Growing support among the Republican Party to end the Cuban embargo

Posted: 07-Aug-15 10:07

Although the re-establishment of diplomatic bonds between the US and Cuba has been traditionally criticised by Republicans, the filing of a bill by GOP House member to eliminate the 50-year long embargo, reflects a clear change of heart among the party.

Growing support among the Republican Party to end the Cuban embargo

After more than half a century of hostility and estrangement, President Obama promoted the normalisation of diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Cuba. That's old news though as it happened more than half a year ago but its ramifications still give a lot of talk among politicians and presidents all over the world and amongst the average American and Cuban citizens. At the time Obama's announcement was made in December 2014, the GOP’s response generally remained sceptical. Nevertheless, the idea of free travel and trade with Cuba has since been gaining popularity among the American people of all political parties.

House Republican, Tom Emmer of Minnesota proved just that, by introducing the Cuba Trade Act of 2015, a legislation that would lift the economic US embargo on Cuba. Emmer declared to USA Today:

“I understand there's a lot of pain on both sides of this issue that goes back many decades; but I believe this is in the best interests of the Cuban people. This isn't about the Cuban government — it's about people on the street looking for more opportunity and to improve their quality of life.”

It is no surprise that representatives of the GOP in Congress are progressively less keen on maintaining this evasion policy due to two main reasons. In first place, prohibiting American citizens to travel to the country is a violation of their liberty. In second place, the hundreds of millions spent over the years on enforcing the various mandates of the embargo have not yet been effective.

The matter of human rights in Cuba, another one of Republicans’ main arguments for keeping the embargo, is no longer a strong point as most dissident groups, including Amnesty International and Rights Watch, have declared themselves in favour of the re-engagement.

Economically-speaking, business and agricultural associations are also ready to start what they believe will be very profitable commerce with the island. Lastly, the electoral support of pro-embargo Cuban Americans in Florida, politicians’ biggest reason for holding on to the old policy has also shifted, as recent polls disclose that most of them now support the idea of normalisation between the two countries.

The Cuba Trade Act of 2015 is not the only initiative shown by the GOP. This attempt follows several others, including the Republican-sponsored legislation to expand exports from telecommunications to agriculture and the 18-12 voting session favourable to lift the travel ban to the island.


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