Friday, May 1, 2009

Cuba & USA: Ending Travel Embargo, Trade Next?

Cuba a four-letter word the United States often does not like to hear. In fact growing up I remember in the good old days of Television before there was Fox 5, regular Channel 5 would show repeats of “I Love Lucy” (must admit one of my favorite shows) that was the first glimpse yours truly ever heart of Cuba. Now this island being discussed in newspapers, elected officials in the senate, the congress, even the president. First time this ever happened. It’s incredible!

New York Daily News columnist Albor Ruiz reported this past April 2nd, stating:
"It took nearly 50 years. In the U.S. House/Senate have introduced legislation which would change U.S-Cuba policy and lift the embargo on the island. Democrats/Republicans have been putting together press conferences announcing the creation of the 'Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act', a bill which was introduced this past Feb 5th which would allow all Americans not just of Cuban origin to visit the island."
This comes about a time when travel restrictions were put upon former President George Bush five years which put restrictions on Cuban-Americans to visit the island once every three years. In other words visits to uncles, aunts, cousins, godmothers/fathers were outlawed. No more than 300 dollars was the limited allowed to be sent to the island, and that was mainly for immediate family! Here is a little historical background on this situation.

USA citizens are aware they cannot visit the island nation. Yet they don’t how it all got started, not aware of the history behind it. Here is a brief history.

In October of 1960 under the presidential administration of Dwight Eisenhower the U.S. imposes a partial economic embargo on Cuba that excludes food and medicine. Then in the Presidential administration of John F Kennedy on March 23, 1961 he expanded the embargo to include imports of all goods made from or containing Cuban materials, even if made in other countries. One month later the failed “Bay of Pigs Invasion April, 1961.

Later in the year, the administration prohibits travel to Cuba to add: Commercial transactions with Cuba illegal for citizens of the United States.

Here are the facts about the embargo which many have called at terrorist act:
The book “Island Under Siege” which describes the embargo which written by Pedro Prada reported, “The blockade prohibits: Exporting all U.S. goods to Cuba, including medicines and foodstuffs and importing any Cuban goods to the United States, including food and medicines. All other types of commercial activity between the two countries travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens except for official, journalistic, special professional or family purposes. Third Country ships visiting Cuba from docking in U.S. ports and finally open trade between the Cuba/USA are subsidiaries.

Now here is the thing. What would happen if the embargo was lifted: Here are three main items to look at:
1-The U.S. could export up to 400 million to grain sales in Cuba.

2-The U.S. could supply all Cuba’s fertilizer and pesticide requirements(totaling around $150 million)

3-Cuba would purchase about $90 million in U.S. medical supplies. U.S. tourism industry and cruise lines could benefit around 1 billion a year.
President Obama has been on a Latin American tour recently sitting down with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and this past weekend of April 17-19. With CBS news covering the event. He stated: “We’re heading in the right direction, we feel positive for good relations! Either way give this president some credit an end to this policy might create better relationships in Latin America. At the same time might lead to investigations on the terroristic activities that have occurred against Cuba, with this country involved! (That’s a future article) What’s interesting no one has heard from the hard-line Cuban elected officials in Congress, State Senators, why?

Let’s not forget Obama won the state of Florida, where Miami is and a Cuban Community that has always mainly been on the GOP side. At the sane broadcast Cuban Citizens expressed their feelings. One gentleman from Jersey City, New Jersey where there’s a Cuban Community stated: “Let’s end the embargo now, might not like the president of Cuba, but let’s have a dialogue finally.

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