News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. May 30, 2014: Influential head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Thomas Donohue, fresh from pushing Republicans to pass immigration reform, is now urging the Cuban government to speed up and extend market-style economic reforms.
Donohue, according to Reuters, made the suggestion while addressing student at the Havana University, in a speech attended by Foreign Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca and a host of other Cuban officials.
“The more Cuba can do to demonstrate its commitment to reform, and the more it can do to address and resolve disputes in our relations, the better the prospects will be for changes in U.S. policy,” Donohue was quoted as saying as he wrapped up a three-day trip to Cuba.
Donohue said that Cuba had more to do and cited China and Vietnam as examples where communist countries have raised living standards by turning toward more market-oriented policies.
Donohue also reiterated the chamber’s longtime opposition to the decades-old U.S. trade embargo of Cuba a decision that has caused him to come under fire from critics in the U.S. Congress.
On Wednesday, his trip to Cuba was criticized by some including U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, who said the trip is a publicity coup for the Cuban government.
Donohue fired back saying his agenda was unhindered by the Cuban authorities and he was confident he was getting a “fair look” at Cuba.
Donohue, a champion of capitalism and free enterprise, has long opposed U.S. economic sanctions against the communist-ruled island, seeing them as an impediment to U.S. business interests.