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Senator criticizes upcoming trip by US Chamber of Commerce to Cuba

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue, left, talks with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, right, in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce Delegation arrived today to Cuba to explore the business climate at the island. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue, left, talks with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, right, in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce Delegation arrived today to Cuba to explore the business climate at the island. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

WASHINGTON - The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman believes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's upcoming Cuba trip is a bad idea.

Writing to the chamber, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey says Cuba isn't an attractive investment opportunity because the government unjustifiably jails foreign business leaders and breaks international labour standards. He questions the merits of engaging a government controlling almost all the country's economic activity.

Chamber head Thomas J. Donohue will meet this week with entrepreneurs, officials and university students. U.S. business executives will accompany him.

Cuba has legalized private businesses in many fields since 2010, creating thousands of independent entrepreneurs.

But Menendez reminds the chamber the five-decade U.S. embargo against Cuba is unlikely to be lifted soon. He says Cuba must release political prisoners and give citizens their rights.

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