DETROIT – Today, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) issued the following statement after President Obama announced the release of an American prisoner, Alan Gross, from Cuba and that the United States will pursue diplomatic relations with the country:
|John Conyers, Jr.|
“President Obama has demonstrated real leadership in securing the release of American Alan Gross and initiating the reestablishment of normal diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba.
“For more than half a century, our country’s policy of isolation toward Cuba has failed to promote democracy or prosperity for the Cuban people. The policy has separated families, obstructed trade, and undermined US influence in the Western Hemisphere.
“Today’s announcement from President Obama is a historic step in the right direction. In moving toward normal diplomatic relations, empowering the Cuban people economically through greater access to remittances and exports, authorizing additional travel, and initiating other steps to reintegrate Cuba into the community of nations, President Obama is laying the groundwork for substantial economic development and progress on human rights.
“This announcement is also good news for the US economy. Cuba sits just 90 miles off our coast and has an economy of more than $68 billion. Yet, up to this point, American firms have been forced to cede business to foreign competitors. Of particular interest to my hometown of Detroit, the people of Cuba—who must famously rely on American cars made before 1959—may soon be able to buy American cars and automotive parts once again.“As a longtime advocate of normalized relations with Cuba, I look forward to working with President Obama to fully implement the policy initiatives announced today. I commend the President for heeding the wise advice of Pope Francis and other human rights leaders in making today’s compassionate, commonsense decision. After more than 50 years of failed policy, it’s time that we changed course.”
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