Governor Jay Nixon (D) is pushing for the lifting of the more than 50-year-old trade embargo between the United States and Cuba. He says that would be good for the nation and Missouri in particular.
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) disagrees. He says Cuba, where the government buys the food, has a history of not paying if it doesn’t pay up front.
“Every other country in the world had an open policy toward Cuba and it didn’t change Cuba, but my belief is a lot of particularly French and European Union farmers sold a lot of things to Cuba on credit that didn’t get paid for,” said Blunt.
“Then, if it’s like every other country in the world, the farmers go to the government and say, ‘We can’t collect this money from the Cubans. Would you pay us and then you collect the money?’ and that becomes just another sort of indirect government subsidy of a failed system.”
He says opening up trade policy with Cuba would also hurt the US’ position in future negotiations.
“The one thing we had to offer the next Cuban government was recognition in return for some behavioral changes,” said Blunt. “I think we failed to get that, gave away one of our most important early cards that sometime in the next decade in Cuba would have made a real difference.”
Blunt believes Cuba could be a good market for Missouri, but doesn’t think it is one yet.