Seattle Times Publishes Erroneous Editorial on Cuba Trade Facts

December 23rd, 2009 8:34 AM


It seems that the Seattle Times couldn't be bothered to do even a bit of simple research. If they had, they might have spared themselves from publishing an editorial that got  the facts about American trade with Cuba completely wrong:

SEN. Maria Cantwell calls our attention to a law, signed by President Obama, allowing Cuba to buy U.S. farm produce and pay after the goods are shipped. The law reverses a Treasury ruling during the Bush years that Cuba had to pay in advance — a ruling that stopped the trade altogether.

As Humberto Fontova of the Babalu Blog colorfully pointed out:

$720 million just last year in U.S. exports to Cuba! We're Cuba's BIGGEST food supplier for almost a decade!...and YET..?!

...And YET the editorial staff of an eminently prestigious big-city newspaper was incapable of the ONE Google search that now makes COMPLETE JACKASSES of them ALL!!!

Well, your humble correspondent took Humberto's suggestion and Googled "Cuba farm sales" and came up with this article from the December 13 Washington Post:

Exports of U.S. crops, meats and farm products totaled $707 million in 2008.

And the Seattle Times somehow considers that figure for farm sales alone to mean that trade with Cuba stopped altogether due to the big bad Bush administration which required that the Cuban government pay for their goods upfront?

Even more embarrassing for the Seattle Times is this fact from the Associated Press:

The United States remained Cuba's main supplier of food and farm products in 2007, selling the communist-run island more than $600 million in agricultural exports despite its trade embargo, a top official said Monday.


Perhaps the funniest part of the Seattle Times editorial was its assumption that Cuba has all sorts of disposable income to invest in America:

We would allow Cuba to buy U.S. foodstuffs, and most other products, under normal commercial rules. We would allow Americans to visit Cuba without threatening them with fines under the Trading With the Enemy Act. We would repeal the Helms-Burton Act and allow Americans to invest in Cuba, and we would allow some Cuban investment here.

As for allowing the Cuban government to buy products from American farmers on credit, good luck with that. Communist Cuba has a history of not being exactly reliable on paying back its debts.

Meanwhile we await a correction from the Seattle Times that not only corrects its absurd claim that American trade with Cuba stopped altogether but also states that the USA is the main food supplier to Cuba. 

To quote the late Sam Kinison, "Say it! SAAAAAY IT!!!"

UPDATE: It is the end of Day 1 since the huge error in this Seattle Times editorial was pointed out. As you can see on their corrections page, the Seattle Times has still not corrected their erroneous editorial. Remember, Seattle Times, when/if you ever get around to issuing a correction you need to state just how many hundreds of millions of dollar of trade we do with Cuba plus point out that we are the number one supplier of food to that Communist island. We now await your correction in 5... 4... 3... 2...

UPDATE #2:  Day 2 and still no correction from the Seattle Times for their erroneous editorial. You can run, Seattle Times, but you can't hide. 

UPDATE #3:  Day 3 and the Seattle Times still refuses to issue a correction to their completely untrue editorial. Better issue that correction as soon as possible, Seattle Times, to spare yourselves even greater embarrassment down the road.