Kansas’ agricultural community supports better relations with Cuba

From left to right: Taylor Williamson (Kansas Wheat), Sen. Dan Kerschen, Rep. Ron Highland with his wife, Dariel Quintana Fraga, and Kerry Wefald (Department of Agriculture)

The Third Secretary of the Embassy of Cuba in Washington D.C., Dariel Quintana Fraga visited the State of Kansas, from April 3rd to 5th, 2019. The main purpose of his journey was to discuss ways of improving relations between Cuba and Kansas.

During the visit, the diplomat witnessed Kansas' interest in mutually-beneficial collaboration and trade. He was able to exchange briefly with Governor Laura Kelly, Lt. Governor Lynn Rogers and Secretary of Commerce David Toland about opportunities for trade, technical exchange and investigation between the island and the Midwestern state.

From left to right: Kerry Wefald (Department of Agriculture), Taylor Williamson (Kansas Wheat), David C. Toland (Secretary of Commerce), Dariel Quintana Fraga, and Randi Tveitaraas Jack (Department of Commerce)

While in Topeka he also met the leadership of the agriculture committees in both the Senate and the House of the state legislature.

The official visited the city of Manhattan, Kansas, to meet representatives from the Department of Agriculture, the Wheat Commission, and the Farm Bureau. At that meeting, they talked about critical agricultural trade issues including fair and reciprocal trade. They all shared the common interest in getting their products to the island.

Kansas’ farmers have looked at Cuba for years as a nearby, safe, and potential trading partner. In 2016 was established an Engage Cuba Kansas chapter to bring together local businesses, professionals, farmers and officials who are in favor of a change in the Cuba policy. That same year, in September, Kansas Wheat Commission welcomed a group of Cuban flour millers to exchange expertise and showcase the quality of U.S. commodities.

A lecture at the University of Kansas about Cuba-U.S. relations was included on the visit. Our official discussed with faculty members about the opportunities for increasing educational exchanges. He also met with members of the Cubanorigin community at the state.

During his time in Kansas, the Embassy official experienced the interest generated by Cuba and the benefits of a bilateral relation based on mutual respect between Havana and Washington D.C.

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