The Truth is Castro's Broke

Friday, August 13, 2010
As the story below indicates, it's not the "burden or complexity" of current U.S. regulations for agricultural exports to Cuba that are hampering sales to the island.

It's simply that the Castro regime is broke.

Therefore, those that seek to ease U.S. sanctions aren't looking to expedite or facilitate agricultural sales, they are -- first and foremost -- looking to economically salvage the Castro regime.

According to the AP:

Cash-strapped Cuba has continued to slash agricultural purchases from the U.S. even as a key bill that would ease Washington's Cuban travel ban and make it easier to sell more food to the island works its way through Congress, according to a report released Thursday.

Imports fell 28 percent through the first six months of the year to about $220 million. That follows a 26 percent slippage to $528 million in 2009, down from a peak of $710 million the year before, according to the New York-based U.S.-Cuba Economic Trade Council.

"There are no indications that the Cuban economy is going to rebound to the extent that the Cuban government will be able to substantially increase its level of purchasing of food and agricultural products to those it reached in years past," John Kavulich, senior policy adviser for the council, said by telephone [...]

The U.S. House Agriculture Committee voted June 30 to lift the ban on American travel to Cuba and make it easier to sell agricultural exports to the island.

While the bill has made headlines because of the travel component, it is backed by farm-state members of Congress hungry for a larger slice of the Cuban market. Unclear is when it will be considered by the full House.

Kavulich said supporters of the measure will use the drop in Cuban imports as evidence U.S. policy needs to be changed to keep from losing Cuban business to foreign competitors offering food exports. Opponents, meanwhile, will say American food sales to Cuba are no longer so potentially profitable.

But, for him, the issue is simply that Cuba is short on funds.

"Why are they buying less? I haven't read one Cuban official saying it's because of U.S. law and policy," Kavulich said. "They say they don't have the money."