Now it's the state of Maine jumping on the dealing with the dictator bandwagon. The San Jose Mercury News reports that officials in the Pine Tree State expect to finalize deals to sell $10-million worth of seed potatoes, lumber and fish to Cuba. Governor John Baldacci is planning a trade mission to Cuba this weekend.
The governor's participation shows that the state takes seriously its opportunity to do business with Cuba, said Richard Daives, a staff aide.
The initial agreement was signed a year ago - Maine has already sent cows to Cuba.
The state's legislature wants to go even further:
Maine's Legislature passed a resolution in 2002 to lift a trade embargo and normalize relations with Cuba. The U.S. embargo limits travel and trade with Cuba, but food and agricultural products can be sold to the country on a cash-only basis under an exception created in 2000.
Hoping to get in on sales are representatives of the lumber, potato, biotech, seafood, wholesale grocery and cattle industries.
The biotech part worries me greatly. What biotech industry, and if it's an innocuous part, what else can the technology be used for? It would appear that others are concerned, too.
But, a couple of New York women don't seem to know about the Maine deal, nor the one with North Dakota, nor Nebraska, nor Louisiana, nor the others. Heather Haddon and Rachel Dannefer have produced a film on the U.S. blockade of Cuba. It will be screened at the Havana Film Festival. The Cuban propaganda agency AIN says:
Voicing testimonies by Cuban and US citizens, "Bloqueo: Looking at the US embargo against Cuba", gives a glimpse at the effects of the more than 40-year US blockade on the island.
The 45-minute documentary shows how Cubans have learned not just to cope, but to find sustainable alternatives to build a more stable social, political and economic reality.
The women say that people in the United States are surprised to learn how wonderful fidel's communist workers' paradise actually is.
"People have been really shocked to see such positive things that are happening in Cuba," said Dannefer.
By providing basic information such as the fact that Americans can not travel legally to the island and that the US refuses to trade with Cuba, "is an eye-opener to people," described the co-director.
Of course fidel's inability to provide electric power to the people is also the fault of the blockade.
Heather Haddon, also the film's producer, highlighted "how the Cuban people have learned to cope with the economic crisis in terms of energy management and sustainable agriculture."
And reader C.B.'s favorite congressman had to put his two-cents in:
"One thing is clear; the embargo helps no one, and drives an unnecessary wedge between our two countries. I applaud this film for bringing our attention to this outdated and hurtful embargo," said US congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY) in a review.
The film is titled, naturally, Bloqueo, and was shot in 2001 while the directors were visiting the island with the Pastors For Peace.