Tags: Cuba | Cuba Lobby | backlash

Cuba Lobby Decried: 5 Examples of Backlash in Washington

By    |   Monday, 23 Nov 2015 04:39 PM

For years, the opinion of what's called the Cuba Lobby heavily influenced United States policy toward Cuba and the regime of Cuban President Fidel Castro. This loosely connected group of people included Cuban exiles, their children, and others who opposed Castro's policies and wanted the U.S. to demand the Cuban leader change his ways. Many held influential positions in government, business, and advocacy groups.

This position kept in place for more than 50 years an embargo that limited travel, trade, and relations between the two countries. However, not all share the Cuba Lobby's views, and some are ready to step up and push for change. Recent years have brought several examples of lawmakers and others in Washington, D.C., pushing back against the lobby's stance.

Vote Now: Should the US End the Embargo Against Cuba?

1. Agricultural Companies Demanding Trade With Cuba
As reported by Politico, several agricultural groups launched an initiative in January 2015 to convince Congress to lift the 55-year embargo against trade between the U.S. and Cuba. U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba called the change necessary to enable these groups to thrive in the untapped market of Cuba. "It's going to take an act of Congress to get to a point to where we can compete," said Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Cargill's vice president of corporate affairs and chair of the newly formed U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba.

2. Introduction of Laws Easing Restrictions
Also in 2015, Politico reported that Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced a bill that would allow travel between the U.S. and Cuba, something restricted by the embargo. Seven other senators, both Republican and Democrat, joined him.

3. Criticism From Other Politicians
The Cuba Lobby's waning influence started several years ago. In 2000, Representative Jim McDermott, (D-Wash.) blasted them for their response to 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez being rescued from the ocean near Florida during an attempt to flee to the U.S. Some thought he should be returned to his father in Cuba, while others wanted to give him refugee status in America. "They showed what they were really all about," McDermott told The New York Times. "They were ready to sacrifice one of their own kids, and they didn't really care about separating him from his father.''

4. Restoration of Relations Between the U.S. and Cuba
In 2014 and 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama announced several steps to normalize relations between the two countries. This included beginning negotiations with Cuba and removing the country from the U.S. government's list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

Tell Us: What Do You Think About the US Trade Embargo Against Cuba?

5. Formation of Lobbying Groups Pushing for Restored Relations With Cuba
Big business is beginning to realize Cuba offers a potential goldmine in profits. A handful of companies have done business in the country in recent years, prompting others to push for the U.S. government to allow trade between the two countries.

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For years, the opinion of what's called the Cuba Lobby heavily influenced United States policy toward Cuba and the regime of Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Cuba Lobby, backlash
Monday, 23 Nov 2015 04:39 PM
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