Virginia State Council

Honorary Chair: Governor Terry McAuliffe

PJ HAYNIE, OWNER, HAYNIE FARMS LLC; TREASURER, NATIONAL BLACK GROWERS ASSOCIATION

Jason Heckathorn, CEO, Forever Oceans Corporation

Susan Jennings, President, Virginia Forest Products Association

Alex Nyerges, Director, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Wayne Pryor, President, Virginia Farm Bureau

Mark Treadaway, Vice President of Business Outreach, Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority

David White, Vice President
Virginia Maritime Association

Dawson Williams, Director of Sales and Logistics, Turkey Knob Growers

Dr. Richard Wokutch, Professor, Virginia Tech Pamplin Business School

Dr. Van Wood, Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University

Ross Butler, President & CEO, Wanchese Seafood

Tom Capozzi, Chief Commercial Officer, Port of Virginia

Zandra Chestnut, Nature's Friends

Henry Chiles, Owner, Crown Orchard

Dr. Greg Fairchild, Professor, UVA Darden School of Business

Katie Frazier, President, Virginia Agribusiness Council

Jeffrey Ganthner, Mid-Atlantic Manager, Burns & McDonnell

David Glaize, Glaize Packing

Phil Glaize III, Vice President, Glaize Packing

Basil Gooden, Secretary, Virginia Department of Agriculture & Forestry

Joe Haggerty, President & CEO, Alexandria Chamber of Commerce

Todd Haymore, Secretary, Virginia Department of Commerce & Trade


THE WASHINGTON POST: VIRGINIA BUSINESSES BEGIN WARY COURTSHIP WITH CUBA

“After a half-century of hostilities and 13 months of detente, U.S.-Cuban business relations are at a moment of tantalizing promise and stomach-churning doubt. Stone, like others on the three-day trade mission that Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) led last week, came away from the encounter keenly interested though not entirely smitten. With the winds of history seemingly at their backs -- and a well-connected governor in their corner -- they returned to Virginia intent on pushing ahead, however warily, with their Cuban courtship.” 

 

REUTERS: VIRGINIA AND CUBA TO SIGN PORT AGREEMENT, LOOK TO EXPAND TRADE

Virginia's port authority will become the first U.S. port operator to sign a cooperation agreement with its Cuban counterpart, in an effort to increase trade and establish direct service with Cuba, Virginia's governor said on Monday. "We are going to sign an agreement tomorrow between the Port of Mariel and our Port of Virginia which will be a strategic alliance," Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said during a three-day trip to the Communist-run island. McAuliffe is the fourth U.S. governor to visit Cuba since both countries announced they would work to normalize relations just over a year ago. 

 

wtop: Va. Gov. McAuliffe heads to Cuba to announce export deals

“Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe was headed in Cuba Sunday for a four-day visit expected to include the announcements of several export deals for Virginia products. ‘Ninety-five percent of the world’s customers live outside the United States of America, so I go where the customers are,’ McAuliffe said.”

 

Ciber Cuba: Desde gran puerto Norfolk, Virginia podría comerciar directamente con Cuba

[Translated]: “The agreement is the first of its kind, signed by an American operator with the Cuban Port Authorities with the intent of creating a relationship of direct commercial exchange between the bases [i.e. Norfolk and Havana].”

 

THE WASHINGTON POST: VIRGINIA BECOMES CUBA'S LARGEST U.S.-BASED AGRICULTURAL EXPORTER

Virginia’s exports to Cuba shot up to $42 million last year, allowing the commonwealth to leap past four other states to become the island’s largest source for U.S. agricultural products. Sales to Cuba were up 67 percent in 2015 over the previous year, a spike that Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said was the result of more than a decade of outreach efforts. Virginia producers sold Cuba $42 million in agricultural products, all of it soybeans and soybean meal for use in animal feed. That was up from $25 million in 2014, but still below the $66 million peak that Virginia-Cuba trade hit in 2012.

 

THE WASHINGTON POST: VIRGINIA AND CUBA DISCUSS EXPANDING TRADE BEYOND AGRICULTURE

A top Cuban trade official recently spent three days in Virginia meeting with business and government leaders eager to capi­tal­ize on normalizing relations between the United States and the island nation just off its shores. The meetings wrapped up a week ago, just as the Obama administration rolled out regulatory changes aimed at liberalizing trade, banking and travel policies. The trade talks went beyond the agricultural products that Virginia has sold to Cuba for more than a decade under rules loosened to allow exports of food and medicine for humanitarian reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

Q101-Norfolk/ESPN Harrisonburg: Virginia leaders launch Engage Cuba State Council

Several Virginia leaders from across the Commonwealth joined a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group entitled Engage Cuba to launch the bipartisan Engage Cuba Virginia State Council. At a press conference Monday, they explained how lifting the U.S. embargo on Cuba could strengthen Virginia’s top export industries, create jobs across the state and help improve the lives of Cuban people. Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore said to effect positive change so that Virginia is not only known as the number one exporter of poultry and forestry products to Cuba in 2015, but we are also known as a state that wanted to engage Cuba even more, and expand those opportunities even more, whether it’s healthcare, IT, manufacturing. Obviously the possibilities, we believe, are limitless. Governor Terry McAuliffe will serve as the honorary chairman of the council.

 

Politico Morning Trade: Virginia sets its sights on Cuba

 

Leading lawmakers in the state of Virginia are taking steps forward to try to boost economic engagement and commerce with Cuba. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced on Monday the launch of the Engage Cuba Virginia State Council, a group designed to build statewide support for pro-Cuba legislation and to push members of Congress to continue former President Barack Obama’s efforts to lift the economic embargo against the island nation. McAuliffe will become the honorary chairman of the group, which Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine welcomed. ”I’m honored to serve as honorary chair of the newly announced Engage Cuba Virginia State Council, an important step in continuing our efforts to lift the embargo against Cuba and promote mutually beneficial trade between the Commonwealth and Cuba,” McAuliffe said in a statement accompanying the announcement.

 

Augusta Free Press: Virginia leaders launch Engage Cuba State Council

Leaders from across the Commonwealth launched on Monday the bipartisan Engage Cuba Virginia State Council. The council, which is chaired by Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA), will build statewide support for pro-engagement policies and urge Congress to lift the Cuban embargo that continues to disadvantage Virginia and the Cuban people. Removing trade restrictions on Cuba could open opportunities for Virginia businesses and empower the Cuban people. Virginia becomes the 16th state to join Engage Cuba, a D.C.-based advocacy organization dedicated to advancing federal legislation to lift the Cuban embargo. “Increasing trade with Cuba, a growing market of 11 million people, could strengthen Virginia’s agriculture, port, and other top export industries, create jobs across the Commonwealth, and help improve the lives of Cuban people. But until Congress lifts arbitrary travel and trade restrictions, Virginia farmers and businesses will be stuck on the sidelines as foreign competitors move into Cuba’s emerging markets,” said James Williams President of Engage Cuba. 


Prensa Latina/Radio Cadena Agramonte: New US State Council Created to Promote Links with Cuba

Leaders of the state of Virginia launched today a bipartisan state council to promote ties with Cuba and urge Congress to lift its blockade against the island. The initiative, named the Engage Cuba Virginia State Council, is headed by Governor Terry McAuliffe and seeks to eliminate trade restrictions imposed on Cuba to open bilateral opportunities. With this event, Virginia becomes the sixteenth state to join Engage Cuba, an organization based in the capital that is dedicated to promoting legislative action to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade. According to McAuliffe, he is honored to serve as honorary chairman of the newly announced council, an important step in efforts to lift restrictions and promote mutually beneficial trade between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Cuba. He pointed out that his state enjoys an exceptionally positive economic relationship with Cuba, including having been the territory with the largest volume of agricultural exports to the island in 2015. However, our businesses are hampered by more than 50 years of failed policies of economic and political isolation, he said.

NBC 29: GOV. ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT ON EDUCATIONAL EXCHANGE BETWEEN VA., CUBA

“Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University of Havana allowing both institutions to work together to develop cooperative programs in a variety of academic disciplines studied at both institutions." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia's Champions

Governor Terry McAuliffe (D)

Governor Terry McAuliffe (D)

Senator Tim Kaine (D) Co-Sponsor of S 299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Senator Tim Kaine (D)

Co-Sponsor of S 299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Senator Mark Warner (D) Co-Sponsor of S 299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Senator Mark Warner (D)

Co-Sponsor of S 299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Congressman Don Beyer (D) Co-Sponsor of H.R. 442 Cuba Trade Act of 2017 and H.R. 525 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act  

Congressman Don Beyer (D)

Co-Sponsor of H.R. 442 Cuba Trade Act of 2017 and H.R. 525 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

 

Congressman Tom Garrett (R) Co-Sponsor of H.R. 442 Cuba Trade Act of 2017 and H.R. 525 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

TENNESSEE STATE COUNCIL

Tennessee Farm Bureau

Kent Adams, President
Caterpillar Financial

Marcela Gomez, President
Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce

Bradley Jackson, President
Tennessee Manufacturers Association

Buddy Teaster, President and CEO
Soles for Souls

Catherine Glover, President
Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Joshua Smith, Owner
Standard Club of Nashville

Kealie Williams, Vice President
Hands on Nashville

Kent Merritt, President
Thunder Road Distillery

Dr. Manny Sethi, Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Stacy Widelitz, Board of Directors
Nashville Opera 
Past President of the Nashville Film Festival

Darek Bell, Owner
Corsair Distillery and Bell Construction

David Williams II, Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs, Athletics Director
Vanderbilt University

Geoff MacDonald, Women’s Tennis Coach
Vanderbilt University

Jessica Bookstaff Doppelt, Founder & CEO
Pigeon Forge Tourism

Lisa Janke, Founder and President
Short Bark Industries

Louis Buck, Development Specialist
Tennessee Department of Agriculture

Tom Negri, former officer and board member
Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association

José Angel Rodríguez Fernández
Emerging Markets Development and Strategy


Fox 17 Nashville/ Washington Times/ Chattanooga Times Free Press: Tennessee council joins effort to end U.S.-Cuba trade embargo

Engage Cuba president James Williams said the group plans to form similar councils in Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio and Texas, all of which he considers "natural markets to export to Cuba." "The idea of what we're trying to do here is to show that this is a relative issue and not just for Washington, but for people all across the country," Williams told The Associated Press before the meeting.

WUTC: SOMETHING TO CLUCK ABOUT: TENNESSEE'S POULTRY EXPORTS TO CUBA

Adelina Bryant: But in general, Tennessee agribusiness is only exporting $1.3 million in goods to Cuba, which is really low when you compare it to its neighbor, who doesn’t have an embargo on it.  Tennessee is selling $117 million of agribusiness to the Dominican Republic. So, you know, the potential for Tennessee to do over $100 million more business with Cuba if there were no embargo is huge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Op-ed: Tennessean: Lifting embargo against Cuba benefits Tennessee 

by Catherine Glover

President of Tennessee's Chamber of Commerce & Industry and an Engage Cuba Tennessee State Council Member, Catherine Glover writes an opinion piece, explaining the opportunities Tennessee and the United States are missing with the embargo.

Chattanooga Times Free Press: This Alabama company is first U.S. firm to manufacture in Cuba in more than 50 years

Clemmons and Berenthal aren't the first to spot a market for agricultural industry in Cuba. The Engage Cuba Tennessee State Council released a report earlier this year stating the Volunteer State has the potential to mirror agribusiness exports to the Dominican Republic, a roughly $117 million enterprise.

UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE KNOXVILLE: CUBA TRIP WAS EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE FOR UT GROUP

The Cold War was already relegated to history by the time even the oldest students on a recent UT study abroad trip were born. Even so, the strain on US­–Cuba relations for the past few decades has stuck around as a reminder of those darker times. Now, thanks to a thawing diplomatic climate, those students got the chance to experience Cuba—its people, its places, and its culture—in a way that would have been but a dream to their parents or grandparents.

THE TENNESSEAN: TENNESSEANS STAND TO BENEFIT FROM TRADE WITH CUBA 

A recent poll released by the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank that "promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs," showed that a strong majority of Americans in four states, including Tennessee, favors lifting the embargo (58 percent) and removing travel restrictions (67 percent).

Ohio State Council

Procter & Gamble

Ohio Farm Bureau

Ohio AgriBusiness Association

Luis Alcalde, Attorney, CUBAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY LEADER
Kegler BrowN

Ryan Augsburger
Ohio Manufacturers Association

Jane Campbell, Former Mayor
City of Cleveland

Rev. Joan Campbell, DIRECTOR OF RELIGION
CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION,
former President, World Council of Churches

Dr. James W. Campbell, Director
Geriatric Center, The MetroHealth System

Luis Cartagena, Chairman
Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development

Chris Cua, Choice international Hotels

Dr. Michael V. Drake, MD, President,
Ohio State University

José C. Feliciano, Jr.,
Board of Directors of The Hispanic Roundtable

Jim Hartung, President
Toledo Sister Cities, 
Former CEO, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority

Dave Hershberger, President
Prestige Travel Leaders Inc.,
ASTA National Board Member

Todd King, President
Sky Climber LLC

Richard Konick, Charter member
Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Coalition

Kirk Merritt,
Ohio Soybean Association

Danielle Milam, Vice President of Latin America
Franklin International

Brad Moffitt, Director of Market Development
Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers

August A. Napoli, Jr., Chief Advancement Officer
Cleveland Museum of Art

Ike Reynolds, CTC-President,
Owner and ASTA Mid-America Board Member

Patrick Reynolds, Vice President
Reynolds Travel,
ASTA Mid-America Treasurer

Ronald B. Richard, President & CEO
The Cleveland Foundation

Dr. Milton Sanchez-Parodi, Doctor and Cuban-American community leader

Steven D. Standley, Chief Administrative Officer,
University Hospitals

Scott Schertzer, Mayor
City of Marion

Lee Weingart, President
LNE Group


CRAIN’S CLEVELAND: TWELVE NEW THINGS TO DO IN NORTHEAST OHIO THROUGH FEB. 18

Learn “The Case for Opening Cuba” at a City Club of Cleveland panel discussion featuring Luke Albee, senior adviser at Engage Cuba; Luis M. Alcalde, of counsel at Kegler, Brown, Hill + Ritter; Jackie Calmes, national correspondent for The New York Times; and Ronn Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. (Wednesday, Feb. 17, at noon)

 

CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER: WHY CUBAN THAW IS GOOD NEWS FOR CINCINNATI BUSINESSES

A Xavier University professor who has made two trips with students to Cuba says, in the light of President Barack Obama's visit to the island nation this week, Cincinnati companies would be smart to start making business relationships there. Thomas Hayes, chair and professor of marketing, first took students to Cuba in March 2014, months before Obama announced the beginning steps of normalizing relations with the Communist nation in December of that year. He went back again in January of this year, and Hayes said he sees big potential for Cincinnati companies to do business in Cuba.

 

PRENSA LATINA: CREAN EN OHIO CONSEJO EMPRESARIAL A FAVOR DE JUSTO COMERCIO CON CUBA

El anuncio se dio a conocer después de una reciente encuesta donde el 78 por ciento de los residentes de Ohio -demócratas y republicanos- apoyan el levantamiento del bloqueo a Cuba y aprueba el restablecimiento de las relaciones diplomáticas entre los dos países. "Es hora de que los líderes en Washington escuchen a la gente de Ohio y se comprometan con Cuba", comentó James Williams, presidente de Engage Cuba Coalition.

 

LORAIN MORNING JOURNAL: REP. TIM RYAN: OPEN CUBA PRESENTS OPPORTUNITIES FOR OHIO

Ohioans from across the political spectrum support the restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba, with a recent poll putting that support at 78 percent. That is why I am working with local community and business leaders and organizations such as Engage Cuba and their recently announced Ohio State Council to support an end to the Cuban trade embargo. For the first time, this council will bring together a diverse array of Ohioans to articulate why increased U.S.-Cuban relations are in our state’s best interest.

 

FOX NEWS LATINO: PRESIDENT OBAMA URGES BUSINESS LEADERS TO PRESS CONGRESS TO LIFT CUBA EMBARGO

"For too long, a small minority of status quo defenders sidelined the voices of the vast majority of the American people who support a change in U.S.-Cuba policy,' said James Williams, President of Engage Cuba, in a statement. 'Engage Cuba will work on the ground in the states to ensure elected officials in Washington know where their constituents stand.' Engage Cuba says it plans to develop state-level coalitions to press members of Congress to lift the U.S.-Cuba trade and travel ban. The group says it will be implementing its grassroots campaign through local media, polling and advertisements. The first sites will be in Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas and Ohio."

 

STAR TRIBUNE: IN GOP, EMMER TAKES THE LEAD ON CUBA

"Outside Florida and other areas with large Cuban communities, Americans generally favor easing trade and travel restrictions. Last fall, a GOP pollster for the Atlantic
Council found more than 60 percent of voters in Iowa, 
Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee backed restoring relationships. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

op-ed: Crain's Cleveland Business: Ohio and Cuba, Open for Business

by James Williams

Positioned at the intersection of manufacturing, agriculture and other sectors, Ohio’s economy is a model for the rest of the United States. Ohio produces a variety of exports with a broad appeal in the global market. But there is one country that is beyond Ohio’s reach: Cuba. A trade embargo with the island has prevented Ohio’s companies from gaining a foothold in a new market while their international competitors enjoy unfettered access.

NBC-COLUMBUS: PUSH IN COLUMBUS TO END TRADE EMBARGO WITH CUBA

Engage Cuba created an Ohio State Council to end the trade embargo between the U.S. and Cuba. Luis Alcalde, a first-generation Cuban-American in Ohio, believes it could help businesses in Central Ohio. Ohio’s largest agricultural export is soybeans. According to Engage Cuba research, of Cuba’s $2 billion in agricultural imports, 13% are soybeans. However, the U.S. is losing opportunities to export to countries like Brazil and Argentina. “What is really going to create change in Cuba is to have normal relations with them,” Alcalde said, “I’ve seen more changes in Cuba in the last 3 years than I have seen in the last 16 years of going to Cuba. Engage Cuba’s conducted a survey that found 78% of people in Ohio support lifting the embargo, but it would require a vote from Congress.

 

Cleveland Plain-Dealer: Abortion-rights supporters to rally at Ohio Statehouse: What to watch for Wednesday

Cuba embargo opponents meet at City Club: Engage Cuba, a coalition of businesses and organizations seeking to lift the U.S. travel and trade embargo on Cuba, will announce members of their Ohio State Council during an 11:30 a.m. event at the City Club of Cleveland. New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes will also moderate a discussion about new poll numbers indicating Ohioans support restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba.

 


Cuba Debate: Crean en Ohio consejo para poner fin al Bloqueo contra Cuba

Líderes empresariales y comunitarios de Ohio crearon un consejo que representa a una amplia gama de industrias locales, y se convirtieron en la principal coalición de empresas privadas que trabajan en Ohio para poner fin al Bloqueo económico contra Cuba. El anuncio se dio a conocer después de una reciente encuesta donde el 78 por ciento de los residentes de Ohio -demócratas y republicanos- apoyan el levantamiento del bloqueo a Cuba y aprueba el restablecimiento de las relaciones diplomáticas entre los dos países. “Es hora de que los líderes en Washington escuchen a la gente de Ohio y se comprometan con Cuba“, dijo James Williams, presidente de Engage Cuba Coalition.

 

Kent State University WKSU: Engage Cuba Coalition Draws the Midwest into the Conversation About U.S.-Cuba Relations

James Williams is president of the Engage Cuba Coalition.  He’s brought together a wide-ranging group of Ohioans to join him in lobbying Congress to allow trade and travel with Cuba. That group, the Ohio State Council, includes Ohio State President Michael Drake, Cleveland Foundation CEO Ronald Richard, and a long list of agriculture, trade and development advocates pushing for an end to the 55-year-old embargo. 

 

Ohio Country Journal: Engage Cuba launches a state council in Ohio

Engage Cuba, the leading coalition of private companies and organizations working to end the travel and trade embargo on Cuba, announced that prominent Ohio business and community leaders have joined together as part of its new Ohio State Council. Members of the council, who represent a wide array of local industries, are calling for an end to the longtime trade embargo with Cuba in order to benefit Ohio business and agriculture interests.

 

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: OHIO CAN WIN WITH CUBA TIES

Ohio stands to benefit if the Ohio State Council of Engage Cuba, a Washington D.C.-based business group seeking to end the 56-year-old U.S. embargo on trade with Cuba, is successful. The Ohio State Council includes consumer-products giant Proctor & Gamble and the Ohio Farm Bureau. Others include Kirk Merrick of the Ohio Soybean Association, Brad Moffitt of Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers, Michael V. Drake, M.D., president of Ohio State University, and Columbus attorney Luis Alcalde. The embargo imposed after Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba and installed a communist regime has been wholly ineffective at ending or moderating the Castro regime, now headed by Fidel Castro’s brother, Raul Castro.

 

AKRON.COM: OLD TRAIL SCHOOL ART TEACHER VISITS CUBA

"Old Trail School's Middle School visual arts teacher Jeffrey Eason traveled to Havana in October as part of a National Art Education Association (NAEA) delegation. ... NAEA guests met with representatives of the Cuban government to discuss educational policy, curriculum, assessment, funding, instructional resources and practices." 

 

CLEVELAND.COM: NORTH OLMSTED ZUMBA CLASS STUDENTS LEND A HAND TO DRESS FOR SUCCESS CLIENTS: A PLACE IN THE SUN

North Olmsted Zumba class students lend a hand to Dress for Success clients: A Place in the Sun ... Havana Nights: LakewoodAlive invites all Lakewood lovers to step out of the cold and into a hot Havana Night. The fundraiser will offer a taste of Cuba with rum drinks, salsa dancing and fun. 

Ohio's Champions

Senator Sherrod Brown (D) Co-Sponsor of S 299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Senator Sherrod Brown (D)

Co-Sponsor of S 299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

 

LOUISIANA STATE COUNCIL

Randy Haynie, President
Haynie & Associates

Jonathan Hobbs, 
Rice Export Logistics,
Russell Marine Group

Pres Kabacoff, CEO
HRI Properties

Caitlin Cain, CEO
World Trade Center of New Orleans

Brandy Christian, President
Port of New Orleans

Dr. Ana Lopez, Director
Tulane University Cuban & Caribbean Studies Institute

Cesar Martino, Director
Intl. Cuba Society,
Owner, Vega Group

Saul Newsome, Attorney
Breazeale Sachse & Wilson, LLP

Mike Olivier, CEO,
Committee of 100

John Owen, Rice Farmer
Northeast Louisiana Rice Growers Association

Bill Rase, Executive Director
Port of Lake Charles

Mike Strain, Commissioner
Louisiana Department of Agriculture

John Suarez, Financial Advisor
Merrill Lynch

Robert Trahan, Rice Miller
Falcon Rice Mill

Robert Verchick, Environmental Law Chair
Loyola University

James Warshaw, Rice Miller
Farmers Rice Milling Co.

Dr. Aaron Wolfson, Clinical Psychologist
Jefferson Neurobehavioral Group

Lenny Wormser, Senior Managing Director
Latter & Blum

Avery J. Davidson, Assistant Director of Information & PR
Louisiana Farm Bureau

Buck Gladden, President
Gladden Sales LLC

ROBERT BRIGNAC, PE, DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING
BRAEDEN ENGINEERING

Joe Accardo, Executive Director
Ports Association of Louisiana

Paul Aucoin, Executive Director
Port of South Louisiana

Kevin Berken, Rice Farmer
Southern Louisiana

Ken Bickford, President
Chappapeela Development Corporation

Dr. Pierre Buekens, Dean
Tulane School of Public Health

Joe Morris Doss, President
the Threshold

Mary Dumestre, Attorney
Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann LLC

Ken Duncan, Attorney/Consultant/Businessman,
Former Louisiana State Treasurer

Alina Fernandez, President
Cuba Travel-USA

Michael Fruge, Rice Farmer
Central Louisiana Rice Growers Association

Betsie GambeL, President
Gambel Communications

Annie Gibson, Professor
Tulane Department of Global Education

Sergio Girau, Vice Presidnt, Principal Engineer
Lin eld Hunter & Junius Inc.

Romi Gonzales, Chairman,
Intl. Cuba Society, 
Attorney, Braden Gonzales & Associates

John Haffner, President
Cuba Trade and Travel

Jay Hakes, Former Head
US Energy Information Administration

Bobby Hanks, CEO
Louisiana Rice Milling Co.

Meryl Kennedy Farr
Kennedy Rice Mill, LLC, 
Planters Rice Mill, LLC

José Cot, Attorney/Partner
Hurley & Cot, APLC

Holden Hoggatt, President
Hoggatt Law Group

Don Pierson, Louisiana Secretary
of Economic Development


ABC-Baton Rouge: Agricultural Trade Mission to Cuba

Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., recently returned from the island nation of Cuba, where he led a 94-person delegation promoting agricultural trade, economic development and tourism.“We accomplished a great deal during our short visit to Cuba, including opening a dialog with Cuban officials and developing business relationships,” Strain said. “Also, we have a better understanding of what the country’s needs are - and how Louisiana can fulfill those needs - by visiting places such as an organic farm, tobacco and corn farm, farmers market, grocery store and the port in Mariel.

 

New Orleans CityBusiness: South Louisiana ports prepare for possible rekindling of Cuban relations

Engage Cuba, a bipartisan coalition of private businesses and organizations striving to end the travel and trade embargo on Cuba, launched its Louisiana State Council today in Baton Rouge.The council is composed of agricultural, port, community and business leaders around the state asking for an end to the trade embargo. The group advocates that doing so will benefit Louisiana’s interests and support the Cuban people. Under President Barack Obama’s administration, tension has eased between the United States and its geographically close communistic country, which has been isolated from the U.S. for decades.

 

The Advocate: Ending Cuba Embargo Offers Opportunities for Louisiana Farm, Petrochem and Tourism Industries, Coalition Says

Williams’ comments came before a panel discussion and news conference launching Engage Cuba’s Louisiana State Council, whose members include agricultural, port, community and business leaders. About 30 people attended the launch.The ban’s end has drawn little opposition in Louisiana. Last year, a 75-member delegation of business people, attorneys and educators spent a week in Cuba in an effort to re-establish ties broken after the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

 

NEW ORLEANS ADVOCATE: LOUISIANA AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN LEADS 94-MEMBER TRADE MISSION TO CUBA

Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain is flying out of New Orleans on Tuesday morning as the head of a 94-member trade mission to Cuba. The goal of the weeklong trip is to begin the agreements that will lead to Louisiana exporting rice, poultry and grains to the communist nation. President Barack Obama recently eased dealings with the country after a half-century of tense relations. “It’s important that we get our boots on the ground,” Strain said Monday. “It is important we are there. It’s going to be a competitive environment.”

 

WBRZ ABC (BATON ROUGE): CUBA COULD BE POWERFUL TRADE ALLY FOR BAYOU STATE

Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. just returned from a visit to the island nation of Cuba where he led a delegation to promote agricultural trade, economic development and tourism. “We accomplished a great deal during our short visit to Cuba, including opening a dialog with Cuban officials and developing business relationships,” Strain said. “Also, we have a better understanding of what the country’s needs are - and how Louisiana can fulfill those needs - by visiting places such as an organic farm, tobacco and corn farm, farmers market, grocery store and the port in Mariel.” “Trade barriers between the U.S. and Cuba could be relaxed in the near future,” continued Strain. “It is critical to establish these important business relationships now in order to gain access to new market opportunities for our Louisiana agricultural producers when it does.”

 

AP: COALITION: ENDING CUBA EMBARGO WOULD HELP LA. FARMERS

James Williams, president of Engage Cuba, a coalition of businesses and organizations that wants to end the ban, touted the possible trade benefits before a news conference the coalition held Thursday to launch Engage Cuba’s Louisiana State Council.Williams says that prior to the embargo, New Orleans had been the most significant port trading with Cuba because of the large amount of rice Louisiana produces and the high quantities of rice that Cubans consume.

 

WBRZ ABC (BATON ROUGE): PROMOTING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FOR LA., GROUP SEEKS TO END CUBAN EMBARGO

"Our Louisiana State Council is another example of the momentum in support of lifting the Cuban embargo and opening travel with one of our closest neighbors," said James Williams, President of Engage Cuba. "Louisiana and Cuba have a long history of doing business, and lifting the Cuban embargo would only open up opportunities for Louisiana's economy – from ports to farms – in order to support the Cuban people. It's time to end 50 years of failed, isolationist policies towards Cuba."

 

FOX NEWS LATINO: PRESIDENT OBAMA URGES BUSINESS LEADERS TO PRESS CONGRESS TO LIFT CUBA EMBARGO

"For too long, a small minority of status quo defenders sidelined the voices of the vast majority of the American people who support a change in U.S.-Cuba policy,’ said James Williams, President of Engage Cuba, in a statement. ‘Engage Cuba will work on the ground in the states to ensure elected officials in Washington know where their constituents stand.’ Engage Cuba says it plans to develop state-level coalitions to press members of Congress to lift the U.S.-Cuba trade and travel ban. The group says it will be implementing its grassroots campaign through local media, polling and advertisements. The first sites will be in Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas and Ohio.” 

 

TIMESFREEPRESS.COM: TENNESSEE COUNCIL JOINS EFFORT TO END U.S.-CUBA TRADE EMBARGO

Engage Cuba held a round table discussion with the leaders and announced the formation of a 15-member Tennessee State Council, representing an array of sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, business and the arts. Engage Cuba President James Williams said the group plans to form similar councils in Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio and Texas. "The idea of what we’re trying to do here is to show that this is a relative issue and not just for Washington, but for people all across the country," Williams told The Associated Press before the meeting.

 

TIMES FREE PRESS: TENNESSEE COUNCIL JOINS EFFORT TO END U.S.-CUBA TRADE EMBARGO

Engage Cuba held a round table discussion with the leaders and announced the formation of a 15-member Tennessee State Council, representing an array of sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, business and the arts. Engage Cuba President James Williams said the group plans to form similar councils in Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio and Texas. "The idea of what we’re trying to do here is to show that this is a relative issue and not just for Washington, but for people all across the country," Williams told The Associated Press before the meeting.

 

THE TIMES-PICAYUNE: SAILBOAT DIPLOMACY: NEW ORLEANS SAILORS BLOW INTO HAVANA WITH HISTORIC RACE

“The skippers and crew -- most hailing from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle -- had raced more than 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico for the privilege of sailing their boats into U.S.-Cuban diplomatic history.”

 

GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT: CRACKING THE CUBAN MARKET: LAND OF OPPORTUNITY FOR LOUISIANA

“There are plenty of Louisiana business sectors that could benefit from improved relations with Cuba.”

 

THE ADVERTISER: HERE'S HOW CUBA CAN HELP LOUISIANA FLOURISH

“The country is only 700 miles from Louisiana’s coast, making it prime for convenient trade especially from the Port of New Orleans, LaGrange said. There’s talk of a Cuban consulate being built in the U.S. and New Orleans may be vying against Tampa, Florida, as a host city, he said.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Op-eD: TIMES-PICAYUNE: LOUISIANA AND CUBA ARE NATURAL TRADING PARTNERS

by Mike Strain and Joe Accardo

While the Cuban government should ease regulations to allow the growth of U.S. companies investing there, the United States should open up trade with Cuba. Louisiana can be at the forefront of doing business with Cuba to take advantage of opportunities from more agricultural exports, trade that would benefit Louisiana's extensive port system and potential growth of the tourism and cruise industry. When you're in New Orleans, you're twice as close to Havana as you are to New York City. Prior to the trade embargo, Louisiana had a flourishing trade relationship with Cuba through multiple state ports on the lower Mississippi River and Lake Charles, where most of our rice was exported.

 

The Advocate: President Trump's stance on Cuba trade comes with high stakes for Louisiana, ag chief Mike Strain says

While the Obama administration appeared to be moving closer toward normalizing relations with Cuba, in part by allowing commercial flights and opening up tourism opportunities, President Trump has signaled some resistance to building on the relationship. In November, he threatened to roll back Obama's actions, tweeting "If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal." Last month, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced the administration was conducting a "full review" of the U.S.'s relationship with Cuba. Trump has similarly been critical of other U.S. trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, and he withdrew the nation from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade agreement negotiated under Obama which included Canada and Mexico. 

THE TOWN TALK: LOUISIANA CAN GET 'LION'S SHARE' OF CUBA TRADE

Cuba imports $2 billion or more in food each year. Louisiana's commissioner of agriculture, Mike Strain, thinks the state is positioned to grab a large share of that. "We want at least $500 million of that," said Strain, who was in Alexandria Monday for the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Business Expo. "When you look at the potential, this is a tremendous opportunity we have." The continuing normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba has opened up the potential for American farmers to provide a large portion of the imported food Cubans needs to survive.

 

BUSINESS REPORT: LOUISIANA AG COMMISSIONER MIKE STRAIN ON THE STATE’S RELATIONSHIP WITH CUBA
 

The possibility of the United States lifting its trade embargo on Cuba has Louisiana officials brimming with optimism. The communist nation, on which the U.S. government placed an embargo in 1960, imports billions of dollars worth of food every year to feed its 11 million people. Its capital, Havana, is just several hundred miles away from New Orleans. Mike Strain, Louisiana’s commissioner of agriculture and forestry, has led the charge on trade talks with the country, developing relationships with Cuban officials on two separate trips in the past few months, most recently with a group that included Gov. John Bel Edwards. Business Report asked Strain, a Republican, why he sees such a lucrative market for Louisianans and how officials from the Pelican State have been received in Havana.

 

KATC-ABC: Cuban Connection: Agricultural Delegation Takes a Historic Flight

Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture, Mike Strain, led a group of 94 Louisianans on a trade mission to Cuba. The delegation, comprised primarily of Louisiana farmers, traveled to Cuba in an effort to forge future trade deals with the country. The mission comes in the wake of the Obama administration’s goal to normalize relations with Cuba. They traveled to Havana to assess current trade opportunities and to meet with Cuban officials,with hopes to land trade deals just in case current trade restrictions are lifted further.

 

THE ADVOCATE: LOUISIANA ALLIANCE FOR CUBA HOLDING WORKSHOPS ON ESTABLISHING TRADE WITH CUBA

Louisiana Álliance for Cuba will host a series of workshops from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on June 22 at Gallier Hall in New Orleans at 545 St. Charles Ave. for companies and executives interested in establishing trade with Cuba. Breakout sessions will offer insights on Cuba’s infrastructure, culture and economy, as well as individual sectors like mining, agriculture and hospitality, and the legal framework for doing business on the island.

 

The Advocate: Our Views: Cuba is poor but a new market for Louisiana

While legal and political barriers remain, mere geography is on the side of Louisiana's exporters when it comes to trade with Cuba. A series of trade promotion trips is therefore underway involving Louisiana businessmen and officials, seeking to build relationships before what is seen as the inevitable lifting of the U.S. trade embargo on the Communist-governed island. The latest group included rice farmers, eager to sell to a North American country that now imports much of its rice from Vietnam.

 

The News Star: Strain: Lots of Potential in Trade with Cuba

Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain believes Cuba's impoverished economy brings an extraordinary opportunity for Louisiana agriculture. "Cuba imports 80 percent of their food.  And why are they in trouble?  They don't have the money to do it," he said.  Strain spoke to the Rotary Club of Monroe on Thursday about his recent trip to Cuba to discuss trade possibilities.

 

SHIP-TECHNOLOGY.COM: PORT OF SOUTH LOUISIANA TO SIGN DEAL WITH CUBA'S NPAC IN OCTOBER

The Port Of South Louisiana is planning to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Port Administration (NPAC) of Cuba in order to promote commerce and growth in both countries. The proposed deal is the outcome of a recent visit made by Port of South Louisiana representatives and other representatives from Louisiana export facilities, rice growers, shipping businesses, as well as bankers and members of the Louisiana state legislature and Louisiana Economic Development to Cuba. A year and a half ago, Cuba began operations at its new Port of Mariel on the western part of the country.

 

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPORTATION: PORT OF SOUTH LOUISIANA PARTAKES IN LOUISIANA TRADE MISSION TO CUBA

Last week, Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul G. Aucoin along with Commission President D. Paul Robichaux, Commission Treasurer P. Joey Murray, III, and Commission Secretary Stanley Bazile returned from a 94-member trade mission to Cuba led by Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture, Mike Strain. The trade mission delegation was comprised of representatives from Louisiana export facilities, rice growers, shipping businesses, and bankers, plus members of the State of Louisiana Legislature and Louisiana Economic Development. During the week-long visit, trade mission delegates toured the new Port of Mariel, located on the western part of Cuba. This state-of-the art container port began operations a year-and-a-half ago and it is equipped with top-of-the line computers, equipment, and technology. Port of Mariel officials offered their expertise and assistance to the Port of South Louisiana when it moves forward with establishing a container facility within its jurisdiction.

 

TIMES-PICAYUNE: PORT OF SOUTH LOUISIANA OFFICIALS RETURN FROM CUBA TRADE MISSION TRIP

Last week, Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul G. Aucoin along with Commission President D. Paul Robichaux, Commission Treasurer P. Joey Murray, III, and Commission Secretary Stanley Bazile returned from a 94-member trade mission to Cuba led by Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture, Mike Strain. The trade mission delegation was comprised of representatives from Louisiana export facilities, rice growers, shipping businesses, and bankers, plus members of the State of Louisiana Legislature and Louisiana Economic Development. During the week-long visit, trade mission delegates toured the new Port of Mariel, located on the western part of Cuba.

 

Prensa Latina: Agricultural Delegation from Louisiana, USA, Travels to Cuba

Washington, Jul 12 (Prensa Latina) Commissioner for Agriculture in Louisiana Mike Strain heads a commercial delegation that traveled today to Cuba to negotiate a potential export of food to this country. The Cuban Embassy in the United States posted on its social networks the visit of Strain along with 94 representatives from the agricultural field, seeking to achieve a business trade with Cuba, valued at $400 million USD. Strain said that it is important to land and be in Cuba because a very competitive scenario is coming. He praised the quality of the rice grown in Louisiana and highlighted the favorable proximity of that region for the Cuban market, although he did not mentioned the economic, financial and commercial blockade set by the United States since 1962 and recently strengthened.

 

Greater Baton Rouge Business Report: Emerging Latin American Markets Seek More Louisiana Business with Incentives

Jack Jensen has seen plenty of changes since he set up shop as an importer more than 30 years ago at the Port of New Orleans. During that time, lowered trade barriers, improved infrastructure and technological advances have made doing business in Latin America cheaper and more practical. In the early days, Jensen focused his attention on Central America for importing produce and agricultural products, then later began buying and transporting Brazilian granite. Today, operating as Jensen Cos., he is one of the largest importers of granite in the U.S.

 

AP, TAMPA BAY TIMES: LOUISIANA LAWMAKERS ENCOURAGE TRADE RELATIONS WITH CUBA

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's lawmakers are pushing trade talks with Cuba, now that President Barack Obama has moved to normalize relations with the island nation.

The House and Senate have passed a legislative resolution urging the state economic development department to "develop and improve" trade relations with Cuba, within the limits of state and federal law.

 

TALK 107.3: FREE TRADE WITH CUBA COULD MEAN BILLION$ FOR LOUISIANA

State Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain chats with Kevin & Bill on “A.M. BATON ROUGE” about opening up trade with Cuba and what it could mean for Louisiana’s agriculture industry. A group of congressman is going to Cuba this week on a trade mission. Strain plans another trip this summer.

 

GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT: LOUISIANA COMPANIES CONTEMPLATE NEW BUSINESS PROSPECTS WITH CUBA

“But the relationship between the United States and Cuba is beginning to thaw. If that warming trend continues, Louisiana businesses will have a chance to profit from change.” 

 

THE TIMES-PICAYUNE: LOUISIANA RICE FARMERS HOPE TO CASH IN ON TRADE WITH CUBA, NEWSPAPER REPORTS

“Rice farmers in Louisiana are hoping to cash in on trade with Cuba, capitalizing inexpensive transport between the two places and a Cuban preference for rice grown here, according to The Shreveport Times.”

Louisiana's Champions

Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R) Representing Louisiana 5th District Co-Sponsor of H.R. 3238 Cuba Trade Act 2015 and H.R. 3687 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R)

Representing Louisiana 5th District

Co-Sponsor of H.R. 3238 Cuba Trade Act 2015 and H.R. 3687 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Colorado State Council

MIKE FERRUFINO
INTERIM PRESIDENT & CEO, HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF METRO DENVER

COLE FINEGAN
MANAGING PARTNER, HOGAN LOVELLS

MIKE FRIES
PRESIDENT AND CEO, LIBERTY GLOBAL INC. & CHAIRMAN, BIENNIAL OF THE AMERICANS

CARLOS GARCIA
PRESIDENT/CEO, KIRA

MARIA GARCIA BERRY
CEO, CRL ASSOCIATES

KAREN GERWITZ
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD TRADE CENTER DENVER

DANIEL C. GREGORY
CEO, POS-EN POSITIVE ENERGIES, LLC & BOARD MEMBER, COLORADO CLEAN ENERGY CLUSTER

JOHN HEREFORD
PARTNER, OAK LEAF ENERGY PARTNERS

JACQUELINE HINMAN
CHAIRMAN & CEO, CH2M

JOHN IKARD
PRESIDENT/CEO, FIRSTBANK HOLDING COMPANY

DOUG JACKSON
PRESIDENT/CEO, PROJECT CURE

DONNA LYNNE
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, STATE OF COLORADO

EMILY OSWALD COFFEY
OSWALD FAMILY RANCH ON RUSH CREEK

DON SHAWCROFT
PRESIDENT, COLORADO FARM BUREAU

TED TRIMPA
PRINCIPAL, TRIMPA GROUP LLC

KEN TUCHMAN
PRESIDENT/CEO, TELETECH

Elaine Ganz Berman
Former Member, Colorado State Board of Education and Trustee, Metro State University of Denver

Dan Lubar
Managing Director, Relay SErvices

Jeff Wasden
President, Colorado Business Roundtable

 

 

Anna Alejo
Owner, Alejo PR

Andrea Anderson
President, Colorado Pork Producers Council

Fiona Arnold
Executive Director, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

Dr. Steve Berman
Physician, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Chuck Berry
President, Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry

Barry Biffle
President & CEO, Frontier Airlines

Kristy Soccarras Bigelow
President/Owner, Cuba Cuba

Don Brown
Commissioner, Colorado Department of Agriculture

Rebecca Chopp
Chancellor, University of Denver

Tom Clark
CEO, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation

Amy Parsons
Executive Vice Chancellor, CSU

John Cullen
President, Grand Heritage Hotel Group

Kim Day
CEO, Denver International Airport

Navin Dimond
Founder, Stonebridge Group

Hikmet Ersek
CEO, Western Union

Mark Falcone
Founder, Continuum Partners

STEPHANIE DONNER
CHIEF LEGAL AND PEOPLE OFFICER, GALVANIZE

JEFF POPIEL
CEO, GEOTECH AND BOARD CHAIRMAN, WORLD TRADE CENTER

ANDREA YOUNG, CEO
COLORADO TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION

 


 COLORADO'S CHAMPIONS

DENVER POST: ENGAGE CUBA COUNCIL LAUNCHES IN COLORADO AS PART OF EFFORT TO LIFT TRAVEL AND TRADE EMBARGO

The United States has more ties to Cuba than just Miami, including in telecommunications, health care, biotechnology and agriculture. Engage Cuba, a new advocacy organization, wants you to know that. The group launched its Colorado State Council on Tuesday in front of an audience of about 70 people at Denver’s World Trade Center. It’s part of an ongoing effort to gain support for the end of the travel and trade embargo with Cuba.

 

Daily Sentinel: Senator Hopes to Boost Colorado Trade with Cuba

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., wants to link as many Colorado farmers and ranchers with Cuba as possible. As part of an effort to help open up markets in that Caribbean nation, and help boost Colorado’s agriculture exports, the senator has partnered with a group called Engage Cuba, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of private companies and organizations that is working to lift travel and trade embargoes on the island nation.

 

THE DENVER POST: COLORADO CONGRESSMAN IN CUBA WITH OBAMA WITH HOPES FOR TRADE TIES

A Colorado congressman in Cuba with President Barack Obama is looking forward to trade ties between his state and the island nation — starting with direct flights. In a call from Havana Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter acknowledged decades of bitter differences over human rights and political and economic policy won’t be resolved quickly. But the Democrat saw reason for hope in the opening of communications symbolized by Obama’s visit, the first in nearly 90 years for a sitting U.S. president. “We have some difference of opinion … but at least the conversation is taking place,” said Perlmutter, who was among several members of Congress and business leaders who accompanied Obama on a trip that started Sunday and ends Tuesday.


COLORADO PUBLIC RADIO: AS OBAMA VISITS HAVANA, COLORADO'S CUBANS IMAGINE THE FUTURE

President Obama's visit to Cuba -- the first by a sitting U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge went 88 years ago -- is being followed closely by Colorado's small and tightly-knit Cuban community. We speak with three Coloradans -- two who were born in Cuba and one who has a Cuban-born mother.  All have visited Cuba and plan to be involved in the country as U.S.-Cuban relations improve. Maria Garcia Berry, who runs a public affairs firm and is a member of the Cuba Study Group, speaks with Ryan Warner along with Elaine Berman, who served on the Denver School Board and has been working with health care providers in Cuba, and Bill Vidal, who was Denver's mayor and is the subject of a film being made about his childhood in Cuba.

 

 

FOX DENVER: ASPEN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS VISIT CUBA

A group of students from Aspen High School will spend the weekend in Cuba, experiencing what the island nation has to offer. The idea was born last year in geography class while discussing President Barack Obama's plan to reopen a U.S. embassy in the country. The class became a Cuba Club at the school, but the 12 students quickly learned it's not easy to book for a flight to the island. Because there are specific requirements, the students are traveling with an educational visit. They plan to visit the capital Havana, tour a cigar house and attend the free concert by The Rolling Stones. The students understand this is an important time in Cuba's history and believe it's the right time to visit. "We know that Cuba is going to be turning around pretty soon because of trade with America," Philip Psalepakas said. "And so we think that it’s going to be very interesting before that happens."

 

THE FENCE POST: COLORADO AG LOOKS TO CUBAN MARKET WITH HOPE AND HESITATION

A shift in the political tide with Cuba has piqued the interest of U.S. farmers and ranchers, intrigued by the possibility of expanding export opportunities just 90 miles south of the Gulf Coast. Larry Lande, owner of Northern Feed and Bean in Lucerne, has his eye on the long term possibilities for Colorado’s pinto bean growers on the largely black bean-dominated market. While conditions in Cuba still have a long way to go, Lande said the presidential announcement on restoring diplomatic relations has sparked hope that one day Cuba could provide another robust market for Weld County beans in Latin America, alongside the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

 

 

THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN: CONGRESSMAN OPEN TO CUBA TRADE

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Lakewood, who traveled to Cuba with President Barack Obama, said decades of differences over human rights and political and economic policy won’t be resolved quickly but that he is optimistic for improved trade between the U.S. and the island nation. Denver-based Frontier Airlines announced earlier this month it had applied for permission to begin service to Cuba, including a Denver-Havana flight. United also has requested permission to fly to Havana, though not from Denver.

 

THE DENVER POST: COLORADO BUSINESSES CAN BENFIT FROM U.S.-CUBA WARMTH

Following President Obama’s historic two-day visit to Cuba last week and continued thawing of relations, many Coloradans are poised to pursue business opportunities and stronger civic and cultural connections. Nations in transition — typically due to political, economic or social disruption — often attract global attention, and for good reason. These are historic opportunities, second in magnitude only to a nation’s founding, to choose among competing economic and political systems a new identity and vision for an entire country.

 

USA Today: Cuban TV programming to be broadcast in u.s. 

Cuban programming is coming to U.S. airwaves thanks to DISH, the Colorado-based provider with 13.9 million TV subscribers. The company announced the launch of a new channel Thursday called CUBAMAX TV, which will carry entertainment programming created in Cuba featuring some of the island's most famous celebrities. The channel will not feature any political or news programming, but instead will focus on comedies, children's programming, music videos and telenovelas. The channel's operations will be in Miami, where producers will package shows from Cuba and distribute them to subscribers of DishLATINO.

 

COLORADOAN: CONGRESSMAN HOPES FOR CUBA TRADE TIES

A Colorado congressman in Cuba with President Barack Obama is looking forward to trade ties between his state and the island nation — starting with direct flights. In a call from Havana Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter acknowledged decades of bitter differences over human rights and political and economic policy won’t be resolved quickly. But the Democrat saw reason for hope in the opening of communications symbolized by Obama’s visit, the first in nearly 90 years for a sitting U.S. president. “We have some difference of opinion … but at least the conversation is taking place,” said Perlmutter, who was among several members of Congress and business leaders who accompanied Obama on a trip that started Sunday and ends Tuesday.

 

 

 

Senator Michael Bennet (D)  Co-Sponsor of S.299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Senator Michael Bennet (D) 

Co-Sponsor of S.299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

KANSAS STATE COUNCIL 

MIKEMCCLELLAN, VICE CHAIRMAN
KANSAS WHEAT COMMISSION

MARK NELSON, DIRECTOR OF COMMODITIES
KANSAS FARM BUREAU

AARON POPELKA, VP OF LEGAL AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
KANSAS LIVESTOCK ASSOCIATION

IVRY KARAMITROS, DIRECTOR
WORLD TRADE CENTER KANSAS CITY

DAVID SCHEMM, VICE PRESIDENT
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WHEAT GROWERS

BOB TIMMONS
KANSAS CORN GROWERS ASSOCIATION

TERRY VINDUSKa
KANSAS CORN COMMISSION

Ken Wood, Vice President
Kansas Association of Wheat Growers

Chris Gutierrez, President
KC SmartPort

Jay Armstrong, Past Chairman
Kansas Wheat Commission

Pat Damman
Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association

Kevin Ekstrand, Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Scarbrough International

Lucas Heinen, Vice President
Kansas Soybean Association

Dennis Hupe, Director of Field Services
Kansas Soybean Commission

Brian Linin, Chairman
Kansas Wheat Commission

Mike Jordan, President
Kansas Association of Wheat Growers

Leslie Kaufman, President/CEO
Kansas Cooperative Council

DOUG KEESLING, CO-CHAIR
USACC STATE SUPPORT COMMITTEE


Op-Ed: THE WICHITA EAGLE: OPENING TRADE HELPS CUBA, KANSAS

by Mike Jordan

With current decade-low commodity prices and pressures on the U.S. agriculture economy, we need to be strengthening trade relationships, not prohibiting them. After 55 years of failed policy, it’s time for Congress to lift the travel and trade embargo on Cuba. This will benefit the Cuban people and the Kansas agribusiness industry, a significant contributor to our state’s economy. Jordan Jordan Cuba’s private sector is expanding rapidly, creating growing markets across almost every sector of Cuba’s economy, particularly in agriculture. 

 

Butler County Times-Gazette: Cuban Millers Meet Kansas Farmers

An informational exchange with a group of Cuban flour mill professionals will be hosted by Kansas Wheat this week. The millers represent two of the six flour mills in Cuba and the even will allow these Cuban millers to experience Kansas farming and its wheat industry first hand. Marcelo Mitre technical specialist from the USW Mexico City office will be traveling with the team. The trip includes tours of the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center, the IGP Institute, the Hal Ross Flour Mill and the Kansas Grain Inspection Service.

 

The Washington times: kansas ag groups push for lifting of trade embargo with cuba

Kansas agriculture groups to push for the lifting of the trade embargo on Cuba. The Wichita Eagle reports that Engage Cuba's State Council includes representatives of the Kansas Wheat Commission, Soybean Association, Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Livestock Association, and the Kansas Corn Growers Association.

 

KANSAS WHEAT: WHEAT FARMER, AG LEADERS SHARE DESIRE TO OPEN UP TRADE WITH CUBA

Agriculture leaders representing America’s grain farmers and ag equipment manufacturers expressed their passion for overcoming obstacles to restore agricultural trade with Cuba during a U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) event at Commodity Classic. Ron Suppes, a wheat farmer from Dighton, Kan., and past chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates, spoke on behalf of Kansas wheat farmers at the event. “Trade between Cuba and the U.S. is a win-win situation primarily because of the close proximity to one another,” said Suppes. “Fifty years is a long time. It is time to drop the embargo.”

 

WICHITA BUSINESS JOURNAL: FROM KANSAS TO CUBA

As a fifth-generation farmer, Doug Keesling’s livelihood depends on his ability to sell crops in as many markets as possible, even if that includes exporting to a foreign country. Keesling, whose farming operations between Chase and Lyon counties involve corn, milo, soybeans, and wheat, says the Kansas agricultural sector could benefit from exporting products to Cuba.

 

THE TOPEKA CAPITAL-JOURNAL: SEN. PAT ROBERTS, KANSAS AGRICULTURE SECRETARY CALL FOR CUBA TRADE EXPANSION

In U.S. Senate testimony Tuesday, a former chairman of the Kansas Wheat Commission joined Sen. Pat Roberts in calling on Congress to expand agricultural trade with Cuba. “Agriculture has long been used as a tool — not a weapon — for peace and stability,” Roberts said. “It is my hope that Cuba will embrace the practices of free trade, enterprise and commerce, so that both countries will gain from increased relations.”

 

NBC LOCAL: TRADE WITH CUBA, OPPORTUNITY FOR KANSAS WHEAT

Wheat is Cuba’s second largest import. “Right now they’re getting that all from Europe and Canada,” said Gary Millershaski, President of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. The US is the largest exporter of the grain, not to mention one of Cuba’s closest neighbors. “It’s really not made a lot of sense in the past for, for example, Canada to sell wheat to Cuba,” explained Ron Suppes, a representative of Kansas on the US Wheat Board.  “They go around the US to get down there so [they] have a lot higher freight rates.” Which means the US could sell wheat at a competitive price or keep the price the same and make more money. “We’ve tried doing what we’ve been doing for 50 years, and it hasn’t worked, so maybe something new needs to be tried,” Suppes said.

 

 

Kansas Agland: Working to Break Down Barriers in Cuba

With each trip, Rice County farmer Doug Keesling is seeing a different Cuba. The fifth-generation farmer sat at his kitchen table one spring afternoon, wheat fields surrounding his farmstead. He has made four trips to Cuba in the past year representing Kansas Wheat. The latest journey was in late March, amid President Obama’s own trip to the country – the first trip for a president in nearly 90 years. Keesling is seeing change in the communist country even just a year later.

 

FOX NEWS LATINO: KANSAS HOPING EASED RELATIONS WITH CUBA OPENS UP OPPORTUNITIES TO EXPORT WHEAT

President Barack Obama's announcement this week to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and ease some economic restrictions has been closely followed in Kansas, as the move could open up a major market for winter wheat producers."This is a Kansas issue because wheat is Cuba's second largest import, right behind oil," U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran said Friday. The Republican senator urged the Treasury Department to immediately rewrite cumbersome regulations that have made it difficult to sell wheat and other farm commodities to Cuba — saying the agency can take that step even before Congress grapples with whether to entirely lift the U.S. trade embargo.

 

THE WASHINGTON TIMES: KANSAS FARMER WORKING TO BREAK DOWN BARRIERS IN CUBA 

With each trip, Rice County farmer Doug Keesling is seeing a different Cuba. The fifth-generation farmer sat at his kitchen table one spring afternoon, wheat fields surrounding his farmstead. He has made four trips to Cuba in the past year representing Kansas Wheat. The Hutchinson News reports that the latest journey was in late March, amid President Obama’s own trip to the country - the first trip for a president in nearly 90 years. Keesling is seeing change in the communist country even just a year later. For starters, getting to Cuba is easier. He flew American Airlines. He saw signs of an economic uptick. Residents, he said, are more entrepreneurial, from the farmers’ markets to opening restaurants from their homes.

The kansas city star: missouri, kansas groups to urge business with cuba

The Engage Cuba Coalition, a national group, on Monday will announce formation of the Engage Cuba Kansas State Council and the Engage Cuba Missouri State Council. The council will advocate agricultural, business and travel ties to allow Kansas and Missouri exporters “to regain lost market share on the island while supporting Cuba’s growing private sector.”

The high plains journal: Engage cuba and kansas farmers launch state council

Kansas farm leaders and Engage Cuba gathered in Olathe, Kansas, Sept. 19 to form the Engage Cuba Kansas State Council. The purpose of the council is to build support for congressional action to end the travel and trade ban on Cuba. “What we have tried in the past has not worked,” James Williams, president of Engage Cuba said. “The time has come for a change in this relationship. The embargo policy has not brought about the change it was supposed to provide."

 

Senator Pat Roberts (R) Co-Sponsor of S. 299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Senator Pat Roberts (R)

Co-Sponsor of S. 299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Senator Jerry Moran (R) Co-Sponsor of S. 299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Senator Jerry Moran (R)

Co-Sponsor of S. 299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Representative Roger Marshall (R) Co-Sponsor of H.R. 442 Cuba Trade Act of 2017 and H.R. 525 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Representative Roger Marshall (R)

Co-Sponsor of H.R. 442 Cuba Trade Act of 2017 and H.R. 525 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

New Mexico State Council

Jeff V. Lopez
President, NM Cattle Growers Association

Alex O. Romero
President and CEO, Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce

Herb Thomas
Board President, Santa Fe Council on International Relations

Raymond G. Sandoval
President, Santa Fe Hispano Chamber of Commerce

Art McHaffie
Santa Fe Council on International Relations

Paul J. Gessing
President, Rio Grande Foundation

Melinne Owens
Former Peace Corps Volunteer & Artist

CHARLENE CERNY
INTERIM DIRECTOR, MUSEUM OF INTERNATIONAL FOLK ART

 

 

Simon Brackley
President, CEO, Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce

Vicki Huddleston
Former US Ambassador to Mali

Roselyn Yazzie
Navajo Agriculture Products Industry

Governor Gary Pyne
Pueblo of Picuris

Stuart Ashman
Executive Director, Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe

Marie Longserre
President, Santa Fe Business Incubator

Tony Archuleta
Superintendent, Cuba Independent School District

Xavier Zamarripa
Nativegrown Wines

Vicki M. Nelson
Associate Director for Business Operations, UNM Latin America and Iberian Institute

Gil Vigil Executive Director/Tribal Council Member, Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council Inc 


NEW MEXICO'S CHAMPIONS

NEWS CLIPS

AP: NEW MEXICO COALITION STARTS COUNCIL TO PUSH TRADE WITH CUBA

A New Mexico coalition of advocates and business leaders has launched a bipartisan council aimed at promoting trade with Cuba. The Engage Cuba New Mexico State Council, made up of agriculture, energy and American Indian representatives, wants to lift travel and trade restrictions on the communist island amid opening relations with the U.S. Engage Cuba president James Williams says potential trade with Cuba would provide exciting opportunities for New Mexico's agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

 

Radio Cadena Agramonte/Radio Reloj: Engage Cuba, U.S. Senator Udall, and State leaders Launch New Mexico State Council

Engage Cuba, a leading coalition of private companies and organizations working to lift Washington's travel and trade restrictions on Cuba, has joined state leaders to launch the bipartisan Engage Cuba New Mexico State Council. U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), who has been a leader in expanding access to U.S. telecommunications and internet in Cuba, attended the launch as well.

 

Albuquerque journal: Group pushing trade with Cuba launches in NM

The Washington, D.C.-based Engage Cuba Coalition on Wednesday added New Mexico to its roster of states with a local council supporting an end to the 56-year-old trade embargo against Cuba. New Mexico is now the 13th state to form a local support council for the bipartisan Engage Cuba, which seeks to build support for lifting travel and trade restrictions while encouraging more interaction between the island nation and U.S. businesses and community leaders.

 

KRQE: State Senator works to open trade, travel with Cuba

A U.S. Senator from New Mexico is working to open trade and travel with Cuba. On Wednesday, he will speak at a panel discussion to launch a new statewide effort. Sen. Tom Udall has been working on legislation to lift the travel and trade embargo with Cuba. On Wednesday, he will join “Engage Cuba,” a nationwide organization also working on those efforts. Engage Cuba is a bipartisan non-profit. They work with American businesses and organizations to travel to Cuba and provide the latest regulation information.

 

SANTA FE REPORTER: CAN NEW MEXICO LEAD U.S. RELATIONS WITH CUBA?

A lawmaker wants New Mexico to take immediate advantage of the United States' newly opened relationship with Cuba. State Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Bernalillo, says he wants to see New Mexico become Cuba's "favored state" by establishing the first Cuban trade office in the nation. That includes becoming the country's commercial hub for popular Cuban items like rum and cigars. "It's really to position New Mexico as moving forward with state relations with Cuba," Garcia says. His bill would use $25,000 from the general fund to establish the trade office under the state Economic Development Department. A director for the trade office would be appointed by the department secretary, currently Jon Barela. The director of the office would "promote trade between New Mexico businesses and Cuba, including identifying potential partners and buyers in Cuba, assisting with marketing goods and services to Cuba, assessing the potential of Cuban markets and accompanying New Mexico businesses and government officials to meetings in Cuba.

 

 

ABC NEWS (AP): FLAKE, UDALL WORKING TO OPEN CUBAN TRAVEL, TRADE

U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Tom Udall of New Mexico pledge to continue working to open U.S. travel to Cuba and trade with the island country. Flake and Udall just returned from a three-day Senate Foreign Relations Committee trip to Cuba. During the visit, the senators met with Cuban officials and religious and business leaders to discuss the impacts of the embargo and travel restrictions on American and Cuban families. Udall says "the time is right to rebuild business and cultural ties" between the countries.

ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL: HOUSE PANEL EYES STATE CUBAN TRADE OFFICE

New Mexico House panel is set to discuss a proposal that would create a state Cuban Trade Office. The House Government, Elections & Indian Affairs Committee is scheduled Wednesday to debate the bill sponsored by Rep. Miguel Garcia. Under the proposal, the office would identify potential buyers in Cuba for New Mexico goods and services. The office also would assist New Mexico businesses with marketing in Cuba. President Barack Obama recently loosened the Cold War-era trade embargo with a range of measures designed to increase economic ties with Cuba and increase the number of Cubans who don’t depend on the communist state for their livelihoods.

 

ABC ALBUQUERQUE: CUBAN CIGARS COULD SOON BE AVAILABLE IN THE U.S.

A thaw in relations between the United States and Cuba could lead to a greater availability of Cuban cigars. Matt Monte knows almost every cigar in his humidor -- and he should. Monte's family has sold cigars in Albuquerque for decades, but in all those years, they've never been able to ring up a Cuban cigar. "People, even now, don't know about the embargo, and they're constantly calling for Cuban cigars," Monte said. Cuban cigars are famous around the world. They're often described as perfect, and plenty of attention goes into making them. "It's still a hand-rolled product. From the seed to the ash, that cigar is going to touch about 300 sets of hands," Monte said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MINNESOTA STATE COUNCIL

Kevin Paap, President
Minnesota Farm Bureau

Doug Peterson, President
Minnesota Farmers Union

Robert Riley, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
University of St. Thomas

Matt Kramer, Ed.D, Vice President for University and Government Relations
University of Minnesota

Kevin Smith, President & CEO
Minnesota Orchestra

Natalie Volin Lehr, Director of Corporate Affairs
Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group

Aasha Wanless, Director of Trade Compliance
Polaris Industries, Inc.

John Wiehoff, CEO
C.H. Robinson Worldwide

Bob Zelenka, Executive Director
Minnesota Grain and Feed Association

Marvin Zutz, Executive Director
Minnesota Barley Council

Jason Adkins, Executive Director & General Counsel
Minnesota Catholic Conference

Leah Spinosa de Vega, Dean of Global Education
Augsburg College

Tom Carman, VP Human Resources & Administration
Wenger Corporation

Dave Frederickson, Commissioner
Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Jeff Grev, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Hormel Foods Corporation

John Guttery, Senior Vice President
Ecolab Inc.

Rodolfo Gutierrez, Executive Director
Hispanic Advocacy and Community

Lyndel King, President
Weisman Art Museum

Mike Noonan, Vice President
Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc.

John Oswald, PhD Global Health Committee Co-Chair
Minnesota Public Health Association

STEVEN OLSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
MINNESOTA TURKEY GROWERS

 


BROWNFIELD: GROUP TRAVELS TO DC TOUTING TRADE WITH CUBA

A broad coalition of industry leaders will be in Washington, DC this week encouraging lawmakers to lift the trade embargo with Cuba. Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council Director Paul Simonsen is among the more than 100 people from across the country making the trip.

 

The desert sun: OFFICIALLY END THE EMBARGO, LET THE SUN SHINE ON CUBA

Now that President Obama has re-eastablished diplomatic relations with Cuba, it's time for Congress to repeal the U.S. trade embargo. The well-intentioned policy has hurt the U.S. and provided a catchall excuse for the Castro regime to explain its failures. That's the view of Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, who in a welcome display of bipartisanship are leading efforts to convince their congressional colleagues that lifting the embargo is in America's best geopolitical and economic interests[.] ... Speaking at a Monday event in Minneapolis organized by Global Minnesota and the Engage Cuba Coalition, Emmer took the long view on policy that's passed it's usefulness. 

 

Brainerd Dispatch: After Push from Minnesota Congressional Delegation, DOT Approves Flights from Minnesota to Cuba

On Friday, after an effort from Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Reps. Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan, Erik Paulsen, and Tom Emmer, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved new direct flights between Minnesota and Cuba. As a part of the administration's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, the U.S. and Cuba recently signed a civil aviation accord that will open up new opportunities for American businesses and travelers, including regular flights between the U.S. and Cuba, a joint release said.

 

MinnPost: Have the Political Winds Finally Shifted on Lifting the Cuban Embargo?

A lot has changed in the last 55 years in U.S. politics — which party controls Congress and the presidency, the size and reach of the federal bureaucracy, America’s rivals abroad. But through all that turmoil, you could count on one thing never changing: the embargo that prohibits trade and travel to and from Cuba.

 

Minnesota Farm Guide: Minnesota Soybean Growers Hope to Provide Soybeans to Cuba

Minnesota’s soybean leadership recently participated in talks at the White House regarding trade opportunities with Cuba. The talks occurred just ahead of a signing ceremony re-establishing the Cuban marketplace for U.S. food and ag products. “We’ve had very little action in the past, and now our administration has opened up a little bit more,” said Paul Simonsen of the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.

 

Minnesota Farm Guide: Ending Cuba Embargo Could Benefit Region

After decades of a trade embargo against Cuba, there is little evidence that it had any impact on a change in policy or politics on the island nation. It’s time to seriously consider a different approach, especially following a recent report that indicates lifting the embargo could be beneficial for the Northern Plains states that produce wheat, corn and soybeans.

 

twin cities pioneer press: with historic visit, cuba takes center stage in minnesota politics

An island more than 1,600 miles from St. Paul dominated politics in Minnesota on Monday. President Barack Obama and three of Minnesota's members of Congress were in Cuba, the first such visit by a sitting U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s. But while Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Reps. Tom Emmer and Rick Nolan extolled opening ties with the autocratic island nation, Nolan's opponent in November's election said outreach to the island's ruling Castro family is misguided and "dangerous." 

 

duluth news tribune: minnesota lawmakers getting warm welcome in cuba

A historic trade trip to Cuba is going well, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., say. They're optimistic that Congressional efforts to ease restrictions on exports will go well, too. Klobuchar and Emmer held a conference call with the news media Monday afternoon. The two spoke from Cuba, where they're part of a trade mission with President Barack Obama. Klobuchar and Emmer are leading sponsors of proposed Senate and House legislation that would lift the current U.S. trade embargo on Cuba and allow more U.S. exports there. 

 

cbs minnesota: Sun country may offer nonstop flights from minneapolis to cuba 

Flying nonstop from Minneapolis to Cuba? It's now possible. That's if the federal government approves a request from Sun Country Airlines. Twin Cities-based Sun Country Airlines is trying to make that happen, bidding on four possible flights, two nonstops and two that would involve a stop in Fort Myers. The Mendota Heights-based airline is among the U.S. airlines submitting route bids to the Department of Transportation. 

 

cbs minnesota: klobuchar, emmer headed to cuba alongside obama

The Minnesota members of Congress will be going to Cuba with President Barack Obama next week. According to the offices of Republican Rep. Tom Emmer and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, both lawmakers will be with other Republican and Democratic leaders traveling to the island nation for two days. Obama is trying to restore ties with Cuba after more than 50 years of Cold War tensions. 

KSTP ABC 5: Minnesota Businesses Looking to Increase Opportunities in Cuba

Our business community is starting what they call an "Engage Cuba Coalition." The organization is a way to strengthen ties to the country even though the travel and trade embargo remains in place.

WCCO CBS MINNESOTA: STATE LEADERS LAUNCH MINNESOTA ENGAGE CUBA STATE COUNCIL

In Minnesota, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Tom Emmer just returned back from a trip to Cuba with President Barack Obama. Klobuchar said lifting the trade embargo would allow American producers and companies to thrive. She said there’s a need for agricultural goods that Minnesota producers could supply. Upon Emmer and Klobuchar’s return, Engage Cuba launched a state council in Minnesota Monday. In addition to announcing Minnesota’s Engage Cuba State Council, there was also an extended discussion that examined how lifting the trade embargo would benefit Minnesota businesses and agriculture.

 

CBS MINNESOTA: STATE LEADERS: TRADE BETWEEN U.S., CUBA WOULD BOOST MINNESOTA

Monday morning, both Senator Klobuchar and Congressman Emmer spoke to a newly formed coalition in Minneapolis called the Engage Cuba State Council. The group is made of business, academic and community leaders who want to establish a business relationship with Cuba.

 

MINNESOTA FARMERS UNION: MINNESOTA FARMERS UNION PRESIDENT NOMINATED TO ENGAGE CUBA MINNESOTA STATE COUNCIL

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President, Doug Peterson has been nominated by Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressman Tom Emmer to be a member of the Engage Cuba Minnesota State Council. The Minnesota Council will join other state councils that have formed in the states of Tennessee, Louisiana, and Ohio. 

 

STAR TRIBUNE: END THE U.S. TRADE EMBARGO WITH CUBA

Speaking at a Monday event in Minneapolis organized by Global Minnesota and the Engage Cuba Coalition, Emmer took the long view on policy that's passed its usefulness. ... Klobuchar, who joined Emmer as part of a congressional delegation that accompanied Obama on his historic trip to Cuba last week, observed that the American people "are ahead of their government as they are in Cuba." 

 

NORTHLANDS NEWS CENTER: ST. SCHOLASTICA STUDENTS TO VISIT CUBA AS RELATIONS WITH U.S. IMPROVE

With the improving relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, a group of Duluth students is heading to the island nation to see for themselves the economic opportunities there. 13 business grad students from the College of Saint Scholastica are traveling to Cuba this week to complete their "Capstone" project and get a handle on how people can take advantage of the newly blossoming relationship. Since President Obama traveled to Cuba, Minnesota has seen improvement in its relationship with the island nation.

 

daily globe: minnesota ag commissioner hopeful for more trade with cuba

When Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Dave Frederickson visited Cuba he had to put his past beliefs about the country behind him. "I'm old enough to remember the revolution. Your dukes are up a little bit," Frederickson said this week at the Willmar Rotary Club meeting. But when he arrived in Cuba he was met by smiles. "You got there and you're welcomed with open arms by the people," Frederickson said. 

 

minnesota daily: carlson students return from cuban business trip

A group of 30 University of Minnesota students spent their spring breaks in Cuba riding around in cars from the '50s, interacting with locals and soaking in a country previously cut off form the United States. The trip was part of an entrepreneurial management class through the Carlson School of Management, in which students took in Cuban culture and pitched new ideas to local entrepreneurs to help them run businesses. 

 

WJTV 12: amy klobuchar, minnesota senator, urges rule changes so u.s. hotels can operate in cuba

A U.S. senator is urging the Obama administration to ease restrictions on investment in Cuba so American hotels can operate in the island nation. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, says that as diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba improve, business opportunities will grow. 

 

mankato free press: our view: pragmatism and profit in cuba

Obama has loosened the embargo with executive actions, but officially lifting it will require congressional action. Judging from the Minnesotans who accompanied the president to Cuba this week, this state's congressional delegation favors lifting the embargo; Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Reps. Rick Nolan and tom Emmer were among the 40 members of Congress who went to Cuba with the president. 

 

minnpost: let's beef up trade with cuba, ag commissioner says

Old habits die hard, but they do die. When Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Dave Frederickson visited Cuba, he admitted, "your dukes are up a bit."

 

Twin Cities Business Journal: MN Businesses, Leaders Join Forces To Support Open US-Cuba Relations

James Williams, President of Engage Cuba said in the release: "Minnesota’s agriculture, biomedical, and energy sectors are thriving. Opening up trade to Cuba and expanding investment opportunities for Minnesota businesses is critical to helping local businesses and the Cuban people."

 

Congressman Tom Emmer (R) Representing Minnesota's 6th District Co-Sponsor of H.R. 664 Freedom to Travel Act, H.R. 3055 Cuba DATA Act, H.R. 3238 The Cuba Trade Act of 2015, and H.R. 3687 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Congressman Tom Emmer (R)

Representing Minnesota's 6th District

Co-Sponsor of H.R. 664 Freedom to Travel Act, H.R. 3055 Cuba DATA Act, H.R. 3238 The Cuba Trade Act of 2015, and H.R. 3687 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Congresswoman Betty Mccollum (D) Representing Minnesota's 4th District

Congresswoman Betty Mccollum (D)

Representing Minnesota's 4th District

MISSISSIPPI STATE COUNCIL

BRAD MASON, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
JOHNSON CONTROLS

DR. KAREN MATTHEWS, CEO
DELTA HEALTH ALLIANCE

MARK L. ANDREWS
PORT OF PASCAGOULA

MIKE MCCORMICK, PRESIDENT
MISSISSIPPI FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

GLENN MCCULLOUGH, JR., EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
MISSISSIPPI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

JOHN NEWCOMB, CEO
NEWCOMB FARMSMONA NICHOLAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
USA INTERNATIONAL BALLET COMPETITION

JACK NORRIS, SR. PROGRAM MANAGER
COVINGTON CIVIL & ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING

DR. WILSON PARRY, NEPHROLOGIST
CENTRAL NEPHROLOGY CLINIC

CHIP PETERSON, PRESIDENT, CMS MANAGEMENT

DR. DAVID SHAW, PROFESSOR, VICE PRESIDENT FOR RESEARCH AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

PHILIP SHIRLEY, PRESIDENT
GODWIN GROUP

STEWART SPEED, PRESIDENT
LEAF RIVER GROUP LLC

GIBB STEELE, PRESIDENT & CEO
STEELE FARMSTIM TIMBS, PRESIDENT & CEO
INDIANOLA PECAN HOUSE

CLAY WAGNER, SR. VICE PRESIDENT FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
HANCOCK BANK

DAVID WATKINS, JR., MANAGER
SOUL CITY HOSPITALITY

JACK WINSTEAD
MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCE

REPRESENTATIVE HANK ZUBER III
MISSISSIPPI HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

TONY JEFF, PRESIDENT
INNOVATE MISSISSIPPI

MARK LEGGETT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
MISSISSIPPI POULTRY ASSOCIATION

BRAD MASON, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
JOHNSON CONTROLS

DR. KAREN MATTHEWS, CEO
DELTA HEALTH ALLIANCE

MARK L. ANDREWS
PORT OF PASCAGOULA

MIKE MCCORMICK, PRESIDENT
MISSISSIPPI FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

Arden Barnett, President
Ardenland Entertainment

Frank Bordeaux, Vice President
Steward Sneed Hewes/BancorpSouth
Insurance Services


Rose Boxx, International Trade Division Director
Mississippi Authority

Dr. Kim Burke, Dean
Millsaps College Else School of Management

Philip Burnett, Financial Advisor
Coker & Palmer Inc.

Rob Coker, Farmer

Alveno Castilla, Partner
Butler Snow

Hayes Dent, President
Hayes Dent Public Strategies LLC

World Trade Center of Mississippi

Ashley Edwards, President
Gulf Coast Business Council

G.G. Ferguson, President
Ferguson & Associates Architects

Dr. George Hopper, Dean
Mississippi State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


THE CLARION-LEDGER: MISSISSIPPIANS REFLECT ON LIFE IN CUBA

As President Obama visited Cuba for the first time, Mississippians with Cuban ties reflected on the country that has, until recently been mostly hidden from American eyes. Leonardo “Leo” Dopico, owner of Le’s Cuban Kitchen in Hattiesburg and the only Cuban Restaurant in Mississippi, was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. A former attorney in Cuba, he, his wife and child fled the country more than 15 years ago when he was accused of being sympathetic to the Untied States. 

WDAM: COULD THE CUBAN NATIONAL BASEBALL TEAM BE COMING To Biloxi?

With President Obama in Cuba and relations between the two countries improving, a variety  of opportunities are opening up. A group on the Mississippi Coast is close to working out a deal that would make Biloxi a part of the new dynamic between the two countries. There is one big thing America and Cuba have in common and that is the love of baseball. There is an effort underway to bring the Cuban National Baseball Team to MGM Park in Biloxi for an exhibition game. 

SUN HERALD: CASINO EXECUTIVE HOPES YANKEE GREAT WILL HELP LURE BUSINESS, BASEBALL TO BILOXI

Bobby Carter has made several trips to Cuba over four years, but next week’s jaunt could be the most fun. He’s going with Yankee Hall-of-Famer Richard “Goose” Gossage, who’s taking four cases of baseballs from the Yankee spring training camp to teach a clinic in Havana. Carter, an executive at Biloxi’s Golden Nugget Casino, hopes to eventually bring the Cuban national team to play an exhibition game at MGM Park. And like President Barack Obama this week, he’s been working to develop relationships in Cuba, where baseball is by far the most popular sport.  

Op-ed: Mississippi Business Journal: How Mississippi can benefit from the U.S.-Cuba relationship

Despite the fact that Cuba is located just across the Gulf, Mississippi farmers are losing out on Cuba’s growing market to foreign competitors around the world. Given Mississippi’s world-class ports and proximity to our island neighbor, as well as Cuba’s reliance on food imports, Mississippi is uniquely positioned to be a world leader in exports to Cuba. But Congress must lift the travel and trade embargo in order to provide efficient and economical trade opportunities for Mississippi farmers which would help support Cuba’s fastest growing sector, private entrepreneurship.

SunHerald: South Mississippi Doctors Share Bounty with Cuba

Most people buy souvenirs when they visit abroad. Biloxi plastic surgeon Michael Diaz instead brought duffel bags full of goodies on his second trip to Cuba this year and returned with a commitment from Cuba’s top doctor to speak at Louisiana State University in the fall. “I think that was a huge success of this trip,” Diaz said after Rodrigo Alvarez Cambras, director of Frank Pais Orthopedic Hospital in Cuba, accepted the invitation to LSU to speak about his life.

Mississippi Public Broadcasting: New Study Sees Opportunity for MS Farmers in Cuba

A new report by a group that advocates lifting the U.S. embargo on Cuba says Mississippi would see significant economic benefits from increased trade with its island neighbor. The Engage Cuba Coalition says Cuba imports as much as 80 percent of its food. And senior policy advisor Lee Ann Evans says the U.S. is being shut out as a major supplier. "The EU, Argentina, Brazil and now Vietnam are beating us out in terms of exports," she says.

The Clarion-Ledger: Salter: Delta Council's Focus Practical, Political

For several years, Moran has been an advocate of opening Cuban markets to American farmers: “Developing agricultural trade relations with Cuba will allow the Cuban people to put more pressure on the Cuban government to change its behavior. Cuba is not a huge market, but with today’s low commodity prices in agriculture, we need every market we can get,” he said.

Iowa State Council

Karey Claghorn, Chief Operating Officer
Iowa Soybean Association

Kirk Leeds, Chief Executive Officer
Iowa Soybean Association

Kurt Hora, Vice-President
Iowa Corn Growers Association

Leslie K. Wilson, Dean
University of Northern Iowa College of Business Administration

Mark Settle, Educational Consultant
Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Mike Tousley, Executive Vice President
The Weitz Company, LLC

Rand Fisher, President
Iowa Area Development Group

Ryan Carroll, International Trade Manager
Greater Des Moines Partnership

Steve Dust, President and CEO
Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and TechWorks Campus

Tim Woods, President, Central Iowa Chapter
International Traders of Iowa

Tom Chapman, Executive Director
Iowa Catholic Conference

Tom Swegle, CEO
MedCara Pharmaceuticals

Valerie Newhouse, President
Iowa Lakes Community College

Wes Ehrecke, Board Member
Travel Federation of Iowa

Mike Ralston, President
Iowa Association of Business and Industry

Bill Northey, Secretary of Agriculture  
State of Iowa

Bishop Richard Pates
Catholic Diocese of Des Moines

Bob Hemesath, President
Iowa Corn Growers Association

Chad Kleppe, President and CEO
Master Builders of Iowa

Charlie Norris, Director
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation

Cheryl Langston, Chair
Iowa Association of Community College Trustees

Craig Hill, President
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation

Daniel Seufferlein, Partner
Ackley, Kopecky & Kingery LLP

David Holm, Executive Director
Iowa Institute for Cooperatives

Dimy Doresca, Director
University of Iowa Institute for International Business

Downing Thomas, Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs
University of Iowa

Dr. Wendy Wintersteen, Dean
Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Evan Berquist, Attorney
Frederikson and Byron

Farzad Moussavi, Director of Global Programs
University of Northern Iowa College of Business Administration

Grant Kimberley, Executive Director
Iowa Biodiesel Board

Jay Byers, Chief Executive Officer
Greater Des Moines Partnership

Jerry Mohr, Chair
Iowa Corn Growers Association



Op-Ed: Des Moines Register: Restrictions on Cuba Hold Iowans Back

by James Williams and Bob Hemesath

Ending the travel and trade restrictions with Cuba would provide tremendous opportunities for Iowa businesses and enable economic mobility for the Cuban people. While the Obama administration has eased some restrictions on travel to and trade with Cuba, it’s time for Congress to lift the embargo, which harms Iowa business and hinders economic opportunities for the Cuban people.

Iowa Public Television: Vilsack Hosts Cuban Agricultural officials in Iowa

Sec. Tom Vilsack/USDA:  “We have a tremendous opportunity in Cuba to expand exports of soybeans, rice and poultry at some point.  They in turn have a tremendous opportunity to import into the U.S. organic production – high value-added opportunity.  Trade must be a two way street.” Last week USDA chief Tom Vilsack hosted a Cuban agricultural delegation in his home state of Iowa.  The historic event gave the group a glimpse into agribusiness diversity in a region that leads the U.S. in several farm production sectors.

KCRG: Agribusiness Report: Cuba Delegation Explores Ag Science and Technology

In a historic delegation to Iowa by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the Cuban Minister of Agriculture Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero, science and technology were big topics. And it started out on a local level according to Vilsack, "The questions the minister asked could have easily been asked by me to his farmers it is universal that's why we entered into a Memorandum of Understanding."

WNAX: Engage Coalition Formed in Iowa

The Engage Cuba Coalition was formed in Iowa this weekend when Cuba’s Ag Minister visited the Hawkeye state. Engage member Grant Kimberly, who serves as Market Development Director for the Iowa Soybean Association, says the Cubans are very interested in U.S. seed technology.

WHO-TV: Historic Visit By Cuba Delegation

In a historic trip, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the Agriculture Minister of Cuba Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero was in Iowa as part of a delegation. It's the third official visit from Cuba, the third meeting between agriculture secretaries, and the first visit to Iowa by a Cuban official since July 2004. Then it was a veterinarian to open up the U.S. red meat industry.

KCRG-TV: Lobbying Group Forms Iowa Council on Lifting Cuba Trade Embargo

A group lobbying to restore trade with Cuba is starting a council here in Iowa. Engage Cuba's new Iowa state council is made up of more than two dozen Iowa industry leaders and government officials, including Iowa's secretary of agriculture. They plan to urge Congress to end trade embargoes and make agribusiness exports to Cuba easier.

Sioux City Journal: Vilsack, Cuban Counterpart Visit Iowa

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Cuban Agriculture Minister Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero spent Friday touring highlights of Iowa farming and searching for common ground for agriculture as a starting point for normalizing relations between the two countries. Vilsack and Rollero made stops at DuPont Pioneer's Johnston operations, an organic farm near Polk City, Iowa State University’s Ames campus and a renewable fuels plant near Nevada to showcase Iowa’s agricultural diversity. 

The Quad-City Times: Vilsack gives Cuban Minister Taste of Iowa Ag

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Cuban Agriculture Minister Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero spent Friday touring highlights of Iowa farming and searching for common ground with agriculture as a starting point for normalizing relations between two countries at odds for decades.

Our Quad Cities: Engage Cuba Launches its Iowa State Council

A 55-year economic stalemate with Cuba is gradually easing as the united states lifts travel and trade restrictions. Now, the Iowa agricultural industry could play a big role in moving that along. That's why top officials are joining Engage Cuba, a group urging congress to lift the embargo completely. Its made up of Iowa's top agricultural businesses and humanitarian officials. They're urging congress to end the "trade embargo" so Iowa exports can boom.

Radio Iowa: Cuban Ag Secretary Visits Iowa Farm to Talk Trade

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his Cuban counterpart Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero toured a central Iowa corn and soybean farm todayand talked about water, soil, and energy. Vilsack — with an interpreter behind him — says he wants to see the ban on exports is lifted. “I sincerely hope that at some point in time in the near future Congress sees the wisdom of ending the embargo — allowing us to have an even closer relationship,” Vilsack says.

Radio Iowa: Engage Cuba Coalition Launches in Iowa

The Engage Cuba Coalition is launching a state council in Iowa. Coalition president James Williams spoke at a news conference in Des Moines where he says the goal is to lift the trade embargo with Cuba. “It’s failed, it’s failed the United States, it’s failed the people of Iowa, and it’s failed the Cuban people to live a better life themselves,” Williams says.

WHOTV: Engage Cuba Coalition Urging Iowans to Put Pressure on Politicians

Last summer, President Obama began renewing relations with Cuba by opening the U.S. Embassy. However, the effort to lift the Cuba's trade embargo is still far from over. In order for those restrictions to be lifted, Congress must approve it. That hasn't happened yet but an out of state lobbyist group visiting Des Moines Friday is urging local leaders to put pressure on the politicians.

Des Moines Register: Iowa Farmer Hosts Top Cuba officials, Gets Cigars

Only a few years ago, it wouldn't have seemed possible. But on Friday morning, Aaron Heley Lehman's organic farm in Polk City played host to some of Cuba's top governmental officials. "It's just unbelievable," Lehman said. He recently had cleaned up the yard and mowed the lawn in anticipation of a visit from Cuban Agriculture Minister Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. 

We Are Iowa: Cuba & Iowa Officials Meet, Talk Agribusiness in Central Iowa

Cuban officials are visiting Iowa’s top agricultural officials Friday. It’s been 55 years since the economic embargo and trade restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba. Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack toured four central Iowa agriculture farms and businesses with the Cuban Minister of Agriculture Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero.

Des Moines Register: Vilsack Hopes Meeting Will Push Congress on Cuba Trade Deal

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he is optimistic a visit with his Cuban counterpart Friday in Iowa can help build pressure on Congress to fully lift the embargo on trade with the communist country. The White House announced in late 2014 efforts to improve relations with Cuba's communist regime, including expanding trade. 

AgWeb: Trade Groups Push Promise of Cuba for U.S. Farmers

Opening the door to U.S. ag exports to Cuba could reap substantial gains for U.S. farmers, who have lost market share to competitors in Asia and Latin America, according to a new ag trade report. The report, written by a pair of groups calling for an end to the 1960 trade embargo with Cuba, touted the potential of full access to Cuba’s market for American farmers in six states: Iowa, Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and North Dakota.

Tama News-Herald, Toledo Chronicle: Iowa Delegation Pleased with Trade Mission Efforts in Havana, Cuba

Trust, confidence and forging lasting bonds that will benefit both Iowans and Cubans. That's the message from Iowa legislators and participants who just returned from a trade mission to Havana, hoping to create economic and business agreements between Iowa business owners and entrepreneurs and the Cuban people.

CBS: What Do Iowans See in Cuba? Opportunity

Some Iowans hope a trip to a place few could travel to before--Cuba--will bring new connections and possibilities for themselves and the state. The Obama administration formally reopened ties with Havana, Cuba in late 2014, and an agreement reached between the U.S. and Cuba in 2015 resumed commercial air travel for the first time in more than half a century.

The Gazette: Two Iowa lawmakers leading trade mission to Cuba

Two Democratic state legislators announced Thursday they will lead a delegation visiting Cuba next week looking to form relationships between Cuba and Iowa in order to open up options for potential future trade. Sen. Steve Sodders, D-Marshalltown, and Rep. Kristen Running-Marquardt, D-Cedar Rapids, said they will be meeting with representatives from the Cuban government and business leaders to focus on fostering new business opportunities between Iowa and Cuba.

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Some Iowans worried about Trump's new Cuba restrictions

The nearly 60-year-old embargo is harmful for Iowa farmers while other nations benefit from trade with a country just 90 miles from U.S. shores, added Jerry Mohr, an at-large director of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and a member of Iowa’s Engage Cuba Coalition state council, a national nonpartisan organization working to end travel and trade restrictions on Cuba.

Des Moines Register: Iowa Lawmakers See Trade Opportunities in Cuba 

Two Iowa legislators have returned from a trade mission to Cuba saying they see a potential for business ties with the Caribbean nation, but were struck by its lack of infrastructure and a lack of basic public services that Americans take for granted.

Times-Republican: Iowa-Cuba Relationship Continues to Develop

President Obama's announcement this week he will travel to Cuba next month reaffirms a local lawmaker's efforts in trying to establish economic ties between the island nation and the state of Iowa. On Friday, state Sen. Steve Sodders of State Center, spoke with members of the Iowa Valley Continuing Education's Creative Retirement Program, about last month's trip by an 11-member delegation from Iowa to Havana.

Daily Iowan: Cuba May Aid Iowa Farmers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was among a group of American officials who accompanied President Obama on his historic visit to Cuba on Monday, and Iowa farmers are seeing dollar signs. Vilsack met with Cuban Minister of Agriculture Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero “to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that establishes a framework for sharing ideas and research between the two countries,” said a statement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture released Monday.

PAUL STREET (COUNTER PUNCH): CUBA REFLECTIONS: ON LIFE AND DEATH

It’s not very often that you hear or see a salaried U.S. corporate media employee defend Fidel Castro and Che Guevara’s Cuban Revolution and its accomplishments. That’s why I did a double take when I read a recent opinion piece titled “Cuba’s Success Lost in Media Frenzy” in the Gannett-owned Iowa City Press-Citizen. The commentary was not written by some radical academic or graduate student at the local university (I’m not sure such a professor can be found at the University of Iowa anymore) or by an independent radical like me (I have a long record of publishing pieces in the Press-Citizen’s laudably open-minded Opinion page).

IOWA CITY PRESS-CITIZEN: LOCAL FAMILY’S CUBA VIDEO SHOWS VINTAGE TAXIS, HEART

You may recall a story last month about an Iowa City family’s two-pronged Christmas trip to Cuba to assist at a church and tour Havana. Now you can get a vivid local perspective about what’s going on with our embargoed island neighbor through an excellent 11-minute video compiled by two talented members of June Braverman’s family on that trip. Title “The Braverman’s Brigade Goes to Cuba,” the video shows the Americans helping church members with piano lessons, planting an organic garden, teaching teens how to videotape their community, leading Christmas carols and much more. 

ABC NEWS: AGRIBUSINESS REPORT: FARM SALES TO CUBA INCREASED WITHOUT EMBARGO LIFT

There is the possibility of increased trade and agricultural goods, which farm groups like the American Farm Bureau are pushing for. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley isn’t buying into the efforts to normalize relations and he’s less interested in ending the trade embargo, even if it means more ag sales to Cuba. He says in the give and take part, Cuba is more on the taking end. And even without an end to the embargo, he says farm sales to Cuba have increased, “There’s already a provisions that have even been liberalized beyond what they’ve been through maybe ten years for agricultural foods to go there along with medicine, pharmaceuticals, medicinal things. So I don’t know whether we have to be so concerned just for agriculture.”

THE GAZETTE: UNIVERSITY OF IOWA EYES CUBAN STUDY

As a University of Iowa senior studying political science and psychology, Jake Murphy long has been intrigued by Cuba. The island nation’s political and economic isolation from the United States since the 1960s has made it a sort of “forbidden fruit” for Americans, Murphy said. “So when (President Barack) Obama announced the relationship would be renewed, and they are relaxing some embargoes, I was in shock,” he said. “It was finally happening, and I thought it was so cool.”  

KCCI: IOWA FUGITIVE FOUND IN CUBA FACES 45 YEARS IN PRISON

A man facing federal firearms charges in Iowa who attempted to escape prosecution by fleeing to Cuba has entered plea agreements with U.S. prosecutors. Court records say Shawn Michael Wegmann signed plea agreements last week for failure to appear and for four firearms counts. He faces up to 45 years in prison. Wegmann admits to stealing more than 0 guns in burglaries last year in Iowa and Illinois. He had previous felony convictions and was barred from possessing guns. 

THE DES MOINES REGISTER: WILL CUBA BE A GOLD MINE FOR IOWA BUSINESSES?

Many American businesses believe re-establishing trade with Cuba will prove a financial windfall, allowing them to bring their products and services to a market that’s been all but forbidden over the last five decades. Tom Swegle has his eyes on Cuba for the opposite reason. “We always talk about trade going into Cuba,” he said, “but not what is going out of Cuba, besides cigars and old cars.” 

THE GAZETTE: CAPITOL IDEAS: IOWA LAWMAKERS OPEN CUBAN DOORS

After visiting Cuba back in January, State Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt returned with a refreshed appreciation for democracy. And toilet paper. Running-Marquardt, a Cedar Rapids Democrat, and Sen. Steve Sodders, D-State Center, who also visited the island nation 90 miles off the Florida coast, recommend President Barack Obama take his own supply when visits Cuba later this month.

State Senator Steve Sodders (D) Represents District 36 Sponsors SR 6, Resolution Urging the US Congress to Lift the Cuban Embargo

State Senator Steve Sodders (D)

Represents District 36

Sponsors SR 6, Resolution Urging the US Congress to Lift the Cuban Embargo

IDAHO STATE COUNCIL 

Chairman: Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter

ERIC ANDERSON, COMMISSIONER
IDAHO PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION

BRODY ASTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
IDAHO ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS

IVAN CASTILLO, CHAIRMAN
IDAHO HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

BISHOP PETER F. CHRISTENSEN,
DIOCESE OF BOISE

BILL CONNORS, CEO
BOISE METRO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

JUAN CARLOS DUQUE, CEO
CAPITALWORKSHOP

MATT ELLSWORTH
AMERICAN MINING & EXPLORATION ASSOCIATION

REPRESENTATIVE MAT ERPELDING, ASSISTANT MINORITY LEADER
IDAHO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

KARIANNE FALLOW, CEO
UNITED DAIRYMEN OF IDAHO

MARC GIBBS, FARMER AND REPRESENTATIVE
IDAHO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

CELIA GOULD, DIRECTOR
IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Peter Grubb, Cuba Travel Specialist
ROW Adventures/Cuba Unbound

MIKE KENNEDY, PRESIDENT
INTERMAX NETWORKS

GREG KOENIG, OWNER
KOENIG VINEYARDS

RYAN STurMAN, OWNER
STURMAN’S SMOKESHOP

KEVIN LOVELESS, OWNER
GLOBAL TRAVEL

Dr. Uwe Reischl, Professor, Community and Environmental Health
Boise State University

Frank Muir, President
Idaho Potato Commission

Arthur F. "skip" Oppenheimer, Chairman/CEO
Oppenheimer Companies Inc.

Senator Jim Patrick, Chairman of Senate Commerce Committee
Idaho State Senate

Marty Peterson, former state budget director
The Hemingway Society

Port of Lewiston

Dan Prinzing, Executive Director
Wassmuth Center for Human Rights

Chance Requa, Farmer
Requa Farms

Jim Rice, Chairman
Idaho Senate Agricultural Committee

Megan Ronk, Director
Idaho Department of Commerce

Dr. Mark Rudin, Vice President, Research and Economic Development
Boise State University

Stacey Satterlee, Executive Director
Idaho Grain Producers Association

Terri Schorzmann, Director, Department of Arts & History
City of Boise

Bryan Searle, President
Idaho Farm Bureau

KARINA SOteras
Casablanca Cuban Grill

 

 


Idaho's Champions

                                 News Clips

Op-Ed: Idaho Statesman: Remove federal restrictions, let Idaho do more with Cuba

by Megan Ronk and Celia Gould

The Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA) began the first small but critical step toward the United States reestablishing meaningful ties with Cuba.By allowing the first commercial sales of food and agricultural products, as well as medical supplies, in nearly half a century, Cuba has the potential to become an important market opportunity for American agricultural commodities because Cuba imports 80 percent of its food supply annually.

Idaho Press-Tribune: Idaho Leaders Should Push End to Cuba Trade Embargo

Some of Idaho’s top business, government and agricultural leaders are taking what might be an unpopular position with some Idahoans in their push to end the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba. Nonetheless, it’s the right position to take. Other efforts are underway in other heavily Republican states to promote the effort. The Engage Cuba Idaho State Council has members from the Idaho Farm Bureau, Idaho Potato Commission, Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and United Dairymen of Idaho and is chaired by Gov. Butch Otter. The governor has visited the island nation south of Florida many times, including a trade mission he led in 2007.

Ap, Idaho statesman, Fox, KSL: New Idaho Council Seeks to End Cuba Embargo

Idaho's top business, agricultural and government leaders are joining the fight to end the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. According to a recently formed advocacy group, lifting the 50-year-old trade embargo could be an economic boon to the Gem State, but that won't happen without help from the business community and legislators. Engage Cuba on Thursday in Boise announced the launch of Engage Cuba Idaho State Council. So far, 10 other groups have been formed in primarily Republican-dominated states since last year. More groups are expected to pop up over the next few months. The Idaho council is a group of state agriculture, business, finance, manufacturing, education and government officials who seek to build congressional support for lifting the embargo. Members include the Idaho Farm Bureau, the Idaho Potato Commission, the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and United Dairymen of Idaho.

KIVI-TV: ENGAGE CUBA IDAHO STATE COUNCIL MEETS FOR THE FIRST TIME, STRATEGIZES BETTER BUSINESS WITH CUBA

The distance between Boise and Havana is more than 2,300 miles, but business, cultural and political leaders in Engage Cuba Idaho State Council gathered to discuss and take advantage of the warming political and business relations with Cuba. Their main goal is to seek support for congressional action to end the travel and trade ban on Cuba. Engage Cuba is a nationwide effort that focuses on US-Cuba legislative advocacy. Their mission in part is to provide updates on business opportunities in Cuba for US businesses.

KTVB: ENGAGE CUBA ENLISTS IDAHO

The call to end the Cuban trade and travel embargo just got another voice, with the launch of the Engage Cuba Idaho State Council. It's a group of the state's agricultural and business leaders being led by Gov. Butch Otter, a longtime proponent of easing trade restrictions against Cuba. Last March, President Barack Obama made the first turn to open the door to trade when he visited the island nation. The goal of the trip was to continue the work of reopening diplomatic ties to the communist country. On Thursday, that task took root in the Gem State with the announcement that Idaho will be the 11th state to join the Engage Cuba coalition.

The Spokesman-Review: New Idaho Group Calls for an End to Travel and Trade Bans on Cuba

An array of Idaho state and business leaders launched the Engage Cuba Idaho State Council on Thursday, following the lead of 10 other states pushing for Congress to end the travel and trade ban on Cuba. Gov. Butch Otter, who led a state trade mission to Cuba in 2007, is chairing the new council. “I’ve long been a supporter of opening up trade and other relationships with Cuba, even if our governments are unable to come to some bigger accommodation,” Otter said in a statement. “My travels to Cuba convince me that the people there have the same goals, the same ambitions and the same needs as we do here in Idaho. We both want more freedom; we both want more self-determination; and we both want fewer restrictions on our ability to participate in the global marketplace of goods and ideas.”

 

 

THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW: END CUBA TRADE EMBARGO

The trade embargo with Cuba might be defensible, if it worked. But in the six decades of its existence, it never has. No reason to think it ever will. Cuba continues its restrictive human rights policies, and merely imports food and other products from other countries, such as Canada, Brazil and the European Union. It’s American exporters who have been punished, because the embargo has kept them largely shut of a market that’s a mere 90 miles from the United States, a distance shorter than Moses Lake to Spokane.

BOISE WEEKLY: DESTINATION CUBA: IDAHO WATCHES OBAMA'S HISTORIC HAVANA TRIP WITH GREAT INTEREST

History is being made in Cuba, as President Barack Obama arrives Sunday in Havana, making him the first United States president since Calvin Coolidge to visit the island nation. As recently as October 2015, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter joined eight other governors in calling for the suspension of travel and trade embargoes. Otter last led an Idaho delegation to Cuba in 2007, including dozens of business leaders and government officials.

IDAHO STATESMAN: VISITING CUBA: "WE'RE PUNISHING THE WRONG PEOPLE" 

Cuban joke #1: Before the revolution, we had a wealthy class, a middle class, and a huge class of the poor. Then came the revolution and now we are all equal. Everybody’s poor. I heard that last month when I joined other Idahoans for the first of several trips to Cuba sponsored by the Boise-based Wassmuth Center for Human Rights. U.S. travel to Cuba is possible only under certain conditions, and we each had to agree that we would attend all tour activities and not run off to the beach.

BOISE WEEKLY: OTTER, EIGHT OTHER GOVERNORS, URGING CONGRESS TO LIFT CUBA TRADE EMBARGO

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, who has more than a passing acquaintance with Cuba after having traveled there as a U.S. congressman and as governor, has reached out to leadership in the U.S. House and Senate calling for a complete lift of the travel ban and trade embargo on Cuba. Otter last led an Idaho delegation to Cuba in 2007, including dozens of businessmen and government officials.

IDAHO PRESS-TRIBUNE: IDAHO LEADERS SHOULD PUSH TO END CUBA TRADE EMBARGO

Some of Idaho’s top business, government and agricultural leaders are taking what might be an unpopular position with some Idahoans in their push to end the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba. Nonetheless, it’s the right position to take. Other efforts are underway in other heavily Republican states to promote the effort. The Engage Cuba Idaho State Council has members from the Idaho Farm Bureau, Idaho Potato Commission, Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and United Dairymen of Idaho and is chaired by Gov. Butch Otter. The governor has visited the island nation south of Florida many times, including a trade mission he led in 2007.

 

Butchotter.jpg

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter (R)

Alabama State Council

John McMillan
Commissioner, Department of Agriculture and Industry

Greg Canfield
Commissioner, Alabama Department of Commerce
 
J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner
Former Senate Majority Leader, Rules Chairman
 
Sandy Stimpson
Mayor of Mobile
 
Vivian Figures
Former Senate Minority Leader, Finance Committee, Local Legislation

Victor Gaston
Alabama House of Representatives, Acting Speaker of the House
 
James K. “Jimmy” Lyons
Director/CEO, Alabama State Port Authority
 
Johnny Adams
Executive Director, Alabama Poultry Association
 
Billy Powell
Executive Vice President, Alabama Cattlemen Association
 
Jerry Carl
President, Mobile County Commission
 
Greg Reed
Alabama Senate, Senate Majority Leader
 
Quinton Ross
Alabama Senate, Senate Minority Leader
 
Hank Sanders
Alabama Senate, Banking and Finance Committees
 
Tom Whatley
Alabama Senate, Chairman, Agriculture Committee
 
Rusty Glover
Alabama Senate, Agriculture Committee
 
Clay Scofield
Alabama Senate, Agriculture Committee
 
Tim Melson
Alabama Senate, Agriculture and Tourism Committees
 
Gerald Dial
Alabama Senate, Energy and Veterans Affairs Committees

MICHAEL CIAMARRA
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT & POLICY TO SENATE RULES CHAIRMAN
 
SCOTTY COLSON
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BIRMINGHAM; SISTER CITIES
 
GEORGE HENRY
PRESIDENT, ALABAMA COUNTY MANAGERS ASSOCIATION

 

Mark Jackson
Alabama Honorary Consul General, Japan; Morrison Conference, Inc.
 
John Key
International Trade Consultant
Pan American Council on Trade, LLC
 
Jerry Lathan
President
Lathan Company
 
Scott Myers
Director
Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
 
Mitt Walker
International and Federal Regulations
Alabama Farmers Association
 
Scott Phillips
Strada Professional Services, LLC, Engineering
 
Mayra Diaz, International Sales
Amerex Corporation
 
Grey Redditt
Maynard Cooper and Gale Law Firm,
Mobile Sister Cities Commission

 
Stanley Murphy
Murphy & Murphy, LLC;
The Cuba Center, University of Alabama
 
Christina McInnis, Bilateral Trade with Cuba
GulfWise Commerce
 
D. Davies Hood, Jr., President
Induron Coatings
 
Springna Zhao, Partner
LAN Consulting LLC
 
Beth Chapman
Former Alabama Secretary of State, 
Beth Chapman & Associates, LLC
 
Mark A. Froehlich, Principal
Impact Partners
 
Sara Kate Sullivan
Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
 
Marty Connors
M. J. Connors Consulting

CAM WARD
ALABAMA SENATE, FINANCE, HEALTH AND JUDICIARY COMMITTEES, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
 
MICKY HAMMON
ALABAMA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, MAJORITY LEADER
 
JACK WILLIAMS
ALABAMA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, COMMERCE CHAIRMAN
 
RANDY DAVIS
ALABAMA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY COMMITTEES

 

 

 


Engage Cuba: Alabama Legislature Unanimous Call for Congress to Lift Cuban Embargo Is 'Significant'

Today, the state of Alabama became the latest state to call on Congress to listen to the majority of Americans from both parties to lift the Cuban trade embargo and normalize relations with the Island’s government. Senate Joint Resolution 43, introduced by State Senators Jabo Waggoner (R-Birmingham) and Vivian Davis Figures (D-Mobile), calls on Congress to lift the Cuban embargo. Senate Joint Resolution 43 passed both the majority Republican Alabama Senate and House of Representatives with unanimous support.

op-ed: al.com: Travel, trade embargo on Cuba hurts Alabama businesses

by Mayor Sandy Stimpson, Sen. Vivian Figures, Sen. Jabo Waggoner, and Commissioner John McMillan

Despite the fact that the Port of Mobile is located just across the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama businesses will continue to lose out on Cuba's growing markets to foreign competitors until Congress ends the U.S. travel and trade embargo on Cuba. This 50-year-old isolationist policy is not only infringing on Alabamians' right to choose with whom they can and can't do business; it has also negatively impacted the Cuban people. The time has come for Congress to lift the travel and trade embargo with Cuba. 

Bloomberg: Cuba's First American-Owned Manufacturer Will Make Tractors

“Come on, boy! Get dressed! We got to go!” yells Horace Clemmons. He’s heckling his longtime friend and business associate, Saul Berenthal, who sits cross-legged on a leather chair in the living room of Clemmons’s home in Paint Rock, Alabama. It’s a Tuesday in mid-April, and the duo is scheduled to give a presentation to a group of local investors about their new business, Cleber. In February, the U.S. Department of the Treasury approved Cleber’s request to be the first U.S.-based company to construct and operate a manufacturing facility in Cuba. They plan to build low-tech tractors for small farms.

Birmingham Business Journal: Cuba Market Would Be Lucrative to Alabama, Report Says

With American trade and travel restrictions on Cuba loosening, a new report suggests Alabama could significantly benefit from further growth in economic ties between the two nations. That's particularly true for Alabama's largest agricultural industry. A new report from the Engage Cuba Coalition and the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, Alabama's agricultural commodities are in a position to become more competitive with the addition of Cuban markets.

Miami Herald: Alabama Company Says Cuba Needs its Tractors, But Approval Process is Slow

An Alabama tractor company angling to become the first American business in more than a half century to set up manufacturing operations in Cuba is about midway through the approval process. Cleber, based in Paint Rock, Alabama, outside Huntsville, wants to assemble small tractors in Cuba’s Mariel Special Economic Development Zone for use in Cuba and beyond. The simple tractor model that Cleber wants to produce is called Oggún in homage to the Santeria god of iron, tools and weapons, and it’s designed for small-scale farming.

People's World: Alabama Tractors Till the Soil of U.S.-Cuba Cooperation

Saul Berenthal and Horace Clemmons have a dream. They want to outfit the farmers of Cuba with small, customizable, easy-to-repair tractors. Cuban-born Berenthal and Alabama native Clemmons are the co-owners of Cleber LLC, an American firm which, if all goes as planned, will soon be setting up a tractor manufacturing plant in the Mariel Special Economic Zone.

Wear-TV: Area business to sell goods to Cuba

Despite a continuing trade embargo with Cuba, Gulfwise Commerce has become an exception. Earlier this month, federal officials gave them a license to sell some goods to the island nation. Christina McInnis is with the Gulfwise Commerce, which is also an offshoot of Woerner Companies in Foley. They are working on agriculture equipment that will be sold and shipped to Havana. "It was very humbling to be asked to get agriculture equipment because there are bigger companies out there," McInnis said.

alabama newscenter: the cuba thaw will be big for alabama and other producers of frozen chickens

Less than 100 miles off the U.S. coast sits an island nation that can't feed itself. Cuba, which imports as much as 80 percent of its food, has developed a huge appetite for American chicken, despite the decades-long trade embargo. That's why few businesses are as excited about normalized relations as poultry producers in Alabama, Georgia and Arkansas. Chicken is one of Cuba's top imports, and an exemption to the embargo for agricultural products has made the country the fifth-largest export market for U.S. poultry producers. 

weartv: area business to sell goods to cuba

An area business is breaking barriers. Despite a continuing trade embargo with Cuba, Gulfwise Commerce has become an exception. Earlier this month, federal officials gave them a license to sell some goods to the island nation. Christina McInnis is with Gulwise Commerce, which is also an offshoot of Woerner Companies in Foley. They are working on agriculture equipment that will be sold and shipped to Havana. "It was very humbling to be asked to get agriculture equipment because there are bigger companies out there," McInnis said. 

POLITICO: CUBA BUYS AG EQUIPMENT FROM ALABAMA-BASED COMPANY

The Cuban government has made its first purchase of U.S. commercial equipment since the Obama administration began loosening restrictions on trade with the communist country in December 2014. The Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security issued a license late last week to Alabama-based GulfWise Commerce to reportedly sell more than $100,000 in advanced planting and harvesting equipment to Cuba. Arrangements are being made for shipment, said Robert Muse, a lawyer representing the company, which is a subsidiary of the Woerner Companies. The importer on the Cuban side is government-operated Tecnotext SA, and the equipment will be used by a government-owned agricultural research institution.

The Crimson White: New Exhibit from Chip Cooper Compares South Alabama and Cuba

The walls of Chip Cooper’s office are a collage of memories and stories more photograph than wall, and his furniture — a display of about 25 different cameras spanning the past half-century. The room exudes character and creativity. Chris Cooper is a professional photographer who teaches with the Honors College and has worked with the University much of his life. 

The Anniston Star: Alabama Entrepreneurs Hope Cuba is Fertile Territory for New Venture

In less than two weeks, American businessmen Horace Clemmons and Saul Berenthal will board a chartered flight for Cuba. Their destination: an agricultural fair in Havana, the island nation’s capital. Once there, the two will show Cuban farmers and Alabama-made tractor designed, they say, with those farmers in mind, and slated to be produced from Cuba’s first American-owned plant in more than 50 years. 

Alabama News: Alabama Company Approved to Build Factory in Cuba

Cleber LLC is pleased to announce that it has received authorization from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to build a tractor manufacturing facility in Cuba. This was made possible through changes announced February 4th by the Department of Treasury and OFAC that establish a framework for American companies to participate in projects to help Cuba improve its economic environment and become a partner in the global economy. 

Agri View: Alabama Firm to Build Cuba Plant

Cleber LLC plans to build a tractor-manufacturing facility in Cuba after receiving authorization form the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of Foreign Assets Control. In early February, the U.S. Department Treasury and the Office of Foreign Assets Control established a framework for American companies to participate in projects to help Cuba improve its economy and become a partner in the global economy. 

The New York Times: Culture Gap Impedes U.S. Business Efforts for Trade with Cuba

They have gone to Cuba with plans to build houses. To assemble tractors. To buy apps from young programmers. Even to import charcoal made from the sickle bush that grows in vast stretches across the island. But 15 months after American prospectors began swarming Havana, filling hotels and hiring consultants, only a handful have inked deals to do business with the once-forbidden island. 

Local 15: Local Business with Cuba

The future of trading with Cuba; Presidential candidates talked about it last night and one local company was listening in closely. Right now efforts to do business with the communist “island nation” are already underway. One local company out of Foley is hoping they can keep the momentum going. 

AL.com: Alabama Has a Proud, Rich History with Cuba, We Should Capitalize On It

No one would ever confuse us with communist sympathizers, but Alabama has a surprisingly strong relationship with Cuba. In fact, over the last several decades, Alabama has spearheaded efforts to reopen trade and deepen the US relationship with Cuba. As President Obama and the rest of the nation move to normalize trade relations with the communist country, Alabama introduced limited trade and developed education exchanges more than a decade ago. 

AL.com: Sewell Seeks Economic Opportunities for Alabama with Cuba Trip

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, began a five-day trip to Cuba on Wednesday as part of a congressional delegation looking into more American economic opportunities in the island nation. While there is a trade and travel embargo with Cuba, certain American agricultural products — Alabama’s biggest industry — are exempt form the ban. The Yellowhammer state exported nearly a third of a billion dollars in products to Cuba last year. 

AL.com: Cuba Embargo News: How Would Alabama Benefit From End to Travel, Trade Ban?

Alabama’s agriculture, auto and cruise industries would be the biggest winners should Congress lift the embargo on trade and travel with and to Cuba — a move that Gov. Robert Bentley endorses. James Williams, the president of Engage Cuba, an umbrella coalition of private sector companies, trade associations and nonprofits that are working to help Congress end the embargo, said there are “very immediate, natural benefits” to Alabama if the 55-year-old embargo is lifted. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alabama public radio: alabama seeks to lift cuba embargo, deadline for north AL Disaster Loans

Alabama may see the creation of new jobs abroad in the future if the governor approves a recent joint resolution from the state legislature. ... Addie Bryant is the chief of staff at Engage Cuba. She says if the resolution is passed, Alabama can expect to see some definite economic benefits. "You'll see the Port of Mobile pick up business. You'll begin to see commodities start shipping through there, and with Cleber leading the way in the manufacturing space, there is an expectation that business will improve and I wouldn't be surprised if, quite frankly, you see some cruise lines starting to cruise out of Mobile." 

local 15: alabama benefits from improved cuba relations

President Barack Obama wrapped up his historic trip to Cuba Tuesday, as he continued to push for improved relations between Cuba and the United States. In the president's speech in Havana, he called for the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba to be lifted and for Cubans themselves to embrace change. But could that change create opportunities in the Port City? ... If the trade embargo was lifted, it could open us up for even more business. 

Montgomery Advertiser: Cuba Trade Expansion Could Mean Good Things for Alabama Businesses

Maneuvers in the halls of power in Washington, D.C., could pay dividends in Alabama’s fields, forests and factories. … Still, Alabama could profit from a shift in Cuba policy, said Jimmy Lyons, chief operating officer for the Alabama Port Authority, which operates the Port of Mobile. 

AL.com: Auburn University Signs Pact with Cuba: Why it Matters to Alabama

Beyond the headlines of new diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, Auburn University is put that diplomacy into action. The school has signed an academic exchange pact with Agrarian University of Havana and the Cuban National Center for Animal and Plant Health. 

YellowHammer Radio: Byrne: Cuba Could be a Major Trade Partner for Alabama, But Has a Long Way to Go

I recently traveled to Cuba as part of a Congressional Delegation to learn more about the Cuban government, visit with the Cuban people, and discuss everything from the economy to education to trade. This visit at a particularly interesting time as the United States remains in negotiations with Cuba about restoring diplomatic and economic relations. 

Montgomery Advertiser: Alabama Could Benefit from U.S.-Cuba Thaw

Selling chickens to Cuba is complicated. “If the Cubans want to buy chickens in the United States, before they load it on a ship, they have to pay a bank outside the country,” said Jimmy Lyons, director of the Alabama State Port Authority, which oversees the docks in Mobile. “Those funds have to be sent to a bank in the United States. Only then can the chickens be loaded on a ship.” If that seems like a peculiar example, consider: Alabama ships roughly 32,000 tons of frozen chicken to Cuba each year, part of a broad economic relationship with Cuba that chiefly involves agricultural trade. 

Tuscaloosa News: Cuban Novelist Leonardo Padura Will Speak at University of Alabama

Cuban novelist and screenwriter Leonardo Padura will present a free public lecture at the University of Alabama on Jan. 21. … Padura’s lecture, sponsored by the Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship, will discuss his character Mario Conde, a detective who appears in his works, and the probing the cultural, historical and political trajectory of Cuba from 1959 to 2015. 

 

AL.com: U.S. Recognizes in Cuba What Mobile has Seen for Decades: Opinion

Sealing an unofficial sister city relationship with Havana, Mobile Mayor Mike Dow said during a trip to Cuba in 1994: “We must take an effort to get along and create a better world.” Twenty years later, as the U.S. restores full diplomatic relations with Cuba, it’s becoming clear just how wise Mobile was to foster a friendship with Havana. Indeed, the sky is the limit for how the city can benefit from untapped commerce and tourism with a place that’s been mostly off limits since 1963. 

UA News: UA Establishes Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship

The University of Alabama Board of Trustees approved today the establishment of the Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship at UA. The new research center will build on the activities of the Alabama-Cuba Initiative, a 13-year effort to establish educational opportunities in Cuba for UA students and faculty. Both the center and the initiative efforts have been led by UA’s College of Arts and Sciences. 

The Crimson White: Alabama Student Studies Abroad in Havana, Cuba

Q: How does your daily life in Cuba differ from what it was like in America?

A: My general routine is mostly the same, but the details are much different. First thing every morning in the U.S., I check the weather on my phone, but here I have to pay for Internet by the hour, and I can only use it in the lobby of our hotel. To get to class, I take a “maquina,” essentially an old 1950s car full of strangers. When I see one of my friends on campus, we give kisses on the cheek to greet one another.  

Al.com: State, mobile leaders call for open trade with cuba

State Sens. J.T. "Jabo" Waggoner and Vivian Figures, as well as Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, were among those on hand to establish the formation of the Alabama State Council of the Engage Cuba Coalition. Engage Cuba, which describes itself as "the leading advocacy organization working to end the travel and trade embargo on Cuba," already has started state councils in eight other states.

Speakers at Tuesday's press conference were uniformly upbeat about the prospect of open relations with Cuba, describing it as a win-win for Alabama businesses and the Cuban people.

 

Alabama's Champions

Governor Robert Bentley (R) Signed SJR 43: Joint State Resolution to Urge Congress to Lift the Cuban Trade Embargo

Governor Robert Bentley (R)

Signed SJR 43: Joint State Resolution to Urge Congress to Lift the Cuban Trade Embargo

State Senator J.T. Waggoner (R) Represents District 16 Sponsor of SJR 43: Joint State Resolution Urging U.S. Congress to Lift the Cuban Trade Embargo

State Senator J.T. Waggoner (R)

Represents District 16

Sponsor of SJR 43: Joint State Resolution Urging U.S. Congress to Lift the Cuban Trade Embargo

MISSOURI STATE COUNCIL

Gary Murphy
Murphy Farms, Sandy Ridge Cotton

Don Nikodim, Executive Vice President
Missouri Pork Association

Ivry Karamitros, Director
World Trade Center Kansas City

Kevin Ekstrand, Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Scarbrough International

Michael Talboy, Director of Government Affairs
Burns & McDonnell

Steve Taylor, Executive Director
Missouri Agribusiness Association

Gary Wheeler, Executive Director
Missouri Soybean Association

Greg Yielding, Executive Director
Missouri Rice Council; Director of Special Projects/Emerging Markets, 
US Rice Producers Association

Chris Gutierrez, President
KC SmartPort

Dr. Scott Brown
University of Missouri

BJ Campbell
Campbell Farms

Alex Clark
Clark Farms

Michael Collins, President & CEO
Port Kansas City

Paul T. Combs
MO Rice Farmer

Rance Daniels
MO Rice Farmer

BLAKE GERARD, CHAIRMAN
USA RICE FARMERS

BLAKE HURST, ATCHISON COUNTY BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT
MISSOURI FARM BUREAU

MIKE MARTIN, OWNER
MARTIN RICE MILL

DAN MEHAN, CEO
MISSOURI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


The Kansas City Star: Missouri, Kansas Join coalition to urge business with Cuba

Two state organizations will join a chorus of U.S. voices urging an end to 55-year-old trade and travel embargoes with Cuba. The Engage Cuba Coalition, a national group, on Monday will announce formation of the Engage Cuba Kansas State Council and the Engage Cuba Missouri State Council. The council will advocate agricultural, business and travel ties to allow Kansas and Missouri exporters “to regain lost market share on the island while supporting Cuba’s growing private sector.” The Kansas Wheat organization has joined the coalition as a partner in the Kansas group. 

Southeast Missouri State University: Vargas Among Trade Delegation Headed to Cuba Next Week

Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University, will participate May 29-June 1 in a delegation of Missourians, led by Gov. Jay Nixon, representing agriculture, business, education and government on a trade mission to Cuba. With the recent progress toward normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, the trade mission will focus on growing Missouri exports to the island nation of 11 million, especially agricultural products.

CBS ST. LOUIS: CUBA FORMALLY ACCEPTS SHIPMENT OF MISSOURI RICE

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced that Cuba has accepted a 20-ton shipment of long-grain rice grown and processed in Missouri. There have been no U.S. rice sales to Cuba since 2008. The rice will come from Bernie, Missouri, at the Martin Rice Company. Missouri is fourth among U.S. states in rice production.

ABC 17: TRADE WITH CUBA COULD AFFECT MISSOURI'S ECONOMY

It's been three months since President Obama shook hands with Cuban leader Raul Castro. The relationship with Cuba could strengthen every aspect of agriculture in Missouri. Crops, livestock, even machinery are all expected to be exported to Cuba beginning sometime in the next few years. After more than a half-century long embargo with Cuba, the U.S. could resume trading with the island nation. It's a big opportunity for Missouri, a largely agricultural state. "I remember the governor said, 'if we're going to Cuba, Missouri's going to be the first state there,'" said Richard Fordyce with the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Nixon Makes Pitch for Trade with Cuba to Help Missouri Farmers, Other Businesses Cash in

Gov. Jay Nixon made a pitch Wednesday to ease economic roadblocks that are keeping Missouri farmers and other businesses from cashing in on Cuba. Speaking to reporters after a four day trade mission to the island nation, the Democratic chief executive said Missouri could sell rice, soybeans and even Missouri-made pickup trucks to the Cuban people.

BAPTIST NEWS GLOBAL: CHRISTIAN ENGAGEMENT GROWING AS CUBA-U.S. TIES IMPROVE

The level and frequency of United States-based Christian activity in Cuba has been rising since the normalization process between the two countries began in late 2014. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida has been building on existing relationships with Baptists and other Christians on the island, joining the swelling ranks of churches and ministries from all manner of denominations going to Cuba. Among the latest to test the waters in the nation was a group of six Baptist leaders from Missouri who traveled to Cuba in late April, visiting the eastern part of the island.

ST. LOUIS BUSINESS JOURNAL: MISSOURI DELEGATION TRAVELS TO CUBA

Gov. Jay Nixon is leading a group of Missourians representing agriculture, business, education and government on a trade mission to Cuba. The delegation will visit the island nation from May 29 to June 1. The trade mission will focus on growing Missouri exports, especially agricultural products, to the country. Among St. Louisans represented on the trip are Thorstein Holt of Holtec Gas Systems in Chesterfield and Jeffrey Fort, of MOM Brands Sales, a division of St. Louis-based Post Holdings.

FARM PROGRESS: MISSOURI RICE LANDS IN CUBA PORT

A container full of Missouri rice is sitting at the port in Havana, Cuba. It is waiting for Mike Martin and the Missouri trade delegation to arrive next week. Then the people of Cuba will be able to sample some homegrown Missouri rice. The good faith gesture from Martin Rice Company has been a year in the making. This is second time Martin has been on a trade delegation to Cuba. "Last year, we were not able to get the logistics together for shipping that large of a container," he notes. The container holds 18.5 metric tons of long grain, medium grain and aromatic long grain rice, commonly known as Jasmine rice. "This year it worked," he adds.

 

Senator Claire McCaskill (D) Co-Sponsor of S. 299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Senator Claire McCaskill (D)

Co-Sponsor of S. 299 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Arkansas State Council

Hope Benedict
Bio-Tech Pharmacal, Inc.

Dow Brantley, Chair
USA Rice and Arkansas Rice Federation

Donald Bobbitt, President
University of Arkansas System

Bruce Burrow, Principal
U.S. Cuba Holdings

Wayne Callahan, Senior Advisor
Vestar Capital Partners

Mark Cochran, Vice President for Agriculture
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Terry Freeman, Consultant; Former President
Bibler Brothers Lumber and Construction

David Gairhan, Vice Chair
Arkansas Rice Farmers

Tim Graham, President
HUNT Ventures 

Andrew Grobmyer, Executive Vice President
Agricultural Council of Arkansas

Derek Haigwood
Arkansas Farmer

Burt Hanna, President & CEO, Hanna's Candle Company

Gary Heathcott, President
CJRW

Dan Hendrix, President & CEO
World Trade Center Arkansas

Byron Holmes, Chair
USA Rice Nutrition Subcommittee

Mark Isbel, Farmer
USA Rice

Jennifer James, Chair, USA Rice Sustainability Committee

Bradley Manis, President & CEO
Mannco Fertilizer

Todd Martin, Executive Director & CEO
Independent Professional Seed Association

Kevin McGilton, Rice Miller
Riceland Foods

DeAnn McGrew, Director, Agriculture & Volunteer Programs
Winrock International

     Janet Harris, Director of Programs
     Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

Randy McNeil, President
Poinsett Rice & Grain

Mark Middleton, Principal
U.S. Cuba Holdings

Robert Moery, Agriculture Liaison
Governor Asa Hutchinson

Herbert Morales, President
Latin American Business Solutions

Ben Noble, President
Noble Strategies

Steve Orlicek, President
Arkansas Rice Council; Rice Farmer

Linus Raines, Vice President
ATA International;
Director of Business Development, 
Green Stamp America, Inc.

Bill Reed Riceland, Vice President of Public Affairs
Riceland

Mike Roberts, Principal
U.S. Cuba Holdings

Jeff Rutledge
Arkansas Rice Council

Mark Simmons, Chairman
Simmons Foods, Inc. & Affiliates

Cameron Smith, President
Cameron Smith & Associates

Keith Smith, Founder
Keith Smith Company

Chuck Stutte
Bio-Tech Pharmacal, Inc.

Johnny Sullivan, Vice President Sales & Marketing
Producers Rice Mill

Randy Veach, President
Arkansas Farm Bureau

Larry Wallace, Principal
U.S. Cuba Holdings

Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture

Melanie Wells,
ETW Enterprises, Inc. Shavings & Rice Hulls

    Andrew Grobmyer
    Executive Vice President, Agricultural        
    Council of Arkansas

    LSB Industries
 

 


Arkansas' Champions

                                       News Clips

PRESS RELEASE: ARKANSAS STATE LEADERS LAUNCH ENGAGE CUBA STATE COUNCIL

SOUTHWEST TIMES RECORD: ARKANSANS ‘ENGAGING’ CUBAN BUSINESS

Engage Cuba, a coalition of private businesses and organizations working to end the travel and trade embargo on Cuba, launched its Arkansas State Council at a press conference co-sponsored by USA Rice this week.

SOUTHWEST TIMES RECORD: COALITION SEEKS GRASSROOTS SUPPORT IN ARKANSAS FOR END TO CUBA EMBARGO

Engage Cuba, a coalition of businesses and organizations advocating an end to the travel and trade embargo on Cuba, said Monday it is launching an Arkansas group to organize grassroots support for a change in U.S. policy toward the island nation.

ARKANSAS TIMES: ARKANSAS RICE GROWRS PUSH FOR CUBA TRADE

Engage Cuba, a business coalition, began an Arkansas affiliate today with a call for an end to travel and trade embargoes with Cuba. The group praised Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Sen. John Boozman and Rep. Rick Crawford for their support. Missing in the listing were Sen. Tom Cotton, a foe of opening doors in Cuba, and three other Republican congressmen from Arkansas. 

ARKANSAS BUSINESS: ENGAGE CUBA LAUNCHES ARKANSAS COUNCIL, CALLS FOR AN END TO TRADE RESTRICTIONS

Engage Cuba President James Williams said Monday that Cuba would pledge to buy a significant amount of rice from the U.S. should the Congress allow trade on credit between the countries.

NWA: CUBAN DELEGATES TALK TRADE & TOURISM AT UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS

The University of Arkansas, welcoming delegates from Cuba for a historic visit. Wednesday, the World Trade Center Arkansas, an extension of UA, hosted three delegates from the Cuban Embassy. Officials met with faculty from UA's Agricultural Division to discuss trade and tourism. Arkansas is one of the top producers of rice and poultry in the U.S. -- and Cuba is a top consumer of both. Cuban officials are hoping to see the federal trade embargo lifted so it can begin trading with Arkansas businesses.

TALK BUSINESS & POLITICS: CUBA GROUP VISITS NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, HANNA’S CANDLE OWNER HOPES TO OPEN A PLANT IN CUBA

Burt Hanna, owner of Fayetteville-based Hanna’s Candles and a longtime supplier to Walmart U.S., told Talk Business & Politics he is working on a proposal to set up a small manufacturing site in Cuba. Hanna met with members of the Cuban Trade Delegation touring Northwest Arkansas this week and attended a press conference held Wednesday (April 13) at the World Trade Center in Rogers. Hanna said he plans to revisit Cuba in the next couple of months to get a better feel for what it will take to make this work.

ARKANSAS MATTERS: ARKANSAS AND CUBA OFFICIALS KICK OFF TRADE DISCUSSIONS

While President Obama has been working to re-establish relations in Cuba, Arkansas has been doing the same. Working on economic relations to establish agricultural trade. It's been six months since Governor Hutchinson became the first American Governor in decades to travel to Cuba. These developments have farmers in Arkansas optimistic, the 56 year long trade embargo, will come to an end soon. "That's my dad's house, the house to the right will be my grandmothers." For Robby Bevis, farming has been in his blood for generations. 

DELTA FARM PRESS: CUBA WORKING GROUP GOALS AND PROTECTING FARMING OPERATIONS

In mid-December, a working group from the House announced it would begin studying how best to deal with the emerging U.S./Cuba trade relationship. … On January 6, Arkansas Rep. Rick Crawford, a key member of the working group, spoke with Delta Farm Press about his hopes for a new trading partner and his frustration with fellow lawmakers over their approach to agriculture and the farm bill. … ‘The idea is to put together a group of members who have an interest in seeing a change take place while recognizing it will probably require incremental steps. I don’t think we’re in a position to get the support we need for a wholesale repeal of the Cuban embargo.’” 

ARKANSAS ONLINE: CUBA WORKING GROUP GOALS AND PROTECTING FARMING OPERATIONS

Levya said she found out that the Central Arkansas New Agrarian Society, a Little Rock-based group, was sending a delegation to the November conference in Cuba. … Five Arkansans went to Cuba, the second-largest delegation from the United States, second only to Vermont. ‘We were proud of that,’ she said. Cuba is advanced in growing sustainable food, she said, and has farming cooperatives. She said her goals was to learn more about the structure of those organizations and how they work.

DELTA FARM NEWS: ARKANSAS LEADERS FORM NEW ENGAGE CUBA STATE COUNCIL TO PROMOTE TRADE

The effort to restore Cuba as a major market for U.S. rice and other agricultural commodities took another step forward with the launch Monday (April 11) of the Arkansas State Council for Engage Cuba.

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS: WORLD TRADE CENTER ARKANSAS DELEGATION MAKES SECOND CUBA VISIT

A World Trade Center Arkansas-led delegation of 25 business leaders, food producers, and educators made a second visit to Cuba, starting June 26.  The purpose of the trade mission was to continue discussions of potential trade opportunities. Arkansas agriculture was represented by Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward, faculty from the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries, the University of Arkansas Fayetteville, the UA Division of Agriculture, as well as officials from Heritage Grain & Southern Brown Rice, Armor Seed, LLC and the Arkansas Rice Federation.

NPR ARKANSAS: CRAWFORD DISCUSSES CUBA TRIP & EMBARGO ON TALK BUSINESS & POLITICS

Arkansas leads the nation in the amount of rice grown and is the 2nd largest poultry producer in the nation—two staples of Cuban cuisine. The Engage Cuba Coalition made a comment about how Congress is handling the embargo. 

CBS LITTLE ROCK: ARK. BUSINESS: ENGAGE CUBA, FISCAL SESSION, DAVE AND BUSTER’S

A coalition of Arkansas business and academic leaders are joining a growing group calling for the end of the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba. A group called “Engage Cuba” announced Monday the creation of an Arkansas State Council. 

ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE: IN LITTLE ROCK, GROUP CALLS FOR LIFTING OF CUBA TRADE RESTRICTIONS

Officials representing the Arkansas and Cuban governments gathered with rice growers in Little Rock on Monday, calling on Congress to lift a decades-long trade embargo against the island nation and promising a trade deal as an incentive. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has also visited Cuba, and a representative from his office was among the group of 37 officials representing the state, agricultural and business interests to be named on the Arkansas council of the Engage Cuba Coalition, which seeks normalized relations. 

NPR ARKANSAS: GROUP FOR ENDING CUBA EMBARGO LAUNCHES ARKANSAS COUNCIL

A national group of business leaders and others working to open trade with Cuba launched a state council in Little Rock Monday. James Williams, President of the umbrella group, Engage Cuba, said Arkansas lawmakers are leading the effort to lift the 55 year-old trade embargo against the country. 

THE CITY WIRE: REP. CRAWFORD: CUBA ON CUSP OF CHANGE, U.S. SHOULD HELP OPEN UP THE NATION

Cubans are a proud people entering a period of major social change, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, said Monday after returning from his first trip there last week. The outspoken proponent of opening up trade with Cuba traveled there along with Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., Arkansas rice producers and others. Crawford said he had several preconceived notions that “were pretty well shattered when I got there. I guess I was expecting them to not be very friendly and not be very welcoming to Americans and just have a general sort of disdain, and that wasn’t the case at all,” he said. “In fact, it was right the opposite. They were very welcoming and open and extremely friendly and hospitable.”

KFSM: GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON ARRIVES IN CUBA FOR TRADE MEETINGS

Governor Asa Hutchinson is in Cuba, exploring opportunities to promote trade between Cubans, and the Natural State. It is confirmed that Hutchinson is meeting with Cuban officials, discussing opportunities to further trade discussions.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT GAZETTE: GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON URGES EASING OF CUBA CREDIT RESTRICTIONS

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is urging congressional leaders to ease credit restrictions with Cuba and says doing so would open millions of dollars in new markets for his state. Hutchinson urged the leaders to advance legislation easing the limit of financing that requires cash-based sales up front for exports to the country. The legislation is sponsored by Republican Sen. John Boozman and Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas.

STAR TRIBUNE: IN GOP, EMMER TAKES THE LEAD ON CUBA

‘The House is a huge priority for us,’ said Steven Law, who runs the GOP super PAC American Crossroads and advises the Engage Cuba Coalition. ‘I think there’s some really interesting aspects to [Emmer’s] personality that make him well-suited to advance the issue,’ Law said. … U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican from a rural district in Arkansas, signed onto Emmer’s bill. Crawford, who has his own bill to allow agricultural trade, said it wasn’t a hard sell for him. ‘This is a vestige of the Cold War and largely a Camelot legacy that has outlived its usefulness,’ Crawford said.”  

REUTERS: IN CUBA, ARKANSAS GOVERNOR SEEKS TO CHIP AWAY AT EMBARGO

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday urged the U.S. Congress to allow food companies to sell to Cuba on credit, favoring it as a first step in a gradual repeal of sanctions against the Communist-led island. Hutchinson, a Republican, is the first U.S. governor to visit Cuba since Washington and Havana restored diplomatic relations in July after a 54-year break. He leads an Arkansas trade delegation, seeking an edge as states jockey to take advantage of the U.S. opening to Cuba. Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo led a similar delegation in April.”

ARKANSAS NEWS: CRAWFORD INTRODUCES BILL TO EXPAND TRADE OPPORTUNITIES WITH CUBA

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at increasing trade opportunities with Cuba. The bill, titled the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act, would repeal restrictions on selling products to Cuba on credit and give producers access to Department of Agriculture marketing programs that help the U.S. compete in foreign markets. Also, the bill would enable limited American investment in Cuban agricultural entities, if U.S. regulators certify that the entities are privately owned and not controlled by the government of Cuba or its agents.

ARKANSAS BUSINESS: CUBA, ARKANSAS OFFICIALS TO HOLD AGRICULTURE ROUNDTABLE

Winrock International, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and The Howard Baker Forum are planning a two-day, invitation-only roundtable examining how normalizing relations with Cuba could affect the American food and agriculture sector. The event will focus on Cuban agriculture and efforts to establish trade there. Speakers will explore barriers to lifting the trade embargo, provide an overview of Cuban agriculture, and discuss human rights concerns.

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS: CUBA READY TO IMPORT ARKANSAS RICE BUT EMBARGO MUST GO, DIPLOMAT SAYS

Arkansas rice would be popular in Cuba and the nation wants to buy it if the U.S. trade embargo is lifted, a Cuban diplomat said Wednesday. "Rice produced in Arkansas has a long grain variety that is a favorite of the Cuban country," said Juan Lamigueiro Leon, deputy chief of mission at the Cuban Embassy in Washington. "We are ready to import this variety from Arkansas. The only problem we have is according to the restriction that's still in place by the Congress ... trade between Arkansas and Cuba cannot be supported by commercial credits." If the credit restriction were to be lifted, trade between the United States and Cuba would explode.

ARKANSAS BUSINESS: RICK CRAWFORD 'VERY ENCOURAGED' AFTER CUBA TRIP

From April 6-9, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., and U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., traveled to Cuba to gain a better understanding of the island country's people, culture, politics and challenges. "The nation of Cuba is on the cusp of some pretty significant change - socially, culturally, economically, politically and otherwise," Crawford said. The four-day trip gave the congressmen time to meet with ministry commerce and agricultural officials as well as visit the agricultural college. 

KASU: CRAWFORD EXPLAINS HOW CUBA TRADE EMBARGO EFFECTS ARKANSAS AGRI-BUSINESS

In preparation to his upcoming trip to Cuba, U.S. Representative Rick Crawford educated listeners on how the embargo affects Arkansas in his "Tune In" web series. Crawford asks one simple question: "who are we really punishing with the embargo?" He said unlike other countries like China the embargo in Cuba has helped the Castro Regime make the case that America was the "bad guy"--a dynamic he says lawmakers are trying to change to improve relations with the country. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson (R)-Arkansas

Governor Asa Hutchinson (R)-Arkansas

Senator John Boozman (R)-Arkansas

Senator John Boozman (R)-Arkansas

Congressman Eric "Rick" Crawford (R) Representing Arkansas 1st District Co-sponsor of H.R. 664 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015 and H.R. 3238 Cuba Trade Act of 2015

Congressman Eric "Rick" Crawford (R)

Representing Arkansas 1st District

Co-sponsor of H.R. 664 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015 and H.R. 3238 Cuba Trade Act of 2015

Georgia State council 

John C. Key, Executive Director
Pan American Council on Trade, LLC

Jerry Lane, President
Claxton Poultry

Jann Moore, Government Affairs Manager
Caterpillar Inc.

Sam Pardue, Dean 
UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Sean Register, Founder & CEO
Register International

Tas Smith, National Affairs Specialist
Georgia Farm Bureau

Ron Stephens, Chairman
House Economic Development & Tourism Committee

Dennis Wynn, Director
Membership Development, Choice Hotels

Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Stephen Humphreys, President
Athens Imports

Malory Atkinson, Head of Sales & Marketing
1Q- Know Now

Gary Black, Commissioner
Georgia Department of AgriculturE

William F. Bina III, MD, MPH, Dean
Mercer University School of Medicine

Mark Butler, Commissioner
Georgia Department of Labor

Justin Clay, Director of Government Relations
NCR Corporation

Terry Coleman, Former Speaker
Georgia House of Representatives

Billy Crider, Chairman
Crider Inc. 

John Cushnie, SVP, Investor Engagement
Georgia Chamber of Commerce

Larry H. Hanson, City Manager
City of Valdosta


Gainesville Times: Poultry Exports Shift to Mexico, Cuba

The countries the U.S. ships poultry to is an ever-shifting landscape, with politics often playing a key role. Russia and China, for example, made up nearly 40 percent of broiler exports in 2009 but have since shut down U.S. trade in poultry, which is a top industry in Georgia and Hall County in particular. In 2015, Mexico was America’s leading trading partner, at nearly 22 percent, up from 10.4 percent in 2009, according to the Stone Mountain-based USA Poultry and Egg Export Council. Other major export countries in 2015 were Cuba, Angola, Taiwan, Canada and Hong Kong. 

Fox News Latino: Advocacy Group Engage Cuba Hopes to End Embargo, One State at a Time

If the U.S. embargo on Cuba is lifted in the near future, one of the reasons why is starting to take shape right now in places that at first blush seem unlikely stakeholders in what happens between the two nations — Ohio, Tennessee, Louisiana and Minnesota. And it will be thanks to an ambitious advocacy group that isn’t even a year old. … the organization says that Cuba has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in such things as wind farms, and resources from the United States could help them expand their energy sector. … After the first four states, Engage Cuba plans to branch out its efforts to Georgia, Arkansas, Texas and Nevada.  

DAVE WILLIAMS (ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE): GEORGIA COULD PROFIT FROM IMPROVED U.S. RELATIONS WITH CUBA

The ongoing thaw in U.S. relations with Cuba offers an excellent opportunity for Georgia to grow its export business with the Communist island nation, state and local economic development and business leaders said Tuesday. But with the U.S. economic embargo still in place, companies anxious to increase their ties with Cuba will have to be patient, representatives of the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Metro Atlanta Chamber told members of a state Senate study committee.  

THE RED & BLACK: US MAY GAIN LUNG DISEASE Vaccine THROUGH IMPROVED RELATIONS WITH CUBA

Cuba has developed a potential treatment for lung cancer, and a New York company is trying to bring it to the United States. CimaVax is a vaccine based treatment for lung cancer developed by the Center for Molecular Immunology in Havana. With improving relations between the two countries, there is a chance this vaccine could become available in the U.S. thanks to the Roswell Park Cancer institute, a New York based research foundation, which has applied with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to being trials on this drug in the U.S. that could start as early as this year. “There’s going to be a big outlay of capital to do the clinical trial, and somebody has to make it available, we’ll have to see what company might pick it up,” said Michael Pierce, director of the University of Georgia Cancer Center.  

 

 

 

 

Op-Ed: Atlanta Business Chronicle: Viewpoint: What U.S.-Cuba Relationship Means for Georgia

by James Williams and Chris Clark

Lifting the embargo on Cuba would provide tremendous opportunities for Georgia businesses and enable economic mobility for the Cuban people. While the Cuban government should ease regulations to allow for the growth of private entrepreneurship in Cuba and increased investment from U.S. companies, it’s time for the U.S. Congress to allow trade and travel with Cuba. 

Southeast Farm Press: Cuba Advocacy Group, Georgia Ag Leaders Join to End U.S. Embargo

Engage Cuba, an advocacy group, and Georgia ag leaders are tired of losing trade and business opportunities to foreign competitors as Cuban markets open up and grow. On May 23, Engage Cuba launched a Georgia State Council to build support across Georgia to end the travel and trade embargo with Cuba.

Atlanta Business Chronicle: Atlanta Forum Focusing on Cuba Business Opportunities

Atlanta executives interested in doing business with Cuba are getting how-to tips this week directly from Cuban government officials. Ruben Ramos Arrieta, the Washington, D.C.-based minister responsible for the Cuban Embassy’s Economic and Trade Office, and Joel Lago Olivia, the embassy’s first secretary, are in Atlanta for a two-day forum to further dialogue on Cuba’s needs and how Atlanta companies can take advantage of emerging business opportunities in a nation that until recently was off limits to American commerce.

ZPolitics: The surprising Economic Connection between Georgia and cuba

On Wednesday, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce hosted a panel of business and political leaders who pitched their predictions on the increasing relationship between Georgia and Cuba. While the Peach State’s agriculture and hospitality industries were highlighted for their growth potential, experts also pointed to another job market that could continue to grow thanks to diplomatic ties with the Caribbean nation.

LaGrage Daily News: Musicologist to Explore Sounds of Cuba

As a seventh grader and budding musical talent, LaGrange native Oliver Nathaniel “Nathan” Greene Jr.learned trombone in the band room at the former West Side Junior High, now newly renovated and home to the LaGrange College Music Department. Four decades — and several college degrees later — Dr. Oliver N. Greene Jr. will return to his hometown campus, minus the trombone. He is now associate professor of music at Georgia State University where he teaches world music, popular music of the Americas and ethnomusicology courses. Dr. Greene will discuss Cuban music March 28 during his lecture in the college’s 3D Journeys Cuba series. 

WABE: GA. TECH PROJECT PROVIDES CUBANS FASTER ACCESS TO INTERNET

President Barack Obama called on the Cuban government to expand Internet access for its citizens in a speech in Havana on Tuesday. In Cuba, less than about 5 percent of the population has open Internet access. That’s slowly changing as the government adds a few Wi-Fi hotspots and foreign companies work to update the digital infrastructure. But in the meantime, a Georgia Tech initiative is helping Cubans access information more quickly. 

Georgia Public Broadcasting: Engage Cuba Coalition Launches Georgia Council

Engage Cuba, a national 501(c)(4) advocacy group focused on lifting the Cuban trade and travel embargo, established a state council in Georgia late last week. Addie Bryant, the chief of staff at Engage Cuba, said that Cuba imports almost 80 percent of its food. She explained that ending the embargo opens up the possibility to boost Georgia’s export economy.

“Georgia agriculture and other companies have the potential to really serve a market of Cuban people and also produce jobs back home for the average Georgian,” she said.

georgia's Champions

Congressman Rob Woodall (R-Georgia) Represents Georgia 7th District Co-Sponsors H.R. 3687 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Congressman Rob Woodall (R-Georgia)

Represents Georgia 7th District

Co-Sponsors H.R. 3687 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Congressman Austin Scott (R-Georgia) Represents Georgia 8th District Co-Sponsor H.R. 3687 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Congressman Austin Scott (R-Georgia)

Represents Georgia 8th District

Co-Sponsor H.R. 3687 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) Represents Georgia 4th District Co-Sponsor H.R. 664 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Georgia)

Represents Georgia 4th District

Co-Sponsor H.R. 664 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia) Represents Georgia 5th District Co-Sponsor H.R. 664 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia)

Represents Georgia 5th District

Co-Sponsor H.R. 664 Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

Congressman Sanford Bishop (D) Representing Georgia 2nd Distrcit

Congressman Sanford Bishop (D)

Representing Georgia 2nd Distrcit

Texas State Council


GERARDO INTERIANO, HEAD OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, SOUTHWEST U.S.
GOOGLE, INC. 

GLEN JONES, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AND POLICY DEVELOPMENT
TEXAS FARM BUREAU

JOHN P. LARUE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
PORT OF CORPUS CHRISTI AUTHORITY

G. GRANGER MACDONALD, CHAIRMAN AND CEO
MACDONALD COMPANIES

DR. MOLLY BETH MALCOLM, VICE PRESIDENT EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
AUSTIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT

CAPPY MCGARR, PRESIDENT
MCM INTERESTS

MUSTAFA TAMEEZ, ADVISORY BOARD CHAIRMAN
SOUTH ASIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

WOLFGANG NIEDERT, PRIVATE EQUITY MANAGING CONSULTANT

BRIAN OTTIS, PH.D., GLOBAL SOLUTIONS DEVELOPMENT LEAD, 
RICETEC, INC

DICK OTTIS
TEXAS RICE BELT WAREHOUSE, INC

JOE OUTLAW, PROFESSOR & EXTENSION ECONOMIST, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

SANJAY RAMABHADRAN, MANAGING PARTNER
VERSA GROUP

LG & LINDA RAUN, RICE FARMERS
TEXAS RICE PRODUCERS LEGISLATIVE GROUP/USA RICE

JENNIFER RANSOM RICE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
TEXAS CULTURAL TRUST

    jenifer Sarver, Principal
    Sarver Strategies

DAVE SHAW, PRESIDENT
TEXAS LYCEUM

WALT SMITH, PRINCIPAL
THE MALLARD GROUP, LLC

ERIK STROMBERG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR ADVANCES IN PORT MANAGEMENT
LAMAR UNIVERSITY

ZANE J. VAUGHN, GENERAL COUNSEL
ARMTECH INSURANCE SERVICES, INC. 

MICHAEL YOUNG, VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBAL GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS & PUBLIC POLICY
DELL INC. 

PAT YOUNGER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
GULF PORTS ASSOCIATION OF THE AMERICAS

Dean Corgey, Commissioner
Port of Houston Authority

    Chris Wallace, President
    Texas Association of Business

    Aimee Sanborn, Senior Associate, Director  
    of Sustainability
    Merriman Anderson/Architects, Inc.

   Jerry Merriman, President
    Merriman Anderson/Architects, Inc.

   Michael Skalicky, Treasurer
   Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group

 

Jagdip S Ahluwalia, Founding Secretary/Executive Director
Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston

Carlton Anderson, CEO and Co-Founder
Mercurio Biotec

Tony Bennett, President/CEO
Texas Association of Manufacturers

Daniel Berglund
Texas Rice Farmer

Ric Bonnell, MD, Director of Global Health
Dell Children's Medical Center

Theldon R. Branch, III, Commissioner
Port of Houston Authority

John Sibley Butler, The J. Marion West Chair in Constructive Capitalism
The University of Texas at Austin

Herb Butrum, Asst. Vice President, Government Relations
Baylor College of Medicine

BOBBY BRIGNAC, PE
BRAEDEN ENGINEERING

Kerry N. Cammack, Attorney at Law
Cammack & Strong, P.C.

J Allen Carnes, Farmer
Carnes Farms, Inc.

Felix Chevalier, Partner
The Chevalier Law Firm, PLLC

Brian Craig, PhD, PE, CPE, Professor and Chair, Department of Industrial Engineering; Director, Mariner, Safety Research Initiative
Lamar University

Randy Cubriel, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Law Office of Randy Cubriel

Dr. Bill Cunningham, James L. Bayless Chair for Free Enterprise
The University of Texas

Erika de la Garza, Program Director, Latin America Initiative
Rice University’s Baker Institute

Lex Denherder, Vice President Government and Industry Affairs
Universal Weather and Aviation

Jason Roth Fuller, Government Affairs Consultant

The Honorable Antonio Garza, U.S. Ambassador (Ret.), Counsel
White & Case, Mexico City

Keith Gray, Director
Riviana Foods

Bill Hammond, CEO
Bill Hammond & Associates 

ANDY ICKEN, CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER
CITY OF HOUSTON

BOB INMAN, CHAIRMAN
LIMESTONE CAPITAL ADVISORS

    Josh Bryan, Operations Manager
    Braeden Engineering

    Steve Van, President & CEO
    Prism Hotels & Resorts