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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Transportation, Treasure, Housing and Urban Development, The Judiciary, The District of Columbia and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2007

August 6, 2009
Floor Statement
Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]: Mr. Chairman, I rise to support the Lee amendment to prohibit the use of funds to enforce regulations restricting access to educational programs for students who wish to study in Cuba.

Mr. Chairman, throughout the Cold War, American students studied in the Soviet Union. Many of them went on to become diplomats, scholars, and policymakers who used the knowledge they gained to contribute to the development and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. Similarly, many Americans are studying in the People's Republic of China today. There is no reason to treat study in Cuba differently.

Study abroad provides valuable educational experiences for American students and contributes to the development of knowledge and informed professionals who can use their knowledge to serve our country in the future. I urge my colleagues to support the Lee amendment and support educational opportunities for American students in Cuba and throughout the world.

Mr. Chairman, I have been to Cuba many times. I have been to the great medical university. Castro has trained over 60,000 doctors. I think they will be the first to come forward with a real cure for HIV and AIDS. Don't deny our students the opportunity to share in this very rich culture, despite the fact that we have an embargo.

I would urge support for this amendment. 

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