Saturday, April 19, 2008

Business news

Doing business (of any type) with the Castro brothers is never easy, as the Governor of the US state of Idaho has found out.

As readers may recall, the wonderfully named Gov. Butch Otter travelled to Cuba last year with a large delegation of farmers and other primary producers to convince the Communist regime to spend a bit of money on Idaho produce.

At the time, there was plenty of media interest in the trip both in the US and in Havana, with the governor making all the right noises about the need to lift the US commercial and trade embargo, etc. In return, the Cubans made all the right noises about buying lots of goodies from Idaho companies. As you do.

Well, those promises appear to have come to not much, according to this suitably sceptical article in The Idaho Stateman under the healdine, "Otter's trip to Cuba failed to bring home the bacon".

The paper says that since the trade mission, the only exports the state has sent to Fidel Castro's island paradise are "a handful of signed baseballs, Boise Hawks jerseys, and cowboy books the Governor brought as gifts for his hosts".

It seems a much-promoted contract for the Cubans to purchase 100,000 pounds of pork legs from a local company, Falls Brand Independent Meats, has failed to materialise due largely to what the paper describes as "red tape put up by Cuba's government".

According to the chief executive of Falls Brand, Pat Florence, the Castro regime never followed through on its plan to buy the pork legs, which would have netted the company US$100,000.

"We've moved on," Mr Florence said.

As for Gov. Otter, the paper says the trip - the fourth by the governor to Cuba - cost Idaho taxpayers about USD14,000.


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