President Barack Obama announced yesterday that the U.S. would normalize relations with Cuba after about a year of secret negotiations involving Canada and Pope Francis. On hearing the news, my first thought was that when the Soviet Union collapsed, I would never have believed it would be another 23 years before this happened. My second thought was that expanded trade with Cuba would help Iowa’s economy. Matt Milner reported for the Ottumwa Courier that agricultural groups are bullish on the news. I’ve posted excerpts from his story after the jump. Key point:
A paper written in 2003 for Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, shortly after some restrictions were lifted, said Iowa could benefit more from increased Cuban trade than any other state aside from Arkansas and California.
I was surprised not to see more reaction to yesterday’s news from members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation. I know everyone’s gone home for the Christmas recess, but still–big news. I will update this post as needed.
Several possible presidential candidates commented on the new U.S. approach to Cuba. Senator Rand Paul was supportive, saying Obama’s decision was a “good idea” since the American embargo against Cuba “just hasn’t worked.” Republicans who bashed the president on this issue included former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has advocated normal relations with Cuba for some time.
UPDATE: Bleeding Heartland user cocinero posted Senator Chuck Grassley’s reaction in the comments.Continue Reading...