Viva Cuba Business

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

Diplomatic relations have not yet been established and the U.S. embargo of Cuba has not yet been lifted, but there are already signs of people and companies wanting to go into Cuba now. Already the Colorado Livestock Association, which represents Colorado’s ranchers, want to export beef and beef products to Cuba. Likewise, Colorado’s farmers want to export their crop produce to the Cuban market. There is no question they are trying to negotiate with the Cuban government to export products from Colorado. Colorado is not the only state in the soon to open Cuban market.

The State of Illinois is looking at selling its corn and soybean crops to Cuba, and who knows what else this state will export to the Cuban market. And Florida, the state right next to Cuba, could benefit the most. Not only could there be a tourism trade between Florida and Cuba, but south Florida especially could greatly benefit as the trade entrepot for all U.S. goods going to Cuba and all Cuban goods coming into the United States.

But wait, what about the U.S. Congress? It is the only branch of the U.S. government that holds to key to whether the U.S. embargo on Cuba should end or not. And it is stacked with Republican lawmakers—especially with Cuban American lawmakers who do not want to end the embargo. There is no question that the Congress will become a bitter battleground. Even with the closed ranks of the Cuban American Republican lawmakers, their other Republican colleagues may not fall into line. Already there are powerful business interests and political forces that will push as hard as they can for trade with Cuba and a complete end of the U.S. embargo. If billions of dollars are there to be had with trade with Cuba, then many want the embargo to go. Even with a Republican-dominated Congress, the embargo may fall.

This the Cuban government wants. There is much for the Communist Party of Cuba to gain from the end of the embargo, and much for U.S. business to gain from the embargo ending as well. So will even the U.S. Congress be able to stand in the way of the forces-that-be that want an end to the embargo and complete normalization of relations with Cuba? This is the big guessing game, and it all depends on who has the most clout in the U.S. Congress. One thing is for sure, and that is U.S. business will not play a part in the democratization of Cuba. It so far has not done so in China, Vietnam or Laos (if the North Koreans had played their cards right, they might be getting an end to all the sanctions against them and diplomatic relations with the United States as well). The battle lines have already been drawn, and the fight has just begun.

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