U.S. Exporters to Cuba Say Cash Blocked
By Jeannine Aversa, Associated
Press Writer, November 25, 2004.
WASHINGTON - Some companies that sell food
and agricultural products to Cuba are reporting
that payments are not being credited to
their bank accounts in the United States,
according to a representative of a group
that tracks business between the two countries.
John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba
Trade and Economic Council Inc., said Tuesday
that fewer than half a dozen companies have
contacted his organization recently about
He said banks have confirmed receipt of
payments from Cuba but have not credited
the accounts of exporters on instructions
from the U.S. government.
A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department
said its Office of Foreign Assets Control,
which enforces the economic embargo against
Cuba, is looking into the matter. OFAC,
she said, has been asked to clarify the
government's policy regarding payments.
She wouldn't say who requested the clarification.
"We are taking a serious look at the
issue and working with our germane counterparts
in the U.S. government," the Treasury
spokeswoman said, speaking on condition
that she not be identified further. "We
expect to issue guidance in the near future."
Kavulich wouldn't provide the names of
the companies that have reported payment
problems to his group or further details
in the cases. The Treasury spokeswoman also
declined to provide further information.
"Right now this is a technical issue,
but it could become massively political,"
The embargo against Cuba bans most U.S.
exports to the country with a few exceptions,
including certain food and agriculture products.
Kavulich estimates that U.S. sales of food
and agriculture products to Cuba in 2003
totaled around $256.9 million. He said about
15 companies in the United States account
for roughly 90 percent of food and agriculture
products that are sold to Cuba.
Kavulich said communicated in both writing
and conversations with people at Treasury
and elsewhere in the Bush administration
about the problem.
President Bush has called for more stringent
enforcement of provisions that forbid most
economic activity with and travel to Cuba.
Congress has sought to ease restrictions
on trade against Cuba but so far has been
unable to get a bill to Bush that would
do that. The White House has warned that
Bush would veto legislation that weakens
President Kennedy imposed economic sanctions
against Cuba in 1963 during the Cold War.
The basic goal is to isolate the Cuban government
economically and deprive it of U.S. dollars,
the government says.
China, Cuba Agree to Business Deals
By Andrea Rodriguez, Associated
Press Writer, Nov 23.
HAVANA - Chinese President Hu Jintao and
trade leaders agreed to an array of business
deals with Cuba Tuesday as the two communist
nations worked to strengthen their economic
By the time Hu flew out of Havana Tuesday
night, he had agreed to a $500 million investment
in the island's key nickel industry and
attended talks aimed at increasing Chinese
involvement in Cuban tourism and telecommunications.
Hu, who came to Cuba on a personal invitation
from President Fidel Castro (news - web
sites), flew in from the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (news - web sites) forum in
Santiago, Chile. He also visited Argentina
and Brazil on his first trip to Latin America
since taking office in 2003.
Earlier Tuesday, Hu was accompanied by
Defense Minister Raul Castro, the president's
younger brother, at a forum of about 400
Cuban and Chinese business people negotiating
new trade between the ideological allies.
"Cuba is one of China's largest commercial
partners in Latin America," Hu told
the gathering. "We share common ideals
allowing us to follow our own path of development
whatever the international situation may
Relations between the two nations were
tense during the Cold War, when the Caribbean
island was strongly allied with the Soviet
Union, but warmed after the Berlin Wall
fell in 1989 and Cuba lost its preferential
trade and aid deals with the Soviet bloc.
In a ceremony Tuesday, Castro bestowed
the Jose Marti Honorary Order on Hu. He
stood up from his wheelchair, for the first
time publicly after shattering his kneecap
in an accidental fall last month, while
the Chinese and Cuban national anthems played.
He leaned on a metal cane with an arm support.
"Socialism will definitively remain
as the only real hope for peace and survival
of our species," Castro said. "That
is precisely what the Communist Party of
the People's Republic of China has demonstrated."
Castro ended his comments by saying Cuba
had "enormous admiration for the legendary
and revolutionary China," a country
that is now also Cuba's third-largest trading
China accounts for 10 percent of the island's
foreign trade, trailing Venezuela and Spain.
The presidents looked on Monday as ministers
and business leaders signed 16 agreements
for China to purchase nickel and invest
in processing and exploration for the mineral.
Under the accords, starting next year Cuba
will provide 4,400 tons of nickel annually
The agreements also call for the $500 million
Chinese investment in a new nickel plant
in Moa, in the eastern region of Holguin,
Cuba's Basic Industry Minister Yadira Garcia
told reporters Tuesday.
China also allowed Cuba a 10-year extension
to repay four interest-free loans provided
between 1990 and 1994, during Cuba's severe
post-Soviet economic crisis.
China will also donate $6 million to Cuban
hospitals, as well as cloth for school uniforms
worth about another $6 million.
China also agreed to finance 1 million
television sets for the Cuban market.
There were also cooperation agreements
in the fields of biotechnology, telecommunications
and meteorology, as well as plans to teach
Chinese to Cuban students.
Anti-Castro Group's Leader Talks To
WPLG Click10.com. Wed Nov
The leader of a South Florida anti-Castro
group admits that the group does train Venezuelan
exiles in military tactics, but he denies
having any role in a bombing that killed
a top Venezuelan government prosecutor last
Rodolfo Frometa, who calls himself "Comandante,"
is the head of the anti-Castro group called
Commandos F-4, headquartered on Flagler
Street. He agreed to answer questions from
Local 10's Rad Berky.
Frometa adamantly denies any role in the
bombing last Thursday that killed prosecutor
"Absolutemente," Frometa said.
Frometa said, (translated) "In fact,
the Commandos F-4 prohibit any terrorist
attacks in any part of the world."
Frometa did admit that Venezuelan exiles
opposed to President Hugo Chavez do train
with his group.
Frometa gave Local 10 a video of paramilitary
training going on at the group's camp in
He showed Local 10 pictures of the leader
of the Venezuelan exiles traning in South
Florida. Frometa said the leader's name
is Luis Garcia Mora, but he refused to say
exactly how many Venezuelans had trained
at the camp.
Venezuelan officials said that a C-4 military
explosive was used to kill Anderson and
they have claimed Venezuelan ex-patriots
living in South Florida were to blame.
Chavez's spokesman, Information Minister
Andres Izarra, accused "terrorists"
training in Florida of being behind Anderson's
assassination because he intended to prosecute
backers of Venezuela's 2002 coup.
But hours later, another Venezuelan senior
official said Izarra was not directly linking
the exiles in Florida with the assassination
Izarra said the assassination of Anderson,
known among Venezuelans as the "super
prosecutor," was aimed at attacking
the judicial branch and derailing his investigations
and prosecutions of those who supported
the coup, in which 19 people were killed
and almost 300 wounded.
"The fascists and terrorists that
acted against the prosecutor" also
want to derail Chavez's social revolution,
"Some of them train and constantly
make pronouncements from Florida, (in the)
United States," he said.
The charge echoed Chavez's earlier accusations
that Cuban and Venezuelan "terrorists"
were training in Florida to execute him
and were using the media to call for his
Frometa says the Venezuelans he trains
learn to shoot rifles and semiautomatic
"We teach them military techniques
with the idea that if they are attacked
they can defend themselves," Frometa
He said there is no training in explosives
or anything that would violate the laws
of the United States.
When Berky asked, "No bombs?"
Frometa answered, "No. Absolutemente
Other than pointing a finger, Venezuela
has offered no evidence that anyone here
in South Florida had anything to do with
the bombing and no arrests have been made.
Venezuelan police said Tuesday an attorney
who may have played a role in the bombing
was shot and killed by police in Caracas.
They did not say why they believe the attorney
was a suspect and gave no other details
of the shootout.