Author: Andrea Fernández Aponte
We’ve (barely) made it past the 100-day mark, and we’ve yet to hear what Trumps plans to do regarding Cuba policy. The administration ordered an interagency review of Cuba policy and President Obama’s policy changes. This review was recently completed and, according to our sources, most agencies seemed to support continued engagement with Cuba. However, we fear that this administration’s Cuba policy will be determined by politics and a couple of hardliners instead of the merits of the review.
Though we remain very anxious about the future of U.S.-Cuba relations under Trump—particularly since all the progress Obama made can be easily undone by executive action—the good news is that a handful of bills challenging the embargo on Cuba have been reintroduced in the House and Senate.
✱ The Cuba Trade Act (H.R. 442)
Introduced by Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN-6)
This bill would allow businesses in the private sector to trade freely with Cuba, while prohibiting taxpayer funds to be used on promotion or development of a new market.
✱ The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act (H.R. 351)
Introduced by Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC-1)
The bill simply removes the current travel restrictions to Cuba.
✱ The Cuba Agricultural Exports Act (H.R. 525)
Introduced by Rep. Eric A. Crawford (R-AR-1)
This bill seeks to repeal financing restrictions, allowing firms in the U.S. to offer credit to Cuba in connection with exports of U.S. agricultural goods. It also seeks to eliminate restrictions on key federal funding used in agricultural export promotions.
Can you take two minutes to contact your representative and urge her/him to support these bills?
>>> Focus your advocacy on the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act (H.R. 525), which is the bill most likely to see action first. Ask you member of Congress to cosponsor this bill now!
✱ The Agricultural Export Expansion Act (S.275)
Introduced by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
This bill aims to lift the ban on private banks and companies offering credit for agricultural exports to Cuba, and to help level the playing field for exporters across the country and support American jobs.
✱ The Freedom to Export to Cuba Act
Introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
This bill would lift the current embargo and allow more U.S. goods to be exported to Cuba. The bill would also eliminate the legal barriers to Americans doing business in Cuba. It does not repeal provisions of current law that address human rights in Cuba or that allow individuals and businesses to pursue claims against the Cuban government.
✱ The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act
Introduced by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
This bill would eliminate current restrictions on traveling to Cuba for tourist purposes. Additionally, ahead of the Trump Administration’s expected release of its U.S.-Cuba policy review, which will determine whether or not to continue policies that made it easier to travel to Cuba, this legislation would completely and permanently deregulate U.S. travel to Cuba.
While we wait for the Trump administration to make up its mind on Cuba, we should still push Congress to support an end to the embargo, starting with trade and travel. It is through an act of Congress that the law will change. The fight continues!
P.S. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page to stay up to date with what’s happening with these bills.
[Updated on May 30, 2017]