U.S. Rep Kathy Castor will travel to Cuba; supports ending embargo

04/01/13 Janelle Irwin
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Tampa area member of Congress Kathy Castor has come out in support of lifting the longstanding trade embargo with Cuba. In addition, Castor told WMNF Monday she plans to travel to Cuba to talk to their foreign ministry about issues that affect Florida.

“It is very important for the economy of the Tampa Bay area, the entire country and, I think for Cuba that outdated and anachronistic embargo on trade and travel come to an end.”

The United States has imposed an embargo on Cuba since the early 60s. The blockade was codified into law in the 90’s. Officials have upheld the embargo in response to what they consider human rights violations. The Tampa Bay area Democrat said that’s changing.

“The Obama administration is open to improvement with the relationship with Cuba. Secretary of State John Kerry has been very outspoken on the need to improve the relationship and the first step will be taking Cuba off the state sponsor of terrorism list and then, let’s negotiate, let’s sit down. They are improving some of the conditions in Cuba on the ability to own property and buy and sell things – they need to be encouraged to keep that going.”

Castor said she will push leaders in Washington to remove Cuba from the state sponsor of terrorism list as part of a greater goal of lifting the embargo.

“When you have companies trading, when you have Americans traveling and able to go beyond religious exchanges and cultural exchanges into real world communication, I think that will improve the human rights situation.”

Castor said lifting the embargo is a national issue, but it could also benefit the local economy.

“It also has great potential to increase jobs here in the Tampa Bay area and I want this area to be at the forefront of that and grow economically.”

Castor answered questions about Cuba after an unrelated event in Tampa Monday. She added that some of the terms of lifting the embargo could be negotiated.

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