[Marxism] Bourgeoisie asks Obama to loosen Cuba embargo

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Dec 4 12:22:15 MST 2008

December 4, 2008
Business Urges Obama to Loosen Cuba Embargo

Filed at 2:02 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Barack Obama should start soon to 
loosen five decades of trade curbs on Cuba and begin a comprehensive 
review of U.S. policy toward the communist-run island, U.S. business 
groups said on Thursday.

"We support the complete removal of all trade and travel restrictions on 
Cuba. We recognize that change may not come all at once, but it must 
start somewhere, and it must begin soon," the groups said in a letter to 

They recommended the United States start by holding talks with Cuba to 
discuss how to repair nearly 50 years of distrust and by allowing 
Americans to visit the island.

Washington should also consider exempting agricultural machinery, heavy 
equipment and certain other goods from its embargo to help in the 
rebuilding of Cuba in the wake of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, the groups 

The groups included American Farm Bureau Federation, Business 
Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation and 
Grocery Manufacturers Association, whose collective membership comprises 
a broad cross-section of American industry and agriculture.

"We are pleased that you support suspending restrictions on family 
remittances, visits and humanitarian care packages from Cuban Americans. 
These are excellent first steps, but we urge you to also commit to a 
more comprehensive examination of U.S. policy," the groups said.

The United States expanded an arms embargo on Cuba in 1962 to include 
other goods after the Cuban government under the leadership of Fidel 
Castro seized the properties of American companies doing business on the 

The Cold War-era restrictions were codified into law by Congress 1992 
under the Cuban Democracy Act.

Efforts to loosen the embargo remain politically difficult because of 
the influence of Cuban-American exiles living in Florida, a key 
presidential swing state.

But with Obama's election, the outlook for change has improved, said 
Jake Colvin, vice president for global trade issues at the National 
Foreign Trade Council, whose members include Boeing, Caterpillar and 

"There is a growing optimism that taking the kinds of small steps that 
President-elect Obama has promised, like diplomatic overtures and 
relaxing travel restrictions, could lead to more substantial changes 
later on. Companies want to be ready for that moment," Colvin said.

Obama could take some steps on his own, but completely removing the 
embargo would require congressional action.

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