Quantcast
Connect with us

US presence at Cuba trade fair dwindles given Trump hostility

Published

on

A yellow excavator, forklift and other heavy equipment made by U.S. firm Caterpillar gleam outside Cuba’s annual trade fair, reflecting once-bright hopes for increased U.S.-Cuban commerce fanned by the 2014 detente between the old Cold War foes.

But inside the pavilion where U.S. firms present their wares, only eight have stands this year, according to a Reuters count. That is down from 13 last year and several dozens in 2015-16, underscoring the decline in U.S. business interest since Donald Trump became president.

Last year, the Trump administration tightened the decades-old trade embargo on the Communist-run island once more and sharply reduced staffing at the U.S. embassy in Havana due to a series of health incidents among U.S. diplomats.

“Trump has scared everyone off,” said Eduardo Aparicio, general manager of U.S. logistics company Apacargoexpress, operating under an exemption to the embargo allowing U.S. companies to sell food and medical supplies here.

Aparicio says he is struggling to find U.S. firms keen on doing business with Cuba given fears of reprisals from the Trump administration.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Not that many things have changed with the Trump administration but the outlook has. It no longer feels like we are advancing,” said Jay Brickman, vice president of Florida-based shipping company Crowley Maritime Corporation, which has been shipping to Cuba for 17 years.

“If you are a corporate executive who feels like nothing is happening, then eventually you look elsewhere.”

Brickman, Aparicio and others at Cuba’s premier business event said the country’s dire financial situation was another factor in declining U.S. business interest. Cuba is battling a cash crunch amid lower aid from ally Venezuela and weaker exports.

ADVERTISEMENT

Brickman said Cuban orders via his firm were down 10 percent this year.

U.S. companies had embraced Cuba in the wake of the detente reached by former U.S. and Cuban Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro, jostling for a foothold in an opening market of 11 million consumers.

Lawyers working with U.S. firms interested in doing business with Cuba say the larger ones are taking a long-term view and remain keen.

ADVERTISEMENT

Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar, for example, had lobbied to sell in Cuba for years before one of its dealers, privately held Puerto Rican company Rimco, said last year it was opening a distribution center here.

“This is the beginning of a lot of things to come,” Rimco Vice President Caroline McConnie said of the machinery displayed outside the pavilion.

McConnie said Rimco would look to rent as well as sell machines in Cuba given its cash crunch, and expected to announce its first two deals soon: one to rent equipment for quarries and another to sell marine motors for tugboats.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We will benefit from the first movers’ advantage,” she said.

Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Dan Grebler


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Cop says Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot following Trump’s racist targeting of The Squad

Published

on

Following racist attacks on members of The Squad by President Donald Trump and his supporters, a police officer in Louisiana reportedly said that one of the congresswomen of color should be shot.

Trump has been lashing out at the four first-term congresswomen, who include Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

"A Gretna police officer posted a comment on his Facebook page this past week calling U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a 'vile idiot' who 'needs a round, and I don't mean the kind she used to serve,'" NOLA reported Saturday.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Internet piles on ABC reporter for lavishing praise on Trump for allowing press to ask questions

Published

on

ABC News reporter Kyra Phillips on Saturday heaped praise on President Donald Trump for his treatment of the press.

Despite the White House no longer holding daily press briefings, Phillips praised the "access" she receives from the administration.

"No matter what your politics are, I have to say that I appreciate the access ?Trump? gives us on a regular basis and the ability to ask any question," she said.

She tagged Stephanie Grisham in her tweet, who is Trump's latest press secretary. She also tagged her husband, John Roberts, who does not work in the White House, but works for Fox News.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

‘Trump wants to start a race war’: Ex-advisor alleges his campaign planned ‘Send her Back’ chants

Published

on

President Donald Trump is attempting to start a race war in America, a long-time advisor declared on MSNBC on Saturday evening.

Omarosa Manigault Newman was interviewed by Donny Deutsch on "Saturday Night Politics."

"You said could it happen here? It is happening here," Newman told Deutsch.

"As a woman of color watching him attack those four women, it made it very clear that Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our democracy," she said.

"And everyone has been kind of tiptoeing what this actually is. Donald Trump wants to start a race war in this country and it started at that rally — it started with the tweets," she said.

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image