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Opening up of Cuba trade long overdue
The secret talks that led to a prisoner exchange and release of a U.S. governent contractor imprisoned in Cuba for five years have led to further thawing of the last remnants of the Cold War.
Wednesday, the Obama administration announced that it was significantly loosening restrictions on American trade with, and investment in, Cuba.
It's another of Obama's executive orders, but many business interests that oppose his other actions may be more supportive of this action.
It will take a literal act of Congress to officially end the embargo, but Obama's action will allow Americans to use credit cards in Cuba, and for American companies to sell telephone, computer and Internet technologies there.
Most of us will still be prohibited from traveling there as tourists, but it will no longer take a special license to visit Cuba.
The U.S. is now "one step closer to replacing out-of-date policies that were not working and puts in place a policy that helps promote political and economic freedom for the Cuban people," Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Thursday.
There will also be no limits on how much money Americans spend in Cuba each day or what they spend it on, travel agents and airlines can fly to Cuba without a special license, insurance companies can provide coverage for people living in or visiting Cuba, businesses can open accounts in Cuban banks, Americans can make investments in some small businesses and agricultural operations, and companies can ship building materials and equipment there for private Cuban companies to renovate private buildings.
Cuba should become an important trading partner for Nebraska businesses and should be a major market for our grain, meat and other agricultural products.
Yes the argument can be made that the administration is "going soft" on totalitarian government only 90 miles from our shores, and many of us remember the days when we thought a nuclear attack might be launched from that island nation.
But the United States has no problem trading and sharing space exploration with Russia, contracting with communist China to build our most popular consumer products and traveling to and trading with Vietnam.
Normalization will do more to bring Cuba into the 21st century than drag the United States down.
It's a welcome change that's taken far too long.