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Public Statements

Harmful and Counterproductive United States Embargo on Cuba

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


HARMFUL AND COUNTERPRODUCTIVE UNITED STATES EMBARGO ON CUBA -- (Extensions of Remarks - February 02, 2005)

SPEECH OF
HON. RON PAUL
OF TEXAS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2005

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise again this Congress to introduce a bill to lift the harmful and counterproductive United States Embargo on Cuba.

On June 29, 2001, the Texas State legislature adopted a resolution calling for an end to U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba. Lawmakers emphasized the failure of sanctions to remove Castro from power, and the unwillingness of other nations to respect the embargo. One Texas Representative stated: "We have a lot of rice and agricultural products, as well as high-tech products, that would be much cheaper for Cuba to purchase from Texas. All that could come through the ports of Houston and Corpus Christi." I wholeheartedly support this resolution, and I have introduced similar Federal legislation in past years to lift all trade, travel, and telecommunications restrictions with Cuba. I only wish Congress understood the simple wisdom expressed in Austin; so that we could end the harmful and ineffective trade sanctions that serve no national purpose.

I oppose economic sanctions for two very simple reasons. First, they don't work as effective foreign policy. Time after time, we have failed to unseat despotic leaders by refusing to trade with the people of those nations. If anything, the anti-American sentiment aroused by sanctions often strengthens the popularity of such leaders, who use America as a convenient scapegoat to divert attention from their own tyranny. So while sanctions may serve our patriotic fervor, they mostly harm innocent citizens and do nothing to displace the governments we claim as enemies.

Second, sanctions hurt American industries, particularly agriculture. Sanctions destroy American jobs. Every market we close to our Nation's farmers is a market exploited by foreign farmers. China, Russia, the Middle East, North Korea, and Cuba all represent huge markets for our farm products, yet many in Congress favor current or proposed trade restrictions that prevent our farmers from selling to the billions of people in these countries. Given our status as one of the world's largest agricultural producers, why would we ever choose to restrict our exports? The only beneficiaries of our sanctions policies are our foreign competitors.

I certainly understand the emotional feelings many Americans have toward nations such as Cuba. Yet we must not let our emotions overwhelm our judgment in foreign policy matters, because ultimately human lives are at stake. Economic common sense, self-interested foreign policy goals, and humanitarian ideals all point to the same conclusion: Congress should work to end economic sanctions against all nations immediately.

The legislation I introduce today is representative of true free trade in that while it opens trade, it prohibits the U.S. Taxpayer from being compelled to subsidize the United States government, the Cuban government or individuals or entities that choose to trade with Cuban citizens.

http://thomas.loc.gov

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