DECATUR– Lifting the trade ban that has been in place between the United States and Cuba since 1960 could be mutually beneficial according to Congressman Rodney Davis.
On Monday morning Davis said he was in favor of moving forward with the plan proposed by President Obama earlier this month that would lift the trade embargo on Cuba and also allow the island country to be used as a tourist destination.
“For years the United States was one of Cuba’s biggest trade partners for agriculture and that helped both sides,” Davis said. “I know that the older generations that were around in the 50s and 60s have a different view on the relationship between the United States and Cuba and I understand that, but I also think that over 50 years later this is something that can be at least looked at again.”
On December 17th, President Obama announced a multi-step plan that would ease relations between the United States and Cuba that would allow for trade and travel between the two countries. The announcement came shortly after Alan Gross, a subcontractor from the United States was released from a Cuban prison and returned to the United States.
Trade opportunities wouldn’t just help the nation as a whole, open trade lines could also have a direct impact on Illinois and farmers around the state, especially in soy, “People say we shouldn’t trade with Cuba until the Castro communist party falls and my response to them is that we already trade with Cuba,” Davis added. “Illinois already sends agricultural products to Cuba; this is a matter of expanding the opportunity to an island of 10 million people and to give them a chance at social and economic growth that they haven’t seen for over fifty years.”
Davis stands on the opposite side of the Cuban trade proposal than many of his Republican colleagues in Washington. Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio is one of several lawmakers who say the embargo should remain in place until the Castro regime falls or relinquishes power of the country.
For his part, Davis says the embargo is part of the reason Castro remains in power after all these years, “I’ve been to Cuba and what I’ve been told by many there is that Castro and his administration use the embargo as the reason that all the bad things happen to their citizens. Removing the embargo, in my opinion, will give the Cuban people a chance to see that we are doing our part to help out.”
WSOY, December 30, 2014