In normal circumstances, commercial relations between two nations involve travel and trade and they reflect mutual respect for the well-being of both of them. An ability to make contact and do business with each other is as old as commerce itself.
This approach should apply to the government and people of Cuba. For example, the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 contains a provision harmful to the conduct of normal business affairs. It requires Cuba pay cash in advance to purchase food products and medicine from the U.S. market.
As blockade policy stands now, Cuban exports — from rum and cigars, to diabetes medicines and lung cancer vaccines — cannot legally be sold in the U.S.
The United Nations Charter makes clear that it’s necessary to respect the independence of sovereign nations so that development may take place free from outside interference. Yet, Cuba is denied credit from U.S. financial institutions which would expand trade that might benefit U.S. farmers, small business and workers alike.
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By blocking Cuba’s right to self-determination, the U.S. Congress purports to negotiate through a lack of good faith bargaining. There is no better time to end the U.S. economic blockade than now.
Richard Grassl, Pasco