As we reported yesterday, a group of US business people is gathering in Mexico City to discuss how to get their hands on Cuban oil. The conference is sponsored by the US-Cuba Trade Association, and it includes sponsors such as Caterpillar, The Port of Corpus Christi, Louisiana Economic Development, Valero Energy Corporation, Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation, National Foreign Trade Council, and USEngage. The conference was organized by a company called Alamar Associates.
One man's name stands out - Kirby Jones. He is president of both the US-Cuba Trade Association and Alamar. Just who is Kirby Jones?
First, he's a master of the mixed-metaphor. As noted on this site back in July, he said the following:
Kirby Jones, the trade association's president, likened the embargo, dating to the early 1960s, to a weighty, out-of-commission ship on a field.
"It's like a tanker that has been sitting there for 40 years," Jones said. "And you've got farmers pushing it, but it won't budge. It's entrenched."
A ship in a field. Seems to me he's describing the "run aground" society that is fidel's workers' paradise.
But mostly, Jones has been an appeaser of fidel for more than 30-years. His Alamar website is alamarcuba.com. On it he brags:
Kirby Jones has traveled regularly to Cuba for 30 years, has consulted with dozens of U.S. firms and organizations, has conducted several television and print interviews with Cuban President Fidel Castro, and has written extensively about Cuba.
What is this man's background? We know, now, thanks to the Internet. It turns out he donated his private papers to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and a listing of the papers, and Mr. Jones bio is published here.
Jones was born in 1941 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and was educated in Andover, Massachusetts and the University of North Carolina, receiving a BA in Political Science in 1962. In August, 1963, he was accepted as a trainee in the Peace Corps.
On December 4, 1963 he began his service as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic, where he remained until July, 1965. He then transferred to Washington, DC, where he was Latin American Desk Officer for the Peace Corps until 1967.
In 1968, Jones entered politics. He was a staff member for Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign. In 1971 and 1972 he served as a press officer for the George McGovern campaign. And by 1974, he was a special correspondent for CBS News. In that position, he worked closely with Frank Mankiewicz, the former press secretary for the Robert Kennedy campaign.
It would seem the job with CBS gave his life direction. Again from the Alamar web site:
Mr. Jones, described by Newsweek as having "better contacts in Cuba than any other American," and by The New York Times as "the man to see about business in Cuba," first traveled to Cuba in 1974 as a special correspondent for CBS. He participated in an interview with Fidel Castro, which was broadcast in October 1974, as "CBS Reports: Castro, Cuba and the USA." For his work on this project, Mr. Jones was awarded the "Citation of Excellence for Best Interpretation of Foreign Affairs" by the Overseas Press Club.
Mr. Jones subsequently co-authored the book, "With Fidel: A Portrait of Castro and Cuba", published by Playboy Press in 1975 and Ballantine Books in 1976. He also co-authored: "Havana, 1974: Around Town with Fidel" published in 1997 in "The Readers Companion to Cuba", Harcourt Brace and Co
Jones interviews castro again in 1986 for a PBS broadcast entitled "In the Shadow of Doubt" - part of the interview was published in a 1986 Playboy magazine.
He has been very active in promoting trade with Cuba. From 1998 until 2001 he chaired the U-S Cuba Summits, a group that put 400 US business executives face to face with Cuban leaders. He served as chairman of the Euromoney '92-93 International Conference on Cuba. The site also lists a number of television appearances and speaking engagements all in promotion of US trade with Cuba.
Jones seems to have the pedigree of an appeaser - one who fails to see the danger of mixing the greed of a dictator with the greed of capitalist business. It's a mix that brought slavery and death to millions of people in the 20th century - it's time to bring it to a close in the 21st.