Saturday, November 15, 2014

Udall, Flake Call for "Modernizing" Relations with Cuba

Udall, Flake Call for "Modernizing" Relations with Cuba
Posted on Nov 13, 2014by Steve Terrell

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat and Jeff Flake, an Arizona
Republican, are calling to open up relationships between the U.S. and
Cuba, effectively breaking a decades-old embargo against the communist
Caribbean island.
According to a joint news release, this came after a three-day Senate
Foreign Relations Committee trip to Cuba.
In the release, Udall said:
"New Mexicans are anxious to meet and work with Cubans, and the time is
right to rebuild business and cultural ties between the United States
and Cuba. The Cuban regime is antidemocratic and has many flaws, but our
current policy has proven ineffective and has primarily served to
isolate the people of Cuba. It's time for a 21st century approach that
opens up opportunities for New Mexicans and other American interests.
... I urge the Obama administration to act by relaxing travel
restrictions and working with the telecommunications industry to improve
the ability for the people of the world to communicate with Cuba."
Flake was quoted saying:
"My recent trip to Cuba has only reconfirmed the necessity of
modernizing our failed policy toward the island. While the significance
of Cuba's recent economic changes remains to be seen, there is now a
burgeoning small-business community there, much of which is funded by
remittances from the United States. Rather than continuing to provide
the regime an all-too-convenient scapegoat and wasting money on
boondoggle aid programs, it's time to take commonsense steps to support
these entrepreneurs, expand the participation of U.S. businesses in the
Cuban economy, and lift the ban on non-Cuban American U.S. citizens
travelling to the island."
(Come on guys, the embargo's only been going for 50-some years. Give it
a chance!)
The committee got to visit with Alan Gross, an American who has been
held in a Cuban jail since 2009. Both Udall and Flake mentioned his
plight in the joint press release. Gross was convicted on charges of
smuggling banned communications equipment to Cuba. He is serving a
15-year sentence.
"We'll continue working as members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations
Committee to push for the release of Alan Gross and continued steps to
normalize relations with Cuba," Udall said.

Source: Udall, Flake Call for "Modernizing" Relations with Cuba - The
Santa Fe New Mexican: Politics -

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