8/10/2005

What Embargo?

Last night I attended a presentation entitled Impact on South Florida’s Economy and Agriculture of a Post-Castro Cuba by Bill Messina, M.S. who is Coordinator of Economic Analysis at the University of Florida/IFAS (Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) Food and Resource Economics Department.

Professor Messina and his colleagues have been studying Cuba’s economy (specifically it’s food/agricultural facets) for many years and in their study have visited the island many times starting in 1994. In their work they meet with their Cuban counterparts from the University of Havana. All data that is provided by Cuban sources is independently validated by Professor Messina and his colleagues to the greatest extent possible. In other words, these aren’t merely one man’s opinions.

We all know that the Cuba can currently buy all of the food and medicine from the United States that it can on a cash up-front basis. But what does that mean? How much does Cuba really buy and how? I think you’ll find these tidbits interesting.

  • Before the current arrangement, Cuba was the 228th largest food/agriculture export market for the U.S. (out of 228)
  • In 2004, Cuba was the United States’ 25th largest food/agriculture export market with the total of such exports amounting to just under $400 million.
  • Cuba is the United States’ 8th largest poultry meat export market
  • Cuba is the United States’ 11th largest wheat export market
  • Cuba is the United States’ 13th largest snack food export market (Professor Messina states that these snack food products are used specifically in the tourism sector of the economy)
  • In 2003, the United States was the single largest source of food imports for Cuba with U.S. food and agricultural imports accounting for a full third of all such imports.
  • Overall the United States is Cuba’s 5th largest trading partner.

So can somebody tell me what embargo people are talking about?

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