The Cuba embargo provision drew almost as much fire as the drug re-importation proposal. Its supporters hailed it as a landmark change in U.S. policy that could open the door to even wider trade in the future. But critics said it is more symbol than substance because of restrictions added at the insistence of anti-Fidel Castro forces.
The bill would allow food and medicine sales to Cuba, but it would continue the existing ban on imports from Cuba. It would bar U.S. banks and other institutions from extending credit or other financing for Cuba's purchases--restrictions that analysts said would put a huge damper on purchases by cash-short Cuba. However, the compromise would allow banks in other countries to finance such transactions.