Wednesday letters: Invest in Cuba

Lots at stake

Regarding “End failed embargo” (Page B6, July 24), we visited Cuba in May on a U.S.-licensed trip and left convinced that the U.S. embargo should be ended for many reasons. The primary reason is that the embargo deprives Americans of the opportunity to invest in and do business with people who strategically live just 90 miles from our shores.

Europeans and Canadians have traveled to Cuba freely over the years and have developed business and trading relationships. We stayed at two excellent Spanish-run hotels and saw newer cars from other countries on the streets. While fascinating to observe, the only American cars were the vintage cars from the 1950s that Cuban ingenuity keeps on the streets.

Cubans talk constantly about the embargo and the damage it does to them as a people. While well-educated, the average Cuban lives on very little. They speak favorably about Americans, but they are correspondingly negative about our government. American goods are shrink-wrapped at the Miami airport and brought to Cuba by U.S. relatives and friends who visit. Cubans have a taste for what Americans can provide, and they thirst for American goods.

I have always believed that when you trade with people you are going to have better relations with them.

The Russians are gone, except for Vladimir Putin’s recent overtures to develop Cuba’s oil and gas interests in the Gulf of Mexico, and Venezuela is in turmoil.

Our European and Canadian friends are present, but they are geographically removed and, except for Spain, lack the cultural ties that Americans enjoy. Brazil is engaged with Cuba to develop the deep water port at Mariel to service the supersized ships that will soon come through the Panama Canal.

The Cuban government must make major changes, especially by moving to the rule of law, for meaningful foreign dollars to be invested and to have a normalized relationship with the U.S. But, given these facts, is it in our national interests to continue the embargo of a country 90 miles from our shores?

Kelly Frels, Houston
Houston Chronical


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