Monday, June 5, 2017

Senators Begin a New Fight To End Cuba Embargo

      The long-running legislative effort to liberalize U.S.-Cuba trade began anew as a bipartisan group of 14 senators introduced a bill to lift the Cold War-era embargo on the island nation.  The latest iteration of the embargo repeal effort was Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who urged to finish the job begun by former President Barack Obama.   "This bipartisan legislation would benefit the people of both our countries by boosting American exports and creating opportunity for the Cuban people," according to Amy Klobuchar. "We need to turn the page on the failed policy of isolation and build on the progress we have made to open up engagement with Cuba by ending the embargo once and for all." 

     "While there are no guarantees, engaging with Cuba economically is more likely to nudge Cuba toward democracy than a half century of trying to isolate the island," It's long past time we move ahead."   Unfortunately, it remains highly unlikely that the bill will pass as introduced, given how divisive the issue of Cuba trade still is.   This bill will certainly function as a test for the new Congress and for the administration.  

John F. Kennedy signing the Cuban Quarantine in October, 1962
     Among the strongest supporters for freeing up U.S.-Cuba trade is the powerful U.S. farm lobby, which has consistently argued that Cuba imports up to 80 percent of its food at a price of roughly $2 billion a year and the United States is a natural export market because it is only 90 miles from Cuban shores.   Although the farm lobby has not been enough to generate legislative movement in the past.

     I feel that this quarantine that has been in effect since October 23, 1962 is lifted.   It will be interesting to follow this piece of legislation to see how the atmosphere in this senate.