Davis: Trade Embargo With Cuba Won’t Be Lifted Soon
Congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville sees President Obama’s recent visit to Cuba as just the start of what’s needed to improve relations with the island country. The Republican who’s made two visits there himself doesn’t expect a quick vote in Congress to lift the US trade embargo with Cuba.
Instead, he sees action to lift the travel ban with the country, and to end a restriction that requires Cuban credit to purchase American products there. He says Cuba also needs to change some economic principles to build on its relationship with the U.S.
Davis visited the country twice in the last decade, once in 2005, and last October with Demcratic Congresswoman Cheri Bustos.
"What changed the most to me, it seemed to be a willingness by the Cuban government officials to want to change their form of government, that would allow the regular Cuban person to benefit from any more increased trade with America," he said.
The Congressman says the only way to end the Castro regime in Cuba is to begin trading with the country.
Davis says as tourism increases there, Americans will still pay a penalty when exchanging their money for Cuban pesos.
“And that Cuban tourist peso is money that only goes to government-run facilities so the regular Cuban person doesn’t benefit from that," he said. "We trade with other communist countries, but they don’t have dual currencies like Cuba has. And that’s one big step that I hope the president pushed. That’s one big step that I know I pushed when I was there.”
Davis says he’s happy the president is trying to expand trade with Cuba, but says officials there have yet to buy more U.S. products since Obama first announced efforts to renew ties with the country last year. He says they're buying less at this point.