[Marxism] GOP bastions in Deep South buck Bush's Cuba policy

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Aug 14 11:45:14 MDT 2004


(The Sun-Herald is a Knight-Ridder newspaper published
in Biloxi, Mississippi. On its masthead is the self-
description "South Mississippi's Home Page". 

(Here's further proof of the material interest working 
people and businesses have in ending the blockade and 
normalizing relations with Cuba today, and it's taking
place in the heart of the deep south. A process here is
quietly unfolding, in which even the power of prayer is
being harnessed toward a highly positive goal right now.

(Fidel met with a group of such business people awhile 
ago. GRANMA INTERNATIONAL'S headline December 21, 2003
issue was "INVESTING, SELLING AND BUYING - The will and 
fighting spirit of U.S. businesspeople" (page 12) and
you can read the text of GRANMA INTERNATIONAL in it:
http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2003/diciembre03/mier17/50feeuu.html 

(Alabama agricultural commissioner Ron Sparks also
vigorously pursues Cuban trade.

("We have trade with nations we know harbor terrorists or
dictatorships that abuse dissidents," Sparks said. "We
trade with Libya, China and Vietnam. America can get more
than money from Cuba if the trade embargo were lifted. The
Cuban biotech sector is so innovative that it has spawned
revolutionary products that could save American lives."
=========================================================

Posted on Sat, Aug. 14, 2004

GOP bastions in Deep South buck Bush's Cuba policy
http://www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/news/state/9402322.htm

LYNDA EDWARDS
Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. - President Bush promised Florida's Cuban
American voters a fortified American trade embargo against
Cuban dictator Fidel Castro by cutting what U.S. tourists
can spend in Cuba from $167 to $50 daily.

But Southern states solidly in Bush's electoral camp -
including Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and Louisiana - have
been rejoicing over multimillion-dollar Cuban trade
contracts for the past three years.

Thirty-five states sold $700 million in supplies to Cuba
since 2001. And Southerners possess the ports where tons of
powdered milk, poultry, soybeans and other items set sail
for Havana. And even better for the sellers, the U.S.
government requires Cuba to pay cash before the ships
unload.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is Bush's statewide campaign
manager, yet Gulfport and Pascagoula ports shipped $50
million in goods to Cuba last year. Bible Belt businessmen
at the Mississippi Development Authority's recent summit on
Cuban trade want even bigger deals with Cuba, which has
been under embargo since the 1960s.

Attorney Bill Montgomery wore a name tag emblazoned with
his Hattiesburg lumber company's name, with a big gold
"PRAYER TEAM" stamped beneath.

"My church has 20,000 members divided into teams that can
pray round the clock for you if you request it," said
Montgomery, a native Mississippian. "I asked them to pray
we can do good business with Cuba. It means more jobs and
stability for our community if the federal government would
just get out of our way and let businessmen do what they do
best."

The embargo's roots date back to 1960, when Castro - who a
year earlier toppled Cuba's dictator, and was considered a
dashing freedom fighter - seized American corporate assets,
including oil refineries. President Eisenhower ordered the
embargo.

The first American freighter to bring U.S. goods to Cuba in
more than 40 years left Gulfport in 2001 loaded with frozen
chicken.

"That was one of our ships," said Jay Brickman, vice
president of California-based Crowley Liner. "We raced
another ship coming out of New Orleans and celebrated
victory on the docks."

Louisiana and Texas ship the most metric tons to Cuba. But
Crowley said Mississippi has powerful advantages because
railroads run through the agricultural South near
Mississippi's Gulf Coast ports.

"There's a friendly rivalry among the Southern states 
see who can ship the most products to Cuba," said Liz
Cleveland, the deputy director of the Mississippi
Development Authority.

Buyers from Alimport, Cuba's food purchasing agency, and
the 350 Americans who attended last year's summit inked
$91.9 million in contracts on the spot.

This year, the MDA mailed letters to dozens of Mississippi
businesses with the greeting: "Are you aware your 
products are legally eligible to be sold to Cuba on a
cash-in-advance basis?" Attached is a sample application
letter that can be sent to the U.S. Treasury Department to
request a license for Cuban trade.

Alabama agricultural commissioner Ron Sparks also
vigorously pursues Cuban trade.

"We have trade with nations we know harbor terrorists or
dictatorships that abuse dissidents," Sparks said. "We
trade with Libya, China and Vietnam. America can get more
than money from Cuba if the trade embargo were lifted. The
Cuban biotech sector is so innovative that it has spawned
revolutionary products that could save American lives."

Since most farms are too small to generate enough cargo for
the bulk orders Cuba wants, Sparks counsels Alabama growers
to form cooperatives.

U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council president John
Kavulich II cautioned business owners against unrealistic
expectations.

He said that by May, Houston had shipped $1.4 million in
pinto beans to Cuba in 2004. Mobile, Ala. shipped $6.5
million of milk and New Orleans sent $5.5 million. Miami
shipped an $88,000 chewing gum cargo.

"When Castro dies, I predict the U.S. will have a trade
agreement with Cuba within months," said Texas A&M
economist Parr Rosson.

Sometimes, Alimport demands that Smith use a Georgia
sawmill instead of one in Mississippi "because they want to
gain political goodwill there," Smith said. And each time
he visits Havana, every Cuban he meets swears the games and
embargo will end when Castro is gone. "Bellhops, taxi
drivers, professors, doctors, cabinet ministers all believe
that when Castro dies, Americans and Cubans will be
reunited as friends," Smith said.

It's one of history's ironies that the Cubans living on
Castro's island share the same dream of regaining paradise
as those Cuban-Americans who see the island nation as an
outlaw.

C 2004 AP Wire and wire service sources. 
All Rights Reserved.

http://www.sunherald.com

 





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