Nebraska officials are back in Cuba making deals to sell food there. Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy and Agriculture Director Greg Ibach are in Havana inking the deal to sell $30-million in meat and other agricultural products to fidel's island workers' paradise. Last year, it was Governor Dave Heineman leading a delegation that sold corn, wheat and beans.
The Cubans are pleased that various states want the trade. Pedro Alvarez, head of the food import agency Alimport, is quoted in the Guardian:
"We've had a great commerce experience with Nebraska and this shows the desire of many (U.S.) states to work for free trade with the United States," Alvarez told The Associated Press at Havana's historic Hotel Nacional during a breakfast hosted by Farmland Foods Inc. featuring Nebraska pork and other meat products.
Pork, huh. I wonder what fidel's Mullah friends think of that. Anyway, Farmland Foods appears to be a major beneficiary of the deal.
Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in the state and Gov. Heineman saw an opportunity in Cuba to expand our market,'' Sheehy said.
Alvarez wants the existing trade restrictions lifted - which means Cuba would no longer have to pay up front for the stuff it buys. Unfortunately, Cuba has a terrible credit record, owing millions of dollars to countries around the world. The tattered remnants of the embargo exist to protect the US taxpayer. If Farmland Foods, or any other Nebraska company extended Cuba credit, then failed to get paid, don't think for a second that Rick Sheely and Greg Ibach and Dave Heineman would not be crying in Washington asking that you cough up your hard earned money to bail out a company that made a bad business decision.
Of course, there's not mention of freedom for the Cuban people. That, apparently, buys no votes in Nebraska.
Heineman tells the Guardian he plans to visit Cuba again in the fall. Where do you suppose he will visit? Here, at a nice tourist hotel?
Or, here, a hotel for Cubans where four or five people live in a room with one bed?
Photos courtesy The Real Cuba.