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So You Still Think There's An Embargo
Wednesday, February 16, 2005   By: Juan Paxety

Cuba is now 25th

Do you still think there's an embargo on trade with Cuba? According to the Associated Press, as published by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, U.S. food producers have increased sales to the island nation.

 The New York-based U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council said in a report released Monday that U.S. companies exported $392 million in products to Cuba during 2004, up from $257 million in 2003.

The report goes on to say that Cuba is now 25th out of 228 countries receiving food from the U.S.  It's moved up in rank steadily since a food exemption was passed by Congress in 2000. The exemption requires payment in cash, and the only entity with cash is, of course, fidel's government.

At the same time, the Bush administration has cracked down on both travel to Cuba and commercial trade.

This still seems backwards to me.  Why pump food through castro's government, allowing him to decide who gets to eat and reinforcing the idea that all good comes from fidel?  Why restrict the type of trade and travel that might actually help the Cuban people overthrow the bearded bastard? This just seems to be the worst of both worlds.

Update - The Voice of America reports the same story, and adds:

 The council reports that wheat, rice, corn, chicken and soybeans account for most of the U.S. products sold to Cuba. The increased trade comes despite new Bush administration travel and commercial restrictions against the island nation.


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