May 4th, 2009
04:31 PM ET
12 years ago

Is trade embargo with Cuba hurting U.S. interests?

HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) - If Americans wonder what it's like to travel to Cuba, just ask a Canadian.

"Let's be honest, there's a mystique about Cuba," said Graham Cook, a Canadian golf course designer.

Or ask South African pro golfer Ernie Els, the star attraction at a Cuban golf tournament aimed at turning the island into the sport's next destination.

"It would be great to see the Americans and the Cubans get together," Els said. "There's lots of potential here."

Every year, foreign travelers escape to Cuba's exotic shores and Spanish colonial streets, pumping an estimated $2 billion into the island's economy.

There are stunning examples in Cuba of how America's biggest competitors are investing heavily in the island nation, from European hotels to Chinese oil drilling operations. But the 47-year-old trade embargo with Cuba has Americans only watching from the sidelines, 90 miles away.

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