The United States has had a trade embargo on Cuba since 1961. But the U.S. is also Cuba's largest foreign source of food. How? A humanitarian waiver President Clinton signed in 2000 permits the U.S. to sell Cuba food products, including corn, poultry and wheat, to help feed the Cuban people.
That also includes daiquiri mix and gourmet nuts, which, as The Associate Press reports this week, go to bars in a select group of tourist hotels, — which most Cubans cannot visit — and specialty stores, in which only foreigners and favored members of the Cuban regime can shop.
Andy Gomez, an economist at the University of Miami, calls the humanitarian waivers hypocritical — on both sides.
"It was done by the administration to help certain member of Congress who wanted the sales," he told the AP. "But from the Cuba side, it shows that the U.S. embargo is not really what is hurting the Cuban people."
But if you avoid weighted words like hypocrisy, it's hard not to admire the sheer salesmanship of Americans selling daiquiri mix to Cuba. What's next — selling snowballs to Iceland?