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senate Bill S. 491

Should There Be Trade Between the U.S. and Cuba?

Argument in favor

The trade embargo against Cuba hasn’t been effective at forcing the communist country to change its regime and embrace democracy. Opening up trade between the U.S. and Cuba would help them recognize their need to reform.

DonaldTrump's Opinion
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11/12/2015
"I think it's fine. I think it's fine, but we should have made a better deal. The concept of opening with Cuba is fine." [cnn.com]
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Tafinzer's Opinion
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03/09/2017
This bill should be brought back before Congress and voted on. Cuba is a communist nation free-trade would be a good step towards helping an oppressed people and perhaps opening capitalist opportunity.
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AndrewGVN's Opinion
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11/03/2015
The US should attempt to have a positive relation with Cuba, and this is one way of doing so.
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Argument opposed

Cuba is still one of the most repressive countries on the planet, and while opening up trade ties between the U.S. and Cuba might benefit the Cuban people in the short-term — it could allow the Castro regime to retain power.

Loraki's Opinion
···
11/14/2015
While it MIGHT help the oppressed people of Cuba, it would UNDOUBTEDLY help their Communist masters. I'm against any measures that would bolster the power of such a regime. I VOTE NAY!
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Jeannette 's Opinion
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04/13/2017
I was against Bill Clinton opening trade with China. Any country that oppresses their people should not be embraced. However opening the China door is another example of the Democrats embracing communist. I hope it's noted that the right stands on the side of shutting these doors until their leaders recognize humanitarian practices being applied. Communist country's benefits mainly those in control. We've seen a slight benefit of citizens (illusion), increases the workforce increasing the coffer of their government (reality). It's not really a wonder to why democrats admire the communist, they've embraced the total authority over all. The people that follow self have a consciousness of rising up to a "god" stature. Drunk on the illusion of power.
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Bob's Opinion
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04/13/2017
Continue the trade embargo until Cuba releases all political prisoners and has an open free election. Another requirement is freedom of religion and release of all ladies in white. Citizens rights must be restored and governmental power be restricted.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
    IntroducedFebruary 12th, 2015

What is Senate Bill S. 491?

This bill would repeal or amend current laws that restrict trade with Cuba. Specifically, it would eliminate the ban on assistance to Cuba, and the President’s authority for the embargo on Cuba under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

The President’s authority to continue direct restrictions on trade with Cuba under the Trading with the Enemy Act would be eliminated, and all associated regulations are eliminated.

The Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 would be amended to eliminate:

  • Presidential authority to impose sanctions against Cuban trading partners;

  • Restrictions on transactions between U.S.-owned or controlled firms and Cuba;

  • Limitations on direct shipping between Cuban and U.S. ports;

  • Restrictions on remittances (i.e. sending money from the U.S. to Cuba).

The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 would be amended to eliminate:

  • The enforcement of an economic embargo of Cuban provisions;

  • The Prohibition on indirect financing of Cuba.

The Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 would be amended to:

  • Remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism subject to agricultural and medical export restrictions.

  • Repeal the prohibition on Cuban-made goods entering the U.S., goods made in part in Cuba, and goods that were transported through Cuba.

Impact

Americans and Cubans, businesses that would trade between the two countries, Congress, the President.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 491

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: As a cosponsor of this legislation, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wants to “unleash a trade tsunami that washes the Castros once and for all into the sea,” and he believes that:

“The 50-year embargo just hasn’t worked. If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn’t seem to be working, and probably, it punishes the people more than the regime because the regime can blame the embargo for the hardship.”

This comment inspired a dismissive comment from fellow Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who said that after the U.S. normalized relations with Cuba: “All that’s going to change here is that there’s going to be more money going into Cuba… and what that means is they’re now going to be able to solidify themselves in power.”

Freedom House’s 2015 ‘Freedom in the World’ report gave Cuba the lowest possible rating for political rights, a half a notch above the bottom for overall freedom, and one notch above the lowest possible rating for civil liberties.


Of Note: Following the Cuban Revolution that saw Fidel Castro establish a communist regime in Cuba, relations deteriorated between the U.S. and Cuba. In 1960, two years after Castro’s revolution succeeded, the U.S. banned all exports into Cuba aside from food and medicine. The failed Bay of Pigs operation and the Cuban Missile Crisis over the next two years exacerbated the tensions, which led to the enactment of a ban on all imports from Cuba.

In December 2014, the U.S. and Cuba formally restored full diplomatic relations -- though it has not yet led to the re-opening of embassies in each country.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user dayblakelydonaldson)

AKA

Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2015

Official Title

A bill to lift the trade embargo on Cuba.

    "I think it's fine. I think it's fine, but we should have made a better deal. The concept of opening with Cuba is fine." [cnn.com]
    Like (82)
    Follow
    Share
    While it MIGHT help the oppressed people of Cuba, it would UNDOUBTEDLY help their Communist masters. I'm against any measures that would bolster the power of such a regime. I VOTE NAY!
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill should be brought back before Congress and voted on. Cuba is a communist nation free-trade would be a good step towards helping an oppressed people and perhaps opening capitalist opportunity.
    Like (37)
    Follow
    Share
    The US should attempt to have a positive relation with Cuba, and this is one way of doing so.
    Like (18)
    Follow
    Share
    Duh. The trade embargo against Cuba has been ineffective. Opening up trade could lead to a situation where Cuba opens up to democracy.
    Like (12)
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    It's in the best interest of both nations for trade to be reintroduced.
    Like (6)
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    I was against Bill Clinton opening trade with China. Any country that oppresses their people should not be embraced. However opening the China door is another example of the Democrats embracing communist. I hope it's noted that the right stands on the side of shutting these doors until their leaders recognize humanitarian practices being applied. Communist country's benefits mainly those in control. We've seen a slight benefit of citizens (illusion), increases the workforce increasing the coffer of their government (reality). It's not really a wonder to why democrats admire the communist, they've embraced the total authority over all. The people that follow self have a consciousness of rising up to a "god" stature. Drunk on the illusion of power.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    It's time to move on, the Cold War should be over, but Cuba's people have remained isolated and economically harmed, the policy of the past 50 years is no longer right, it's wrong! We live in a different world, Cuba is not a threat to democracy, it's time to move forward, and still trying to punish Cuba because of the Castro brothers who are no longer a military threat to the US is ridiculous! We have more serious enemies to be dealing with, and Cuba is not on that list!
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    It is ridiculous that we still have this cold war relic. Cuba is changing and this will further open it up to todays world
    Like (6)
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    Continue the trade embargo until Cuba releases all political prisoners and has an open free election. Another requirement is freedom of religion and release of all ladies in white. Citizens rights must be restored and governmental power be restricted.
    Like (6)
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    We should have been trading with Cuba for decades. The Cuban policy was one of the dumbest things this country ever did. Cuba is no more oppressive than China and we have been trading with them for more than 40 years.
    Like (5)
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    America's greatest influence lyes in trading. Through these avenues freedom, liberty, individual rights and ultimately political doctrine will be traded... not just cigars, rice and corn.
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    The Cuban people need help and I have no problem with Christian charities taking action to do so. BUT as far as the taxpayers are concerned, until the Communists are eliminated, there's no way we should be doing ANY business with this sick and twisted regime.
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    No trade until Cuba gives up citizen suppression. Cuba could be a valuable trading parter if they turned to capitalism.
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    Absolutely not anything that goes there will only benefit the communist masters and not the people.
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    The free market is one of the best tools for opening a country to trade, travel, and other cultures. So-called conservatives claim to believe this, yet have a blind spot when it comes to Cuba for some reason. Second, I thought we lived in the bestest, freest nation on earth, yet we have allowed our government to restrict us from visiting other countries? How is this truly 'free'?
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    Demonstrating the products available in a free market would be a potent way of promoting change in Cuba.
    Like (4)
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    The U.S. doesn't need to endorse a communist economy.
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    Human dignity and rights trump their own governments evil behaviors! Protect the citizens first! Punish the evil government into treating their populations effectively decently!!!
    Like (3)
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    Yes.
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