Senate Bill Aims to Lift US Blockade on Cuba to Open Markets


U.S. Republican Senator Jerry Moran introduced a bill in Congress to effectively lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington against Cuba, in an effort to open up agricultural markets for his home state of Kansas.

The proposal, dubbed the Trade Act with Cuba, would repeal or amend legislation that makes up parts of the blockade, including the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996, and the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000.

"Sen. Moran's legislation would roll back job-killing regulations that are hurting Kansas' economy and the Cuban people," said James Williams, the president of Engage Cuba, which is a coalition of big businesses that are against the blockade on Cuba for their own profit motives.

The list of members includes Viacom, Honeywell, Comcast/NBC Universal and others seeking to open up Cuban markets for their products.

"As a top U.S. exporter of agricultural goods and the largest wheat producer in the country, opening up trade with Cuba would allow Kansas agribusiness, which is an economic driver and job creator across the state, to significantly increase exports to a (US)$2 billion neighboring markets," he added. "After 55 years of failure, it's time for a change."

In his second term in office, Obama announced the beginning of negotiations with the Cuban government to reestablish diplomatic ties and begin the path to normalizing relations between the two countries, in a sign of the United States' failed attempt at choking the socialist country into submission.

According to a report given by the Cuban government at the U.N. General Assembly, the U.S. blockade costs the island nation US$4.7 billion in 2016 and a staggering US$753 billion since it began almost six decades ago.

At the U.N. General Assembly in 2016, 191 of the 193 of the nations voted to condemn the blockade, as the majority have done for several decades. The difference in 2016 being that the U.S. and Israel abstained from voting for the first time, marking a departure from continuously voted against it.

Now with the Trump administration overturning many Obama-era laws, vowing to review all acts regarding Cuba, it is possible that the U.S. will return to a hard line toward Cuba and abandon its softer approach to regime change in the revolutionary nation.