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Castro’s Death Doesn’t Spell Immediate Change in US/Cuba Relations


Fidel Castro’s death refocuses attention on U.S.-Cuba ag trade reforms at a time when the incoming Trump administration may have second thoughts about reforms.

American Farm Bureau Federation trade adviser Dave Salmonsen says little has changed politically in Havana with the death of longtime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro…

“You still have Raul Castro leading the government there, and I believe he said he’d resign sometime in 2018, but we’ll see, and whomever his successor is.  But, the government continues, Fidel Castro had left the leadership position back in ’08, but, of course, he’s the great leadership symbol of their revolution.”

So, the concern is little may change in the near term, including the longstanding U.S. trade embargo that has greatly limited U.S. ag sales in Cuba.

Key Cuban-American lawmakers favor continuing the embargo and President-elect Donald Trump threatens to roll back Obama trade and travel reforms without human rights concessions from Cuba.

AFBF’s Salmonsen claims Cuba could also continue to go elsewhere for its food needs…

“They have been getting their food, primarily, from other countries.  Of their $2 billion of food imports, we have roughly $150 million of that.  We know that we could expand that, if we had normalized trade relations, but that hasn’t happened enough yet to really expand our opportunities to sell into the Cuban  market.”     

Salmonsen says the U.S. agriculture community will be watching political developments between the U.S. and Cuba “very closely” in the days ahead.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.