Skip to main content

tv   State Department Officials on U.S.- Cuba Relations  CSPAN  September 7, 2018 5:09pm-6:22pm EDT

5:09 pm
point she has a moment alone with me and i make it through whatever happens when i get home and talk to them, lord knows what she's going to do. >> zachary wood, sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. >> state department officials testified on u.s.-cuba relations and the government response to the attacks on embassy personnel in havana. this was held before the house foreign affairs subcommittee on the western hemisphere. >> a quorum being present, the subcommittee will come to order. i would like to recognize myself for an opening statement. today, we need to consider the u.s. policy toward cuba.
5:10 pm
a communist country that continues to actively restrict freedom of association, ssembly, and to harass and jail citizens who seek freedom. aul castro continues to hold -- martha sanchez was sent to prison for peacefully protesting against the regime. miguel diaz-balart took office without a vote from the cuban people. raul castro continues to hold considerable sway over the government decisions. the national assembly endorsed a new constitution in july that retains the same political system. cuba maintains close relations with russia and china, providing these actors with
5:11 pm
influence platforms to ferment an anti-american agenda. in june, 2017, president trump announced change in the u.s. olicy toward cuba with the national security national memorandum. it rolled back key parts of the obama administration's cuba olicy. tightened restrictions to u.s. tourism to the island. it restricted money to the cuban military and intelligence service. continued u.s. support for the private small business set or in cuba. the trump administration has continued support for democracy
5:12 pm
and human rights. calling for the release of political prisoners, multiple efforts exist to support the work of human rights defenders. communicate independent news to the people. increase internet connectivity with the state department internet task force. i support these actions. given the state of destabilization activities and ubsequent migration flows, instability, it is in the u.s.
5:13 pm
interest to work with regional partners to curb the regime's ability to wreak havoc on the region. the u.s. should update the list of cuban entities and individuals announced to further prevent financing to cuban regime elements. reestablish the cuban medical professional parole program, allowing professionals forced into modern-day slavery by the regime to apply for parole status in the united states. to continue efforts to combat intelligence operation and covert activities with the russians and chinese. advocate for the return of u.s. fugitives from cuba. however, overshadowing these issues, the unexplained health incidents the state department has assessed were targeted attacks against u.s. diplomats. and government personnel in
5:14 pm
avana. the cuban regime failed in the obligation to protect diplomats. or that, it must be held accountable. i'm concerned we have yet to determine the cause or perpetrator. the review board, was submitted to congress last week. t found the security systems and procedures were adequate,
5:15 pm
but significant vacancies and challenges existed. imilarly, the government accountability office issued a recent report at the request of the chairman. that found the policies delayed the cuban arb from starting its work. the department leadership, is responsible for the safety and ecurity of americans serving overseas. 26 americans serving their country. i want to examine the department's response to the
5:16 pm
attacks. the provision of care for u.s. personnel. plans to improve the management gaps the gao found. in conclusion, i believe the trump administration caution staffing the embassy is essential and prudent. until we can determine the cause of these attacks. while this decision clearly has an impact, it pales in comparison to the risks associated with putting more americans in harm's way unnecessarily. with that, i'm going to turn to he ranking member. i want to make one final comment.
5:17 pm
we have had a busy morning and met with the foreign minister from columbia. we have 15 members in attendance. i want to thank everybody on this committee. the foreign affairs committee including the ranking ember. this is ambitious. in between, we have a vote. they are looking at military time, 1500. i will turn to my good friend, the ranking member. >> thank you for our witnesses being here today. u.s. policy toward cuba has
5:18 pm
varied. it is important any policies consider and take into account the cuban government has done nothing to garner the trust of the cuban people or the international community over the last 50 years. they have cut democracy assistance. it is an example of an underdeveloped policy that has not been thought through. the people have been suffering under the castro regime. many risk their lives every day. the u.s. must continue to stand with the cuban people. proceed with free and fair elections. the transitions of power, nominal. we should not be under any illusions about who really holds power in cuba. he was hand-picked to succeed raul castro. raul castro continues to lead from the shadows, leaving no room for meaningful reform. in addition to the history of human rights abuses, there is a relationship with questionable
5:19 pm
state actors. such as venezuela and nicaragua. with a proven pattern of despicable and dubious behavior, we should ensure any policy with cuba offer major concessions to the cuban government. i look forward to hearing from this administration. thank you everyone for being here today and i yield my ime. >> i am going to explain the lighting system. it is not just for you, it is me. you each will have five minutes to present your oral statement. if you of a minute left, the light will turn yellow.
5:20 pm
i ask you conclude your testimony once the light comes n. after the witnesses testify, members will have five minutes. i urge my colleagues to stick to the five-minute rule to ensure all members get the opportunity. if we do not have that many, we have a tendency to go back. that is based upon what is going on. our first member to testify today will be kenneth certain. -- murton. he previously served as ambassador to croatia and haiti. ur second witness to testify
5:21 pm
is the coordinator for the health and response force at the u.s. department of state. the ambassador previously erved as ambassador to libya and nepal, and retired from the epartment in 2017.
5:22 pm
he returned from retirement in february 2018 to share the cuba accountability review board known as that arb. -- i think of the aarp for some reason. and now the health instant -- health instance task force has had multiple overseas assignments in iraq, pakistan, nepal, germany, and denmark. they have served in the state epartment euro of diplomatic security and dministration. our last witness to testify, the acting director for international affairs and trade act the u.s. accountability ffice. the doctor was responsible for a portfolio focused on international security. he also worked for defense capabilities and matchmaking. we're also joined by dr.
5:23 pm
harles rosen bar, the bureau of diplomatic services at the u.s. department of state, as well as the assistant director for countermeasures in the bureau of diplomatic security at the department of state. mr. brown submitted written testimony and will put out to the panel to provide answers to many of the questions we hope will be asked. you are recognized, mbassador. you have the microphone. >> thank you. thank you just in which members
5:24 pm
of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to speak about the administration policy toward cuba and the attacks against our diplomat and our colleagues. i am pleased to be here today with my colleagues from the health and response task force. and the bureau of diplomatic security and medical services. thank you for your concern for the safety and security of our diplomatic personnel in havana. i will begin today by providing an overview of the departments -- the national security presidential memorandum, strengthening the policies of the united states going forward. i will then turn to my colleague from the health and response task force, and i asked the departments written statement he entered into the record. the nspm emphasizes advancing human rights democracy in cuba, confirming the economic embargo and the statutory ban on
5:25 pm
tourism to cuba and makes sure it benefits the cuban people and strengthens the private sector. it maintains bilateral engagement critical to the health and safety of the united states. the department of state has worked diligently to put this policy into action. the department monitors human rights development in cuba and engages with cuban subsiding in havana, washington, and elsewhere. we work with regional and like-minded partners to share these concerns and coordinate respective approaches. the department also agrees to administer u.s. government funded programs to promote democracy and support the critical work of human rights defenders on the island. despite the refusal to engage with us on human rights or a formal dialogue, we could give very speak out the regime for oppression or abuse injuries these concerns directly with he cuban government.
5:26 pm
a november 8 of last year, the department published its cuban restricted list. the department of commerce and treasury made regulatory changes and not game day to prohibit direct financial transaction with any of the 180 and to sub entities on these -- this list. these changes redirect economic activity that once supported cuban military toward the cuban private sector and cuban people. and department could convene a task force to direct opportunities for expanding internet access and yuba. the cuban internet has or is held its first meeting on february 7 in the following subcommittees were taken place to develop recommendations on the role of the media and
5:27 pm
unregulated flow of information to cuba, and expanding internet access in cuba. the task force will review these recommendations and prepare a final report for the secretary of eight within a year. department will continue to promote a stable and free prosperous country for the cuban people. that is the main reason we are maintaining our present, so we an continue progress towards those goals. i would like to emphasize upfront that the investigation into the health attacks is ongoing. there is still much we do not know, including who or what is behind injuries to our colleagues. with that, i yield the microphone to my colleagues to discuss this further, and i look forward to your questions. >> before i turn it over to the ambassador, i have to apologize for mispronouncing his ame. >> thank you, mr. chairman. r. bush members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on the state efforts to coordinate a multiagency response to the
5:28 pm
unexplained health attacks that have affected some members of the diplomatic community. i would like to speak to hallenges. the challenges of responding to these attacks on her personnel, so many significant unknowns, nd there is a challenge of providing the best long-term impact on personnel. y experience over the past
5:29 pm
even months, there are activities eating into the health incident response task orders. this has given me an in-depth ook into help department has responded to these attacks on the diplomatic community. 26 individuals associated with the embassy in havana have medically confirmed unexplained symptoms and top effects, since the department first became aware of these attacks on december 30, 2016. reports in the symptoms have included dizziness, headaches, your complaints, hearing loss, and difficulty sleeping. many of the affected personnel later developed other symptoms, including imbalances and
5:30 pm
walking. the department first became aware of these health complaint nd increase in human harassment in late december 016. it was not until months later, after highly specialized medical testing was performed and analyzed by experts, we began to understand the spectrum and severity of the extended health effects. that confirmation indicated these incidents went beyond outine harassment. on may 18, a single individual -- individual found there were medical effects felt by u.s.
5:31 pm
personnel during their visit to cuba, but we do not know the mechanism or the cause of the two been attacked, or when it commenced. drop is unprecedented situation, u.s. government medical professionals have ensured that competent and professional care will be provided to effective personnel. they have consulted with the u.s. pennsylvania center for brain injury and repair, the walter reed medical center, and the national institutes of health. we also ask the center for disease control to better understand what transpired in havana. we want to ensure that personnel have access to long-term -- long-term compensation coverage. we began discussing with other agencies and the white house possible language that we will share for your consideration once we have agency consensus, to make sure that diplomats and families receive the care they deserve. e're also establishing a
5:32 pm
position solely responsible for the longer-term outreach and assistance to impact personnel. mr. chairman and ranking members, i want to assure you we continue our efforts to leverage all governmental and medical and investigative intelligence and scientific capabilities to address the most pressing questions surround engagement. your support remains a key element to our success. we want to work allegedly to identify and understand the mechanism for the cause of the injuries and the motive the mind these attacks, and the identity and perpetrators. >> thank you. good afternoon. hank you for the opportunity
5:33 pm
o discuss this work on the department of state's response to the health incident in cuba. since late 2016, u.s. personnel and their families in havana have had incidents associated ith unusual sounds or auditory -- auditory sensations resulting in serious injuries. the unexplained nature of these incidents created some anagement challenges, and it is important to identify and address these challenges in order to help the state improve secure -- security performances and practices. i will be discussing our july 2018 report regarding the arb.
5:34 pm
i will be discussing preliminary observations on three key management challenges related to the unexplained nature of the incident. we found that the state does ot have policies to assure what may need the arb criteria. there is the office of management policy and innovation that starts the vetting process as soon as it becomes aware of a potentially qualifying incident. and there is former -- formal communication to identify such incident. other state offices in havana again responding to the incident in january of 2017. but we were not made aware of the incident until eight months later, when a formal official contacted the office after seeing a media coverage of the
5:35 pm
ends. officials told us it was unclear whether the incident met the criteria for convenient rb, and science, npr i was not informed, but it is not the role of the state office to find out whether a are be criteria is met before informing npr ride. -- npri. there is a vetting process that puts the state at risk of not meeting statutory time frames, and this could result in the state in less able to improve security at overseas posts. we recommend the state revises olicies to improve of nication to npri incidents that may arb criteria. the second topic i would like to discuss is preliminary observations from broader ongoing review of the state response to the incident in cuba. we have identified three key management challenges related o the arctic lane major of the
5:36 pm
-- unexplained nature of the incidents. this first challenge relates to mitigating risk, given the unknown nature of the ends of it. the department does not have definitive answers on the cause or source of the attack in it has not been able to comprehensively reduce the risk of injury to personnel. they have taken other actions to mitigate risk, such as ordering the departure of family members and non-emergencypersonel in havana. the second management challenge identified is caring for it affected personnel and family members. caring for affected individuals is top priority. states have faced multiple issues and providing this care. the bureau of medical services lacks authority for domestic medical evacuations to send individuals to the university of pennsylvania to evaluate heir care.
5:37 pm
the third and final management challenge i want to highlight the state communication with internal and external stakeholders. the state has had issues ensuring npr i was in the loop as the incident initially occurred. states also experienced difficulties in communicating with other departments and agencies in response to these incidents. the arb has completed its work. the arb identified some of the same challenges i just mentioned and the date has also established the health incidents response task force and made to direct a multiagency response to the ncident. both of these efforts may address some of these management challenges. as gao continues reviewing, we will examine the arb findings and these eight ongoing response. chairman, ranking members, and
5:38 pm
members of the subcommittee, i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. i think you are going to hear, at least for me, we are somewhat bewildered and rustrated. this goes back quite a while. we had some classified hearings. no one could figure out what was going on. there was a number of us in ottawa. we were talking about trade, and stuff like that. i asked the same questions. there were folks involved in his. i am not saying we did not get straight answer, but i am
5:39 pm
still wondering as to the rigin of this. the staff there was cut down quite a bit because of the safety concerns. i am always somewhat worried about people input. position. we sometimes forget about how dangerous this is, my own personal experiences are going ack to iran, in that hostage situation. 400 days, it was really a mess. the question i have is, from a medical standpoint, and maybe this is a medical question more than it is anything else, if you have any free to print this for who was responsible?
5:40 pm
we have even heard the llegations of russians might be involved. at least from my standpoint, hat happens? i am worried about the families and everyone else that can be innocent bystanders to something like this. we want to just figure out what is going on. does anyone want to address that? octor? >> i can speak from a medical perspective. we are frustrated as well. we know the accumulation of medical knowledge tends to be very deliberate. i can only speak to what we are trying to do to find out what caused the injuries. there were symptoms that people presented that were very common
5:41 pm
symptoms -- symptoms. t took some time to figure out they were connected. these are symptoms similar to a traumatic rain injury or concussion. we had to work backwards and find out what caused this. we identified the university of pennsylvania as a location where people could do a thorough evaluation, but there is no obvious mechanism we know of that can cause this injury. he experts explored a number of possibilities. >> we will talk about that. anything in the literature on this? there are papers that are going to be in the new england journal of medicine, kind of like football injuries, is there anything in the medical literature at all? no speculation from a medical
5:42 pm
tandpoint? >> we are seeing a unique yndrome. we can't even really call it a syndrome. it is a unique combination of symptoms and findings, but with no obvious cause. we prefer not to talk about speculation. experts that have examined the patients are doing everything they can to determine where the injuries occurred and in what part of the brain and what could possibly cause this. >> i will turn it over to the ranking member for his questions. >> chairman, i will let the rinking members of the foreign affairs committee go. i know he has things to do. >> i did not see the ranking member hiding out down there.
5:43 pm
> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for allowing me to participate in this western hemisphere subcommittee hearing. it always feels like coming home, since i was the chair for a number of years, about a decade ago. it is a pleasure to be here. i wanted to raise a few really important questions. last month, i asked the congressional research service to prepare a report on the impact of productions at the u.s. embassy in havana. i would like to consent to this report being inserted into the record. thank you. because of the cuba health incident, our embassy staff has een drastically reduced.
5:44 pm
as a result, we are less able to process human refugees, human rights, and assist u.s. travelers. no matter where one stands on cuba policy, we can all agree on the importance of a functioning u.s. embassy in havana, which is east central to protecting our diplomats and asserting our national interests. in december, the chairman and i sent a letter to the centers for his control and prevention, urging them to take a role in investigating the health incidents that affected u.s. personnel and yuba. it is a no-brainer that the cdc should be at the forefront of this investigation, with the appropriate experts employed in havana. was pleased there was the
5:45 pm
recommendation for the department to engage, for there to be a medical study of the clinical findings related to the cuba. i am pleased the cdc is getting involved, but i am concerned as to why this has comes a late. on august 16, my staff met with cdc investigators, working on the cuba incident. they were on day four of their work, a year and a half after the first incidents took place. the cdc is only now getting darted. i would like to ask the doctor and the ambassador if they could explain why they took so long for the cdc to get to work? and why did the cdc start their work on the confirmed china incident immediately? >> it has taken time to understand the extent of the symptoms, findings and injuries. in retrospect, we know what injuries happened, and over the course of the next several
5:46 pm
months. but it was not evident at the ime. our first and foremost goal was o provide care to those people injured and do assessment. we cobblers that over the next several months, from january 17 going our. -- forward. once we felt we had people properly cared for in the fall of 2017, we met informally with the cdc a number of times. that led to a formal request from the department for active assistance. the cdc have been great partners up to this point and we hope to benefit from their ork going lower. >> let me ask you, dr., i certainly appreciate your
5:47 pm
efforts to treat the victims of the health and it. both in cuba and in china. i want to ask you about an article that was recently brought to my attention. i understand that u.s. personnel were affected, and they were referred to michael hocker, down at the universe he of miami. the u.s. military dr. deployed in iraq objected to the treatment that were not -- the treatment of people that were not treated by a drug in which he had a financial investment. it may have harmed them. the article goes on to cite anspecter general report on this incident. then news reported it. quote, investigators that found
5:48 pm
the study did not use standard military assessment of the soldiers, that possibly resulted in substandard are. have you reviewed these rticles? did you consult with the inspector general for there was a doctor brought on to treat? have you seen these documents? >> i am aware of some of that. ack in early spring of 2017, members of the medical team eached out to try and figure out what the best person to see our personnel. that's this was some sort of acoustic attack. this appeared to be localized o the acoustic system.
5:49 pm
there was a recommendation to go to this doctor because of physics. -- experience treating brain injury. the first patients were assessed by the doctor. we determined this was not localized system and more of a broader brain injury process. we made an effort to look at the center for brain injury and epair. the university of pennsylvania was then identified and patients have gone there. >> does it not seem a bit trange that will map suffering from concussion like symptoms be sent to a doctor that did not use standard concussion ssessment?
5:50 pm
isn't that strange? >> we felt he was the best qualified person to do the initial evaluation. >> if anyone else wants to comment? thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. we recognize the gentleman from alabama. >> i have heard words likes to list, communist, authoritarian, abuses, basic freedoms we would take for granted in the united states of america. that sounds a lot like china, upon reflection, but we are about cuba. there is a major difference between china and cuba. china is a significant geopolitical rival, and certainly china is having a ichigan military buildup and is threatening in ways that cuba is not. i would reference the south china he and what is happening there. as a backdrop, should american foreign-policy treat cuba
5:51 pm
differently than how we treat hina when we have $400 billion of trade going back and or - forth? and if we should treat cube about a differently than we treat china, why? if not, why not? could you please take that first and we'll just work our ay across to everybody else? if others want to chime in too, that woob would be fine. >> the situation in china regarding our employees there, compared to the situation in cuba, they are very different. as ink we with see them
5:52 pm
sort of apples and oranges. we have 26 cases of people who have very, very similar symptoms, who have very similar effects. it seems to have really been targeted exclusively at our embassy colleagues. the situation in china, to the best of my knowledge, we have one employee who has demonstrated similar symptoms. i don't think our medical experts at this point are prepared to say it is the exact same situation that our colleagues jested. -- colleagues in cuba have been subjected to. there is a fundamental difference that we see at this point in the cases of my other colleagues. >> there are dozens of americans suffering from some kind of injury that would not be able to define as to the cause.
5:53 pm
it has to be something taken into account. i'm thinking of a much bigger question and the question is, america's relationship with china and cuba, the repression of rights, communist, socialist, whatever adjectives you want to use. should we treat cuba any different than we treat china? it seems we treat china in a very favorable way relative to the way we treat cuba. >> i am familiar with dealing with china, only as far as they touch this case. i have never served in china and i am not an expert on east asia. my experience in our dealings with china is limited really to this case, mostly. and because we see them as very different cases, i don't see that you can make a comparison.
5:54 pm
i do not disagree with you that china is a competitor, certainly in the region. they are doing some things that we do not fight necessarily positive, but in terms of our discussion with cuba, i cannot really say any more than i have already said. >> does anyone have an opinion on how we should cuba, given the way in which he treat other -- we should be treating cuba, given the way we treat our geopolitical rivals? it could be china or russia or any other nations. ambassador? > that is outside my expertise. we do not see this incident as two separate entities in terms of how we treat cuba -- as two separate entities.
5:55 pm
how we treat cuba is part of our overall cuba policy. >> should we treat cuba more friendly or harshly? >> i will refer to my colleagues for that. >> we always have to evaluate our relationships with countries, based on the whole of our relationship. we have a long history over these past many years with cuba. we have a large ex-pat group from cuba who lives in this country. many of whom experienced firsthand the departmentry dations of the cuban regime. they have made those their concerns and their interests very clear. not only to us at the state department, but i'm sure also to many of you here in congress. i am not an expert on asia and i cannot need to the -- speak to the details. >> i want asking about asia
5:56 pm
anymore. my question was strictly limited to cuba. >> we have a policy on cuba which was dictated by the national security presidential memorandum. we are enacting the policy we believe is appropriate and correct. we believe we are doing the best we can to hold cuban regime to account for a lack of democracy and human rights abuses. > thank you, mr. chairman. >> we are promoting democracy n cuba, why are we cutting some of these programs that provide money for cuban emocracy effort?
5:57 pm
>> thank you for the question. as i noted in my opening comments, we are seeking to promote human -- promote human rights and democracy in uba. i will not pretend that the reduction in our staffing has made that task is he or. -- easier. it has not. nevertheless we believe we can remain engaged with human rights activists and pro-democracy activists in cuba. in terms of funding, specifically, there has been a global cut in this type of funding, so we have not singled out cuba in particular. this remains a priority for us at the embassy and the state epartment. >> maybe we treat cuba ditchly, i'm sorry, my colleague left -- differently, i'm sorry, my colleague left. because they were actually putting nuclear weapons 90 miles away from florida. in hey have 30,000 people
5:58 pm
venezuela controlling the apparatus of the security pparatus of venezuela. they have people in nicaragua, that are now starting to control the nicaraguan people. i just had a group of nicaraguans in my office telling me that the people that were doing the torturing were the cubans. and he was able to come to the united states and now he's going to be a voice for nicaragua. there's a long history here of a lot of things that this regime has been wanting to destroy this country. and many of its efforts. there have been players in many ther places. you have a list of 180 entities associated with the cuban military. that you have at the state department.
5:59 pm
are you considering updating that list? one of the things i know, the money that comes from cuba basically is through tourism. now the tourists have been taken away and put under the military. basically tourism money goes to the military. are you updates the list and what -- updating the list and what has been the effect been of the restricted list? >> the list is a living document. it was not put together and closed. we reviewed this periodically, with our inter-agency partners, ased on new information. the goal behind the cuba restricted list that you're talking about was to do our utmost to ensure that elements of the cuban state, particularly the ministry of
6:00 pm
defense, the cuban military, wasn't benefiting or profiting from particularly american tourists -- american people that happen to be visiting cuba for a variety of reasons. so we hope to be we hope to be channeling activities in cuba to the private sector, to families, depriving the cuban military of the source of income. i am not aware we have done a quantitative analysis of the effect, which is something we hould probably tail. but we will have an impact on denying funding that would otherwise go to the cubans state.
6:01 pm
>> this program that we have, with doctors, the cuban government, sent to the cuban overnment in lieu of payments, some doctors have asked asylum in some of these places. that program is gone, isn't it? >> i cannot answer this. i will have to get you an answer. > is anyone aware of this? there used to be doctors who asked for asylum and we granted hem. >> i don't know that we granted asylum cases. i don't know that we ever have. there have been cuban doctors who have been present in a number of countries. i am not aware that any of them ever asked for asylum, and we will get an answer back.
6:02 pm
>> i recognize the gentleman from florida. >> i appreciate you all being here. i represent the third congressional district. we have gone down to miami often to meet with the cuban-american opulation. i want to build on that question, the 180 individuals, there are individuals in cuba blocked from doing business with the united states. if we could get that list, that ould help all, so we could put pressure on the appropriate entities. can you please provide an update of where things stand regarding .s. property claims?
6:03 pm
>> we will get you that list. egarding property claims, this has been one of our chief issues in terms of dealing with the cuban government. there are lots of people who have had property appropriated he government. we have laws to punish folks caught trafficking in such properties. it is certainly a major issue that we would live to see result for the cuban government. >> we should never have gone down this road without having the stuff for doubt in the very beginning from the previous administration, -- without -- without having the stuff down the very beginning from the previous administration. it is a failure in foreign
6:04 pm
policy. i have people from florida that have businesses down there, ports, ships are going in there, and there are family courts -- ports these families got their property confiscated from. for us to open up negotiations in relationships without having this worked out in the beginning was a terrible mistake to oreign policy. once you let the toothpaste out of the tube it's hard to get it back in and so unfortunately we're here. how do you move forward from this point? you look at the situation of the even people today, and they are no better off than they were 30 years ago. we are trying to build a
6:05 pm
democracy. we have been down to miami and the broadcast videos and have done interviews down there. t is a great goal, to spread the message of liberty and freedom, which everyone in the world wants and desires. you have a communist regime not allowing that. boots on the ground, we need to re-look at how we do things down there. does anyone have anything on your side of the box to talk about? >> my colleagues from the cuba desk would be happy to have discussions with you. i am not going to speculate on possible policy of the news. >> anyone else? notetakers? ok. how about vacancies at the state
6:06 pm
department, the lack of confirmed leadership at the state department impacted by the targeted attacks in havana. where are we act with the people that should be put into place, and are not been confirmed or should be held up? >> i am chairman of the arb. one of the things we found when we are looking at this, there was an accountability review -- review board that might have slowed down the response so that they could not do the jobs they had to do. >> let me touch on the doctors in cuba. president obama did us a great a favor by getting rid of the wet foot-dry foot policy. we have people down in
6:07 pm
florida. saw the refugees coming over in boat, but when he got rid of the et foot-dry foot policy that virtually stopped. we thought he did it for the good of the american people but he did it to appease the castro rejet stream, to keep the doctors from coming over here. the doctors they farm out to the rest of the world bring in $18 billion to the cuban government. so he did this to better the cuban government not the american people and i think that's another shameful thing the administration did. > ambassador, when president rump announced his goal of renouncing the deal with cuba,
6:08 pm
his intent was to support the cuban people. the impact was clear. cancellation at private bed and breakfasts, restaurants now empty. large toward groups. -- large tour groups began receiving cancellation of their contracts. president trump's rhetoric on personal travel, there is ambiguity that caused u.s. travel to cuba to drop at least 40% in the first part of 018. this means less revenue for entrepreneurs. the economic future, much of it caters to u.s. travelers. one restaurateur quoted cited a 0% decrease in business from the year prior. what changes do you plan to an act to carry out the policy stated intent to really help uban people?
6:09 pm
>> thank you for the uestion. as i mentioned in my opening emarks, the nspm refers to our -- not only reaffirm ours embargo on cuba but also maintains the statutory ban on tourism. that's why i correct mit speech earlier. people who go to cuba under one of the broad licenses given by the treasury department are not supposed to be there as tourists. our goal is to deny the cuban regime, particularly at the ministry of defense and the cuban military, of the stream of revenue that they had before. there may be some collateral
6:10 pm
effect of this. if you were people going means less business to the 70's private sector. we do want to see them thrive, but in an economic system, where better system, corrupted, because you have every aspect of the economy. it is hard to do both of those things simultaneously. i understand your concern, but i hope i explained the policy point on that. >> i understand. in a way it seems like, there was some economic development. leennlrvg, ut thriving.
6:11 pm
we pulled that back. you said in your statement that the cuban internet task should be receiving a report by late summer. what are the cuban government's plans for expanding internet access? >> we have had some discussions on this. from our point of view, one of the key tools that the regime has used against the cuban people is control of information.e of our goals is t internet penetration in that society. we believe it is to the benefit
6:12 pm
of the cuban people and a society there, which will expose them to a world that does not have control over information. this is not an area where we'll see success from today to tomorrow but constant pressure on them from us, from other part nerks and increasing demands from the cuban people will be able to see us over time see success in this area. >> you were scheduled to complete that work by 2019? is there any danger another company can step in and take advantage where we haven't been ble to step? >> you have exceeded my knowledge on this particular subject. i am happy to get back to you. i don't want to mislead you. >> i yield back. >> mr. wilson, a two-and-a-half minute question. then we'll adjounch.
6:13 pm
-- adjourn. mr. wilson: thank you, chairman cook. see a bipartisan concern. there is the relationship that exists, between the cuban people and their government, and in particular the economic system, where the cuban military actually controls a phenomenal percentage -- what percentage does the military control? >> i will get back to you on that. >> it was my understanding whatever funding goes to the enterprise benefits the cuban military into the oppression of the people of cuba, in didn't cuba, when american tour us go there, or towards them from around the world who have always gone there, they have never --
6:14 pm
never been barred from visiting the totalitarian state. the people who are at the enterprises, what currency are the workers? are they paid in cuban urrency? or u.s. dollars? or did they receive some type of script? >> i remember back in the 90's the paid in dollars, but i believe they are now paid in ome sort of human current. -- of cuban currency. i believe. >> it is not a currency that can be used anywhere, except on the company store. to keep the people oppressed. it's sad wldhink the
6:15 pm
might be promoting some level of freedom and democracy when they're not. n regard to your written testimony, ordering personnel to be moved from havana, is that still review, that that was correct to do? >> that was one of the ways the respond because of the unknown ature of the incident. one of the ways they did so was by the order of the departure, in the productions made permanent the spring. that is something we will continue to look into as we complete our ongoing work and
6:16 pm
evaluate the response. >> we appreciate all of your service. >> real quick, then we are going o adjourn. >> the review board also referred to the events in cuba as incidents. was this an incident or an ttack? >> the state department has come to the belief that what happened in cuba is an attack because all the information seems to be targeted specifically at our embassy. and one other embassy we know of, canada's, employees. >> incident or attack? >> the state department has come to the conclusion that they were attacked. >> incident or attack?
6:17 pm
>> i agree with the doctor. >> mr. brown? >> attack. we have 26 injured americans. those attacks don't seem to extend outside the dirp lomatic community. >> incident or attack? >> we deferred and used the language the state department but this shows the importance of identifying the changs so they can make demmingses as promptly as possible. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back my time. >> members of the subcommittee should be included without objection and the record will be open for five business days. we're going to adjourn down to will be upon conclusion of voteses. this meeting is adjourned.
6:18 pm
thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> earlier today former president barack obama received an award for ethics in government and delivered remarks at the university of illinois in urbana, we'll have that for you tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern. and president trump was at a fundraiser in fargo, north kota, for challenger kevin
6:19 pm
cramer, challenging senator heidi hite camp. we'll have that for you tonight at 9:00. you can see that on or on the c spand radio app. >> kids are everywhere i that night what to feel important and understand what's going on in the world. >> my worry is they are intimidated and become the little mouse in the classroom, they don't have those kind of dinner table conversations and feel they can't throw their ideas out. contest have a karaoke in class. i was like, let's have a contest and talk about the issues in that the songs. make it relevant they enjoy and engage. >> saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span, meet the middle and high school civics teachers who participated in the c-span classroom annual educators conference. saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span,, or on the
6:20 pm
free c-span radio app. >> sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern on "real america." ♪ over there over there send the word send the word over there ♪ "the 1953 u.s. army film pershing story," about the life of commander john j. pershing. >> i face -- pay all tribute to the officers and soldiers of the line. when i think of their he royism i am filled with emotion i am unable to express. pers himbings; -- pershing was decorated by five foreign governments as well as his own government. >> that's sunday at 4:00 eastern on c-span3. the c-span bus is traveling
6:21 pm
across the country on our 50 capitals tour, visiting all 50 state capitals. this summer the bus left the mainland and traveled by ferry and honolulu,ska, hawaii. join us with our guest iowa senate president choorls schneider. >> c span's cities tour travels the country exploring the american store rhythm this weekend we take you to the homes of important figures in american literature, seing the places where they write and learning how thees spaces influenced their think, writing and future works. we begin our 90-minute presentuation a visit to writer louisa may alcott's orchard house in concord, massachusetts. >> here we are in concord, massachusetts, on the lexington road, also known as the battle


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on