U.S. embargo on Cuba no longer relevant

Freedom New Mexico

New efforts are being made in Congress to open trade with Cuba. We encourage our members of Congress to support those efforts.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., last week filed House Resolution 4645. Named the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, it would help ease agricultural trade with Cuba.

The bill would allow U.S. and Cuban people to trade directly. The current U.S. embargo prohibits such transactions; those who wish to trade now use a third country’s banks as intermediaries — and pay whatever fees those banks impose. This only raises the buyer’s cost while reducing the seller’s profit.

Current law also requires that any Cuban orders for U.S. produce be paid for when they are ordered. The proposed law would allow the more common practice of paying on delivery, which would lessen the problem of dealing with spoilage and other losses during transit.

Most importantly, the bill would ease travel restrictions to Cuba, so that U.S. interests can go to the island country to make transactions and develop new markets for U.S. goods.

Ideally, all trade and travel restrictions to Cuba would be lifted. The embargo, now more than half a century old, has been obsolete for decades, and irrelevant since the Soviet Empire collapsed some 20 years ago.

So many other countries now trade with Cuba that the only people now hurt by the embargo are U.S. producers and businesses who are deprived of fertile markets.

About the only people who still favor the bans are arch conservatives who want it maintained for no other reason that it is imposed on a bunch of Hispanics whose leader is a commie.

Foreign policy experts have long insisted that such embargoes seldom work, since governments always feed themselves first. Those who suffer are poorest of the poor. Open trade, and the economic development it brings, actually empowers the citizenry, making it more possible to force change in the government.

We know that kind of common sense takes time to make its way into the halls of Congress. But this bill, which helps chip away at parts of the embargo, would help. More than 30 agriculture and trade groups already have sent letters to Congress asking for its passage.

Our representatives should add their voices to theirs, and help pass this bill.