A Democratic congresswoman in Tampa, Fl. has joined a growing list of calls for the lifting of the half-century-old trade and economic embargo against Cuba.
After returning from a fact-find trip to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island over the weekend, Congresswoman Kathy Castor, said “it’s time to try something new.
“Cuba is changing,” said Castor at the conclusion of her the four-day visit.
“They have embarked on economic reforms that the United States of America should promote,” she added. “The United States of America now should normalize relations and begin a constructive dialogue with the island-nation.”
Castor noted that former Cuban leader Fidel Castro is no longer in power, describing his brother successor Raul Castro as “a much more practical ruler.”
In addition, she said a generational change is underway in Cuba’s government.
“They are still a hard-core communist nation, but they are embarking on market reforms in their economy that deserve encouragement,” said Castor, who traveled with members of her staff and representatives of the nonprofit, non-partisan, Washington-based Center for Democracy in the Americas.
As a result of her trip, Castor said she plans to reach out to President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “to open talks to lead to greater trade and travel opportunities.”
“This should not be done with blinders on, however,” she warned. “There are still very significant human rights challenges in Cuba.
“It is still, to many extents, a repressive regime that does not allow citizens to enjoy all of the human rights that we all enjoy,” she added.
“But after 50 years of an embargo and isolation that’s proved that it hasn’t worked, it’s time to try something new and refresh our relationship,” Castor continued.
Over the years, Caribbean governments have voted with the United Nations in calling for an end to the embargo against Cuba, describing it as “outdated.”