News / Americas

    US Approves First American Factory in Cuba in 5 Decades

    A Feb. 12, 2016, photo shows Saul Berenthal, partner in a tractor company, in his office in Raleigh, N.C.
    A Feb. 12, 2016, photo shows Saul Berenthal, partner in a tractor company, in his office in Raleigh, N.C.
    Ken Bredemeier

    The U.S. has approved construction of the first American factory in Cuba in more than 50 years, a two-man business that hopes to hire Cuban workers to assemble as many as 1,000 small tractors a year to sell to private farmers in Cuba.

    Cuban officials have already endorsed the $5 million to $10 million project, to be located in an economic zone near Havana, the Cuban capital.

    It is the first significant American business investment in the communist nation since 1959, when long-time Cuban dictator Fidel Castro seized power and nationalized billions of dollars' worth of U.S. corporate and private property.

    FILE - People sit outside the building which used to house a Coca-Cola bottling plant before the 1959 revolution in Havana.
    FILE - People sit outside the building which used to house a Coca-Cola bottling plant before the 1959 revolution in Havana.

    The new investment comes in the aftermath of the renewal of U.S. and Cuba diplomatic relations and the gradual opening of economic links. The U.S. still maintains a trade embargo against Cuba, but President Barack Obama has been making exceptions to it through executive orders.

    On Tuesday, Cuban and American officials expect to sign an agreement that will open airline flights between the countries for first time since 1959. Last weekend, Cuba returned a U.S. Hellfire missile that it said was mistakenly shipped to Havana from Paris in 2014.

    The U.S. flag waves outside the newly opened U.S. Embassy, overlooking Havana's seaside boulevard, the Malecon in Cuba, Aug. 14, 2015.
    The U.S. flag waves outside the newly opened U.S. Embassy, overlooking Havana's seaside boulevard, the Malecon in Cuba, Aug. 14, 2015.

    Business partners Horace Clemmons and Saul Berenthal of the Cleber company in the southern U.S. state of Alabama said they plan to have the tractor factory in operation a year from now.  

    "Everybody wants to go to Cuba to sell something and that's not what we're trying to do," Clemmons said. "We're looking at the problem and how do we help Cuba solve the problems that they consider are the most important problems for them to solve. It's our belief that in the long run we both win if we do things that are beneficial to both countries."

    Berenthal said being the first company to open in Cuba "is great. But for certain, we should not be the only ones. We're hoping and expecting many more will follow."

    You May Like

    Can EU Survive a Brexit?

    Across Europe politicians are asking if the British vote to leave the European Union will set in motion dynamics that will see other member states leave too

    Video Entrepreneurs Tackle Sexual Harassment, Rural Health Care at Global Summit

    VOA talks to enterprising business people from India, Nigeria, Myanmar about their programs to help their respective countries overcome obstacles

    Key African Anti-Venom About to Permanently Run Out

    The tale of Fav-Afrique’s demise is a complicated one that reflects a deeper crisis brewing in global public health

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    February 15, 2016 4:14 PM
    Mark Rubio said today that if he is elected President, Cuba will have to make drastic changes to its society and institute democracy or all of the changes President Obama made will be reversed. That sounds like a good plan to me.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Marketsi
    X
    June 24, 2016 10:43 AM
    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Markets

    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.
    Video

    Video During Ramadan, Faith and Football Converge in Lebanon’s Megadome

    In Beirut, a group of young entrepreneurs has combined its Muslim faith and love of football to create the city's newest landmark: a large, Ramadan-ready dome primed for one of the biggest football (soccer) tournaments in the world. But as the faithful embrace the communal spirit of Islam’s holy month, it is not just those breaking their fasts that are welcome.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    Displacement in Colombia to Persist Despite Cease-fire, UN Says

    Organized crime involved in drugs, illegal mining, extortion will keep displacing Colombians, a UNHCR official says

    OAS Chief Blames Maduro Government for Venezuela Crisis

    Meeting by Organization of American States on Thursday leads to majority voting to invoke organization's democratic charter on Venezuela, which could lead to country's suspension

    Argentina at UN Renews Call for Falklands Talks; Britain Rebuffs

    There will be no dialogue without permission of the Falklanders, says spokesman for Britain's UN mission

    Colombia, FARC Rebels Sign Cease-fire Agreement

    Cease-fire is last major step before both sides sign a final peace agreement that would end 52 years of guerilla warfare and terrorism

    Brazil's Cunha Indicted on Money Laundering, Currency Charges

    It's the second time charges have been accepted against Cunha in probe of kickbacks paid to politicians by construction companies working with Petrobras

    US Lawmakers Question Stepped-up Engagement With Venezuela

    US diplomat's Caracas visit is aimed at fostering dialogue that may lead to solutions for Venezuela, State Department spokesman says