News Local/State

Davis Says Trade With Cuba Could Help Overthrow Castro Regime


Last week’s news that the United States and Cuba would soon be opening embassies in each other’s capitals was criticized by many Republicans in Congress, with many vowing to block any ambassador to Cuba that the Obama administration might nominate. But Republican Congressman Rodney Davis of Illinois is among a small number in the GOP congressional delegation that supports the move.

Still, the 13th District congressman from Taylorville says he understands the opposition to reestablishing diplomatic ties with Cuba, especially coming from Cuban-Americans in Congress like Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida).

“A lot of my colleagues’ families were affected by the Cuban revolution”, said Davis, last Thursday, July 2nd, as he finished a tour of the AgReliant biotech research facility outside Champaign. “And I’ve got to respect the personal issues they may have with the Castro regime. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not in favor of opening our ability to trade ag products with the Cuban people. And again, we have the same goal.”

That goal, says Davis, is the overthrow of the Castro regime. He says expanding trade between the US and Cuba --- currently allowed only under heavy restrictions --- will show the Cuban people the economic advantages they’ve been missing and weaken the Castros’ hold on power, referring to former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and his brother, the current president, Raoul Castro.

“The policies that have been in place, the embargo for 54 years, is used by the Castro regime, to blame every ill in Cuban society on America”, said Davis. “Well, let’s open up trade, take that away from the Castros’, and I think you’ll see the Castros’ pushed out of power much more quickly than they would be, continuing the failed policies of the last 54 years.”

This is not the first time that Davis has spoken in support of renewing diplomatic ties with Cuba. When the Obama administration announced plans to normalize relations with Cuba last December, Davis said that he hoped it would lead to an expansion of agricultural trade between that country and Illinois.

“I think normalized trade relations is the best way to changes the system of government in Cuba that has oppressed its citizens and restricted freedoms.”, Davis told the Champaign News-Gazette at the time.