US Senators Submit Bill to End the Cuba Embargo

View near Central Park Havana.  Photo: Elio Delgado Valdes
View near Central Park Havana. Photo: Elio Delgado Valdes

HAVANA TIMES — A group of Senate Democrats and Republicans introduced a bill today to end the trade embargo on Cuba, following the recent diplomatic thaw between Washington and Havana, reported dpa.

The bill titled “Freedom to export to Cuba” was submitted today by four Democratic senators (Amy Klobuchar, Debbie Stabenow, Patrick Leahy and Dick Durbin) and two Republicans (Mike Enzi and Jeff Flake).

“It is time to turn the page on our policy towards Cuba,” said Senator Klobuchar in a statement.

According to the senators who introduced the legislation, if this bill is passed by Congress it would “pave the way for new economic opportunities for US businesses and farmers boosting exports and allow Cubans to have greater access to US products.”

If Congress passes the bill, “key provisions of previous laws that prevent Americans from doing business in Cuba would be repealed, but not parts of the law that address issues of human rights or property claims against the Cuban government,” said the senators.

Klobuchar said that lifting the embargo “would provide new opportunities for American businesses, promote job creation and exports and help improve the quality of life of Cubans.”

Only Congress can approve the total lifting of the trade embargo on Cuba in place since 1961, and reinforced in 1996 by the Helms-Burton initiative.

It is still early to say whether the bill will be approved by Congress, but it is sure to cause a passionate debate in Washington. President Barack Obama is in favor of lifting the embargo, but many lawmakers oppose, especially those of Cuban origin.

Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, against any concession to the Castro brothers, recalled that “at each Congress, opponents try to lift the embargo, with a big hullabaloo.”

Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American, recalled that US law is clear on the conditions for lifting the embargo: “free and fair elections in Cuba, respect for fundamental human rights, the release of all political prisoners and other requirements in the Helms-Burton Law.”

This senators bill comes nearly two months after Washington and Havana reached an agreement in December to normalize diplomatic relations, after half a century of rupture and ideological confrontation.

Two weeks ago, a group of eight Democratic senators and Republican senators introduced the “Freedom to travel to Cuba” bill to lift all restrictions on travel by US citizens to the island.

Several of the senators that introduced the bill today to remove the embargo are also behind the initiative to remove travel restrictions. Cuba is the only country in the world where US citizens are barred by their government from tourist travel.

18 thoughts on “US Senators Submit Bill to End the Cuba Embargo

  • The U.S. Is not responsible for the failed centrally planned economy of Cuba. Why would their economy have depended on trade with an economic model they rejected ?

    Odd that for socialism to thrive it would have needed help from a free market economy. I am for ending the embargo as it failed to achieve it’s end decades ago. We will soon see that the end of the embargo has no magic.

    What will turn Cuba’s economy around will be Raul’s reforms. Even a small private sector will work miracles.

  • Accurate. A fact many Democrats refuse to accept a decade latter.

  • I don’t hate the US. I do care about Cuba. And I saw poverty, some of which is the direct result of the trade embargo. But with such poverty, what does the US expect to sell to Cubans? Cubans need to sell what they grow, not buy Big Macs.
    And transition to to what ‘market economy’? One in which the US has a national debt of $20 trillion, equivalent to 70% of its GDP? The market economy which has led to $17 trillion sitting uselessly in tax havens, and Europe printing £2 trillion to delay bankruptcy?
    If that’s the future for Cuba, they don’t want it.

  • People buy and sell things depending on need. What does Cuba have to offer? Probably a lot. ….probably a whole lot more once they transition to a market economy.

  • Let me get this straight. “The last thing Cuba needs is the opportunity to buy things? ”

    Your hate of the US blinds you. You could care less about Cuba and it’s Citizens. Better that Cuba remain your communist “fantasy island” with all its failures and unsustainable economy than transition to a market economy.

    You’re on the wrong side of history.

  • On my visit to Cuba, the Canadians were loud enough. Can’t imagine what it will be like when the Americans arrive! 😉

  • But isn’t offering the opportunity to sell things to Cubans without promising to buy something exactly that?

  • What? Apart from those still held who deny all charges and have not been charged? Either they’re criminals or they’re not, so America should put up or shut up. ‘Disappearing’ people like this is exactly why the US has spent so much time and money undermining South American governments.

  • The people that organization defends are serving prison sentences for various crimes including murder, assault, armed robbery, arson and setting off bombs. Just because they had political motives for their criminal acts does not make the political prisoners.

  • Gore did not want to count all the votes. Gore wanted a highly selective recount of votes in only 4 counties. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled such a selective recount was unconstitutional. Jeb Bush had nothing to do with that decision.

    I live in the planet where facts matter.

    By the way, when a panel of researchers from Georgetown U & the Washington Post did a full recount of all the votes in Florid a few months later, they discovered that Bush had won an even larger majority of the votes than the official record.

    There are many Cuban prisoners of the Castro regime who claim to have been beaten and tortured. They have the scars to prove it.

  • Stole the election for his brother….by refusing to count all the votes….via the Florida General attorney…..on what planets are you,,,,or if you prefer to remind blind… ignoring the facts….
    In Cuba, they do not TORTURE the prisoners….

  • The Cuban government is demanding the end of the US embargo. The Obama administration wants to lift the embargo & allow US companies to sell products to Cuba. That does not sound like a “one-way street” imposed by the Americans.

  • What acts of fraud did Jeb Bush commit in the George Bush election?

    There are no political prisoners in Gitmo.

  • “free and fair elections in Cuba, respect for fundamental human rights, the release of all political prisoners and other requirements in the Helms-Burton Law.”
    The USA ought to start by living by their own rules. We haven’t forgotten Jeb Bush’s fraud in the George ‘Dubya’ Bush election, that Guantanamo still holds political prisoners and the abuse of human rights by the rendition of prisoners.

  • The last thing Cuba needs is the opportunity to buy things. It’s always a one-way street with the Americans

  • Much ado about nothing. This ‘go-nowhere legislation’ reflects the long well-known beliefs of its authors. No surprises there. If our dysfunctional Congress can’t agree on legislation to fight ISIS, there is no chance a bill to help Communist Cuba has a snowball’s chance in hell. None.

  • madness….

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