Monday, August 23, 2010

Another "trade mission" To Cuba. Last Year's Questions Remain

The lower right corner of today’s Albuquerque Journal metro page offered a seven paragraph report of another “trade mission” to Cuba by Gov. Bill Richardson. Along for the ride are Miley Gonzales, secretary of the state’s agriculture department, and Stuart Ashman, cultural affairs secretary. The Journal’s “story” was a near transcription of the Governor’s news release.
The plan, said the release, is that “Richardson will help market New Mexico commodities and follow up on inroads made on potential trade partnerships during a visit to Cuba last year.” This is the fourth trade mission (or something) to Cuba.
A big difference is that Katherine Miller and Gilbert Gallegos are not along. Miller is secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration until September 1. Gallegos is Richardson’s communications chief. Last year I had some questions about the trip. Gallegos told me to buzz off.
Here are some of those questions, updated a bit:
How did the travelers get to Cuba? Route? Airline? Private plane?
To buy a ticket to Havana from Mexico City, one cannot use a U.S.-issued credit card. Where does that fit with state procurement rules?
How about developing more trade with someone we trade with, like Honduras.
Did anything come of last year’s trip besides “inroads?”
What does the Cultural Affairs Department have to do with trade in general and trade with Cuba?
Are Richardson, Gonzales and Ashman the only ones on the trip? What about Richardson’s ever present security detail? Last year rumors abounded of other New Mexicans just happening to be along.

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