NCBA CLUSA joins Cuba Study Group urging President-elect Trump to continue engaging Cuba

Leaders of the co-op sector in the U.S. visit Cuba in July 2016 as part of the U.S. – Cuba Cooperative Working Group.Leaders of the co-op sector in the U.S. visit Cuba in July 2016 as part of the U.S. – Cuba Cooperative Working Group.NCBA CLUSA joined the Cuba Study Group and 16 other organizations today, co-signing a letter addressed to the incoming Trump administration on Cuba. Titled U.S. Policy Towards Cuba: The Case for Engagement, the memo urges the president-elect to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of progress made in U.S. – Cuba relations.

The memo outlines the positive gains from U.S – Cuba engagement, including potential U.S. job creation and notes that the risks of disengagement could affect national security and human rights.

One gain is the growth of the Cuban private sector, which now accounts for 30 percent of the country’s workforce. The preferred business model in the Cuban private sector is cooperative businesses, which continue to need support and training. The first export to the U.S. from Cuba in over 50 years, arriving this week, will be from a cooperative charcoal business.

“Cooperative businesses and the private sector in Cuba will continue to grow through engagement between the U.S and Cuba. There is a rich history of the U.S. cooperative sector supporting cooperative business around the world and Cuba is no exception,” said Amy Coughenour Betancourt, head of NCBA CLUSA’s U.S. – Cuba Cooperative Working Group and COO for International Development. “With collaboration through groups like the U.S. – Cuba Cooperative Working Group, cooperative sectors from both countries can only advance.”

NCBA CLUSA’s U.S. – Cuba Cooperative Working Group continues to foster cross-national cooperative business collaboration. Next month, NCBA CLUSA member Organic Valley will host Cuban co-op farmers during their MOSES Organic Farming training conference, a partnership that was formed out of the recent U.S. Co-op Delegation to Cuba last July.

Outlining these and other gains, this week's memo is part of an effort to demonstrate that constructive engagement is the best strategy for supporting the Cuban people while also boosting U.S. jobs and exports.

Read the full memo here.


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