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So, You Still Think There's An Embarbo, IV
Thursday, March 03, 2005   By: Juan Paxety

Now California joins the herd

Now California becomes an embargo breaker. According to a web site of the San Diego Union-Tribune,  San Diego Port Commissioner Khoroush Hangafarin signed a trade agreement with Cuba last week  The article goes on to say it was almost immediately "renounced by the port." I'm not sure what that means legally.

The article is a very good summary of current U.S. trading with fidel. It confirms my suspicions that the "Midwest farmers" who have been pressuring state officials to trade with Cuba are, in fact, Archer-Daniels-Midland and Cargill. I'm reminded of an old case I studied in law school. A child was injured by a railroad, and the child's lawyer made the argument before the jury that a railroad had no soul and the only thing it understood was money.  Same for multi-national corporations. And the desire to grab market share is spreading.

But California companies have been angling to get some of the business as well, ranging from Vineyards International, a wine distributor in San Pedro that has sent two shipments of California wine to Cuba, to Lozen International, a food wholesaler in Ventura that has sent 80 tons of California grapes.

The California companies point out that the market share is small. Well, it would be when the only people in fidel's workers paradise who can afford to buy California wines are the visiting America state officials, millionaire cigar smoking tourists and fidel's closest friends. But, not understanding the nature of totalitarian regimes, the corporate executives see opportunity.

 "The average Cuban doesn't have a lot of expendable income, so right now there's a limited market for California grapes, although they've enjoyed what we've shipped so far," said Dean Myring, who oversees Lozen's trade with Cuba. "But when you're in a competitive business, it's nice to be a pioneer in an emerging market. And once it opens up, there's going to be tons of opportunity, since they're only 80 miles away from our southern shores."

Once it opens up.  What, Mr. Myring, do you think it will take for things to open up? And what are you doing about it? Read the whole thing.


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