February 28, 2008

Crapo Urges "Fresh Look" At U.S.-Cuba Policy

Letter sent today urges use of opportunity from Castro's resignation

Washington, DC - In a letter sent to the Administration today, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) joined with 23 other Senators, including Idaho Senator Larry Craig, to urge a "fresh look" at the current U.S. policy toward Cuba. The bipartisan letter, which is attached to this news release, proposes that the resignation of Cuban leader Fidel Castro presents an opportunity for the U.S. to reconsider its decades-old policy of isolation and estrangement toward that country.

In part, the letter reads: "Our current policy deprives the United States of influence in Cuba, including the opportunity to promote principles that advance democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. By restricting the ability of Americans to travel freely to Cuba, we limit contact and communication on the part of families, civil society, and government. Likewise, by restricting the ability of our farmers, ranchers, and businesses to trade with Cuba, the United States has made itself irrelevant in Cuba's growing economy, allowing Cuba to build economic partnerships elsewhere."

Crapo, who has co-sponsored legislation to ease trade and travel restrictions on Cuba, said, "The resignation of Castro was welcome news; Cuba now faces a period of transition that could bode well for its future. Now is the time to look at how to transform the trade policy of the U.S. regarding Cuba. Since 1962, a trade embargo has been in effect, and it has resulted in difficulty and obstacles for U.S. exports. The Administration has an opportunity that has been awaited for many years to take a fresh look at our country's policy toward that nation."