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Governor Hutchinson’s Trade Mission to Cuba: Key Legal and Policy Developments that the Arkansas Business Community Should be Aware Of

By · October 26, 2015 · 2015 Ark. L. Notes 1776
In categories: Administrative Law, Agricultural Law, Arkansas Law Notes, Business Law, Corporate and In-House Counsel, Government Practice, Hispanic Lawyers Section, International and Immigration Law

I. Introduction

On Sunday September 29, 2015, Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson, and a delegation travelled to Cuba on a trade mission.[1] By making an early visit to Cuba, Governor Hutchinson hopes to position Arkansas and Arkansas businesses to benefit once trade relations between the two countries are normalized. Governor Hutchinson is the first United States (U.S.) governor to visit Cuba since the U.S. and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations in July 2015 after more than a half-century of Cold War estrangement,[2] and the second governor to visit since December 17, 2014, when President Obama announced a significant change in U.S. policy on Cuba.[3] Severed in 1961, full ties between the two nations are yet to be restored. However, in a remarkable and unprecedented move, on December 17, 2014, both sides announced détente and President Obama publicly declared his plan to normalize relations with the island nation.[4] Should relations between Washington and Havana be fully normalized, many industries in the United States stand to benefit including travel and tourism, banking, telecommunications, construction, pharmaceuticals, and agribusiness. Arkansas businesses, particularly agribusinesses in the state, stand to benefit as well. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, predicts that U.S. trade with Cuba could rebound from its current $300 million to close to $500 million.[5] Given the potential benefit to Arkansas of normalized trade relations with Cuba, knowledge of key legal and policy developments that have occurred in U.S.-Cuba relations is important for businesses in Arkansas interested in the Cuban market. This article provides a broad overview of the state of play in the U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations starting from December 17, 2014, when the landmark change in policy was announced. Subsequent articles will assess the implications of normalized trade relations with Cuba for food and agricultural companies in Arkansas, provide more detailed analysis of relevant regulations from the U.S. Department of State (“State Department”), the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”), and will offer more robust analysis of the legal aspects of a potential U.S.-Cuba trade and investment. Subsequent articles will also take a closer look at the risks involved in investing in Cuba and how businesses in Arkansas can mitigate those risks if and when they are allowed to enter the Cuban market. An analysis of the factors that prompted U.S.-Cuba rapprochement is beyond the scope of this article.

This article is in four parts. Part II offers an overview of the landmark December, 2017, policy statement by President Obama. Part III reviews key policy and legal changes that have been rolled out by Commerce, Treasury and the State Department since the December 2014 announcement. A few conclusions are offered in Part IV.

I. A Historic Policy Change

For well over five decades, U.S.-Cuba relation was marked by hostility, isolation, and embargo and was largely shaped by the Cold War. Laws and regulations that have shaped U.S.-Cuba relations to date include:

  • The 1917 Trading With the Enemy Act (TWEA);[6]
  • The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA);[7]
  • The Cuban Democracy Act (CDA) of 1962;[8]
  • The Arms Export Control Act of 1976;[9]
  • The Export Administration Act 1979;[10]
  • The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 or the Helms-Burton Act;[11]
  • The Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA);[12]
  • The Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR);[13] and
  • The Export Administration Regulations (EAR).[14]

The December 17, 2014, announcement by President Obama marked a significant change in U.S. policy on Cuba and signaled a possible shift in U.S.-Cuba relations.[15] In his speech, President Obama stated that it was time to change an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance the interest of both countries. “[W]e will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries,” President Obama announced in front of the White House. The announced changes, the President promised, will “begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas”[16] and move both countries beyond a “rigid policy that is rooted in events that took place before most of us were born.”[17] The President then went on to outline the steps the U.S. will take to begin to normalize relations with Cuba.

First, President Obama instructed U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, to immediately begin discussions with Cuba to reestablish diplomatic relations. To this end, the President announced that “the United States will reestablish an embassy in Havana, and high-ranking officials will visit Cuba,”[18] and promised that the two countries will advance shared interests wherever possible.

Second, President Obama instructed Secretary Kerry to review Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism and stated that this review “will be guided by the facts and the law.”[19]

Third, the President stated that the U.S. was “taking steps to increase travel, commerce, and the flow of information to and from Cuba”[20] and intimated that with the changes he was announcing, “it will be easier for Americans to travel to Cuba, and Americans will be able to use American credit and debit cards on the island.”[21]

Fourth, the President announced a significant increase in the amount of money that can be sent to Cuba from the U.S., and the removal of limits on remittances that support humanitarian projects, the Cuban people, and the emerging Cuban private sector.[22]

Fifth, the President announced an easing of authorized financial transactions between the U.S. and Cuba. “U.S. financial institutions will be allowed to open accounts at Cuban financial institutions. And it will be easier for U.S. exporters to sell goods in Cuba.”[23]

Sixth, the President authorized increased telecommunications connections between the U.S. and Cuba.[24]

Analysts agree that the December 17, 2014, announcement was significant and ground-breaking.[25] According to a New York Times editorial, by embarking on this change, President Obama “ventured into diplomatic territory where the last 10 presidents refused to go.”[26] “For good or ill, the move represented a dramatic turning point in relations with an island that for generations has captivated and vexed its giant northern neighbor,” the New York Times editorial concluded.[27] President Obama made further history when he met President Raúl Castro of Cuba in April 2015 on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Panama; this was the first face-to-face discussion between the leaders of the two countries in a half-century.[28]

Since December 17, 2014, a slew of high profile officials have visited Cuba. These include: the House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi,[29] Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy,[30] the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders,[31] the Prime Minister and Minister for General Affairs of Curaçao, Mr. Ivar Asjes,[32] the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Borge Brende,[33] the Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni,[34] the Spanish Minister of Industry, Energy, and Tourism, Joes Manuel Soria,[35] as well as the foreign policy chief of the European Union, Federica Mogherini.[36]

III. Key Policy Changes Triggered by the December 17, 2014 Announcement

What has happened since December 17, 2014, when President Obama announced the change in U.S. policy on Cuba? To implement some of the policy changes that President Obama announced, Treasury and Commerce have issued amendments to the CACR and EAR. The State Department has also made changes to regulations made under the EAA relating to state sponsors of international terrorism. Overall, since December 17, several changes have occurred in U.S.-Cuba relations and some amendments have been made to regulations that are at the core of the U.S. embargo on Cuba.[37] For example:

  • On January 15, 2015, Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced regulatory amendments to the Cuba sanctions.[38] The changes took effect on January 16 when the regulations were published in the Federal Register.[39] The amendments make it somewhat easier for businesses in the U.S. to do business with Cuba by easing the embargo in a number of areas including travel, remittances, financial services and trade.
  • On January 15, 2015, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced amendments to the CACR. The changes took effect on January 16 when the regulations were published in the Federal Register.[40] The new regulation introduced a new provision authorizing the importation of certain goods and services produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs.[41]
  • On February 12, 2015, a bi-partisan bill was introduced in the Senate. 491 – Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2015 aims at repealing or amending current laws restricting trade with Cuba.[42] The bill enjoys bi-partisan support and is sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and co-sponsored by twenty-one other senators including, Sens. Sen. Stabenow, Debbie [D-MI], Dick Durbin [D-Ill.], Patrick Leahy [D-Vt.], Jeff Flake [R-Ariz.], and Mike Enzi [R-Wyo], and Sen. Paul, Rand [R-KY].
  • On April 14, 2015, President Obama announced his intention to remove Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism[43] and submitted to Congress the report mandated by statute indicating the Administration’s intent to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation.[44] State Sponsor of Terrorism designation is reserved for countries determined by the Secretary of State “to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.”[45] The designated is made pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the EAA, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act.[46] The designation typically triggers a range of economic and military sanctions including: a ban on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; and some restrictions on exports of dual use items.[47]
  • On May 29, 2015, Cuba was removed from the U.S. State Sponsors of Terrorism list after the statutorily required 45-day Congressional pre-notification period expired. Cuba had been on this list since 1982.[48] With Cuba off the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, only three countries remain: Syria, Sudan and Iran.
  • On July 1, 2015, President Obama announced the decision to re-establish diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.[49]
  • On July 20, 2015, the U.S. re-opened its embassy in Havana and named Jeffrey DeLaurentis the Charge d’Affaires ad interim of the new U.S. Embassy in Cuba.[50] Cuba, in turn, formally re-opened its embassy in Washington D.C. which had been shut for fifty-four years.[51] The U.S. and Cuba have not had embassies in each other’s countries since 1961.
  • On September 18, 2015, Treasury and Commerce announce additional amendments to the CACR and the EAR.[52] The changes took effect on Monday, September 21, 2015, when the regulations were published in the Federal Register. According to Treasury Secretary, Jacob J. Lew, the changes will “further ease sanctions related to travel, telecommunications and internet-based services, business operations in Cuba, and remittances.”[53] The Treasury regulations can be found at 31 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 515 and the Commerce regulation can be found at 15 CFR parts 740, 746, and 772.

Analysts disagree on just how significant the announced changes are.[54] It is important to note that despite the new trade and travel rules in place since January, U.S. trade embargo are still in place and only a few goods are eligible for export to Cuba or for import from Cuba. The future is uncertain and it remains to be seen if and when more changes will be introduced.[55] For Arkansas businesses desiring to do business with Cuba, patience is advised as there is no stipulated timeline for both sides to act. Speaking at a special briefing on December 18, 2014, Roberta S. Jacobson, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, noted that “this is a process, and it will get started right away, but there’s no real timeline of knowing when each part of it will be completed, because it has to be completed by agreement of both governments as you go along.”[56]

IV. Going Forward: What Businesses Can Expect in the U.S.-Cuban Relations?

Obama’s new policy on Cuba has undoubtedly shifted the debate over Cuba. On December 17, 2014, the U.S. moved from a policy of isolation to one of engagement as far as Cuba is concerned. However, although President Obama put the U.S. on track to normalize relations with Cuba, this may not occur for the foreseeable future.[57] For one thing, Congressional action is required for Cuba sanctions legislation to be amended. In addition, there is disagreement among law makers on whether a U.S.-Cuba détente is a wise policy move. While many lawmakers are staunchly opposed to any move to normalize relations with Cuba, many are in support.[58] Cuban-American Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL),[59] Robert Menendez (D-NJ)[60] and Ted Cruz (R-TX)[61] have openly and publicly denounced the détente. Nonetheless, since December 17, 2014, a number of bills have been introduced all aimed at taking down different aspects of the Cuba sanctions regime. These include:

  • 299: Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015. This bill will allow travel between the United States and Cuba.[62]
  • 1543: The Cuba Trade Act of 2015. This bill will permit private businesses to export goods and services to Cuba.[63]
  • HR3238: The Cuba Trade Act of 2015. Introduced by U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor (D-FL14) and Tom Emmer (R-MN06), this bill seeks to remove the long-standing barriers on trade with Cuba for American businesses and individuals.[64]

Apart from the Congressional amendment needed to end the Cuban embargo, the future of U.S.-Cuba rapprochement will depend on the changes Havana is willing to put in place in Cuba. “The notion that US businesses and tourists might soon turn Cuba into a Disney-style communist theme park with McDonald’s outlet spread along Havana’s seafront is … unlikely,” John Paul Rathbone rightly warns.[65] As Rathbone put it, “Havana has run its own government for 56 years and is proud of its sovereignty.”[66] Even more important, Rathbone warns that “the island still face “internal embargo” – the thicket of Soviet-style bureaucracy and centralizing socialist attitudes that make doing business difficult.” [67]

When it comes to the future of U.S.-Cuba economic relations and the potential role of Arkansas businesses in this relationship, answers to several questions still hang in the balance.[68] For example: Will there be further revisions to the CACR and EAR in the near future? Is there sufficient bi-partisan support in Congress for U.S.-Cuba Rapprochement?[69] Will Congress act and lift the economic embargo?[70] Will the next administration follow in President Obama’s steps and use executive authority to open U.S.-Cuba ties around areas such as trade, investment, banking, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and travel? Will the two sides be able to reach agreement on the $57bn of U.S. nationalization claims? Will President Raúl Castro deepen the economic liberalization programs he started when he assumed office in 2008 and is his successor likely to follow in his foot-steps?

V. Conclusion

For five decades the U.S. maintained a tight and tough trade and travel embargo against Cuba. However, President Obama’s December 17, 2014, announcement signaled a possible end to fifty-five years of tumultuous relationship with the island nation. Not surprising, since December 17, 2014, top government officials from the U.S. and from around the world have visited Cuba and most are exploring opportunities for significant trade and investment cooperation particularly in the field of agriculture and food security.[71] Adopted on August 12, 2014, The European Union’s Multiannual Indicative Program for Cuba 2014-2020 identifies three priority sectors that will guide EU cooperation with Cuba in the coming years: “Sustainable agriculture and food security,” “Environment: Support for a better use of key natural resources for sustainable development,” and “Support for economic and social modernization.”[72] While leading a delegation to Cuba in February, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stated that the delegation “will work to advance the U.S.-Cuba relationship and build on the work done by many in the Congress over the years, especially with respect to agriculture and trade.”[73]

U.S.-Cuba relation is complex and controversial. The process of restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries will be difficult and challenging.[74] The fact that there is no built-in timeline for the restoration of full relationship between the two countries means that significant and sustainable change may or may not come anytime soon. Despite the recent amendments to the CACR and EAR announced by Commerce and Treasury, U.S. businesses can still not engage in full across-the-board investment and trade with Cuba; most trade, travel and financial restrictions are still in place. There also remains many thorny and highly sensitive issues that both sides must reach agreement on. Speaking at the United Nations in September at the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly the Cuban President intimated that normal relations between the two countries will only come after Washington ends its trade embargo, returns to Cuba “of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo naval base,” and after his countrymen are “compensated” for the decades-old U.S. embargo.[75] Cuba reportedly plans to introduce an anti-blockade resolution in the U.N. General Assembly on October 27.[76]

Businesses in Arkansas, particularly agribusinesses in the state, can play a major role in U.S.-Cuba trade and investment if and when full trade relations are normalized. Universities and Colleges in Arkansas have a potential role to play as well. Speaking in the immediate aftermath of President Obama’s historic announcement in December 2014, the U.S. Agricultural Secretary, Tom Vilsack, stated that the announcement “expands opportunity for U.S. farmers and ranchers to do business in Cuba,”[77] “removes technical barriers between U.S. and Cuban companies,”[78] and creates a more efficient, less burdensome opportunity for Cuba to buy U.S. agricultural products.”[79]

While significant challenges remain on the path to full rapprochement with Cuba, businesses in Arkansas can and should keep a keen eye on Cuba, keep an eye on U.S. evolving policy on Cuba, and keep an eye on the competition.[80] The Cuban government has declared achieving food security and developing long-term sustainable agriculture as national priorities. By choosing to be one of the first U.S. governors to visit Cuba since the historic thaw in U.S.-Cuba relation, Governor Hutchinson clearly wants to position Arkansas to be the ‘first in line’ for increased trade with Cuba.[81] While waiting for an end to the Cuban embargo, discussions can begin, in Arkansas, on how best to engage Cuba and how businesses and institutions in the state can, through trade, technical exchanges, and sustainable as well as responsible investment, make meaningful contribution to initiatives in Cuba that are directed at modernizing the country’s agricultural sector, boosting agricultural productivity, improving the livelihoods of farmers and agricultural workers, and improving food security for the Cuban people.


Arkansas Bar Foundation Professor (2015). Affiliate Faculty Member, African and African-American Studies Program, Fulbright College, University of Arkansas. Co-Chair, Committee on Investment & Development, American Bar Association Section of International Law (ABA-SIL). Any views expressed are those of the author in her personal capacity and do not represent the views of any organization or institution that she is affiliated with.

[1] Asa Hutchinson Heads to Cuba on Trade Mission, Arkansas Business, 28Sept. 2015.

[2] Id. (observing that with his September 2015 visit to Cuba, Governor Hutchinson “will be the first governor to visit since the former Cold War foes reopened embassies in their respective countries in July”).

[3] The New York Governor is reportedly the first US governor to visit Cuba since Obama announced the shift in relations. Cuomo heads to Cuba as first US governor to visit since thaw in relations, The Guardian. Apr. 19, 2015.

Other high-profile officials that have visited Cuba since the announced change in policy include the House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, and Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy.

[4] Azam Ahmed & Julie Hirschfeld Davis, U.S. and Cuba Reopen Long-Closed Embassies, N.Y. Times, July 20, 2015.

[5] Jeff Harrington, Agriculture Secretary Says Cuba Trade Could Grow by Hundreds of Millions, Tampa Bay Times, Jan. 20 2015, available at

[6] 40 Stat. 411, enacted 6 Oct. 1917, codified at 12 U.S.C. §§ 95a95b and 50 U.S.C. App. §§ 1-44.

[7] Pub. L. 87–195, 75 Stat. 424-2, enacted September 4, 1961, 22 U.S.C. § 2151 et seq.

[8] Pub. L. 102-484, Title XVII. Codified in Title 22 U.S.C. ch. 69 § 6001 et seq.

[9] Title II of Pub. L. 94–329, 90 Stat. 729, enacted June 30, 1976, codified at 22 U.S.C. ch. 39

[10] Pub. L. 96-72, 93 Stat. 503 93 Stat. 503.

[11] Pub. L. 104-114. Codified in Title 22, Sections 6021-6091 of the U.S. Code.

[12] Pub. L. 106-387, Title IX (Oct. 28, 2000).

[13] 31 C.F.R. Part 515

[14] 15 C.F.R. Sections 730-774.

[15] The White House, Statement by the President on Cuba Policy Changes, Dec. 17, 2014, available at

[16] Id.

[17] Id.

[18] Id.

[19] Id.

[20] Id.

[21] Id.

[22] Id.

[23] Id.

[24] Id.

[25] Alexandra Jaffe & Elise Labott, Historic Thaw in U.S., Cuba Standoff, Dec. 17, 2014, available at

[26] Peter Baker, U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba, Erasing a Last Trace of Cold War Hostility, N.Y. Times, Dec. 17, 2014.

[27] Id.

[28] Julie Hirschfeld Davis & Randal C. Archibold, Obama Meets Raúl Castro, Making History, N.Y. Times, 11 Apr. 2015, available at

[29] Lauren French, Pelosi Leads Democratic Delegation to Cuba, NBC News, (Feb. 17, 2015, 11:17 AM),

[30] Associated Press, Senator Patrick Leahy leads US group to Cuba to seek release of Alan Gross, The Guardian. (Feb.18, 2013, 15.14 EST),

[31] Janene Pieters, Dutch FM: Netherlands building “solid relationship” with Cuba,, (May 8, 2015), May 8, 2015,

[32] Embassy of Cuba in the Netherlands, Prime Minister of Curaçao pays official visit to Cuba.,

[33] Norwegian Foreign Minister Visits Cuba, Cuban News Agency, (Feb. 2, 2015, 13:56),

[34] Felipe Pagliery, Italian Foreign Minister Visits Cuba, Havana Times, (Mar. 12, 2015),

[35] Marc Frank, Europeans rush to seek Cuba deals in light of U.S.-Cuba thaw, Reuters, (July 9, 2015 8:59 AM),

[36] Alasdair Sandford, EU and Cuba to quicken push for deal, says Mogherini in Havana, Euronews, (Mar. 25, 2015, 8:25 CET),

[37] A detailed analysis of the amendments will be offered in a subsequent article. ? Question posed in email

[38] U.S. Department of Treasury, Fact Sheet: Treasury and Commerce Announce Regulatory Amendments to the Cuba Sanctions, (Jan. 15, 2015),

[39] 15 C.F.R. § 730 – 773.

[40] 31 C.F.R. § 515.582.

[41] United States Department of State, FACT SHEET: U.S. Department of State Section 515.582 List, (Feb.13, 2015),

[42] Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2015: Introduced in Senate, 114th Cong. (2015)

[43] United States Department of State, State Sponsors of Terrorism,

[44] United States Department of State, Special Briefing: Background Briefing on the Report Required To Rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism Status, (Apr. 14, 2015),

[45] United States Department of State, State Sponsors of Terrorism, available at

[46] Id.

[47] Id.

[48] The United States Department of State, Press Statement: Rescission of Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, (May 29, 2015), See also, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, U.S. Removes Cuba From State-Sponsored Terrorism List, N.Y. Times, (May 29, 2015), See also, Felicia Schwartz, Cuba Officially Removed From U.S. State Sponsor of Terrorism List, Wall St. J., (May 29, 2015, 5:46 P.M. ET),

[49] United States Department of State, U.S. Relations With Cuba, Fact Sheet, (July 21, 2015),

[50] United States Department of State Telephone Directory, (Oct. 13, 2015),

[51] Michele Keleman, Cuban Embassy Reopens In Washington, D.C., After More Than 50 Years, NPR, 20 July 2015, available at

[52] US Department of Treasury, Treasury and Commerce Announce Further Amendments to the Cuba Sanctions Regulations, (Sept. 18, 2015),

[53] Id.

[54] Hamish McRae, US-Cuba relations: Their rapprochement carries a message that should have resonance far beyond the gates of a newly-reopened embassy, The Independent, (July 21, 2015, 17:32 BST),, (observing that In practical terms, little has changed.).

[55] Luis Ramirez, Rapprochement Opens New, Uncertain Chapter in US-Cuba Relations, Voice of America, (July 01, 2015, 7:29 P.M.),

[56] Roberta S. Jacobson, Special Briefing: Briefing on Changes in U.S. Policy Toward Cuba, (Dec. 18, 2011),

[57] Id.

[58] Cedar Attanasio, Republican Bills To End Cuba Trade Embargo, Travel Restrictions, Remittance Limits Show GOP Split On Island Boycott, Latin Times, (July 28, 2011, 05:36 P.M. EDT),

[59] Sabrina Siddiqui, Marco Rubio: I will absolutely roll back Obama Cuba policy, The Guardian, (July 10, 2015, 07:19 EDT),, See Also, Zachary Warmbrodt, Rubio Slams ‘Obama-Paul’ Cuba Policy, Politico, (Dec. 21, 2014, 10:39 AM EST),

[60] Elizabeth Llorente, Bob Menendez says Obama administration’s Cuba policy is ‘one-way street,’ Fox News Latino, (Aug. 20, 2015), See Also, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Ashley Parker, Menendez’s Views on Cuba and Iran Show Rifts With Obama, N.Y. Times, (Feb. 5, 2015),

[61] Elizabeth Potter, Ted Cruz: Obama has declared ‘unconditional surrender’ to Cuba, Washington Examiner, July 1, 2015. See also Dylan Scott, Cruz On Obama’s Cuba Policy: ‘One More Very, Very Bad Deal’, TPM (Dec.17, 2014, 4:19 PM),

[62] S. 299: Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015,

[63] S. 1543: Cuba Trade Act of 2015,

[64] U.S. Representative Kathy Castor, Press Release: U.S. Reps. Castor and Republican colleagues file bill today to end Cuba embargo, July 28, 2015,

[65] John Paul Rathbone, “Renewal of Relations With US Heightens Expectations,” FT Special Report: Investing in Cuba. June 16, 2015.

[66] Id.

[67] Id.

[68] Luis Ramirez, supra note 55.

[69] Geoff Dyer notes that while there has been bipartisan support for the push to normalize relations with Cuba, “there is also a bipartisan group of members of Congress and other senior figures who are bitterly opposed to any further rapprochement with Cuba, including three potential candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.” Geoff Dyer, “Reconnected After 55 Years But Overtures Divide Opinion,” FT Special Report: Investing in Cuba. June 16, 2015.

[70] Danielle Renwick, and Brianna Lee, U.S.-Cuba Relations, CFR Backgrounders, Aug. 2, 2015 (observing that is unlikely that the economic embargo will be lifted in the near future due to strong opposition in the U.S. Congress).

[71] Marc Frank, Europeans rush to seek Cuba deals in light of U.S.-Cuba thaw, Reuters, July 9, 2015, available at

[72] European Union, Multiannual Indicative Program for Cuba 2014-2020 (2014).

[73] Alex Moe and Andrew Rafferty, Pelosi Leads Democratic Delegation to Cuba, NBC News, (Feb. 17, 2015, 11:30 AM),

[74] Olivia Marple, Roadblocks Remain in US-Cuba Rapprochement, Council on Hemisphere Affairs, July 7, 2015,

[75] See also Hugh Bronstein, At U.N., Castro says U.S. must end embargo to have normal Cuba ties, Reuters, Sept. 28, 2015, available at; See also Jeff Mason and Hugh Bronstein, Obama, Castro meet as they work on thawing U.S.-Cuba ties, Reuters, September 29, 2015, available at

[76] Id.

[77] United States Department of Agriculture, Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Historic New Course for U.S.-Cuba Relations. Release No. 0275.14,

[78] Id.

[79] Id.

[80] ICBC, Cuba’s Economic Potential Attracts Entrepreneurs From Europe, China,

[81] John Lyon, Hutchinson wants Arkansas ‘first in line’ for increased trade with Cuba, Arkansas News Bureau, Sept. 29, 2015.