U.S. Considering Changing Cuba Policy?

The practically non-existent relationship between the Cuba and the United States is the last vestige of the Cold War.

Now there's some indication that the Obama Administration may loosen restrictions that curbed the visits of U.S. citizens to Cuba.

In fact, the House has crafted a bill that could lift the travel and trade embargo that the U.S. erected nearly 50 years ago to try to bring the communist regime to its knees.

"What we've done doesn't work, and it's clear that it doesn't work, so we need to try something new," said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., who traveled to Cuba last year as a part of a Congressional Black Caucus delegation trip. "This is a way to infiltrate Cuba and change the system gradually."

Cleaver said just infusing Cuba with more Americans and U.S. dollars could evoke change.

"The more U.S. citizens (are) going into Cuba, whether they are going in as farmers selling their goods or as tourists, the better off the Cubans will be," Cleaver said.

But the idea of lifting the embargo doesn't sit well with many lawmakers. Especially those from south Florida.

"All that's going to do is empower and embolden Castro and the Castro brothers," said Rep. Connie Mack Jr., R-Fla., a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "None of the resources get back to the people of Cuba. It's all held by Castro and his brother."

Mack would prefer U.S. apply pressure on the Cuban government. The Congressman criticized Congressional Democrats for stalling free trade pacts with Panama and Colombia that he thinks would help boost U.S. interests in the region.

"Opening up trade and travel to Cuba will only destroy what little freedoms that they may have, which are almost none. It'll destroy what they do have," Mack said.

But this isn't a party line issue. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was born to Cuban parents and denounced a potential change in policy.

"This is not the time to ease pressure on the Castro regime," Menendez said in a statement. He added that a "much needed infusion of dollars that will only allow the Castro brothers to extend their reign of oppression."

For his part, Cleaver questions those who want to maintain America's Cuba policy, yet turn the other way when the U.S. deals with other communist nations."The operative word here is hypocrisy," Cleaver said. "We have no problem not only dealing with China but borrowing billions of dollars from China. It is a communist regime. They have committed all kinds of human rights violations."

The House bill has cleared the Agriculture Committee, but has not yet gone to the floor. There is a chance that the Obama administration could make an announcement on Cuba by the end of the week.