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Trade with Cuba will topple Castro, Schumer says

A Cuban wearing a t-shirt with the U.S.

A Cuban wearing a t-shirt with the U.S. flag walks along a street of Havana, on January 16, 2015. Photo Credit: Getty Images / AFP / Yamil Lage

To take down the Castro regime in Cuba, open up the country to trade, Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday.

Schumer said Cubans should get a look at what freedom means in the U.S., praising Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. lawmakers for trips to the Communist country in the Caribbean country led by Raul Castro, the 83-year-old brother of Fidel.

"Castro and the Castro regime are a terrible regime, but I've always felt the best way to topple them is to open Cuba up, to let the Cuban people see what freedom's all about: political freedom but also economic freedom," Schumer said.

Four of Schumer's Senate colleagues arrived in Cuba on Saturday as part of the first congressional delegation to the island after President Barack Obama announced the return of diplomatic relations between the countries. Meanwhile, Cuomo's office announced Saturday that the governor is planning a trade mission to Cuba as part of a series of international trips to tout the Empire State

"I think it's a good thing that he's going," Schumer said. "It's a tremendous trade opportunity for various New York industries."

Schumer said the U.S. delegation to Cuba will explore ways to open up trade, though "that will be a fight." He said there could be common ground with lawmakers from states with an agricultural industry, which Schumer said has been "very eager to trade with Cuba for a while."

"There are many in the Congress who are opposed to it," Schumer said. "I think the majority are for it."

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