Former US Officials Urge Easing Embargo on Cuba
May 19, 2014
Excerpts: A group of former high-ranking U.S. officials, business executives and academics called Monday for President Barack Obama to loosen the five-decade embargo on Cuba in order to stimulate the flow of capital and expertise to the island's nascent class of independent entrepreneurs.The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, announced that he would make his first trip to Cuba in 15 years to gauge how the growth of the private business sector could create opportunities for American corporations. ... Advocates of greater engagement with Cuba say that U.S. public opinion increasingly supports weakening the embargo and have been pushing for Obama to open more channels to Cuba before he leaves office. The open letter, meanwhile, asks the president to take a series of executive actions, including allowing legal travel to Cuba by experts who can train Cuban business people in law, real estate and financial services. It also requests Obama to allow U.S. travelers easier access to money in Cuba, along with increasing Americans' ability to send money from the U.S. to support private businesses. It also asks Obama to authorize the sale of telecommunications equipment to Cuba, including cell towers and satellite dishes, and allow telecommunications company officials to conduct business travel to Cuba to sell their products.