Archive for Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kansans leading efforts to improve relationships with Cuba

April 8, 2009


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— Moves to relax the United States’ trade approach to Cuba are coming from diverse political corners, including Kansas farmers.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., recently introduced legislation aimed at removing barriers to sales of U.S. agricultural products to Cuba.

“Our unreliable and uncertain trade policies are sending the signal to Cuba that it is easier to purchase its products elsewhere,” Moran said. “We are only hurting ourselves.”

Many Kansas farmers support the effort. “Knocking down trade barriers between the U.S. and Cuba will help feed hungry people in Cuba and help the bottom lines of many struggling U.S. farm families,” said Steve Baccus, a grain farmer from Ottawa County and president of the Kansas Farm Bureau.

The proposal comes at a time when President Barack Obama has already taken steps to remove limits on how often Cuban-Americans can visit relatives on the island and how much money they can send to family members.

More changes may be coming when the U.S. participates in the Summit of the Americas to be held April 17-19 in Trinidad and Tobago.

And this week, members of the Congressional Black Caucus returned from meetings in Havana with Cuban President Raul Castro and his brother Fidel Castro, the former ruler.

The congressional members said the Castro brothers are eager to build better relations with the United States.

Since 1962, the United States has had an economic embargo on Cuba, a communist country of 12 million people 90 miles south of Key West, Fla.

In the area of trade, Moran, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, said he would like to see a change in a policy that requires cash payment in advance from Cuba for U.S. agricultural exports. His legislation would clarify that a seller of a product receives payment at the time the Cuban purchaser takes physical possession of the product, which is how most trading is routinely conducted.

Even with the restrictions, in 2007 the United States exported approximately $600 million worth of agricultural products to Cuba, according to the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council. That included $109 million in corn, $70 million in wheat, and $41 million in soybeans, all major Kansas crops, according to the council’s statistics.

“With the current economy placing new hardships on our producers, this is an opportune time to encourage the United States to change its trade policies toward Cuba,” Moran said.


Bladerunner 9 years ago

Obama bowing to Castro next? Oh wait..he wasn't bowing. He was admiring the King's new Nike Air Jordanians!

guesswho 9 years ago

Why is it 'illegal' for an American to visit Cuba? Sounds like my individual liberties are being impacted quite a bit. Gee, 50 years of an embargo really hasn't helped. Maybe we should try to open up relations? We can visit China and Vietnam, aren't those still communist?

Practicality 9 years ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says…

"The real reason the embargo still exists? Healthcare."

Ha, now thats funny. Even if what you said was true, those doctors would just sneak over here at their first opportunity so they could make the big bucks, just like the baseball players and boxers.

KansasVoter 9 years ago

Ever since the USSR fell I've never heard a good reason why America still has an embargo against Cuba.

Sean Livingstone 9 years ago

I'm with logrithmn on this. Even though a country may be third world or developing, it doesn't mean that it has lousier systems. Some countries that are "poorer" than the United States by GNP per capita, have some of the best systems and technology in the world, and they do take care of their citizens better (the GOP calls it socialism). I don't want to say this here or on any American forum, because people will start to tell you, then why don't you migrate there. There are lessons that we can learn from the world, for example, our current recession looks more like the one that happens in Japan back in the 80s and 90s, rather than the great depression. But we're just too proud to admit that or learn from the others. Cuba is not a terrorist country, so why should we ban travel to Cuba? I just don't understand!!

Cooky_the_Cook 9 years ago

hey log, if I went to Cuba for surgery, who do I give my money to? The answer is Fidel Castro unless I am doing the black-market thing. It does sound fun to take advantage of talented, yet dirt poor physicians, though. Maybe we should enslave all of the doctors in the U.S.A. so that we can all have free health care.

Kryptenx 9 years ago

Cooky: Do you even know about that state of Cuba before Castro? I suspect not, and that you're just spewing filthy "knowledge" you picked up during the Cold War without ever checking things out for yourself. Educate yourself, please.

BigDog 9 years ago

Hey if the Canadian and European health care systems are so great ..... why would so many be traveling to Cuba for their care? Remember everyone is provided care under the government system in those countries.

Kryptenx 9 years ago

BigDog: Surely you would learn to search the interwebz before posing such a dumb question, right? The answer to your question: They don't. The people who travel to Cuba for health care are mainly from Latin America.

BigDog 9 years ago

Kryptenx (Anonymous) says…

BigDog: Surely you would learn to search the interwebz before posing such a dumb question, right? The answer to your question: They don't. The people who travel to Cuba for health care are mainly from Latin America.

Really?? Is that something like the myth of how many Canadians come to the United States for health care needs they can't get me in Canada?

Oh wait ... that is not a myth

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