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Members of Congress, in Cuba, Discuss Trade but Don’t Meet With Castro

Members of Congress, in Cuba, Discuss Trade but Don’t Meet With Castro

A delegation of members of Congress who have been some of the strongest advocates of lifting the American trade embargo with Cuba concluded a three-day visit here on Monday with optimism over trade deals but without an anticipated meeting with President Raúl Castro — apparently because of its decision to meet with several Cuban dissidents.

The delegation, which included Senator Patrick J. Leahy, a longtime visitor who has long been involved in Cuban-American relations, emphasized the bright spots of the visit, particularly potential openings for American agricultural products in Cuba.

With the Obama administration having lifted a battery of restrictions on trade and travel, and with plans by the United States and Cuba to reopen their embassies, Mr. Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said he felt optimism among officials and citizens.

“It’s a new day for Cuba and the United States,” Mr. Leahy told reporters.

Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan, took a ride in a 1950s taxi and laughingly wondered about being able to send a replacement from Detroit. Senator Richard J. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, saw powdered milk from New Zealand on store shelves and asked why not get it “90 miles away in the U.S. That’s one thing that can change.”

No agreements were reached, but the politicians talked about taking the promise of a new relationship and transforming it into specific accords, though none suggested there were sufficient votes in Congress to lift the embargo outright.

Read More:Members of Congress, in Cuba, Discuss Trade but Don’t Meet With Castro – NYTimes.com.

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