An August 3 New York Times editorial asserts that the U.S. Congress is rethinking the wisdom of the U.S. embargo of Cuba. Why does the Times come to this conclusion? Is it justified?
I wish it were so, but I think it is too soon to say that the Congress is changing its opinion on the embargo.
The only relevant asserted basis in the editorial is the recent introduction in the House of Representatives by a Republican, Tom Emmer of Minnesota, of a bill to end the embargo (H.R.3238). (This bill was covered in a recent post.)
Yes, this bill and its companion (S.1543) in the Senate by Republican Senator Jerry Moran are important in light of Republicans current control of Congress. But as of yesterday the House has taken no action on the Emmer bill (H.R.3238) or on the three earlier bills to end the embargo that had been offered by Democrats (H.R.274, H.R.403 and H.R.735). The same is true in the Senate on Moran’s bill (S.1543) and on the bill to end the embargo introduced earlier by Minnesota’s Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar (S.491).
The other basis for the editorial’s conclusion was an action of a Senate Committee on a different, but related, subject: ending the ban on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba. Yes, this is a hopeful sign, but insufficient to say the Congress as a whole is rethinking these issues.
The editorial also cites increasing public support for ending the embargo and other measures to promote normalization of U.S. relations with the island. But that public opinion has not yet been translated into action by the Congress.
Another fact mentioned by the editorial was the forceful call for ending the embargo that recently was uttered by Democratic presidential contender, Hillary Clinton. But as the Times also pointed out, Republican presidential hopefuls, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, immediately expressed their disagreement on this issue.
U.S. citizens need to continue to press their Senators and Representatives to embrace normalization, including ending the embargo.
 Campo-Flores & Meckler, Hillary Clinton Calls for End to Cuba Trade Embargo, W.S.J. (July 31, 2015); Gearan, Clinton says GOP is clinging to the past on Cuba, Wash. Post (July 31, 2015); Vasquez & Luna, Hillary Clinton in Miami: Lift the embargo against Cuba, Miami Herald (July 31, 2015)