After trip to Cuba, Illinois congressman 'disappointed' by lack of progress
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, by Chuck Raasch
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, who returned Thursday from a trip to Cuba with Illinois agricultural officials, said he was disappointed in the lack of a shift toward free enterprise and improvement in living standards in that country compared to what he saw 10 years ago.
Davis, R-Taylorville, first visited Cuba as a congressional aide to Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, 10 years ago. His latest trip this week came after President Barack Obama began normalizing relations with a country that the United States had had little relations for 50 years, and on which the U.S. had imposed economic sanctions.
"Unfortunately, I did not see as much (progress) as I hoped," said Davis, who has bucked Republican colleagues opposed to normalization as long as the Castros are in power. "Frankly, some things disappointed me."
He mentioned the lack of private ownership, the continuance of a two-tiered currency system designed to allow the government to reap the benefits of the tourist trade, and an antiquated agricultural system reliant on 40-year-old Russian tractors.
"I am somebody who wants to increase our interaction with Cuba, and I have the same goal as many of those who don't want to interact with Cuba until the Castro government is gone," Davis told reporters. "I think the only way we get rid of the Castros and their form of socialism is to trade with them."
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