Tuesday AM March 2nd, 2010

Legislation that would boost U.S. exports to Cuba and lift the ban on travel to Cuba has been introduced in Congress. Ed Mayberry reports.

US and Cuba flagsWith farm incomes drastically down last year, the Peterson-Moran proposal has been introduced by some 30 House members to increase demand in and access to a market just 90 miles off the Florida coast.  Anti-Castro Cuban-Americans in Miami have influenced U.S. policy towards Cuba, but Fidel Castro's brother Raul is now in charge.  Anya Landau-French is director of the US-Cuba Policy Initiative for the New American Foundation. 

"The Cold War has been over for quite some time, and so we'd really like to see a U.S. approach that is more focused on what's right for America right now.  Because it would really demonstrate that the United States is reassessing, and not just conducting its foreign and economic policy based on the narrow interests of a small domestic group, but rather on our broader national interests."

Legislation by House Agricultural Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and Representative Jerry Moran would clarify the rules by which Cuba will have to pay cash in advance for agricultural exports, including authorizing direct payments to sellers.

"Cuba is beginning to turn more toward partners who will give them credit, and away from American exporters who cannot, because the law prohibits giving credit to Cuba.  Chairman Peterson and Representative Moran and a number of other members are pressing to lift restrictions on agricultural exports and travel to Cuba, reasoning that both of those will make it easier to get the transactions done and will generate more revenue for American exporters."

Cuba is the only country in the world to which the U.S. government systematically bans and regulates its citizens' travel.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...