Arkansas lawmakers criticize Trump shifting Cuba policy - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Arkansas lawmakers criticize Trump shifting Cuba policy

(Source: AP Graphics Bank) (Source: AP Graphics Bank)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Members of Arkansas' congressional delegation are criticizing President Donald Trump's decision to restore some travel and economic restrictions on Cuba that were lifted as part of the Obama administration's historic easing.
    
Republican Rep. Rick Crawford on Friday said the move reinstates a "failed, outdated and isolationist" posture toward Cuba, while Republican Sen. John Boozman said the plan was a step backward. Trump announced he was reinstating the requirement that "people-to-people" travelers can only come to Cuba with heavily regulated tour groups, and will re-impose some trade restrictions.
    
Crawford and Boozman have been pushing for easing trade restrictions with Cuba, and have said the move would help Arkansas farmers by opening up a new market.

Below is Republican Rep. Rick Crawford's full statement:

“I strongly oppose President Trump’s decision to reinstate a failed, outdated, and isolationist posture towards Cuba. This policy change is not just a missed opportunity for rural America, which would greatly benefit from increased access to the island’s $2B agricultural imports market. This policy shift also poses an unjustifiable risk to our national security, as further U.S. disengagement opens up opportunities for countries like Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China to gain influence on an island 90 miles off our coast. Finally, restricting travel and trade and limiting our ability to export American democracy and values will hinder efforts to improve human rights and religious liberties in Cuba. I strongly urge reconsideration of this decision, and as policy changes continue, I will work with the President to find more productive ways to bring about the changes we all want to see in Cuba.”

Below is Republican Sen. John Boozman's full statement: 

“I share the President’s desire to see democracy take hold in Cuba, as well as his commitment to ending human rights abuses carried out by the Castro regime. However, a return to embargo-like policies is the wrong approach. We ran this play over and over again for fifty years and the results have not changed. By rolling back reforms that have benefited U.S. citizens, everyday Cubans and our economy, we are taking a step backward, not forward. It would be more effective to continue an open line of communication and working relationship with a government in need of democratic assistance, instead of shutting them out. Through this approach, we not only trade goods, but ideas. The two go hand-in-hand. I will continue to work with my colleagues to promote policies that help the U.S remain competitive and create jobs at home, while pushing for human rights and democratic change in Cuba.”

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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