Post by @CubanWindow
WIF: Latin Press + Bennett official page
A group of 14 Democratic senators urged the administration of Donald Trump to maintain and expand the US economic and political approach to Cuba, when local media today show the possibility of a reversal.
In a letter sent Monday to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, upper House members told him that normalizing relations with the Caribbean island would provide key economic and national security benefits.
We are already beginning to see the advantages of a new approach with Cuba. US travel and hotel companies are taking advantage of their ability to obtain licenses to work there, noted a letter spread in website of Connecticut senator, Chris Murphy.
The signatories recalled that airlines in this country are flying direct trade routes between both nations and that in 2016 tourism on the island set a record, with a 14 percent increase.
For companies to obtain benefit from this growth, they must be able to do business in Cuba, said the Democrats, who also highlighted the opportunities that US farmers would have if they expand the possibilities of export to the Caribbean territory.
Besides helping US businesses and farmers, bilateral cooperation is good for our national security, added the letter, referring to a request on the issue made in April by more than a dozen retired military personnel.
The United States and Cuba signed nine memorandums of understanding related to important issues such as air travel safety, efforts to combat drug trafficking and cross-border enforcement law, noted the letter.
According to the signatories, abandoning these agreements is contrary to the best interests of the US people.
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today joined a group of 13 other senators in calling on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to maintain and expand economic and political engagement with Cuba. In the letter, the senators emphasize how normalizing relations with Cuba provides clear economic benefits to American businesses and facilitates cooperation on issues of national security.
“Each year the United States exports approximately $300 million in agricultural commodities to Cuba,” the senators wrote. “This represents just 16 percent of Cuba’s $1.9 billion in agricultural imports. Expanding these opportunities would directly benefit American Farmers. Isolating Cuba again would not just block opportunities for American businesses, it would also allow competitors like China and Brazil to expand their operations.”
“A majority of the American people support engagement with Cuba,” the senatorscontinued. “American business leaders and farmers deserve a fair shot to compete in a market just 90 miles from our shores. We urge you to build on the economic, political, and national security progress we have made thus far by expanding, not retracting, engagement with Cuba.”
In addition to Bennet, the letter also was signed by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Al Franken (D-MN), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Tester (D-MT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Rob Wyden (D-OR), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
Bennett has long supported efforts to open Cuban markets to American business. In August 2016, Bennett partnered with Engage Cuba to launch a statewide council that works to open trade opportunities for Colorado businesses. In February 2017, Bennett traveled to Cuba to discuss future opportunities for U.S.-Cuban cooperation on a range of topics, including foreign trade. Following his trip, he cosponsored a bipartisan bill to facilitate U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba, making it easier for Colorado farmers to sell products like beef, dairy, and wheat in the Cuban market. Bennett also has cosponsored The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act and The Freedom To Export to Cuba Act, which intended to eliminate most restrictions on travel and business in Cuba.