Everybody's talking about Cuba
Tourist take a ride in a fully restored Mercury along the coast in Havana in 2013. Luxury is slowly reappearing in Cuban society after half a century of egalitarianism and austerity, brought upon by the economic reforms of Cuban President Raul Castro.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is leading a delegation to Cuba this week to, in its words, "develop a better understanding of the country’s current economic environment."
“One thing it will do is open people’s eyes to some of the opportunities that may be down there, ” says former Deputy Secretary of State and National Intelligence Director John Negroponte. Negroponte, who is not on the trip, now heads the Americas Society/Council of the Americas and recently signed a public letter the Society sent to President Barack Obama, asking him to ease U.S. sanctions on Cuba while continuing to push for human rights reforms.
Why all this attention to Havana now? It’s partly because the administration has already eased up a bit.
“We should broaden out what is in our national interest to do with Cuba,” says Ted Piccone, acting vice president of the Brookings Institution’s foreign policy program. “It’s in our interest to have better relations with the country.”
A Texas A&M study says if the U.S. ended travel and financial restrictions on Cuba, the U.S. would be $1.1 billion richer.