Skip to comments.US Official Strongly Endorses Cuban Trade Embargo
Posted on 03/13/2002 12:21:55 PM PST by Tumbleweed_Connection
In his first speech since joining the State Department in January, Assistant Secretary of State Otto Reich said Tuesday that the Cuban economic embargo will remain in effect under the Bush administration.
"We are not going to help Fidel Castro stay in power by opening up our markets to Cuba," said Reich during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a private research group based in Washington.
Reich also vowed that the administration will resist congressional pressure for closer ties to Cuba because the Castro government is "murderous and dictatorial."
The United States can speed a democratic transition to Cuba by "not throwing a lifeline to a failed, corrupt, dictatorial, murderous regime," Reich said.
Meanwhile, Dagoberto Rodriguez, head of the Cuban Interest Section in Washington told Granma, the official newspaper of the Castro government, that the United States economy is missing the opportunity to export more than $1 billion dollars worth in agricultural products to Cuba because of what the "U.S. blockade."
Rodriguez noted that U.S. lawmakers, business groups and academics advocate lifting the trade barriers.
Rodriguez also indicated, according to the Granma, that without the existence of those economic barriers, U.S. investment in Cuba could amount to all of Cuba's current total foreign capital. Right now, he said, there are some 400 companies established in Cuba, mostly from Canada, Mexico and Spain.
Both Reich's and Rodriguez' comments came after it was announced this week that Cuba will buy apples and dried peas from various companies located in the state of Washington.
The U.S.-Cuba Economic Trade Council said in its weekly newsletter that Alimport, Cuba's official agency for buying food, will purchase around 1,000 metric tons of apples and 20,000 metric tons of dried peas with a combined market value of $4.5 million U.S. dollars. All sales with Cuba, by law, are on a cash-and-carry basis.
President Bush has repeatedly said he will not lift the economic embargo against Cuba until Castro frees all political prisoners and allows free and fair elections.
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