BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING


          AJR  
          3 (Alejo)


          As Amended  June 28, 2016


          Majority vote


           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 
          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                  |Noes                |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |----------------+-----+----------------------+--------------------|
          |Jobs            |7-2  |Eduardo Garcia,       |Kim, Brough         |
          |                |     |Achadjian, Brown,     |                    |
          |                |     |Chau, Chu, Gipson,    |                    |
          |                |     |Irwin                 |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 


          SUMMARY:  Memorializes the California Legislature's support for  
          the normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba and calls on  
          the United States (U.S.) Congress to advance legislation to  
          remove barriers to full diplomatic relations and to help  
          increase trade between the U.S. and Cuba.  


          FISCAL EFFECT:  None











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          COMMENTS:  The U.S. has maintained an economic, commercial, and  
          financial embargo of Cuba for more than 50 years.  Since the  
          removal of Soviet financial backing in the 1990s, Cuba has faced  
          even more severe economic difficulties.  Cuba has routinely used  
          the status of the embargo, both internally and with the world  
          at-large, as the stated, primary reason for their economic  
          problems.  For 25 consecutive years, the United Nations has  
          annually passed a resolution calling for the lift of the embargo  
          and condemning the U.S. for using access to food as a tool to  
          gain a political objective.  While opposed to the Communist  
          government and its treatment of individuals it deems to be  
          counterrevolutionaries, the U.S. has accepted more than one  
          million Cuban asylum seekers and supported their adjustment to  
          permanent resident status.  


          In December 2014, President Obama called for a new path forward  
          for U.S. and Cuba relations, which included the normalization of  
          diplomatic relations and the lifting of all special sanctions.   
          In taking this unprecedented action, President Obama said "it  
          was clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba had failed to  
          accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of  
          a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba."  In the ensuing  
          months, the Obama Administration has taken a significant number  
          of regulatory steps toward normalization.  A 2015 poll by the  
          Pew Research Center suggests that this change in U.S. foreign  
          policy is viewed favorably by nearly two-thirds (73%) of  
          Americans.


          This resolution expresses the California Legislature's official  
          support for lifting sanctions and taking concrete steps to  
          expand trade opportunities with Cuba.  












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          The policy committee analysis includes further background on  
          U.S. relations with Cuba, a timeline of key government actions  
          to sever and then reestablish relations with Cuba, perspectives  
          on what normalization could mean for human rights in Cuba, and  
          California's role in advising on federal issues impacting the  
          state.  The chart below provides a historical outline of the  
          most recent U.S. actions to reestablish relations with Cuba.  








           ---------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |The Trade Relationship Between the U.S. and Cuba (1961 to 2016) |
           ---------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |-----------+---------------------------------------------------|
          |December   |President Obama issues statement about charting a  |
          |2014       |new course on Cuba, which includes the             |
          |           |re-establishment of diplomatic relations with      |
          |           |Cuba.                                              |
          |           |                                                   |
          |-----------+---------------------------------------------------|
          |January    |The U.S. initiates a new round of talks under      |
          |2015       |1994-95 U.S. Cuba Migration Accords.  These were   |
          |           |the first talks held after the policy changes      |
          |           |announced in December 2014 and reflected the new   |
          |           |emphasis of engagement and dialogue.               |
          |           |                                                   |
          |-----------+---------------------------------------------------|
          |July 2015  |1)The U.S. and Cuba reestablish diplomatic         |
          |           |  relations by opening embassies in each other's   |
          |           |  capitals.                                        |











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          |           |                                                   |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |2)General licenses become available for authorized |
          |           |  travelers under 12 official travel categories:   |
          |           |  a) family visits, b) official business of the    |
          |           |  U.S. government and certain intergovernmental    |
          |           |  organizations; c) journalistic activities; d)    |
          |           |  professional research and professional meetings; |
          |           |  e) educational activities; f) religious          |
          |           |  activities; g) public performances, clinics,     |
          |           |  athletics and other competitions; h) support for |
          |           |  the Cuban people; i) humanitarian projects; j)   |
          |           |  activities of private foundations, research, or  |
          |           |  educational activities; k) exportation,          |
          |           |  importation, or transmission of information or   |
          |           |  information materials; and l) certain export     |
          |           |  transactions.                                    |
          |           |                                                   |
          |-----------+---------------------------------------------------|
          |September  |Revisions to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations  |
          |2015       |and the Export Administration Regulations are      |
          |           |announced to authorize, among other things:        |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |1)The transport of certain travelers sea under a   |
          |           |  general license;                                 |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |2)Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to          |
          |           |  establish telecommunication and internet-based   |
          |           |  businesses in Cuba;                              |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |3)Banking institutions to open and maintain        |
          |           |  accounts for Cuban individuals for use while he  |
          |           |  or she is located outside Cuba;                  |











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          |           |                                                   |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |4)Certain commodities and software for use in      |
          |           |  software development will be allowed to be       |
          |           |  exported and reexported to eligible users in     |
          |           |  Cuba;                                            |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |5)Limits on donative remittances, except to the    |
          |           |  Cuban government or Communist Party, are         |
          |           |  eliminated; and a range of other actions related |
          |           |  to commerce.                                     |
          |           |                                                   |
          |-----------+---------------------------------------------------|
          |November   |U.S. and Cuba hold binational migration talks      |
          |2015       |based on the further implementation of the 1994-95 |
          |           |U.S. Cuba Migration Accords.  The Whitehouse       |
          |           |states that there is no plan to alter the current  |
          |           |migration policy regarding Cuba.                   |
          |           |                                                   |
          |-----------+---------------------------------------------------|
          |January    |1)President Obama issues Presidential Memorandum   |
          |2016       |  to the U.S. Trade Representative relative to the |
          |           |  Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and    |
          |           |  Accountability Act of 2015.                      |
          |           |2)The U.S. Department of Commerce issues final     |
          |           |  rule for the creation of a License Exception     |
          |           |  Support for the Cuban People, which authorizes   |
          |           |  the export and reexport, without license, of     |
          |           |  certain items that are intended to improve the   |
          |           |  living conditions of the people of Cuba.  The    |
          |           |  new policy also authorized a case-by-case        |
          |           |  license review of telecommunication devises.     |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |3)U.S. Treasury amends restrictions regarding the  |











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          |           |  entry into blocked airspace, code-sharing, and   |
          |           |  leasing arrangements to facilitate carrier       |
          |           |  services by air.  This is expected to ease       |
          |           |  transportation sanctions which allow up to 110   |
          |           |  non-stop flights per day between the U.S. and    |
          |           |  Cuba.                                            |
          |           |                                                   |
          |-----------+---------------------------------------------------|
          |March 2016 |1)Travel restrictions are lifted for individuals   |
          |           |  who are traveling to Cuba for people-to-people   |
          |           |  educational travel, provided that the traveler   |
          |           |  participates in a full schedule of educational   |
          |           |  activities.  This change is intended to make     |
          |           |  authorized educational travel more accessible    |
          |           |  and less expensive to U.S. citizens.  The        |
          |           |  statutory prohibition on travel for tourist      |
          |           |  activities remains in place.                     |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |                                                   |
          |           |2)Cuban nationals in the U.S. under a              |
          |           |  non-immigrant status are allowed to earn a       |
          |           |  salary, consistent with their particular visa    |
          |           |  category.  U.S. companies are authorized to      |
          |           |  sponsor or hire Cuban nationals to work or       |
          |           |  perform in the U.S. under similar conditions as  |
          |           |  other foreign nationals.  Particularly focused   |
          |           |  on artists, performers, and athletes.            |
          |           |                                                   |
          |-----------+---------------------------------------------------|
          |April 2016 |Regulatory changes are made to the Cuban Assets    |
          |           |Control Regulation to allow importation of certain |
          |           |goods produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs. |
          |           | Products NOT covered include, but are not limited |
          |           |to, animal, vegetable, and mineral products,       |
          |           |vehicles and associated transportation equipment,  |
          |           |arms and munitions, machinery and electronic       |











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          |           |equipment, alcohol, and tobacco.                   |
          |           |                                                   |
           --------------------------------------------------------------- 
           ---------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |  Source:  Multiple sources including press statements, Federal |
          |Register publications, and news stories.  Not all sources could |
          |be corroborated by official documents.                          |
          |                                                                |
          |                                                                |
          |                                                                |
           ---------------------------------------------------------------- 


          Federal Legislation:  The U.S. Congress is currently considering  
          legislation that would advance the purposes of this resolution,  
          including, but not limited to, HR 3238 (Emmer  
          Republican-Minnesota) The Cuba Trade Act of 2015.  This bill is  
          currently pending before the U.S. House of Representative's  
          Subcommittee on Trade.  There are 23 co-authors (12-Democrats  
          and 11-Republicans), including California Representatives Sam  
          Farr, Barbara Lee, and Ann Eshoo.  A summary of the changes, as  
          identified by the Congressional Research Service are described  
          below.


          1)The Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 is amended to eliminate:
             a)   Presidential authority to impose sanctions against Cuban  
               trading partners;
             b)   Restrictions on transactions between U.S.-owned or  
               controlled firms and Cuba; and


             c)   Limitations on direct shipping between Cuban and U.S.  
               ports, and restrictions on remittances.













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          2)The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of  
            1996 is amended to eliminate:
             a)   The enforcement of an economic embargo of Cuban  
               provisions; and
             b)   The prohibition on indirect financing of Cuba.


          3)The Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000  
            is amended to:
             a)   Remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism  
               subject to agricultural and medical export restrictions;
             b)   Eliminate the prohibition on U.S. assistance, including  
               foreign assistance, export assistance, and any credit or  
               guarantees being made available for exports to Cuba;


             c)   Eliminate the prohibition against a U.S. person's  
               providing payment or financing terms for sales of  
               agricultural commodities or products to Cuba;


             d)   Prohibit the U.S from providing any foreign assistance  
               to Cuba or any financial assistance, loans, loan  
               guarantees, extension of credit, or other financing for  
               exports to Cuba; and


             e)   Eliminate the prohibition on the U.S. entry of  
               merchandise that is of Cuban origin is or has been located  
               in or transported from or through Cuba, or is made or  
               derived in whole or in part of any article which is the  
               growth, produce, or manufacture of Cuba.


          4)The federal government is prohibited from obligating or  
            expending funds to promote trade with or develop markets in  











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            Cuba, except for certain commodity promotion programs.
          Human Rights in Cuba:  The harsh treatment of individuals who  
          are considered counter-revolutionary, including journalists,  
          teachers, and human rights activities have been well documented.  
           According to Human Rights Watch, "The Cuban government  
          continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism.   
          While in recent years it has relied less on long-term prison  
          sentences to punish its critics, short-term arbitrary arrests of  
          human rights defenders, independent journalists, and other  
          critics have increased dramatically.  Other repressive tactics  
          employed by the government include beatings, public acts of  
          shaming, and the termination of employment."


          Freedom House, a U.S. based nonprofit that annually produces a  
          comparative assessment of over 195 countries, scored Cuba a 6  
          out 7 (7 being the worst) for its actions related to civil  
          liberties.  Among other concerns raised was the escalation of  
          short-term "preventative" detentions, which further eroded core  
          civil rights such as freedom of the press, expression, belief,  
          and assembly.  Freedom House notes in their 2015 assessment that  
          the Cuban Council of State has complete control over the courts  
          and the judiciary.  Cuba does not regularly grant international  
          humanitarian organizations access to prisons and Cubans of  
          African descent have been reported to experience widespread  
          discrimination.


          While human rights groups express significant concerns over the  
          abuse of human rights, including arbitrary detentions in which  
          individuals are beaten, threatened, and held incommunicado for  
          hours and days, groups like Human Rights Watch, also believe  
          that the U.S. sanctions have imposed indiscriminate hardship on  
          the Cuban people and have done little to address the country's  
          poor record on human rights.  












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          These concerns over the impact of U.S. sanctions on the Cuban  
          people have also been repeatedly and consistently expressed  
          through resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of the  
          United Nations.  In October 2014, 188 of the 192 member  
          countries voted to approve a resolution that called on the U.S.  
          to end its economic, commercial, and financial embargo of Cuba.   
          Among other issues, the resolution called on the U.S. to refrain  
          from applying laws and regulations, such as the 1996  
          Helms-Burton Act, and that food should not be used as an  
          instrument for political and economic pressure.


          In announcing the U.S.' intent to normalize diplomatic relations  
          with Cuba and ease restrictions on travel and commerce,  
          President Obama noted that these changes in U.S. policy were  
          predicated on key concessions by the Cuban government, including  
          a commitment to release 53 political prisoners and to allow  
          visits by international human rights monitors.  President Obama  
          has also stated that human rights will be a "critical focus" to  
          the U.S. continued engagement.




          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Toni Symonds / J., E.D., & E. / (916) 319-2090    
                                                                    FN:  
          0003542


















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