Grassley says Castro news could be good for farmers
by Matt Kelley
Celebrations are underway in south Florida after Cuban leader Fidel
Castro temporarily signed over his presidential powers late Monday while
recovering from surgery. Should Castro’s departure become permanent,
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says Midwestern farmers would see a trade
boon if the U.S. embargo on Cuba is lifted.
Grassley says the lack of freedom is why the U.S. has so long held the
embargo against Cuba, but he says if freedom comes to Cuba, the export
market would open up not just for farmers but to help all people in the
U.S. with trade.
Castro has handed power to his brother, Raul, who some fear will be a
worse dictator than Fidel. Still, Grassley says he’s holding out hope
for progress that would see the U.S. again opening relations with the
island nation. The embargo was put in place in 1962.
Grassley says “We’ve had that embargo for a long period of time because
we felt that squeezing Castro as much as we can would help the cause of
freedom down there though I wouldn’t expect an overnight change,
considering the fact his brother has stepped in right now.”
Grassley says Cuba’s secret police division keeps tabs on all
happenings, much like the Russian K-G-B of years past. He says Cuba’s
governmental listeners are set up in every apartment building. Grassley
says “There’s some secret policeman monitoring what everybody does and
under those circumstances, such a lack of freedom — it’s going to be
difficult just because Castro’s gone that freedom is going to
immediately come on the scene unless the people would riot or something
of that nature.”
The economic, commercial and financial embargo on Cuba is an effort to
put pressure on the communist government. At 44 years, it’s considered
one of the most enduring trade embargoes in modern history.