Tide is turning toward lifting Cuban trade embargo

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) filed the Cuba Trade Act of 2015 on Tuesday, a bill that seeks to remove the long-standing barriers on trade with Cuba for American businesses and individuals.

Emmer said his recent trip to Cuba inspired him to introduce the bill, which would reverse the 55-year embargo on Cuba.

“Rep. Emmer has shown foresight and reason in his introduction of the new trade legislation in the House,” Mavis Anderson, senior associate at the Latin American Working Group, said. “The ground is shifting under traditional supporters of the embargo on Cuba; it is becoming truly a bipartisan issue, with Republicans taking the lead in both the House and Senate.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) recently introduced the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced the Cuba Trade Act of 2015, which also proposes ending the embargo. The Cuba Trade Act of 2015 was co-sponsored by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL).

These GOP-led initiatives are reflective of the overall public opinion. A recent Pew Research Center study showed that 72 percent of Americans favor ending the trade embargo against Cuba.

“The American people’s support for a new policy toward Cuba is undeniable," Anderson said. "Our policymakers need to catch up to their constituents."

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