- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. (AP) - The head of the Delta Grassroots Caucus says he welcomes the nation’s new approach to Cuba, saying there could be economic advantages for Arkansas.

Caucus Director Lee Powell said Wednesday that before an embargo against Cuba, Arkansas farmers exported a large number of products to Cuba - particularly rice. He said the embargo has done nothing to change Cuba’s regime and that it is time to change policies.

President Obama said Wednesday the nation would resume diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than five decades of acrimony.

Kevin Smith, a caucus senior advocate from Helena-West Helena, said the U.S. can fill a trade gap with Cuba that otherwise would go to China, Vietnam or Russia.

The Delta Caucus says it still condemns authoritarian policies but says capitalism will undermine communism.

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