Senator Amy Klobuchar met with agriculture, business and community leaders on Monday at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul campus.
At the summit, Senator Klobuchar talked about her trip to Cuba last weekend, where she visited a farm and met with agriculture leaders. According to Klobuchar, the people she met with were excited about the potential for the embargo to be lifted.
Last week, Klobuchar proposed legislation, supported by two Republicans from Arizona and Wyoming, that would get rid of legal barriers for Americans doing business in Cuba and other restrictive statutes that stop transactions between Cuba and U.S-owned or controlled firms. It does not repeal human rights provisions or provisions relating to property claims against the Cuban government. It's called the "Freedom to export to Cuba Act."
Klobuchar said, "It lifts the embargo. It's a bipartisan bill...I think the time has come. Fifty years of a policy that hasn't worked, and hasn't really changed the government there, it's time to change the chapter of the book here."
Minnesota exported about $20 million in agricultural products to Cuba in 2013. Klobuchar says her bill would give more economic opportunities to the state's farmers and ranchers.
"When you think if Minnesota we have everything from soybeans to biofuels to produce to hogs, we're big in hogs, we're big in turkeys, I had a turkey sandwich in Cuba, so there's a huge possibility for that," Klobuchar said.
Passing the bill could be tough. Lawmakers including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio are against lifting the embargo, saying it would negatively affect human rights.