By Mark Isbell
For decades, Arkansas farmers, as well as others across America, have been denied the right to trade with Cuba. And for too long, American travelers have been denied travel to Cuba--the only country in the world we are still restricted from visiting.
Our Cuba policy is not only out of date, but based more on caricature than reality. The failure of our policy with Cuba is not only that it has not accomplished its goals, but that it has also created significant collateral damages, among them the very freedoms of our American citizens.
And while many support normalized trade and 81 percent of all Americans now support travel to Cuba, the damage of this failed policy is reaching directly into Arkansas' economy.
Many who are part of our state's agriculture community have long supported normalized trade with Cuba, and for good reason. Cuba imports about 80 percent of its food at an annual price tag of nearly $2 billion. Among others, imports include rice, soybeans, corn and poultry--all relevant Arkansas products.
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