Free Trade

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

An agreement reached by the United States, Canada, and Mexico that instituted a schedule for the phasing out of tariffs and eliminated a variety of fees and other hindrances to encourage free trade between the three North American countries.

In His 2004 Senate Campaign, Obama Strongly Praised the North American Free Trade Agreemant (NAFTA):

Obama Said U.S. Benefits Enormously From Exports Under NAFTA.

“Obama said the United States benefits enormously from exports under the WTO and NAFTA.” (Ron Ingram, “Obama, Keyes Court Farmers,” [Decatur, IL] Herald & Review, 9/9/04)

“[Obama] said the United State [sic] should continue to work with the World Trade Organization and pursue deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement…” (Christopher Wills, “Senate Candidates Speak On Farm, Trade Issues,” The Associated Press, 9/8/04)

Obama Also Said It Will Not Be Possible To Renegotiate Existing [Free Trade] Deals.

“‘Free trade is important to the health of Illinois, but we need to be more effective in negotiations,’ says state Sen. Barack Obama of Chicago, a relative moderate on the issue. He calls for enforceable standards on collective bargaining and environmental protection in future pacts, but concedes it likely will not be possible to renegotiate existing deals.” (Greg Hinz, “Candidates Sing From Same Song Sheet,” Crain’s Chicago Business, 2/16/04)

Now That He’s Running for President, Politician Obama has Changed his Position, Opposing NAFTA.

In 2007, Obama Pledged To “Immediately Call The President Of Mexico, The President Of Canada To Try To Amend NAFTA…”

“I would immediately call the president of Mexico, the president of Canada to try to amend NAFTA because I think that we can get labor agreements in that agreement right now. And it should reflect the basic principle that our trade agreements should not just be good for Wall Street, it should also be good for Main Street.” (Sen. Barack Obama, AFL-CIO Presidential Candidates Forum, Chicago, IL, 8/7/07)

Cuban Embargo:

Limits American Businesses from Conducting Business with Cuban Interests.

In 2004, Obama Proposed Repealing The Embargo With Cuba:

Obama: “I think it’s time for us to end the embargo with Cuba.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, 1/20/04)

Obama: “The Cuban embargo has failed to provide the sorts of rising standards of living and has squeezed the innocents in Cuba, and utterly failed in the effort to overthrow Castro…so it’s time for us to acknowledge that that particular policy has failed.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, 1/20/04)

But In 2007, Obama Said He Supported The Cuban Embargo.

“[Obama] said he would continue the trade embargo.” (Beth Reinhard, “Obama Stresses ‘Libertad,'” The Miami Herald, 8/26/07)

Obama: “As president, I’ll maintain the embargo – it’s an important inducement for change because we know that Castro’s death will not guarantee freedom.” (Beth Reinhard, “It’s Got A Good Beat And You Can Dance To It,” The Miami Herald’s “Naked Politics” Blog,, 8/25/07)

Obama’s Willingness To Meet With Rogue Leaders, Including Current Cuban President Raul Castro, Has Been Criticized By Members Of The Cuban Community In Florida:

At A February 2008 Debate, Obama Said He Would Meet With Raul Castro Without Preconditions.

CNN’s Campbell Brown: “Senator Obama, just to follow up, you had said in a previous CNN debate that you would meet with the leaders of Cuban, Iran, North Korea, among others, so presumably you would be willing to meet with the new leader of Cuba.” Obama: “That’s correct. Now, keep in mind that the starting point for our policy in Cuba should be the liberty of the Cuban people. And I think we recognize that that liberty has not existed throughout the Castro regime. And we now have an opportunity to potentially change the relationship between the United States and Cuba after over half a century. I would meet without preconditions, although Senator Clinton is right that there has to be preparation.” (Sen. Barack Obama, CNN/Univision Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Austin, TX, 2/21/08)

In Florida, Obama “Will Have To Defend His Support For Easier Negotiations With America’s Enemies”

Which Has “Evoked The Ire Of Some Cuban Groups In Florida.” “Sen. Barack Obama will have to defend his support for easier negotiations with America’s enemies when he addresses a leading Cuban-American exile group this week during his first campaign stop in Florida in nine months. The professed desire by the likely Democratic presidential nominee to hold direct talks with Cuba’s communist leaders if elected has evoked the ire of some Cuban groups in Florida, who maintain that no such talk should be held until real democratic reform takes place on the island.” (Carmen Gentile, “Obama Faces Heat From Cuban Exiles,” The Washington Times, 5/18/08)


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