Recycling the "Havana Trade Fair" Hype

Monday, November 2, 2015
Today, USA Today has an article entitled, "American businesses flood Cuban trade fair."

Here's the gist:

"[Cuba's International Trade Fair starting Monday on the outskirts of Havana] will the first one since the United States and Cuba announced in December they would re-establish diplomatic relations after a 50-year freeze, a change that opened trade opportunities and kick-started a rush of American companies hoping to get access to the long-isolated island.

This week's trade fair will feature dozens of American companies exploring trade opportunities, from giants such as Cargill and Caterpillar to smaller enterprises such as Cleber and the Oregon-based Ninkasi Brewery Co. looking to sell its beer to the island."

This must be some new development, right?

Far from. 

It's the same hype that has been written about over-and-over again throughout the last decade.

Here's The Sun-Sentinel in 2003, "American Firms Flock To Havana For Trade Fair":

"[A] record number of American food and business executives Monday at Havana's 21st annual International Trade Fair, the most significant trade event on the island, drawing about 600 companies from 50 countries, mostly in Europe, Canada and Asia.

With 14 Florida firms, the Sunshine State led 71 companies from 19 states selling grains, lumber, frozen chicken, fresh vegetables and other prepared and bulk foods."

And The New York Times in 2007, "For U.S. Exporters in Cuba, Business Trumps Politics":

"Just weeks after President Bush delivered an address calling on the world to isolate Cuba, officials from Minnesota, Alabama and Ohio — and more than 100 American businesses — were working the giant Havana International Fair, trying to secure part of the $1.6 billion the Cuban government spends each year to import sugar, wheat, livestock, poultry and beans, among other staples."

And CNN in 2009, "U.S. vendors look to Cuban market":

"This week, dozens of Americans are in Havana, peddling their wares at an international trade fair: apples, pears, grapes, raisins, nuts out of California.

In Havana, billboards depicting the U.S. president as Adolf Hitler have disappeared. In Washington, President Obama has lifted restrictions on Cuban-American travel and money transfers.

The new political climate has prompted companies such as Chicago Foods to come to Havana's trade fair for the first time. They're hoping to break into the little-known market and go home with a contract."

It's the same recycled "dog-and-pony show" every year.

It's really rather pathetic. 

Here's how it works:

In Cuba, only the Castro regime is allowed to engage in foreign commerce. The Cuban people are strictly prohibited from doing so.

As such, there's only one customer in Cuba.

Thus, the trade fair consists of Castro regime officials -- mostly military officers in guayaberas -- roaming the halls of the convention site, while foreign commercial representatives jump all over each other, do tricks and grovel for their business.

The regime officials then choose their favorites, string them along, then blackmail them to go back to Washington and lobby against U.S. sanctions.

All subject to the dictator's final approval.