WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, President Trump is expected to announce his intent to reverse current policies that have opened up travel to and trade with Cuba. Beginning in late 2014, the previous administration began to thaw relations with the island nation, which has allowed:

  • U.S. companies to export certain consumer devices, telecommunications equipment, software, and applications to Cuba,
  • U.S. telecoms to establish subsidiaries or joint ventures with Cuban companies and enter into licensing agreements with them to provide connectivity, and
  • imports of Cuban-origin mobile applications into the U.S.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans approve of ending the trade embargo with Cuba, including 59% of Republicans. This week, TechFreedom joined Americans for Tax Reform and a coalition of free-market groups in urging the White House and Congress to support policies that would ease economic sanctions and travel restrictions on Cuba.

The letter states:

Engagement with other communist regimes has proven that American influence grows as trade develops. Countries like Vietnam, Burma, Laos and most famously China prove that previously hostile countries can move in a better direction when encouraged to trade with free nations. National security would greatly benefit from trade and travel relations with Cuba that will improve stability in the region.

Conversely, reversing the recent improvements in America-Cuba trade and travel would put thousands of U.S. jobs at risk. Your successful presidential campaign was correct in stressing the need to boost the job market; putting up more trade barriers runs counter to that goal. Congress must act to continue economic gains.

“American technology is a powerful democratizing force,” said TechFreedom Executive Director Austin Carson. “While over five decades of embargo failed to produce any tangible benefit, the past few years of eased restrictions have yielded significant dividends for both nations. Increased travel and trade has opened a window for Cubans to absorb the values of a free society through the use of technology, including property rights and free expression. Every year, more Cubans are getting online, and America should be leading our close neighbor into its digital future. Ceding this opportunity to Russia and China would harm our economy, hinder democratic progress, and reinforce the United States as a convenient scapegoat for the failures of the Castro regime.”

TechFreedom is a member of Engage Cuba, a national coalition of private companies, organizations, and local leaders dedicated to advancing federal legislation to lift the 55-year-old Cuba embargo in order to empower the Cuban people and open opportunities for U.S. businesses.

We can be reached for comment at media@techfreedom.org. See our other work on Cuba, including:

  • Our statement on the possibility of reversing the previous Administration’s Cuba policy
  • Tech Policy Podcast #137: Cuba’s Digital Future
  • A blog post on the state of Internet access in Cuba
  • A summary of the Cuban tech entrepreneur panel co-hosted by TechFreedom and Engage Cuba

About TechFreedom:

TechFreedom is a non-profit, non-partisan technology policy think tank. We work to chart a path forward for policymakers towards a bright future where technology enhances freedom, and freedom enhances technology.