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President Calls to Restore Relations with Cuba, Congressman Thompson on Board

WASHINGTON — It’s been over 50 years since the US cut off diplomatic relationships with Cuba. Wednesday, President Obama called to end what he called “an outdated approach” to relations the country just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. The announcement was welcomed by Cuban President Raul Castro. It follows more than a year of secret talks between the countries in Canada and at the Vatican.

Mississippi’s US Congressman Bennie Thompson says he fully supports the President’s decision.

“I applaud President Obama’s decision to begin to normalize relations with the Republic of Cuba. I have traveled to Cuba several times with Mississippi farmers and other business leaders. During each visit, our delegation saw the potential economic gain that could be derived from Mississippi goods being exported to Cuba. From an economic perspective, normalizing relations with Cuba is a no-brainer.

The United States has diplomatic and economic relationships with many communist governments and foreign governments with poor human rights records, including our second largest trading partner, China. After diplomatic ties are fully restored, the United States should begin to press for greater human rights for Cuban citizens.

I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to fully restore a normal relationship with Cuba, including lifting the embargo on trade and financial transactions.”

The announcement has received some scrutiny from some lawmakers like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Currently Congress has the power to override the lift on the embargo, because of the Helms-Burton Act of 1996. Congress can also decide to not fund plans for an embassy in Havana, and put a hold on any ambassadors nominated by the President.

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