US business groups – led by the US Chamber of Commerce and the Council of the Americas – applaud President Barack Obama’s moves to normalize relations with Cuba.
“The U.S. business community welcomes [the] announcement, and has long supported many of the economic provisions the president touched on in his remarks,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said in a statement. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses.
The Americas Society and Council of the Americas congratulated the Obama Administration for taking the historic step of normalizing diplomatic relations with the government and the people of Cuba, easing existing restrictions on travel and telecommunications, allowing for limited commerce and financial links to the non-state sector, and charting a new policy that will further empower Cuban people and give much-needed support to its nascent private sector, a policy for which AS/COA has long advocated.
"We greatly welcome this reconfiguration in U.S. policy towards the Americas. The falling oil prices provide the right juncture for us to reframe the discussion at the hemispheric and even the global level," Americas Society/Council of the Americas President and CEO Susan Segal said in a statement.
Christopher Sabatini, senior director of policy at AS/COA and chair of the AS/COA Cuba Working Group, argues that the increased ties should not be seen as a concession, but as a way to boost independence within Cuba.
"Far from being a concession, better access to telecommunications equipment, improved contacts with U.S. citizens, and support to independent entrepreneurs will build the pockets of independence, which a half century of U.S.-ordered isolation and the Castro regime’s repression have prevented,” he said in the statement. "This bold move to change a five-decade-old foreign policy that has failed to produce any meaningful outcome is welcome...."