Trade with Cuba

If you owned a business, say it’s a food exporter, or a frozen foods manufacturer/exporter, would you do business with Cuba knowing that most if not all of the foods you are selling the island would wind up on the plates of tourists, and not the Cuban population?

Would you consider that you are doing nothing wrong by just selling your products?

10 thoughts on “Trade with Cuba”

  1. Well, I’m not sure that food exporters are reading weblogs these days to answer you. Their too busy fattening up the lobbyists on capital hill to grease the way for defacto support of the communist regime in Cuba. I will actively boycott any producers who do trade…might even picket their offices and deliver them lists of political prisoners whose sentences they are prolonging by propping up the regime. I have no patience for this at all.

  2. I must respectfully disagree. As an analogy, a store owner who sells a coat to a prostitute, thereby enabling the prostitute to continue her business and break the law, is still not liable as an accessory to the prostitute.

    In other words, I believe that most trade which does not involve inherently dangerous material should be considered as morally neutral. Selling weapons to Castro can be characterized as morally evil. Selling food to, I’m guessing, a hotel in Cuba should be morally neutral.

    It is not the frozen food exporter’s fault that the Cubans are not the people who ultimately receive what he’s selling. He is making nobody worse off by selling; Castro would not have allowed his populace to receive that food in any event.

    Now if the exporter were to stop selling food to Cuba, on the grounds that keeping the tourists fed is leading the tourists to spend their money in Cuba and prop up the Castro regime, that might be worthy of praise, but I do not believe such a step is morally required.

    Interesting question, Val. I’ll need to ruminate on this some more. Thanks!

  3. Dave,

    I dont think your analogy works in this situation. The prostitute doesn’t resell the coat. She makes money from her own product.

    I believe the fruit supplier, for example, would sell his fruit to the regime’s “agricultural department,” who in turn would sell the fruit to the hotels and restaurants at a profit. Thus, the supplier is in fact indirectly contributing to the coffers of the Castro Regime.

    Remember, everything in Cuba must go through the government. It’s not like here where we can buy directly from the supplier or manufacturer or whatnot.

  4. I would NOT do business with the Cuban government – of course.

    Can the Cuban people not own businesses themselves or buy their own supplies? [I really don’t know]

    As a former business owner I shipped things all over the country – never to Cuba – but I might have if I’d gotten an order. Why? Because I was trying to make money! Just being honest.

  5. Pam,

    I’m not absolutely sure the Cuban people can’t own businesses. I think any form of capitalism is forbidden. (Except, of course, for the government.) Even if they were allowed to purchase their own supplies, what would they use for money? Doctors in Cuba make about 11 dolars a month. I cant imagine that other careers, notwithstanding the tourism industry, make much more than that.

    You gave me the answer I was looking for in this post however. I wanted to know if a business person would sell to Cuba, and by Cuba I mean the government, as, like I said before, everything there goes through the government.

    I know making money is important. It’s super important to me. But at what point does a business person draw a moral line?

  6. Thanks for clarifying that, Val.

    IF I KNEW beforehand what you just explained, that everything goes through the corrupt government… No. I would not sell to anyone in the country, because how would I be able to differentiate between honest citizen and greedy, corrupt government? Obviously ANYone seeking to purchase my products would be the government.

    Man, that sucks.

  7. Interesting about what has been said above – I am a business owner in Cuba.

    It ultimately comes down to what business owners do for their Cuban employees. Although we officially cannot employ Cubans; we have to pay the government.

    However, we all pay an extra salary DIRECTLY to the Cuban employees (which is totally illegal) so we are helping Cubans directly without sending every cent through the government.

    Also, selling to the Cuban Government?? You’d be surprised how much also ends up on the black market for Cubans to buy (those that have dollars, of course).

    There’s alot more I could say, and I will one day …….. but just wanted to put in a little taster for discussion. This thread may be dead though!

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