in cuba policy. she is joined by commerce department officials she is here with congressman ed royce of california.
>> this hearing will come to order. today we look at the obama administration's sudden shift on cuba policy. and sudden it was. members of congress were left in the dark, including the state department. talks were conducted by two white house officials the white house was unwilling to provide these key witnesses today the administrations growing track record to negotiations whether the subject of iran or the release of the commanders, it is
increasingly troublesome. had the white house consulted more widely in may had heard that they are facing the threat of losing venezuelan oil subsidies and mounting public pressure and this could be used to leverage political conventions on human rights in cuba by that regime. and this includes the u.s. making a series of concessions. this is one area in which the administration did succeed a commitment from the cuban government. the administration kept the secrets are. >> they kept these as secrets for
weeks. and of course, four years ago castro promised to release all prisoners yet in a recent report we have a systemic use of short-term preventable the tensions along with arrests and beatings used to intimidate opposition to isolate dissidents and maintain control. and last year there were over 8000 arrests. the assistant secretary and i appreciate very much your meeting with dissidents all you were in havana last month. but i'm very concerned that your cuban counterparts are attempting to put these discussions to a commitment that the u.s. seizes all the democracy programs. castro is making even more demands and last week the dictator called for the return of the u.s. naval station and an
end to u.s. broadcasts and just compensation. there is little debate over the importance of this facility to the u.s. navy and intelligence and humanitarian missions. and of course our broadcasts are vital to the free media is allowed to operate. and i hope that the state department is here today to assure us that none of castro's demands are being considered. and they have compared this to that of china and be a non-and in china and india not at least foreign firms can higher and recruit directly without this going directly to the government. a cuban worker received only a
fraction of the salary and in the regime's extract hard currency and invested in the security apparatus. and instead of implementing this policy, the administration may have given a 50-year-old regime the ability to continue this at home and militant support for regimes abroad. i am now going to yield higher meaning time to the chairman [inaudible] per year is a work on this committee have been marked by a tireless commitment to freedom and commitment around the world.
>> thank you i strongly second are concerned about the way that foreign policies being run by secretly negotiating with the regime while keeping the congress and the american people and even our own diplomats in the dark. this decision is in line with the president's other examples of executive overreach and bypassing this with congress. despite the taliban and the president has established a dangerous precedent that the united states does negotiate with terrorist putting a target and ever since the secret negotiations began in june of 2013, this is what they have been doing since day one of the talks. as the example a north korean cargo ship heading to north
korea after it included various components please try making [inaudible] as it was hidden under 200,000 bags of sugar. october 6 at 2013, over 100 are deprived activists arrested in one day also arrested with a lady who is dragged by the streets in her hair and her husband and lay was also arrested. then there is a young man on the verge of death due to a hunger strike.
the [inaudible] and this includes others that were arrested as well. and that led to almost 9000 arrests for pro-democracy leaders while we were in negotiations in 2013 and 2014 and last month while the u.s. delegation arrived in havana and was docked in cuba. just last week there was a young cuban rapper who was sentenced to a one-year prison sentence, saying dangerousness likely leading to a crime. that is an actual crime in castro's cuba.
we are eager to here from other independent society leaders throughout the americas. i hope to be there and hope we we will have a bipartisan delegation going. i urge the panamanian government and urged them to be as open and transparent as possible and allowing civil society participation at the summit. one more request, i ask unanimous consent to consent for the record to statements, one on behalf of alan gross and the other representative barbara lee
along with your questions for the record. >> without objection. >> thank you. i would like to close by thanking our witnesses for being here today. i look forward to hearing from each of you. >> thank you. we go now to mr. jeff duncan. >> in addition to the other comments i remain deeply skeptical of the policy shift. in addition to circumventing congress and ignoring the wisdom and advice of seasoned american foreign service officers he has made his decision using political speechwriters to craft policy. i want to associate myself with your remarks and those of the gentle lady from florida emphasizing my deep concern for the president's president's lack of transparency for the manner and process used.
yesterday witnesses and testimony recognize the western hemisphere -- excuse me, recognize russia is one of the most openly challenge the united states in regard to cuba. these cuba. these external actors that have influence in the region in view of the events i thought the gentle lady from florida spelled-out the us must protect the united states national security interest and future negotiations with the cuban government including maintaining us rights to the naval base at guantánamo bay i yield back. >> thank you. i recognize the ranking lady from the western hemisphere who also is the one other cuban born member of this committee. born in have on her. or you about? >> yes. >> well, thank you.
>> i came to this country when i was 11 years old and experienced some of this government's tactics, but my biggest disappointment with this process has been that i always felt the embargo and the pressure we we will putting on cuba will lead to changes. i do not see where will lead to anything. you. you know it is beyond me that a signature on a peace of paper somehow relieves this dictators pressure. people are not going to benefit. you still have to go to the government. even if you want to put a church a church in cuba they have to go through the government do we think we are going to be able to invest and do economic progress for the cuban people? i don't see that happening.
i don't see where we are headed with this. i know it is the last few years for the president but i was disappointed in the fact that we are not using this as a pressure.on a government that has been so brutal. there are thousands of people in jail. my jail. my district has the 2nd largest population of cuban-americans in this country. i get more intel from the people on hudson avenue and union city then some of the people in this place. i thank you, mr. chairman. >> this morning we are pleased to be joined by witnesses from the departments of state and treasury and commerce. ms. miss roberta jacobsen is assistant secretary of state for the bureau of western hemisphere affairs and formerly served as the deputy assistant secretary for canada and mexico. mr. john smith is the deputy director of the us department of the treasury's office of foreign asset
control and previously served as expert to the united nations al qaeda and taliban sanctions committee from 2004 to 2007. mr. matthew borman currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary of commerce for export administration. without objection the brief and full prepared statement will be made part of the record. members will have five calendar days to submit any extraneous material. so ms. jacobsen, if you would please summarize your mark -- summarize your remarks in five minutes. >> thank you very much chairman, ranking member members of the committee command thank you for the opportunity to testify on knew approach to us cuba policy. i appreciate this committee's engagement in the western hemisphere and know all of your strong commitment, the democratic values social and human
rights and diplomatic community in the americas and cuba and thank you and support for the long overdue return for alan gross and his family. during his detention the administration has worked closely with many members of congress in both parties to secure his release. we are grateful for the essential role of canada pope francis, and the vatican in reaching an agreement that made mr. gross is freedom possible. on december 17 the president announced a knew policy toward cuba one that will better enable us to effectively advance our values and help the cuban people move into the 21st century. our previous approach to relations with cuba over half a century were rooted in the best of intentions failed to empower the cuban people, instead isolating us
from our democratic partners in the semester and around the world. in addition, the cuban government use this policy as an excuse for restrictions on its citizens and as a result a result those most deprived with the cuban citizens themselves. we need to promote human rights and national interest and are already seeing signs our updated approach gives us a greater ability to approach other nations in the hemisphere advancing respect for fundamental freedoms and cuba. ultimately it we will be the cuban people who drive economic and policy reform which is why we lifted restrictions for cubans to travel and open new pathways for academic, religious, and people to people exchanges. exchanges. our new steps build upon this foundation by authorized travel. no one represents american values better than the american people and increased people to people
contact will empower the cuban people and reduce they're dependence on the cuban state. the regulatory changes will increase financial resources to support the cuban people and the emerging cuban private sector and enable us countries to expand telecommunications. us power will no longer be a barrier to connectivity. two weeks ago i made a trip that helped me understand the burden and hope embodied in this policy when average cubans and cuban-americans wished me luck or said god bless you and encouraged our effort. we were we were clear our governments have both shared interest and start to -- sharp differences. we agreed to continue dialogue and deepen cooperation. this administration is under no illusion about the nature of the cuban government.
i also raised with cuban officials are concerns about they're harassment, use of violence, and arbitrary and arbitrary detention of cuban citizens peacefully expressing views and that they need independent media voice is to talk about what is needed from government and thus. we will we we will continue to use diplomatic efforts to encourage our allies now more likely to work with us to take every opportunity to increase respect for human rights and fundamental freedom in cuba. as the president has said, the united states believes no cuban should face harassment or death or beatings simply for exercising a universal right to have there voice heard and we we will continue to support civil society they're. i encourage members visiting cuba to expand their engagement with independent civil society voices in cuba who offer valuable insight and a diversity of views. several elements travel restrictions, limits on staffing local access and
problems receiving shipments. the successful resolution will enable a future us embassy to provide services commensurate with her diplomatic missions around the world. i hope i hope you we will not object to help seen our diplomats and action in action as i take this opportunity to salute they're tireless effort to advance our interest on the island. we have only just begun this effort and appreciate their is a diversity of you -- views. we hope that we can work together to find common ground toward our shared goal of enabling the cuban people to freely determine there own future. thank you very much. >> thank you. you. mr. smith. >> thank you, chairman ranking member members of the committee, thank you for the invitation to appear before you today to discuss our recent amendments.
i will be addressing the key changes we made to the regulations that treasury office of foreign assets control made january 16 to implement changes to us policy toward cuba announced by the president the month before. these amendments these sanctions related to cuba in a number a number of key areas including travel remittances, financial services and trade and are intended to have a direct a direct and positive impact on the lives of the cuban people. cuba is the only sanctioned program that restricts travel to a country. this means that the travelers who satisfy the criteria of the general licenses may travel to cuba and conduct travel related transactions without requesting individual authorization.
travel for tourist activities remains prohibited. these expanded general licenses are intended to lessen the burden on authorized travelers making it easier for americans to travel to cuba to interact with cuban people, provide humanitarian assistance and engage in certain educational and cultural activities. the regulatory amendments authorize airlines to provide air carrier services to to from, and within cuba in connection with authorized travel. air carriers will need to secure regulatory approval from other concerned us government agencies such as the department of transportation and homeland security. travel agents and tour group operators also may now provide travel services in connection with authorized travel.
these changes are intended to make authorized travel easier and less expensive by reducing the paperwork burden for and increasing competition among those providing travel and carrier services. to improve the speed efficiency, and, and oversight of authorized payments between the united states and cuba banks have been authorized to establish correspondence can ounce and financial institutions and allow travelers to use credit and debit cards while in cuba. within the context of trade there has been modification of the regulatory financing requirement for trade between the united states and cuba imposed by statute. now revised its interpretation of the term to allow the export of american produced agricultural, medical, and other authorized kids so long as payment is received by the us exporter prior to the goods arrival to the a
cuban port which should increase authorized us exports to cuba cuba has an internet penetration of approximately 5 percent, one of the lowest in the world. we eased restrictions to better provide efficient and adequate telecommunications services between the united states and cuba and to increase access to telecommunications and internet -based services for the cuban people. as. as i conclude, i should make one thing absolutely clear. even with these changes i described most transactions between the united states and cuba imports, exports, and other activities remain
prohibited. as these recent changes are implemented we we will continue to enforce the sanctioned program vigorously using all available tools and take action against violators as appropriate. the president's december 17 announcement layout a knew course for relations with cuba driven by a hope for a more positive future for the cuban people. amendments to regulations in concert with the regulatory provisions my colleague at commerce we will highlight marks significant changes to our policy that implement new changes announced by the president. these changes are intended to directly benefit the cuban people and help them to determine there future. thank you, and i am happy to answer any questions. >> mr. chairman, ranking member, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear to discuss the cuba policy changes announced by the president on december 17. these are intended to create more opportunities for the american and cuban people, promote positive change and influence outcomes
throughout the western hemisphere. the department of commerce bureau of industry security amended the export administration regulations to authorize the export to cuba intended to improve the living conditions of the cuban people, support private sector economic activity, strengthen civil society, and improve the free flow of information. regulations were amended to expand general light -- general licenses, create a knew license expect -- exception. under the embargo on trade all items subject to the regulations require license for export or re- exports unless authorized by an exception. consistent with the goals of the embargo and relevant law. they may issue licenses for specific transactions or make types of transactions eligible for exceptions that
-- support the goals of united states policy. only items of lower restrictively are eligible. the 1st license exception that was expanded is related to gift parcels. the change is to allow consolidated shipments to go under this exception previously requiring individual exceptions which we will allow more donations to the cuban people because individuals who wish to donate will no longer have to search for license consolidator. also expanded also expanded license conception consumer communication devices to also authorize the commercial sale of commercial communication devices such as cell phones, mobile phones, computers radios previously only authorized if donated. now they can also be sold commercially. the new exception created is
for the people and enables the export henry export of items intended to improve the private sector authorized items include building materials for private sector use tools and equipment for agricultural activity and goods for use by private sector entrepreneurs. this license exception is intended to support the cuban private sector and facilitate cuban citizens to lower-priced access to consumer goods and gain greater independent axis from the state. others authorize others authorize the temporary export of persons leaving the united states of items for cultural ecological, historic preservation, scientific, or sporting activities authorizing the export of donated items to the cuban people and the
export of items to human rights organizations individuals, or nongovernment organizations. these provisions implement the president's goals of harnessing people to people engagement. as the as the president observed, nobody represents american values better than the american people. to implement the president's goal by increasing access to information primarily through the internet license exception authorizes the export a cube of items for the establishment and upgrade of telecommunication related systems in addition to telecommunication devices a related division authorizes the export of certain items for use by news media personnel and us newsreels engaged in the gathering and dissemination of news.
lastly we recognize this is not limited by national borders and circumstances may need to be changed to protect air quality, water quality, and coastlines. although there was previous flexibility, we have amended the regulations to make explicit the general policy. in summary the the use of regulatory provisions to implement the recently announced changes consistent with the comprehensive embargo the united states maintains on cuba and support the president's goal of the united states becoming a better partner in making the lives of ordinary cubans a little easier. i am pleased to answer questions. >> thank you. i would like to go to assistant secretary jacobson with a question. administration negotiators stated that they did not see
human rights concessions in exchange for taking steps toward normalization. you know our concern about the state department and you not being included in this. but the reality is that pro- democracy and human rights activists and cuba have lamented that human rights were not entered in with these secret negotiations. in fact, the lead cuban government negotiator who would be now your counterpart said changing cuba is not negotiable. we have know you know, indication here that the cuban government intends to give ground, and so if the regime refuses to ease its
oppression on the people of cuba how do our concessions advance the interest of the cuban people? >> let me be clear mr. chairman, on part of this. i think it is crucial to understand that their really were know concessions from the obama administration. moving forward with the establishment of diplomatic relations is not a gift or concession to government but a channel of communication. as you as you know having embassies in countries is often not seen as a gift quite the contrary. we are quite irritating to governments sometimes and it is not necessarily something that the cuban government wanted. in fact the things announced on december 17 are much more effective ways to pursue our own national interest. we believe that we can more
effectively pursue the human rights policy, the democracy policy that we want and having a direct channel with the cuban government to convey concerns and work with allies around the hemisphere no longer fear association with a policy they did not support. >> i could just.out, what you you are leaving out of the equation is the fact that under these initiatives that the white house took without the state department the white house is now increasing the amount of dollars that flows into cuba specifically into the regime and helps the regime bottom line at a time when the regime as you could have told the white house now faces being cut off in terms of a subsidy from venezuela. at the very time you would think we would exert leverage you have a
situation a situation instead where you have got sort of a lifeline which is my concern. let me go to another question i had, i had and that is, last week wrote castro stated normalizing unilateral relations with the us would not be possible until the us returns the naval station at guantánamo bay to cuba. is the administration considering transferring this military has said back to the cuban people? i remind you when we talked with the state department before on negotiations on another subject the state department spokesman said unequivocally that the united states is not considering the release of any member of the cuban five one of whom was convicted for his part in killing four americans, for alan gross. we we have a little history of hearing one thing and
finding out another after the fact. on this question on guantánamo, if you could -- >> the issue of guantánamo is not on the table in these conversations. i want to be clear what we are talking about right now is the reestablishment of diplomatic relations which is the one, 1st step in normalization. the cuban government has raised guantánamo. we are not interested in discussing that. we also, i want to be clear you know we did not return the cuban agents for mr. gross. we returned the cuban agents for an intelligence agent that we wanted. >> let me ask you one more question. for years the castro regime has perceived broadcasting by our office of cuba broadcasting as a threat.
last week the cuban government referred to these as illegal and castro has demanded the broadcast be stopped. to what extent has our broadcast been discussed as part of these talks? >> the cuban government has always raised radio and tv marquee in immigration talks and again as part of a list a list of things that they object to in the normalization talks, but we have no plans to end those either. >> well, i know cuba is demanding they be shut down and i'm hoping to here you say we are demanding that cuba dropped its chanting. i will go to mr. eliot engel because my time is up. >> thank you. sec. jacobson let, let me give you broad leeway because you have answered some, but i want to here more how do you answer critics who say that we gave away the store that we had
leverage and just tossed it away did not get concessions in exchange and if we did not doesn't that show you the true intentions of the castro regime? he reportedly said that he gave up nothing and essentially we made all the concessions. how do you answer that? >> i appreciate the question congressman, i really do because i think it is important. there is nothing we decided on the 17th that we believe is a concession to the cuban government. it is true we have begun to talk about diplomatic relations. it is also true we we will try to move forward with embassies in each other's countries. we strongly believe that having an embassy in nevada will enable us to do more things that help us more effectively empower the cuban people not high
necessarily on the cuban government list of desires. we also believe that by allowing american companies to engage in telecommunication sales and acting to get greater information into cuba to work with the entrepreneurs who i sat down with while i was their we can begin to increase the pace at which people separate themselves from the state also not something that the cuban government has on its list of priorities. i think that they may tout this as support for their government but we have diplomatic relations with lots of governments around the world with whom we sharply disagree. it is a channel, a mechanism, not as somebody
said yesterday on the senate side the good housekeeping seal of approval. we will continue to speak out on human rights, support democracy advocates but we believe this policy has become such an irritant in our work with other latin american countries, with our european allies that it also enables us to work more effectively with them in bringing about that support in cuba. >> well, thank you. i mentioned in my statement i was pleased with the release of prisoners but much more remains to be done the havana based conciliation reported 8800 short-term concessions a 39 percent increase over 2013. what is the obama administration strategy for pushing the cuban government
are we working to put an end to short-term detention and harassment of dissidents? >> i think that is an important? we obviously have seen a shift from longer-term sentences to short-term detention. it is of enormous concern to us. we have made it clear both to the cuban government directly in these talks and others but also with allies and international organizations that it is unacceptable. we believe and have had conversations already that the knew policy enables us to work better with other governments. the reaction of many in the region was we strongly support your policy shift. it has changed the dynamic.
what can we do to help? we believe cuban civil society activists will have an opportunity to interact with latin american leaders for the 1st time. all of those things i think we will help. that same national commission has noticed a drop in short-term commissions in january, not a trend. i want to be clear about that. we cannot know whether it is the beginning of a trend and will be watching it carefully because it must end not just come down. >> you mentioned civil society. i want to ask my final question about civil society what conversations have you had with your panamanian counterparts to ensure their is robust participation from cuban civil society and in your discussions with cuban government officials in havana did you urge them to
allow civil society leaders to participate, encourage cuban political dissidents to participate? >> the answer to all of those questions is yes. we we have had extensive conversations with the government the civil society organizations, other ngos as well as making sure that the rules are not the same as in previous years. previously it previously it had been you could only participate if you were an ngo registered with the oas which would preclude independent organizations. that will not be the case this year. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you so much.
as we know the us has been negotiating in secret with this sadistic dictatorship for now 20 months because it is still secret. for 18 of those months the white house negotiated in supersecret to trade three convicted spies for an innocent american even if you say that was not a swap it is so disingenuous. this week in the senate just yesterday you testified this policy is not based upon the castro -- castro regime changing. we have no illusions over that. we are telegraphing to the castro regime ahead of time that does not have to change and we have no illusions it we will. further concessions from this administration. then what is the reason to
negotiate? the media have been reporting just this week arrests in cuba for last month, in january decreased only 178 making it seem like the arrest of peaceful pro-democracy activists, 178 of them is a low number. only in only in castro's cuba to the arrest of 178 people in one month be considered a victory. for the president's state of the union address last month i invited the daughter of armand alejandra who was kept in the dark about this trade, nontrade, swap, non- swap. the plane was shot down over international waters. on december 17 the president released and pardoned a
cuban spy who was convicted in a us court for conspiracy to commit murder for his connection to shoot down. the family wanted me to ask you these questions assistant secretary jacobson how will i explained to my two little girls their us marine vietnam veteran grandfather was denied the only justice for his murder when he was set free, pardoned, and returned to cuba? next question, why was the us so willing to give him the opportunity to father a child while he was in prison very interesting when some of the victims of the shoot down will never be able to have children of there own? now, the negotiating in secret not bad enough the enough, the castro regime continues to defy this administration
setting preconditions publicly on the negotiations such as demanding the return of the land of wonton guantánamo, which is so vital to us national security interest. it is so pathetic for this strong wonderful, generous country to look so week when negotiating with the castro regime isn't it true that cuba owes american taxpayers at least $8 billion in certified claims for the unlawful taking of property businesses, unpaid debt owed to the american citizens? isn't it true cuba has failed to pay these claims were close to 60 years and isn't it true that us law requires these claims be resolved before relations be normalized? i urge all of your departments to explain how illegally confiscated property we will be resolved us claim holders deserve they're claims to be
protected, don't you agree? assistant secretary jacobson, it is important to note that what the castro regime we will do with this ill assistance president obama will provide on telecommunications. on 2012 pope benedict visited the island and the castro regime responded with rounding up and arresting hundreds of civil society individuals and block the phones of opposition leaders as we know, castro held in american jailed for five years for trying to provide internet equipment. the track record is clear about castro and his hatred of telecommunication equipment. in these laded misguided talks the castro regime asked the us to stop providing internet services for the cuban people.
they have no intent of opening up the internet or telecommunications opportunities. in fact, if given the opportunity it we will be further to -- it we will be used to further the oppression. secretary kerry lied to the united states congress when he told us it would not free up convicted spies or was he kept in the dark of these negotiations? were you part of the negotiations from the start or did you enter them later on? >> out of time. >> i am going to suggest your response in writing. >> thank you. our policy toward cuba has failed. this comes from an american view that it is all about us
if cuba is not better it must be our policy. our policy is exactly different or has been than europe and canada's policy. maybe it is they're policy that failed to bring democracy to cuba. maybe it is ours. cuba got caught smuggling 240 tons of weapons to north korea violated un sanctions cuba is not cooperating in the un investigation,pp. are these reasons to keep cuba on the state-sponsored terrorism list? >> congressman, we are undertaking a review of the state sponsor of terrorism list right now evaluating all of the information. >> i know that. please. >> we also made clear when we were looking at that incident that we did not think -- we did think cuba's
behavior violated the sanctions regime. the only entity that was sanctioned, as you know, as a result of that investigation was a north korean company which can no longer operate. >> i have got to reclaim my time. ms. jacobsen, americans paid in blood for cuban independence. we have a base in base in guantánamo that is valuable to our national security. are are you prepared -- and hopefully this is a yes or no question -- to say right now this administration will not abandon, return or fail to pay the modest fee so that we can have that naval base for the next two years? >> i do not see that discussion taking place. >> that is not what i am asking for. that was in your testimony. see it from our side. we were shocked.
you are telling me that you are not thinking of something which means i have to be ready to be shocked tomorrow. the administration was so angry that they had not been consulted on bringing one guy to speak hear not allow the consultation. would would the administration objects to language in appropriations bills designed to make it impossible for this administration to give back the naval base? >> that issue is not on the table. >> word the -- it could be on our table. table. would you object? >> i don't know the answer to that as a matter of -- >> we have the cuban liberty and solidarity democracy act. it does not allow us to deal with certain properties
seized by americans, regulation on travel. how do you make sure american travelers are not breaking the law by staying at hotels confiscated from americans for otherwise violating the cuban liberty and democracy solidarity act? >> one thing i should say at the start the act what that does is say you cannot provide a loan or credit or financing to further those transactions. it does not say you cannot stay at a hotel or engage in any other -- >> does the credit card company extend a loan when you use a credit card to pay for a hotel stay at a confiscated property? >> a credit card company may extend the loan to the traveler. >> extending alone to facilitate staying at the hotel and think that is in conformity with the act? >> we have the provision of the act replicated in our
regulations and will follow to the letter what is in the act because we have it in our regulations. nothing we have authorized would abridge those provisions of the act. >> i would close by saying, i might be more favorably impressed by the policies that had not been such a complete shock and if congress had been involved in this this us work government works better and coordinate our national policy and have one national policy that reflects the views of both parties instead of an annoying party that must be consulted now and then. i yield back. >> we go to mr. chris smith from new jersey. >> thank you. the "washington post" has done several editorials.
one, an undeserved bailout. now potentially us funds. secondly, pres. obama's betrayal's betrayal of cuban democrats and the fact we should have listened to the ladies in white who we will be testifying here tomorrow.-k' she along with two other individuals are going back. talk about bravery. yet the post hardly a conservative bastian talks about of the trail. and another editorial said with no consequence insight cuba continues to crack down on free speech. i ask you in assessment the publicity or visibility are they're any 2nd thoughts? 2012 we had a hearing and
heard from someone who spent 11 years in prison. five have been rearrested. he was in and out of prison constantly. maybe you can verify some 100 to 200 additional prisoners have been arrested. is that true or not? some get to go to cuba. that is not the issue. issue. they need to go to the prisons. when he walked.on behalf -- in 1990 in geneva when he secured that representatives went into the prison, interview people and everyone was severely retaliated against. their must be unfettered access to the prisons.
i would like to go again and have tried repeatedly. maybe you can help facilitate. i want to go to the prisons and lead a delegation. i have been to prisons in the soviet union east bloc countries as well as asia. cuba is the one that will let me or others into the prisons. let me ask you, their are many convicted felons who gunned down an officer in cold blood shot in the back of the head gangland style escaped from the prison, a fugitive and got a silent. was that part of the negotiation or not? finally, let me ask with regard -- with the time i have, please answer those
and i will come back. >> let me say that the whole.of this new policy is not that we are telescoping to the cuban government that they do not have to change all we expect them to change right away. certainly we want those practices to change. we simply we simply are not naïve about how quickly they we will change. i had not heard that 100 to 200 people had been arrested their were as many as 50 or more. to the best of my knowledge most, if not all, have been released. and none and none of them should have been arrested. just just as their are still political prisoners who we will be released. a downturn in detention is not good enough.
>> the arrest, rearrest, let out. seventeen years in prison tortured. testified by way of phone and said do not lift the embargo because you have to get substantive -- >> and i saw when i i was on the island and have the utmost respect and admiration for he and his views. every time i talk with the cuban government and mentioned the case. i am a daughter of new jersey anger up with this case and other cuban cases. we have not gotten a positive response. they have said they are not interested in discussing her return. on other cases we have made more progress. their have been accused felons expelled to the united states. this is a high priority for
us and we are frustrated we have not made progress. there are other cases we we will continue, all of these cases we we will continue to pursue and have further dialogue on fugitives from law enforcement because it is critical to us and part of what we hope we we will do better on and having conversations that are more expensive with our justice department colleagues a critical part of having a channel. >> we all no the castro brothers have pushed this as a major diplomatic when. i would have hoped that human rights concessions would have been 1st before being recognized diplomatically. >> now the gentleman from new york. >> let me go on record as saying i wholeheartedly agree with the president's change in direction. i think that it is clear
that over 50 years nothing has changed with the policy we had. i wholeheartedly agree and think the time is finally they're for a change in policy. i should also say that i do feel the passing, passing, my good friend, the ranking member of the western hemisphere and would hope the kind of questions. clearly the passion is for the people of cuba. i hope that kind of dialogue goes forward because this should be about making a better day for the cuban people. so in that regard i have been down several times and have found one of the major obstacles we have had in the region is on cuban policy
and has caused friction. they have all said we needed to change. when i look at it and think about multilateral relations as opposed to unilateral relations we were the only country in the world all our major allies, everybody that has sanctions against cuba this administration has been successful putting together sanctions. it is part of what is taking place. even in russia. when we work closely. i would like that to happen right hear. we work more closely with our allies. i talked to them in latin america. the one thing we should do that would make it better. that being said can we now -- what is the changing dynamics with the knew
policy? realities with our allies. we will they work with us to make change in human rights an issue so we can make a difference in the lives of people living on the island? >> congressman, i think that is a critical. the next the next part of the question, we support your policy on cuba. this is an important day in latin america. you can start raising the issue of human rights and democracy much higher on your agenda. we believe this will be an important turning.in countries engagement especially those which have a history of working on these issues in the region. they have they have been afraid to work with us to closely for fear of not wanting to appear aligned with previous policy which
has been evident in working on the summit where we were able to work strongly with countries to highlight the democratic governance and citizen participation and accelerate planning on the civil society dialogue. it has it has been evident even when i was in cuba two weeks ago and we invited ambassadors not from this hemisphere who i spoke with separately. we invited ambassadors from europe and asia. they never come almost universally their are few countries that have routinely come. they they all came and were able to interact with dissidents. they had access to a wider range than they ever had before. >> let me ask. i am limited on time. one, given that -- and i
know they're have been talks, has their been any reaction directly from the cuban civil society? when i was down they're one of the problems i had was getting on the internet. the the internet now would be open and what if any impact would having an open internet have on the civil society? >> i mean,, i think that would be huge. the thing that struck me in the small meeting with cuban dissidents and then a much larger one including 12 members of the 57 are not able to travel. i was able to see many of them and that has to change what i was struck by one of the younger members of the group i was struck by the
diversity. in some support these measures and some are obviously very strongly opposed. that must be respected. the 2nd is on the internet i think that is crucial, and i do not no whether the cuban government will allow that opening. they have said that they we will. it is critical to economic progress, but that is why we have to aggressively try and make it possible for our companies to provide that service and see whether they are willing without the excuse that the americans are the reason they cannot do it. >> now the gentleman from california. >> thank you very much, secretary jacobson. this is a difficult task. i am only -- one of the main
concerns we have is instead of changing the castro regime into a more democratic regime the president is acting as if he has the right to rule by dictate. over his presidency he is changing our country to be more like castro than having castro changed to be more like a free and open society. ruling by dictate, secret negotiation is not what america is all about. not the way we make policy hear. many of us are disappointed. this is not the 1st case but dealing with a regime onerous their you go.
we have a regime that stinks one way or the other end is oppressive one way or the other. yet we have had secret negotiations and deals that are announced and you are hear to explain it. let me ask when you said their are no concessions you mean we go into an agreement with a regime and have had 50 years of american policy and their are no concessions from the cuban government? ..
we have also heard that maybe the money that is going into the pockets supposedly into the pockets of the working people is actually going come a lot of this going to be transferred tricky to the government or that money might go directly to the government and then be handed out to the working people. is that right?