FarmPolicy

July 22, 2019

Cuba Trade Issues

Categories: Trade

Lauren French reported on Friday at Politico that, “Congress should work quickly to end the decades-old trade embargo against Cuba, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said during a visit to the island nation.

“‘I do believe that there is strong bipartisan support in the Congress of the United States to lift the embargo,’ the California Democrat said during a news conference Thursday in Havana, according to a transcript made available Friday morning. ‘I also think that it would be important for us to move as quickly as possible … to move in a positive way to remove Cuba from the list of concerned states.'”

Rep. Pelosi also issued a statement on Friday which noted in part that, “Following a press conference, the delegation proceeded to our final meeting in Havana with the First Vice President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel. We engaged in a constructive dialogue about the future of our two countries and discussed how we could work together on agriculture, biotechnology and small business to our mutual benefit. All of the participants in the meeting agreed that a critical step towards normalization is the establishment of formal diplomatic relations.”

And The Washington Post editorial board indicated today that, “For all the high expectations, and deep anxieties, that surround the U.S.-Cuba thaw that President Obama announced two months ago, the reality is that the process is still in its very early days. The two countries have not agreed even on one of the simpler bilateral issues: opening full-fledged embassies in each other’s capitals. Cuban President Raúl Castro sounded an ominous note by hinting that complete normalization might depend on such far-fetched demands as the hand-over of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay or reparations for the U.S. embargo.”

The Post stated that, “U.S. political leaders would be well advised not to succumb to, or foster, exuberance about the transformation in economic relations that might be at hand — much less about the pending transformation of the Cuban regime. Official contacts must not sugarcoat or lend undeserved legitimacy to a dynastic dictatorship that remains one of the most repressive on the planet.

“Consider the just-concluded visits to Havana by a House delegation led by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and a three-senator group made of Democrats Mark R. Warner (Va.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) — the tone and tenor of which were too starry-eyed by half. Ms. Klobuchar gushed that she and her colleagues ‘walked freely around the streets and talked with anyone we wanted,’ apparently oblivious to the political surveillance within which those ‘free’ conversations occurred. Ms. McCaskill posted charming photos of vintage cars on her Instagram account; nothing depressing, like images of Cuba’s poverty, though.”

Sunday’s opinion item concluded by stating: “No one, not even a politically powerful American visitor, is immune to being exploited by the Cuban propaganda machine; no one is truly free on that island. U.S. lawmakers need to understand that, fully, and behave accordingly.”

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