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Texas Agriculture Could Benefit From Resumed Diplomatic Relations With Cuba

Texas farmers already trade with Cuba, but the formal restoration of diplomatic relations could translate to increased sales.

 

Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Havana over the summer to raise the American flag over the embassy.

Cynthia Thomas has traveled with trade delegations to Cuba 38 times over the years.

“It means that we’re moving towards the end of a 50-plus-year embargo that pretty much isolated the U.S., rather than Cuba, from the rest of the world. Texas has sold, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of product to Cuba, and we look forward to doing that in the future,” said Cynthia Thomas, president of the Texas Cuba Trade Alliance.

President Obama is calling on Congress to lift the U.S. embargo on Cuba.

“What’s been missing in the past is top levels of government to deal with problems that arise, and it’s thrown it back to the business sector to sort of struggle through those things,” said Parr Rosson, with the AgriLife Extension Service at Texas A&M.

Gene Hall with the Texas Farm Bureau says the thawing or relations is a positive thing for Texas agriculture.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense to single Cuba out, even though they still have a lot of problems. Our position has always been that Cubans being able to buy our agricultural products that they want, that’s one of the best ways to move Cuba in the right direction on some of these problem issues.”

Cuban President Raul Castro says he’s encouraged, but still demands an end to the U.S. embargo, the return of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo and a halt to U.S. radio and TV broadcasts aimed at the island.

 

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