U.S. Chamber President Says Cuba Restrictions Must End

Wednesday, June 14, 2000 - 8:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. –United States Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue today reiterated his call for Congress to end the restrictions on the sale of food and medicine to Cuba as part of a wider effort to curtail America's use of unilateral sanctions in foreign policy.

"First, unilateral sanctions don't work," Donohue said. "They make martyrs out of the target, and they make America look bad. It's time to stop shooting ourselves in the foot."

Noting the Chamber-supported congressional efforts to end the restrictions on food and medicine sales to Cuba, he said, "Using food and medicine as a weapon is immoral, plain and simple. America is better than that."

Donohue pointed out, "Thirty-eight years of a failed policy doesn't justify 39. The Chamber supports ending the Cuban embargo. We now trade with Russia, China, and Vietnam. Why would we continue an embargo of a nation 90 miles off our coast?"

Donohue led an historic trip to Havana in July, where he met with dissidents and members of the small but growing private sector, as well as government officials including Fidel Castro. He also delivered an historic speech at Havana University that was broadcast live across Cuba.

Since then, the Chamber has pursued a number of initiatives including a recent agreement to broker a dialogue between American companies and the Cuban government over compensation for confiscated assets and a deal to sponsor a September trip to the U.S. for members of the Cuban private sector.

The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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