Santa Fe, NM -- Engage Cuba, a leading coalition of private companies and organizations working to lift the travel and trade embargo on Cuba, today joined state leaders to launch the bipartisan Engage Cuba New Mexico State Council. U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), who has been a leader in expanding access to U.S. telecommunications and internet in Cuba, attended the launch as well.
The New Mexico State Council is made up of agriculture, technology, business, manufacturing, energy, community, education and government leaders to build statewide support for Congressional action to end the travel and trade ban on Cuba.
"We’re very pleased to work with all of our Engage Cuba New Mexico State Council members to lift the Cuba travel and trade ban that is costing New Mexico jobs and hindering economic development for the Cuban people. It's time to end 55 years of failed, isolationist policies toward Cuba," said President of Engage Cuba, James Williams. "New Mexico farmers, dairy producers, and businesses are stuck on the sidelines as our foreign competitors continue to take advantage of Cuba's growing markets. Opening up trade with Cuba would provide exciting opportunities for New Mexico's agriculture and manufacturing sectors, while supporting expansion of entrepreneurship in Cuba."
"Building connections between New Mexico and Cuba will create opportunities for both of our countries,” Sen. Udall said. "I believe the best ambassadors for democracy and openness are American citizens themselves. Only Congress can lift the embargoes on trade and travel, open digital communications in Cuba and provide new businesses opportunities for New Mexicans and Cubans—so we’re asking this new council to share their interest in Cuba. As a member of the Senate Commerce and Foreign Relations Committees, I look forward to working with everyone interested in passing bills that will open up the world to a new generation of Cubans."
Sen. Udall authored the Cuba Data Act, which would would enable U.S. telecommunications and internet companies to provide their services and devices in Cuba. In June, Senator Udall's amendment to allow for the export of telecommunication services to Cuba was included in a Senate Appropriations Committee must-pass FY 2017 funding bill.
As Cuba’s markets continue to grow given the rise of tourism and the increasing purchasing power of 11 million Cubans, demand for high-quality U.S. exports will continue to rise. As a top exporter of U.S. agriculture and dairy produce, New Mexico is positioned to be an international leader in exports to Cuba.