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Posted March 26, 2012 by publisher in Cuba-US Trade

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Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

“Cuba: Forbidden Fortune” premieres tonight at 9 pm Eastern time on CNBC and will re-air at midnight.

According to the header of the promotional page for this half hour CNBC special on business in Cuba…

American business set their sights on what could a lucrative opportunity 90 miles offshore. CNBC takes you inside the story of a Communist country’s recent reforms, it’s people and untapped potential.

90 Miles off the coast of Key West Florida is a hidden treasure, one that if opened could generate millions in revenue for U.S. based businesses. That treasure is of course Cuba, a tiny island under the crush of economic sanctions but also on the edge of major transformation. CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera brings viewers the story of the country’s government reforms and potential in the CNBC Original Production Cuba: Forbidden Fortune.

Click on the flag image above to watch the 1:44 minute preview of tonight’s CNBC special on business in Cuba.

Inside Cuba: Market Economy Takes Hold in Socialist State

Cuba is a surrealist’s dream: mile after mile of gorgeous, yet dilapidated architecture; streets dominated by automobiles from the 1950s, filled with people on cell (not smart) phones; only 90 miles from the United States and yet a place where people live without the Internet.

On the eve of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Cuba, journalists from all over the world are descending en masse on this Communist island for the first time in a decade. The last event where so many reporters (American in particular) were allowed in at the same time would have been former President Jimmy Carter’s visit in 2002.

Thus the papal visit is providing a rare opportunity to see first hand the economic state of one of the last bastions of socialism, and whether or not a few new market-oriented laws are the start of meaningful change.

Additionally, journalists and Cubans themselves want to know if long-time, now-retired dictator Fidel Castro will appear in public. Old age and illness forced Castro to hand over power to his brother Raul in 2006. But his persona is still ever-present here, even as more and more Cubans talk about him in the past tense.

Under Raul Castro, two changes to Cuban law were introduced late last year: READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

Doing Business with Cuba, Despite Embargo 

In Corpus Christi, Texas, beans are being bagged by the thousands and shipped off to a country that for decades was considered forbidden. That country is, of course, Cuba and the beans being sent there are grown in North Dakota, according to WestStar Food President Pat Wallesen.

“When I tell people, they’ll ask, ‘What do you do?’ And we tell them we export some beans to Cuba and they’re like, ‘Well you can’t do that, can ya?’” he said.

He not only can, he has. For the past nine years, Wallesen has been filling entire container ships with 10,000 bags of beans at a time. He says the last shipment he sent to Cuba was worth $3.2 million.

So, how is this legal with an embargo in place? In 2000, Congress passed reforms to that embargo allowing U.S.-based companies to export approved products to Cuba. And it’s not just beans. In fact, there are hundreds of items on a United States Commerce Department list of goods that can be exported to Cuba.

According to AgriLIFE Extension at Texas A&M, READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

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