In December 2017, my wife and I led a trip to Cuba to study the Cuban health care system, musical and culinary cultures.
As I was boarding the plane to return, I began a conversation with the gentleman behind me. He told me he was there monthly as he was mission head of the U.S. Department of Commerce for the island. I asked him about the decades-long Cuban embargo, which at that point the Obama administration was loosening but still greatly impacted American exports to Cuba. I asked him how that might impact Washington state. He replied, “Does Washington state produce wheat? Cuba cannot grow wheat - it must all be imported. Does Washington state produce apples? Cuba’s climate is not good for producing apples. We also aren’t currently allowed to ship apples to Cuba.”
Our current dysfunctional approach to Cuba has failed to achieve any meaningful results in terms of governmental change, has failed to benefit the USA in any way, and results in a substantial economic loss to Washington state farmers, most of whom live and work on the east side of the state. These farmers may have supported Cathy McMorris Rodgers, but that has been to their economic loss in terms of potential exports, and CMR has aligned completely with the Trump reversals of policy regarding opening Cuba up to trade, in addition to his withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Bruce E. Becker, MD