In Michigan: Wayne County Commission calls for renewed U.S. relationship with Cuba

Apr 13, 2021 by

Wayne County Commissioners today called on the Biden Administration to reestablish relations with Cuba, a priority of the Obama Administration that was abandoned over the past four years.

“After an embargo of more than 50 years, the U.S. and Cuba reached a breakthrough agreement in 2014 that would have benefited people in both nations,” said commission Chair Alisha Bell, who proposed the resolution.

Three years later, the resolution notes, those efforts were halted when the incoming Trump Administration reinstated a travel and commercial ban on Cuba and significantly downsized U.S. Embassy staff.

Since then, the resolution also notes, Cuba has adopted a new constitution, demonstrating a commitment to progressive reform.

Reestablishing relations would not only provide new trade opportunities benefiting Michigan and the U.S. but also reopen dialogue on improving human rights.

The resolution is being sent to the Biden Administration as well as members of Michigan’s Congressional delegation.

RESOLUTION No. 2021

By Commissioner Bell

WHEREAS, for decades the United States imposed strict sanctions and trade embargos on Cuba after the Cuban Revolution beginning in 1962, and notwithstanding a volatile history, the U.S. vowed to ease longstanding restrictions imposed on the nation in 2009; and

WHEREAS, on December 17, 2014, President Barack Obama and Cuba’s Raul Castro declared plans to restore full diplomatic relations between the nations following intervention from Pope Francis; and

WHEREAS, despite some progress toward stabilizing relations with Cuba, these efforts were frustrated when the Trump Administration reinstated travel and business restrictions against Cuba on June 16, 2017, effectively impacting educational, commercial, and recreational travel between the United States and Cuba. The U.S. Embassy staff in Havana, Cuba, was significantly downsized the same year; while later the United States redesignated Cuba as a Sponsor of Terrorism, further impairing United States and Cuban relations; and

WHEREAS, in 2019, a new Cuban Constitution took effect evidencing the island nation’s intention to bring about progressive political reform; and the eradication of its antiquated dual-currency system in January 2021 demonstrating its commitment to impactful change; and

WHEREAS, ending the U.S. embargo would enable not only renewed diplomatic relations allowing for a dialogue on human rights, direct travel for the citizens of both countries, and direct mail services, but also a significant expansion of international trade; and

WHEREAS, United States Congressmen and women have urged President Joe Biden to implement friendlier trade policies that would reinforce the U.S. commitment to assist Cuba as it becomes a more economically independent, human rights-oriented and politically liberated society; and

WHEREAS, Cuba, the United States and Michigan can benefit tremendously from the normalization of relations between the countries, especially in the areas of food production, education, healthcare, tourism, the arts, and biotechnological and medical research. Increased trade opportunities would benefit Michigan’s automobile and agricultural industries, imports and exports. Improved travel and cultural opportunities and further social collaboration would facilitate goodwill and help restore diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.

Now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Wayne County Commission on this 13th day of April, 2021 does hereby encourage President Joe Biden to reengage Cuba to facilitate a renewed, cooperative relationship between the United States and Cuba and to reestablish diplomatic staffing in the U.S. Embassy in Havana as well as the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C.; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Wayne County Commission strongly urges President Biden and the U.S. Congress to relax travel restrictions and to rescind all economic, commercial and financial sanctions, restrictions and regulations against Cuba; and be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the President of the United States, members of the Michigan U.S. House delegation, members of the Michigan U.S. Senate delegation, and the Wayne County delegation in the Michigan Legislature.

 

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