Everett Griner talks about the politics behind trade with Cuba in today’s Agri View.
I don’t like to write about politics and politicians, but occasionally I don’t have a lot of choice. Recently I did a story on trade with Cuba. The potential is there. It is politics that keeps it from happening. Fifteen years ago Congress approved a bill to allow the sale of agricultural products and medicine to Cuba. And just this year a measure to fund a bill to study and begin to develop markets that would be highly beneficial to U.S. farmers. The only think I know of that has happened so far is developing diplomatic relations. We are still losing agriculture markets. So far, no political has mentioned agricultural trade. Believe me, farmers are aware of this and there are a lot of farm votes out there. Although it is important, Cuba isn’t the only country that is on the screen. So, we’ll see, won’t we?
That’s Agri View for today, I’m Everett Griner.
On April 11, 2015, Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro shook hands at the Summit of the Americas in Panama, marking the first meeting between a U.S. and Cuban head of state since the two countries severed their ties in 1961. The meeting came four months after the presidents announced their countries would restore diplomatic relations, and gave rise to President Obama’s March 2016 visit to Cuba, the first by a sitting president in over eighty-five years.
Since the 1960s, successive U.S. administrations have maintained a policy of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation of Cuba. The change in the countries’ relations, initially marked by a prisoner swap and Havana’s release of a jailed U.S. subcontractor in December 2015, prompted some experts to point to better prospects for Cuba’s economy and U.S. relations more broadly in Latin America. But the U.S. trade embargo, which requires congressional approval to be rescinded, is unlikely to be lifted any time soon.