The US Congress rejects giving credits to Cuba for the purchase of food

The US Congress rejects giving credits to Cuba for the purchase of food

The United States Congress rejected, this Wednesday, by 260 votes against 163, an amendment presented by Democratic legislator Rashida Tlaib that proposed expanding agricultural trade with Cuba and authorizing deferred payment for one year.

republican congressman Mario Diaz-Balart he celebrated the defeat of the measure and assured that he will not support initiatives that seek to make unilateral concessions to the Cuban government, which he called a “brutal and anti-American regime.” He added that while “hundreds of political prisoners remain imprisoned, we cannot lessen the pressure on a regime that uses its income to further oppress the Cuban people.”

Last Tuesday, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representatives published a release where he explained amendment 137, whose objective was to facilitate the export of food and agricultural products to the Island.

In the brief, Congressmen Gregory Meeks and Jim McGovern endorsed the amendment. “This common sense legislation, which has been supported on both sides and by farm groups across the country for more than a decade, would create thousands of farm jobs in America while providing desperately needed food to less cost to the Cuban people”.

Republican congressman Mario Díaz-Balart celebrated the defeat of the measure and assured that he will not support initiatives that seek to make unilateral concessions to the Cuban government, which he called a “brutal and anti-American regime.”

Both legislators argued that the economic crisis facing the Island is what forces thousands of Cubans to stand in line for food and leave for the southern border of the United States. “This amendment would help ease the economic burden by suspending US agricultural export regulations and extending credit to Cuban food buyers for one year.”

However, they did not explain that the US embargo on Cuba has exemptions for the purchase of food products and medicines. Among the demands is that of paying in cash and in advance, an anomaly in the international context, but which has not prevented tons of food from arriving on the island monthly.

In 2021, the US Department of Agriculture indicated that his country doubled its chicken exports to Cuba, which amounted to 253 million dollars.

Last April, a group of US farmers participated in the III Agricultural Conference in Havana, where they discussed the possibility of increasing trade and sell, in addition to chicken, wheat, corn, beans, milk and beerbut claimed that the embargo was an obstacle.

After the conference, the Cuban side demanded the right to export to raise money and buy other products that cannot be produced on the island. “We don’t want them to give us anything. We want the possibility of selling and buying,” said cooperative member Abelardo Alvarez.

According to data from the United States Congressional Research Service, before 1959 Cuba was the ninth country in the export market for agricultural products from the United States, while today it is below 50th. In addition, the island also sold products to its northern neighbor.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture of the USA maintains that, without the embargo, the exchanges would be around 1,000 million dollars annually, compared to the current 250 million.

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