U.S. Chamber of Mercantilism

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

For Immediate Release
 
STATEMENT BY THE U.S.-CUBA DEMOCRACY PAC ON TODAY'S CHAMBER EVENT
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Cuba Policy Equates to "21st Century Mercantilism"
 
This afternoon, Tom Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ("the Chamber"), will be gathering in the U.S. Capitol with Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel of New York, Congressmen Jeff Flake of Arizona, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts and Barbara Lee of California in support of a policy of unconditional commercial engagement with the regime of Fidel and Raul Castro in Cuba - the sole remaining dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.
 
The Chamber's Cuba policy amounts to nothing more than 21st century mercantilism.
 
Modern capitalism is based on the notion of the free market: a free trade and flow in goods, services and ideas.  In contrast, mercantilism was the economic system that dominated Western European economic thought and policies from the 16th to the late 18th centuries.  It amounted to a state policy of mutual benefit between a merchant class and a government seeking to strengthen itself.
 
Such mercantilist transactions are exactly what the Chamber is proposing for Cuba.
 
The Cuban regime explicitly prohibits the Cuban people from engaging in trade or other private commercial activity.  This is exclusively reserved - under Article 10 of the Cuban regime's 1976 Constitution - for the state and its rulers.  The fact remains that every dollar that has been transacted by over 157 U.S.-based companies since 2001 with Cuba have only had one Cuban counterpart, Alimport, which is owned and operated by the Castro regime.
 
Current U.S. law conditions such commercial engagement to the fundamental recognition and respect for the human, political and economic rights of the Cuban people, including the release of all Cuban political prisoners.  Only at such time can trade with Cuba be free and truly benefit the Cuban people.
 
The U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC is a federal political action committee formed to promote an unconditional transition in Cuba to democracy, the rule of law, and the free market.