The Obama Administration announced Monday that it will lighten some family travel, remittance and communications restrictions against Cuba.
Though these changes won’t necessarily affect wheat trade or travel by representatives of the wheat industry, they are clearly movements in the right direction and represent meaningful change in U.S. policy with regards to Cuba. The announcement was made as President Barack Obama prepared to visit Mexico and attend the Summit of the Americas this weekend.
According to Dan Restrepo, special assistant to the president and senior White House director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, the recent changes were a “step to extend a hand to the Cuban people”.
“U.S. policy towards Cuba is not frozen in time,” Restrepo said. “These are the steps that the President believes makes sense to advance the cause of freedom in Cuba.”
It is estimated that the Cuban embargo costs the U.S. wheat industry upwards of $40 million in lost sales each year. The wheat industry supports policy changes that would allow producers to tap into this market and help feed the Cuban people.