Cuba's Extraordinary Promise

Updated: June 23rd, 2016!!
          The best photo-journalist in America is Lisette Poole of the New York Times. Her photos and journalism out of Cuba consistently provide the best insight regarding what is happening on the island. And a lot is happening as the island adjusts to President Obama's efforts to normalize relations that have been drastically frayed and hostile since the Cuban Revolution ended the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship in 1959. The above Lisette Poole photo illustrates her article this week in the NY Times entitled "A Rush of Americans, Seeking Gold in Cuban Soil." As usual, her photo alone tells the story that her writing merely embellishes. It shows the Finca Marta organic farm 30 miles from Havana. It grows 25 different crops under a black screen that protects the plants from the tropical sun. Ms. Poole wrote: "Being an agriculture official in Cuba these days is like living in a resort town all your friends want to visit." She then explains that a tsunami of Americans are flocking to Cuba to partake in the island's vast promise and ingenuity. She says those Americans "seek the prizes that are likely to come if the United States ends its trade restrictions." Those restrictions have been in place for half-a-century and remain codified by the U. S. Congress to sate the revenge and economic desires of a few Cuban-Americans at the expense of everybody else everywhere.
       This Lisette Poole photo shows Cuban farmers working an organic field near Havana. The article in the New York Times written by Kim Severson said: "Cuba, it turns out, is a rare oasis of organic and sustainable agriculture. To be sure, Cuba still imports 60 percent to 80 percent of its food." The June 20-2016 article said efforts by the Obama administration to have U. S. farmers sell food to Cuba and Cuba to sell organic food to the U. S. is being stalemated by elements in the U. S. Congress still clinging to the U. S. embargo.
      Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has been to Cuba trying desperately to improve trade relations with the island. The aforementioned New York Times article quoted Mr. Vilsack as saying, "We have a tremendous opportuity in Cuba to expand exports of soybeans, rice and poultry at some point. They in turn have a tremendous opportuitiy to import into the U. S. organic production. Trade must be a two-way street."
Tom Vilsack, blue shirt, at organic farm in Cuba.
        This Lisette Poole photo illustrated her New York Times article entitled: "The Key to Cuban Ballet's Future." Cuba arguably produces the world's best-trained ballet performers but, like the island's unique quality and quantity of baseball players, not to mention the most doctors per capita in the world, the embargo administered for over half-a-century by the nearby world superpower restricts the island from enjoying the fruits of its labor and its talents. So, the key to Cuba's future, in ballet and other endeavors, is to not be restrained by a foreign power, which all too often is the fate of small nations seeking independence.
         The head of the U. S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet, was in Cuba Monday and Tuesday, June 20th and 21st. She met with top Cuban economic officials in Havana and also toured the Mariel Port Economic Zone 30 miles southwest of the Capitol that is so vital to the island's economic revival. Ms. Contreras-Sweet said, "Trade relations between our two nations will surely help everyone."
      As America's boss at the Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet represents the well-being of 28 million small businesses, many of whom are keenly interested in doing business with Cuba.
      The award-winning CBS producer and long-time Cuban expert, Portia Siegelbaum, this week tweeted from Havana: "Everyday amazed by all the Americans in Havana. This a/m met large group of mostly young real estate specialists."
         This photo, if you study it carefully, will also tell you about yet another Obama-orchestrated slice into the lucrative Cuban pie that a lot of greedy souls have been tasting and enjoying for a lot of pre-Obama decades. The fancy 1950s-era convertible, which Cuba is famous for, is advertising "CubaMax TV on behalf of dishLATINO. It has something to do with Cuban broadcasting coming to the United States of America!
     Frankly, I really don't know what CUBAMaxTV is all about, so you should Google the particulars. But I do believe that anything that gives long-propagandized Americans a fairer and more balanced view of Cuba is worthwhile, especially in a democracy.

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