For Immediate Release
Thursday, February 1, 2001

Contact: Deb Fiddelke

Hagel, Dodd Introduce Cuba Sanctions Legislation

Washington, D.C. Legislation that would open the Cuban market for the export of American agricultural and medical products was introduced today by U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT).

Last year the Senate adopted legislation originally designed to lift all unilateral economic sanctions on the exports of American food and medicine. This measure was adopted, but only after blocking access to the normal financing for food and medical exports to Cuba and placing new travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba. These provisions negated the impact of the legislation regarding Cuba.

The "Cuba Food and Medicine Access Act" corrects those mistakes by repealing the travel restrictions and permitting the normal credit and financing support for food and medicine exports to Cuba.

"The exports of American food and medicine is not just an economic issue, it is also a humanitarian undertaking. Blocking exports in these commodities harm the health and nutrition of the people of the sanctioned nation. It does nothing to harm governments and the government leaders with which we disagree. Last year's bill went part of the way to clear impediments to these exports. We should now finish the job," said Hagel.

"Passage of this provision, and the one last year, acknowledges what most Nebraska grain and livestock producers have always known when the United States places unilateral sanctions on other nations, American producers are hurt, not the sanctioned nation," Hagel added.

Other original cosponsors of the "Cuba Food and Medicine Access Act" include Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Byron Dorgan (D-ND).