Saturday, August 04, 2007

More trade with Cuba

North Dakota joins the growing list of U.S. states promoting trade with Cuba, with 100 tons of seed potatoes. I wrote a few months ago about how Nebraska (which, incidentally, also has a Republican governor) placed a priority on Cuba, as did Alabama. Idaho is also making a big push, as its governor traveled to Cuba in April (though Idaho may well be miffed that ND got a potato contract).

Simultaneously, we have all these farming states wanting more access to Cuba, while Raúl advocates more dialogue. But to what degree can these governors make any changes in their own party’s official view of Cuba?

h/t The Latin Americanist


Anonymous,  11:22 AM  

To follow news and information on Cuba, may I modestly recommend the CubaNews list a free Yahoo news group which I've been operating for seven years?

Over 70,000 items from, about or related to Cuba have been posted there, and a searchable database is available to everyone and you don't even have to subscribe to use that.

My father and his parents lived in Cuba during World War II and my interest comes out of that family history.

I totally support Cuba's right to determine for itself what kind of society it's going to have, but th CubaNews list posts material from a wide range of viewpoints.


Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California

Boli-Nica 1:55 PM  

It comes down to votes. The trade off for Republicans is who it is less costly ticking off: agri-business supported Republican governors/congressman/in farm states or hundreds of thousands of Cuban-American voters in southern Florida.

Guestimating here: the agriculture businesses - as a whole- might stand to gain 300 to 600 million more a year in sales to the island. A lot, but not staggering numbers.

Now the Cuban vote. in 96 Clinton got a substantial number of Cuban-American votes. IIRC over 30 percent. After the Miami meltdown over Elian, Gore got IIRC less than 15%, that was it.

The embargo issue hits home in Miami. Even something as simple as allowing credit terms to the Cuban government can cause a meltdown. Although polls suggest that attitudes among Cuban-Americans towards the embargo have softened, the hard-line exile media figures and community leaders tend to squelch any debate. They are good at drawing a line in the sand, and making an issue like this a litmus test.
In the end US foreign and trade policy are bound to political calculations, more than strategic or economic interest. The agenda is set by a voting block.

Greg Weeks 10:15 AM  

I agree to an extent--my impression is that the Cuban American community is less unified than in the past. One factor is age difference. It's true, though, that presidential candidates (and presidents) still see it as too powerful a bloc to antagonize.

In any case, Helms-Burton sets limits on trade, but the Republican pro-business interests are gaining steam in a way we haven't really seen before.

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