Thursday, March 11, 2010

House hearing today

Today the House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on a bill introduced by its chairman, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, to increase farm exports to Cuba by changing two of the regulations governing those exports and by ending all restrictions on American travel to Cuba. The witnesses are all from agricultural organizations.

The hearing may or may not make history, but it has already generated a new argument for keeping U.S. policy toward Cuba as is. Our friend Mauricio at Capitol Hill Cubans is arguing that an embargo against Iraq in 1988 could have prevented two wars, and the “farm lobby” is to blame.

You can read it yourself, but I’ll note that Mauricio doesn’t quite get right a State Department memo that he cites. The memo is about government trade credits, not about whether or not to trade with Iraq, and rather than showing that the “appeasers” won, it simply shows that Secretary Shultz, with less than a month before the end of the Administration, deferred the issue to the next Administration to give it “a free field.”

Good story, though.

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