The Bush administration’s trade policy toward Cuba will be greatly influenced by Otto Reich, who has been appointed as undersecretary for Latin American affairs at the U.S. Department of State, according to Paul Golden, vice president of business development at Atlanta-based World Development Services Inc.
Mr. Golden was one of nine speakers at the Atlanta Summit of the Americas (ASOA) held at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School last week that focused on the proposed creation of aFree Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) by 2005.
Although Cuban-born Mr. Reich was active in the Reagan administration’s anti-Sandinista efforts as a State Department official, Mr. Golden said that it was too soon to tell what the current administration’s policy toward Cuba would be.
Sam Zamarripa, chair of the Latin American Association in Atlanta, agreed with Mr. Golden, saying that he had known Mr. Reich for many years. He said Mr. Reich has been “a highly effective ambassador,” who can build a coalition of Cuban-Americans to spark the opening of Cuba to U.S. trade.
Calling Mr. Reich “the key player” on Cuba policy, Mr. Golden, supported abolishingthe U.S. embargo with Cuba during his speech. “The timing finally appears right to move forward,” he said.
Mr. Golden accompanied Georgia agriculture commissioner, Tommy Irvin, on a visit to Cuba last fall. He is in the process of organizing the first major U.S.-Cuban Agricultural Sales Conference next January in Cancun, Mexico.