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Helms Supports U.S. News Bureaus In Cuba

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WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 6) -- CNN's bid to open a news bureau in Cuba is getting a boost from one of Fidel Castro's most vocal critics. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) is urging President Bill Clinton to okay CNN's request to open an office in Havana.

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In a letter to the president today, Helms said, "I am persuaded that the spotlight of a free press focused on Castro's tropical gulag will only hasten the day when the Cuban people are free of his brutal communist tyranny."

He cautioned, however, that his support is requires that "the Castro regime will be granted no quid pro quo." Helms added that he urges the licensing of all U.S. news organizations to open bureaus in Cuba, "so long as Castro gets nothing in return."

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Helms says U.S. news bureaus will "allow better reporting on the true conditions in Cuba." He added, "If Castro wants to open Cuba to the roving eye of the American news media, we should by all means give him the rope with which to hang himself."

The North Carolina Republican says U.S. news bureaus in Cuba are consistent with the Helms-Burton law and its restrictions on U.S. business activity in Cuba.


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