The Florida branch of the US-Cuba Trade Association will meet next week to decide how better to do business in Cuba. Some embargo. From the Bradenton Herald we learn that a man named Stanley Riggs is a member of the organization. Mr. Riggs is building a $20-million warehouse complex at Port Manatee, and he fears if he doesn't get the Cuban business, someone else may.
"We're talking about filling a void that some other country is going to fill, and we might regret how that plays out," Riggs said.
Yes, Mr. Riggs, it might play out that you go broke with your project if you included trade with Cuba in your business plan. The embargo was put into place by President Kennedy not to punish castro, but to protect US businesses from their own foolish decisions. The Real Cuba quotes a study by The Cuba Transition Project at the University of Miami that shows what a deadbeat fidel is. He owes Venezuela, Argentina, Russia and Spain billions of dollars each, and his dept to Mexico, Italy, Panama, Canada, Austria and Brazil is in the millions of dollars - to each.
The United States, by they way, is already the number one supplier of agricultural products to fidel's island workers' paradise. Under Treasury Department rules, Cuba has to pay for goods before they are shipped. The idea is to protect businesses from fidel's chronic failure to pay his bills.
The US-Cuba Trade Association is an organization of businesses, some very large, that want to give fidel charge cards. I've had correspondence with several members of the organization and they are really hot about the cash up front rule. They say they are just trying to do business.
But the US-Cuba Trade Association is run by a man named Kirby Jones. Jones cut his teeth in international politics as a Peace Corps volunteer in the '60s. He worked in various posts in Latin America before going back to Washington. At some time along the way, he fell in love with fidel. In the 1970s he and Bill Moyers produced a film about Cuba and Jones wrote a book praising the regime. He tells the Herald
"I've been going back and forth for 30 years and I've never seen it so positive," he said. He believes the Cuban economy's financial position appears better than ever.
"You see new players in Cuba, particularly China and particularly in energy exploration," Jones said, adding that India, Spain and Canada are pursuing Cuban business opportunities.
Riggs, meanwhile, says he's concerned about seeing a Chinese flag on an oil platform 60-miles off the US coast. But the article goes on to point out-
Riggs, with his privately owned Port Manatee Commerce Center in the midst of construction, could gain from the complex's proximity to the port. "It is recognized that Port Manatee is the closest U.S. port to Havana," he said.
The port is ready for any possible trade developments, said port Communications Manager Steve Hollister. "Port Manatee is in an excellent position to benefit from any potential trade with Cuba due to its geographic location and facilities," he said. In 2003, the port saw two animal feed shipments to Cuba.
The Port Manatee warehouse project has seen a lot more than two shipments to Cuba. Last year, Riggs completed 84,000 square feet of enclosed warehouse space in order to import Brazillian wood products - that's primarily plywood and other wood products used in the construction business according to the Tampa Bay Business News.
Riggs, an investor with other industrial land around the region, is hoping to add at least one increment and customer to his center each year. The space is strictly dry, unrefrigerated warehouse space.
"We do not build to suit. We build to suit the market," Riggs said. "All tenants will leave at some point. We want to make sure we have something that someone else can use."
How does the statement "We build to suit the market" square with what he says about Cuba? He seems to be trying to build a market with fidel.
If people like Riggs want to risk their capital and their futures dealing with fidel, I would say let them if it weren't for the severe consequence to the Cuban people, too. But what I fear is that after losing their shirts, pants, underwear and warehouse space to the billionaire bearded bastard, businessmen such as Riggs will cry to Congress for a bailout, and the American taxpayer will be forced to refill their pockets and to allow them to move on to their next stupid and greedy project.