ShareThis Page
World

Cuban entrepreneurs to Trump: Don't abandon us

| Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, 11:24 p.m.
A Christmas tree is on display inside a department store as daily life resumes in the capital city following a nine-day mouring period after the death of revolutionary leader December 6, 2016 in Havana, Cuba.  Castro, who died November 25 at the age of 90, was entombed Sunday in the the Cementerio Santa Ifigenia in Santiago de Cuba.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Getty Images
A Christmas tree is on display inside a department store as daily life resumes in the capital city following a nine-day mouring period after the death of revolutionary leader December 6, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. Castro, who died November 25 at the age of 90, was entombed Sunday in the the Cementerio Santa Ifigenia in Santiago de Cuba. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — More than 100 newly independent Cuban business owners sent President-elect Donald Trump a letter Wednesday pleading with him not to rupture diplomatic ties and to protect the economic gains they've reaped.

Senior members of Congress hosted four visiting entrepreneurs from Havana in the first salvo of what promises to be an extended political battle over the future of U.S.-Cuba relations after Trump takes office next month.

“I hope that the next president of the United States, as a businessman, understands our needs,” Yamina Vicente, whose Decorazon company plans weddings and other events, said at a briefing on Capitol Hill.

“A few years ago, a new era of dreams in Cuba began,” she said. “I hope that my children will be able to dream too.”

The letter to Trump began by congratulating him on his victory last month over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“As a successful businessman, we're confident that you understand the importance of economic engagement between nations,” the entrepreneurs wrote. “Small businesses in Cuba have the potential to be drivers of economic growth in Cuba and important partners of the U.S. business community.”

Rep. Kathy Castro, a Democrat from Tampa, Fla., rejected the widespread impression that the state's large Cuban-American population opposes improved relations with Havana.

“Florida is not monolithic when it comes to Cuba,” she said.

Money sent from Cubans in Florida and elsewhere to their families in Cuba, Castro said, has helped private businesses there expand.

Cuban President Raul Castro, who took over the country's presidency when his brother, Fidel Castro, fell ill in 2006, instituted reforms in 2012 that allowed limited private business in the communist country. Fidel Castro died late last month and his ashes were interred on Sunday.

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia also advocated for preserving Obama's easing of relations with Cuba, noting that last year, Virginia sold $42 million in agricultural products to Cuba.

“Virginia farmers want to have this market open,” Warner said.

Warner is co-sponsoring one of several bills in Congress that would lift entirely the economic embargo that President John F. Kennedy imposed in 1962, a few months before the Cuban missile crisis put the world on the brink of nuclear war.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me