International Fair in Havana Opens Opportunities for 'Hecho en Cuba'

Local 10

By: Hatzel Vela

Ruben Valladares and Steven Maisel are business partners. Valladares owns Adorgraf, a Cuban printing company and Maisel owns the Pennsylvania-based Commonwealth Packaging, a specialty packaging business.

The two participated in Pacgraf Cuba, a fair featuring importers and exporters that specialize in printing, packaging and the graphic arts industry. The organizers of the fair are from Spain. 

Valladares and Maisel were among 50 other businesses from 10 countries that met this week at the PABEXPO exhibition center in Havana. Organizers expect some 2,000 people. 

"I have been able to see everything and all that can be done," Valladares said in Spanish after walking around the exhibition center. "I'm taking with me a lot of ideas and a lot of knowledge."

Valladares also had an opportunity to promote his work next to colleagues from as far as Germany, France, Italy, Colombia and Peru. Maisel placed his U.S. flag next to Valladares Cuban flag. He is related to an employee of the lobbying coalition Engage Cuba

"Ruben could assist us by producing packaging," Maisel said. "We would hopefully be able to help him in expanding his market."

Unlike most of the other business owners he met, Valladares faces a shortage of supplies. But he said new ideas are a good way to start.  He and others will have until Thursday when the fair ends.