Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Senator criticizes Chamber of Commerce's Cuba trip

Posted on Tuesday, 05.27.14

Senator criticizes Chamber of Commerce's Cuba trip

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman has told
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that he believes its trip to Cuba is a bad

Writing to the chamber, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey said
Cuba isn't an attractive investment opportunity because the government
unjustifiably jails foreign business leaders and breaks international
labor standards. He questions the merits of engaging a government
controlling almost all the country's economic activity.

Chamber head Thomas J. Donohue is meeting with entrepreneurs, officials
and university students. U.S. business executives traveled with him. The
delegation arrived Tuesday afternoon in Havana and met with Cuban
Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

"I hope to go home with a very clear message of progress that's being
made in Cuba on free enterprise and private employment and great
progress in small business," Donohue said. "And that I hope to go home
with other information as well."

Chamber officials say it is the organization's first visit to the island
since 1999.

The delegation was scheduled to visit an auto-repair cooperative Wednesday.

Cuba has legalized private businesses in many fields since 2010,
creating thousands of independent entrepreneurs.

But Menendez reminds the chamber the five-decade U.S. embargo against
Cuba is unlikely to be lifted soon. He says Cuba must release political
prisoners and give citizens their rights.

Associated Press writer Peter Orsi in Havana contributed to this report.

Source: "WASHINGTON: Senator criticizes Chamber of Commerce's Cuba trip
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