ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

AG RIGHT: Cuba trip important to U.S. ag

As usual, I talked with a wide range of people this week: farmers and ranchers, a school lunch leader, a U.S. Department of Agriculture economist, a farm safety specialist and a U.S. Senator, among others. Yes, I have an interesting, educational ...

2420646+JohnathanKnutson.jpg
Jonathan Knutson

As usual, I talked with a wide range of people this week: farmers and ranchers, a school lunch leader, a U.S. Department of Agriculture economist, a farm safety specialist and a U.S. Senator, among others. Yes, I have an interesting, educational and enjoyable job.

What sticks with me most is President Obama’s historic trade mission to Cuba. Many  Agweek readers, like me, paid close attention to it. Like me, they understand that U.S. agriculture would benefit from lifting the embargo on U.S. ag products. The Cubans want corn and soybeans; we’ve got them. The Cubans want meat, they want peas and lentils, they want malting barley - we’ve got ’em all.

Many influencial groups, representing diverse interests, want greater trade U.S./Cuban trade. According to Engage Cuba, a coalition that supports lifting the embargo, the list includes the American Farm Bureau Federation, the AFL-CIO, the Environmental Defense Fund, Amnesty International, the American Society of Travel Agents, the National Council of Churches, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Environmental Defense Fund and American Farm Bureau agreeing on something? Well, there’s something you don’t see everyday.

The main opposition to lifting the embargo, from what I can tell, comes from Cuban-Americans whose families have suffered horribly under the Cuban government. They argue passionately that the embargo should continue.

ADVERTISEMENT

There also are those who argue the embargo hasn’t worked, and that the best way to help the Cuban people is to lift it.

Decide for yourself who’s right.

My take? I once supported the embargo. I’ve been rethinking that, though. Now I’m leaning to the it-hasn’t-worked-so-let’s-lift-it camp.

But I’m sure of three things.

  • Cuba is yet another example that Communism doesn’t work. I once read (I don’t remember who wrote it, but I recall the words) that “Communism has been a failure at every level: economically, environmentally, morally and culturally.” Cubans, like other people around the world subjected to Communist rule, are victims of that failure.
  • The embargo will be lifted sooner or later. The diverse and influencial supporters of lifting it will have their way eventually.
  • Agweek readers, and I, will continue to follow this controversial and important issue.
Opinion by Jonathan Knutson
Plain Living
What To Read Next