Cuba

DarkRoomIllusion / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Cuban Chamber of Commerce has chosen Troy, Michigan, as its third location and national headquarters.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dana McAllister says the choice was a natural fit because of affinities between Detroit and Havana, a significant presence of Cuban-Americans in Michigan, and support from the Oakland County government and city of Troy.

wikipedia

Michigan agriculture producers say it's time to lift the trade embargo against Cuba.

They say Cuba is an untapped market for Michigan's black beans, fruits, milk and other products.

Dave Armstrong is CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit.

"Foreign competitors like Canada, Brazil, the European Union and Argentina – which don't have such restrictions – are taking U.S. and Michigan market share," says Dave Armstrong, CEO of Greenstone Farm Credit.

Jim Byrum is President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association.

A sunset in Havana.
José Eduardo Deboni / Flickr

The United States took a major step toward establishing relations with Cuba after a deep freeze that has lasted over half a century.

A congressional delegation met yesterday with Cuban officials in Havana. Among the delegation was Michigan's senior senator, Debbie Stabenow, D-MI.

Ruth Behar in Cuba on the beach.
Ruth Behar

President Obama’s decision last month to overhaul our policy towards Cuba has pushed our Caribbean neighbor to the forefront of our attention.

Ruth Behar is a professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan and the daughter of Cuban exiles. She was born in Cuba and her family left in the 1960s. Behar has recently published pieces in the Washington Post and Huffington Post about what President Obama's decision means to her and her family, and what to expect when traveling to the country.

thehavananote.com

Michigan’s agriculture industry may benefit from an opening of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

Earlier this month, President Obama announced the U.S. would reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba. The decision is a step in the direction that may end with the lifting of a trade embargo with Cuba.  

There are still many steps before the embargo is lifted.  But people are already planning for that day.   

When President Obama announced last week that we would restore diplomatic ties with Cuba, it wasn’t that big a story in Michigan. For one thing, we were still waiting to see what our lame-duck legislature would do about the roads. And there aren’t many Cuban-Americans here.

The Cuban hip-hop group Obsesion is in Ann Arbor this week.

Alexey Rodriguez Mola and Magia Lopez Cabrera mix African and Cuban rhythms with hip-hop and world beats. They will perform on Thursday, October 6 at the Michigan League Underground.

Here’s a song titled Tu con tu ballet from their current album “El Disco Negro de Obsesion."

Rapper Magia Lopez says her Afro-Cuban culture is what inspires her.

“The hip-hop culture is very much rooted in the 'barrios,' and in Cuba the majority of people are black, although we have mixed races, so we talk a lot about race issues, what we see and our reality as Afro-Cubans," says Lopez.

DarkRoomIllusion / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

President Obama said earlier this month that he would lift many of the restrictions currently prohibiting many students from studying in Cuba.

The restrictions were established by the Bush administration in 2004. As a result, Michigan State University relocated programs based in Cuba to the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean countries.

Jeffery Riedinger is the Dean of International Programs at MSU. He says he looks forward to rebuilding the University’s programs in Cuba, but will need further guidelines from the Obama administration before moving forward.