Friday, March 20, 2009

U.S. Senator Richard Lugar Angry Over Lack of Cuba Reform by Obama Administration

Hossier Ag Today

03/20/2009

Matt Kaye

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has decided for now to keep the Bush administration restrictions on agriculture sales to Cuba, angering Indiana Senator Richard Lugar and other farm state Senators. Lugar led a bipartisan group who wrote Geithner that a March 7th Treasury notice will continue to “severely inhibit sales” of US agriculture goods to Cuba,not what they had in mind when Congress passed a key budget bill with Cuba reforms this month. Lugar issued a GOP staff report last month that urged free trade with Cuba. He wrote colleagues that after 47 years, the US trade embargo on Cuba has failed to bring democracy to the island, and pointed to a new “opportunity” for better relations amid recent leadership changes in Cuba.

American Farm Bureau trade adviser Chris Garza says the Obama administration may have misread anti-Cuba sentiment on the Hill, “There’s still a strong contingent of members of Congress who would like to see President Obama clarify and change the rules that President Bush put in place.”

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JG: So far, the record of Treasury Secretary Geithner is a very poor one, both on agriculture sales to Cuba and the A.I.G. bonuses scandal. This is not a very good way to start an administration that promised us "Change You Can Believe On."

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