Illinois & Cuba in the News

Illinois State University: AG Alum Found His Future at Illinois State after Fleeing Cuba

When Marcos Fernandez ’80 and his family left Cuba in 1963, they did so looking for opportunities that couldn’t be found under the Communist regime of the island nation. The opportunity they most valued was education. 

Chicago Tribune: United Seeks OK to Fly to Cuba from Chicago, Three Other U.S. Airports

United Airlines wants to provide regularly scheduled flights to Havana from Chicago and three other U.S. cities, the airline told the U.S. government Wednesday. Chicago-based United earlier expressed interest in serving Cuba in the wake of the two countries signing a deal last month to re-establish air service for the first time in more than 50 years.

Better Government Association: Illinois pols forge Cuba connection

The restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba has sparked a renewed effort to boost Illinois agricultural exports to the island nation, which has been under crippling economic sanctions for more than 50 years. 

CBS Chicago: Illinois Could Reap Economic Rewards of Ending Embargo with Cuba

President Barack Obama met with President Raul Castro on his historic trip to Cuba Monday. The two leaders talked about human rights issues and, of course, the half century U.S. trade embargo. CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports agricultural trade with Cuba is something that hits home here in Illinois.

Pantagraph: Cuba Visit Could Help Illinois, Delegate Says

Illinois has a lot to gain from improved relations between the United States and Cuba that President Barack Obama is trying to foster through his trip to the island nation, according to an agribusiness person who is part of a delegation currently there. “We are way ahead of the game as far as building relationships," said Mark Albertson, director of strategic market development for the Bloomington-based Illinois Soybean Association. “Illinois has a lot at stake here and because of our (rail and shipping) infrastructure, we have a direct pipeline to Cuba.” 

Fox News: Illinois Agricultural Effect with Trade Embargo on Cuba Lifted

President Barack Obama spoke to Cuban citizens Tuesday and called upon the US Congress to lift the decades old trade embargo on Cuba. According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, nearly 75 percent of the state’s land area is used for farming. 

The Washington Times: 3 Members of Illinois Congressional Delegation Going to Cuba

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Reps. Cheri bustos and Jan Schakowsky will travel to Cuba on Sunday with the president. They are among 20 members of Congress going on the trip to Havana. 

Fox News: Illinois Soybean Association’s High Hopes for Cuban Trade

Illinois soybean growers are being represented in Cuba this week. The state’s soybean association is there talking with farmers. Mark Albertson, Director of Market Development with the Illinois Soybean Association, says while there have been no formal changes as a result of the president’s visit to the island nation, it’s a major step forward. 

Fox News: Illinois Leads the Way in Cuban Relations

Normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba is an exciting new chapter for many, both at home and abroad. But Illinois was ahead of the curve more than 10 years ago when Governor Ryan took a delegation there.

NPR: Remembering George Ryan’s Cuba Visit

With the move to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba and President Obama’s visit to the country, we remember a trip an Illinois governor took there nearly 17 years ago. George Ryan led what was termed a humanitarian mission that included politicians, business leaders and other dignitaries. 






Grain Net: Illinois Soybean Growers Meet With Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel

Mark Albertson, Illinois Soybean Growers director of strategic market development, met with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel in New York during the United Nations General Assembly.

Albertson said: “We have been working on opening doors with Cuba since 2012 and value the opportunities trade with Cuba brings to our Illinois soybean producers.

We continue to believe that the improvement of economic conditions and trade relations between the United States and Cuba is the foundation for future success.

As Illinois soybean producers struggle to make ends meet with lower commodity prices and decreased access to key markets, it’s important that we maintain positive relationships with Cuba and other countries who import our soybeans.”

The Southern Illinoisan: Saluki Basketball's 6-day trip to Cuba

The SIU men's basketball team spent Aug. 5-11 in Cuba as part of a cultural exchange that included three games against the Cuban National Team.

AgriNews Publications: Farm bill disputes move to conference committee

There are other key differences in the two farm bills on the table. Among those differences being USDA’s current Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program are funded in the Senate bill for countries such as Cuba.

“While that issue has been quite contentious in the past, Illinois Soybean Growers have supported increasing markets for Illinois soybeans abroad and with Cuba having transportation advantages we’re excited for that potential to develop for the use and promotion of Illinois and American agriculture products in Cuba,” [Andrew Larson, marketing and membership program manager for the Illinois Soybean Association,] said in a July 30 podcast.

The Southern Illinoisan: Salukis Pick Cuba for Foreign Tour in August

SIU men's basketball team will play three games in Cuba in August and host two youth coaching clinics. The games will be played in the 12,000-seat Havana Sports City Coliseum.

Illinois News Network: Illinois Cuba Working Group Wants Illinois to Bypass D.C. on Normalizing Relations

The head of the Illinois Cuba Working Group worries that politics is getting in the way of opening another market for Illinois' goods and thinks the state should lead in normalizing trade relations despite growing tensions between the Trump Administration and the Caribbean nation.

Springfield Business Journal: Illinois Could See Boost from Cuba Trade

The Illinois agriculture industry is crossing its fingers that Congress will expand U.S. trade with Cuba. A bill to do just that is pending in the legislature, and Illinois could receive a huge boost in business opportunities if the bill becomes law. Illinois is the largest producer of soybeans in the U.S., and an estimated 20 percent of corn and soy sent to Cuba comes from Illinois farms, according to the Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Soybean Association.

Illinois Business: Let's make a Cuba trade deal

The Obama administration's decision last week to again loosen trade restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba means it will soon be easier to enjoy a fine Cuban cigar and savor a swig of that island's flavorsome rum.

Peoria Journal Star: Word on the Street: Lawmakers see benefits of trade with Cuba

Central Illinois has a longstanding interest in Cuba, what with the opportunities there as a market for Illinois farm products and the built-up infrastructure repair needs after 55 years of embargo that could unquestionably benefit a certain manufacturer of earthmoving equipment [Caterpillar, Inc.].

The State Journal-Register: Illinois college students, professors going to Cuba to study ghost orchids, sign agreement

Before Illinois College officials sign a landmark collaboration agreement with two academic institutions in Cuba Jan. 9-10, two professors and two students will spend a week or so doing what brought the parties to the table in the first place: research.

Chicago Tribune: Illinois Firms Race to Establish Foothold in Cuba

When Cuba’s foreign minister raised his nation’s single-star flag outside its newly opened embassy in Washington last month, construction equipment giant Caterpillar did the same outside its Peoria headquarters. 

RR Star: Cuba-Illinois Trade Could Boost AG Economy, Says U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos

When the U.S. resumed diplomatic relations with Cuba in July and Secretary of State John Kerry reopened the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos had an idea. 

The State Journal-Register: Illinois College Students, Professors Going to Cuba to Study Ghost Orchids, Sign Agreement

Before Illinois College officials sign a landmark collaboration agreement with two academic institutions in Cuba Jan. 9-10, two professors and two students will spend a week or so doing what brought the parties to the table in the first place: research. 

Havana Times: Caterpillar Donates US $500,000 to Preserve Hemingway’s Home in Cuba

The Caterpillar Foundation announced that it will donate half a million dollars to the Boston-based Finca Vigia Foundation, an organization that works to restore and preserve the house of Ernest Hemingway in Cuba, including historical documents and other items that belonged to the US writer. 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: After Trip to Cuba, Illinois Congressman ‘Disappointed’ by Lack of Progress

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, who returned Thursday from a trip to Cuba with Illinois agricultural officials, said he was disappointed in the lack of a shift toward free enterprise and improvement in living standards in that country compared to what he saw 10 years ago. 

Pantagraph: Illinois AG Groups: Cuba is Market in Waiting

Anticipation of increasing trade with Cuba has grown dramatically for businesses since President Barack Obama announced his goal of normalized relations in December. But for decades, agriculture groups never stopped thinking about ending the embargo. 




Illinois' Champions

Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL-13)   Co-Sponsor of  Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL-13)

Co-Sponsor of Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17)   Co-Sponsor of  Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17)

Co-Sponsor of Cuba Agricultural Exports Act