The Cuban economy continues
its shift to become more diversified than relying simply on agriculture,
esp. sugar cane, as a booster of Cuban Gross National Product. Cuba has
closed many sugar operations and will be training "laid off"
workers for the tourist industry. Finished agricultural goods, such as
cigars, continue to be expanded. Over 100 million Cuban cigars were manufactured
in 1998. 2007 production will exceed 150 million cigars despite damage
due to two hurricanes several years ago.
The Cuban government received another media windfall when the President Carter visited Cuba in Spring, 2002 and Governor Jesse Ventura in September, 2002. Governor Ventura even joked about being the first USA Ambassador to Cuba after USA Cuban political relations are normalized. The September, 2006 USA Food Exhibition in Cuba was very successful with Cuba buying millions of dollars of USA agriculture products from vendors scattered all over the USA, including Florida.
In 2007, the Bush Administration intends to additionally tighten the USA Embargo against Cuba. OFAC licensed travel to Cuba has been sharply curtailed.
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