Klobuchar aims to export to Cuba

by Keelia Moeller

There has been, and still is, a great deal of political tension between the United States and Cuba. It wasnâÄôt until December 17, 2014, that the two countries reopened diplomatic relations with each other. Cuba is roughly 90 miles off the shores of the U.S., making it a seemingly convenient location for trade and commerce. And yet, for more than 50 years, the U.S. has maintained a trade embargo against Cuba. In response to this issue, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has developed a bipartisan bill âÄî the Freedom to Export to Cuba Act âÄî that would allow the United States and Cuba to do business with each other. Minnesota and Cuba have already proven they can have a successful business relationship with each other. In 2013, the embargoâÄôs humanitarian exception allowed Minnesota to export about $20 million in agricultural products to Cuba. In essence, we already do business in Cuba. KlobucharâÄôs proposal plans to lift the embargo, lessen trade and travel restrictions, and enable Cubans to obtain food and other goods that Americans donâÄôt think twice about having. However, the U.S. and Cuba still have many obstacles to overcome, including different views on human rights and freedom of speech. Cuba also has a communist government, a form of leadership that I personally can neither endorse nor explain. Some people worry that, by opening up trade with Cuba, the U.S. would be endorsing or encouraging its communist regime. This way of thinking, however, is entirely warped. It is possible to coexist with countries that are different from us. Opening up trade with Cuba could make our economy thrive. The way things are now has not proven successful, and I believe KlobucharâÄôs legislation is a step in the right direction for both the United States and Cuba.