A coalition of the Democratic and Republican parties of the United States launched the Kentucky-Engage State Council of Cuba to promote policies of rapprochement between that US territory and the Caribbean island.
The group is made up of political and business leaders and headed by state agriculture commissioner Ryan Quarles and Blue Equity executive director Jonathan Blue.
According to the members of the Council the economic, commercial and financial siege affects the companies and farmers of the territory, and the Cuban people.
The Council objective is to lift up economic and commercial barriers imposed by U.S government in order to boost exports of the main job-creating industries in Kentucky, including agriculture and manufacturing.
The group, which honorary presidents are congressmen James Comer and Jon Yarmuth, includes members of the state government, and representatives of agriculture, education and the business sector.
Comer supports the elimination of restrictions because Cuba needs to import some of the state’s major products such as soybeans and poultry and the United States could have better access to products such as coffee and tropical fruits from the Caribbean country.
Regarding this initiative, the president of Engage Cuba, James Williams, said that they are very happy to have a diverse list of dynamic and committed inhabitants of Kentucky, that is now the 17th state in joining the coalition.
“State lawmakers such as senator Rand Paul and congressmen Comer and Thomas Massie have been leaders in the work to promote rapprochement with Cuba by promoting bills related to travel and commerce”, he said.
Arkansas leaders have become also activists against the hardening of U.S policy towards Cuba.
The president of the Arkansas Bureau of Agriculture, Randy Veach, said today that the United States should do more to promote agricultural exports to Cuba and that President Donald Trump’s decision to reverse progress made in moving closer to the Caribbean island was a step in the wrong direction.
Veach assured that the Arkansas Agriculture Bureau has fought for a normalized trade with the neighbor countries, and was fortunate to be part of the delegation that visited Cuba in 2015, led by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
He pointed that the United States is the only country in the world that imposes economic, commercial and financial restrictions on Cuba, so that the Island buys products from other suppliers, but at an additional cost due to distance and time required for shipment.
The Arkansas Agriculture Bureau intends to bring a delegation of Cuban trade officials to the state, so they can see its high-quality and affordable products.
As restrictions between the two countries become more standardized, we want Cubans to think first about Arkansas agricultural commodities, he said.
In Veach´s opinion not everything is lost on the front of the exchange with the largest of the West Indies, and he mentioned the Law of Agricultural Exports of Cuba, proposed by Republican congressman Rick Crawford to allow agricultural products to be traded more freely.
He also talked about a bipartisan bill called the Agricultural Expansion Law to lift restrictions on private funding, promoted by senator John Boozman.
Recently, Rick Crawford, Tom Emmer and the Democratic representatives Kathy Castor and Barbara Lee along with a dozen of their colleagues from the Cuba Working Group, sent a letter to Trump asking for continued normalization of trade relations .