Re: [CubaNews] access to purchasing construction materials by Cuba
- Please forgive my delayed response to Emile's query.
It's my recollection that Cuba may purchase agricultural
commodities on the same "cash-in-advance-of-delivery"
basis as it buys chickens, tomato paste and sour orange
sauce (a condiment, especially good when cooking pork)
from US companies.
Some years ago I attended the annual trade fair here and
found, along with the US Rice Council and assorted other
food producers, a company trying to market construction-
grade lumber here because wood is an agricultural product,
of course. I don't know if they scored any contracts that
year or since, but I don't imagine such regulations have
changed. Wood is also good for telephone and electrical
poles, many of which were blown away by Hurricane Sandy.
Someone should research this and I'll try to find out if
any lumber/wood companies are participating here in the
One very exciting and positive outcome in the aftermath
of Hurrcane Sandy is how well the Petrocasas performed.
There's a GRANMA story about that will go out shortly.
Following up on the idea of demanding no restrictions on purchasing construction
materials by Cuba, my question is do any of you know about what these
restrictions might actually be? Since I haven't heard otherwise, I assume that
Cuba can not buy construction materials in the United States at all, right? This
must be costing them money and delays, big time.
Also, could the federal government waive this under some clause of the
Helms-Burton, Toricelli and Trading with the Enemy laws? If so, this should be
a MAJOR DEMAND by the Cuba solidarity movement right now.
I was somewhat alarmed to read that materials containing asbestos are being
distributed for repair purposes. This is potentially a major health hazard, but
maybe the Cubans don't have access to anything else. I have great confidence in
the Cuban public health system, of course, and don't know the details.
The asbestos thing is a long story, but where it currently is is that the
Russian asbestos industry, which I think is now privatized, has organized a
major international "chrysotile asbestos is safe" campaign. Evidently they have
won over a number of countries to this point of view. But chrysotile asbestos is
NOT safe. In its mining, in its use in manufacturing or in situations in which
asbestos containing items are damaged or cut into. The fibers in chrysotile
asbestos are longer than those in other forms of asbestos, but they, too, can
break down and create major health hazards, especially if some inexperienced
person cuts into them with a saw. So if Cuba could access other types of
construction materials, it could have public and occupational health benefits
"Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"