WASHINGTON -- Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced a bill that would
lift the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.
Paul's bill comes days after the House approved an amendment to
a Treasury appropriations bill that would allow unrestricted travel
to Cuba. The Treasury bill is headed for a vote in the Senate.
Paul said it was time to end the U.S. trade sanctions against
"I oppose economic sanctions for two very simple reasons," said
Paul, a member of the House Banking and Financial Services
Committee, as he introduced the bill (H.R. 2662).
"First, they don't work as effectively as foreign policy.
Second, sanctions simply hurt American industries, particularly
agriculture. Every market we close to our nation's farmers is a
market exploited by foreign farmers."
Paul said the legislature in his state had adopted a resolution
calling for the end to economic sanctions against Cuba. The
legislature stressed that Cuba could purchase agricultural and
high-tech products from Texas.
"I only wish Congress understood the simple wisdom expressed [by
the Texas Legislature] so that we could end the harmful and
ineffective trade sanctions that serve no national purpose," Paul
The question of normalizing trade and travel to Cuba has proven
to be a contentious issue on Capitol Hill.
Last year, the House passed a provision that would have opened
travel to Cuba, but it was later defeated in the Senate.
In January, Sen. Byron Dorgan, (D-N.D.), a member of the Senate
Commerce Committee, introduced a bill (S. 171) that would allow
tourist travel to Cuba and ease other trade sanctions.
A month later, the U.S.-Cuba Trade Act of 2001, which would
normalize U.S. relations with Cuba, was introduced separately in
the Senate and the House. There has been no action on either of
Opponents, who include Cuban exiles, argue tourism would pour
money into Cuba and prop up President Fidel Castro's communist
But Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of the House immigration
and claims subcommittee, disagrees.
Flake sponsored the Treasury bill (H.R. 2590) amendment approved
by the House.
"By voting to end the travel ban to Cuba, we have voted to more
openly expose the mess Castro has made of Cuba," Flake said.