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Statement from U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on President Obama's Announcement on Cuba

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
News Media Contact:
Office of Public Affairs, 202-482-4883

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today issued a statement on the actions President Obama announced on Cuba. 

“These historic actions by the President chart a new course for our country's relationship with Cuba and its people. It will improve the lives of millions and will help spur long overdue economic and political reform across the country. Expanding economic engagement between the Cuban people and the American business community will be a powerful catalyst that will strengthen human rights and the rule of law. 

Since President Obama’s first days in office, his administration has taken steps to improve the lives of the Cuban people by easing restrictions on family travel and remittances. Nevertheless, the reality is that America’s policy toward Cuba has largely been frozen in time for more than 54 years – which is my entire life. Our policies have isolated Cuba from the United States, and they have failed to foster a more prosperous, free and democratic nation. Today’s action by the President represents a powerful step forward to increase human connection and entrepreneurial activity.  

President Obama and I believe deeply in the power of commercial diplomacy to change lives and economies for the better. We are putting this belief to the test in Cuba. Everyone deserves an opportunity to increase prosperity for themselves and their families, and to that end, I look forward to visiting Cuba to lead our efforts to expand our commercial diplomacy as part of the President’s initiative to encourage positive change in Cuba.”​