Republican Congressman Butch Otter is headed back to Cuba this month to cash in on the island’s demand for agricultural products. The five-day trade mission beginning next Monday includes representatives of the state’s bean, dairy, grain, potato and lentil industries.
Otter and the industry representatives will meet with Foreign Minister Felipe Perez and Pedro Alvarez, president of the Cuban food important company Alimport.
A trip in February yielded contracts for ten million dollars worth of Idaho agricultural goods. And Otter believes there is a potential for even greater sales on this trip.
Otter has traveled to Cuba four times in an effort to relive the days when he exported capitalism (and Idaho products) to communists. Otter is never shy in talking about the days when he successfully pitched frozen french fries to China after marrying into the J.R. Simplot family/company. One divorce and a few elected offices later, Otter was convinced he would have similar success in Cuba. When he was a congressman, Otter led three delegations to Havana. He helmed a fourth, as governor, in 2007.
April 13-16, 2004 US Congressman C.L. "Butch" Otter (R-ID) led an The Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation sponsored delegation of 10 Idaho business leaders and several Tampa, Florida business leaders on a fact finding and educational visit and to participate in the 2004 US-Cuba Business Conference in Havana. Pedro Alvarez, Chairman and CEO of Alimport, personally met the delegation on the tarmac of Havana's Jose Marti International Airport upon arrival.
Congressman Otter gave keynote addresses at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the conference promoting American agricultural trade with Cuba for the benefit of the Cuban people and American farmers. Over four hundred Americans attended the conference and are legally doing business with Cuba in the agricultural sector.
Trade with Cuba
The governors of nine U.S. states have sent a forcefully worded letter to the House and Senate leadership in Washington calling for an end to the 54-year U.S. trade blockade of socialist Cuba.
The letter, dated October 9 2015, was signed by Republican governors Robert Bentley of Alabama and Butch Otter of Idaho, and Democratic governors Jerry Brown of California, Steve Bullock of Montana, Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Thomas Wolf of Pennsylvania, Peter Shumlin of Vermont, Terry McAuliffe of Virginia and Jay Inslee of Washington. It was addressed to outgoing House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.
The text of the letter emphasizes the benefits that could accrue to U.S. industries, especially agriculture, and workers by greatly increasing U.S. trade with Cuba. The letters point out that although the sale of U.S. farm products has been allowed since the passage of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, Cuba is still not allowed, under U.S. law, to purchase any U.S. products using credit mechanisms available to all other U.S. trading partners.
- Havana journal
- [http://www.boiseweekly.com/boise/idahos-cuban-connection/Content?oid=1767235 September 08, 2010 News » News Idaho's Cuban Connection From Butch Otter to Juan Serrano by George Prentice]
- [http://www.responsiblecubapolicy.org/visits.html# Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy
- http://peoplesworld.org/nine-governors-ask-congress-to-end-cuba-blockade/ PW Nine governors ask Congress to end Cuba blockade by: Emile Schepers October 16 2015]