Cuba Update

Yay, Potato Cooperatives!


Communications are spotty with Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Cuba entourage, but Otter’s spokesman Jon Hanian was able to update us this morning.

The posse visited a medical clinic, and met with the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture yesterday. Hanian said Idaho Agriculture Department Director Celia Gould, who is on the trip, was there for that one. Last night Otter, Gould and former Speaker of the Idaho House Bruce Newcomb met with Ricardo Alarcon, the president of the Cuban National Assembly.

“Today, they’re going to a potato cooperative,” Hanian said. If they make it through that trip, Hanian said the group plans to visit the former residence of Ernest Hemingway.

Tonight, Otter will host Cuban officials at an “Idaho dinner” at the Hotel Nacional, where Otter is staying.

Boise Weekly’s own Nathaniel Hoffman is on the ground in Havana. Read his first dispaches here and watch BW BEAT for more updates from our own Mojito sampler.

We were gratified to learn, here at BW HQ, that the governor’s office was at least in part using Hoffman’s dispatches to learn more about the whereabouts of their boss. Getting in touch with Otter over in Cuba has, to say the least, been a challenge, Hanian said.

“They say they’re having problems with wireless computers, and the computer center doesn’t open until later,” Hanian said. “We’re still having fax issues.” He’s struggled with getting messages to Otter on the group’s satellite phone.

More as we get it. Thanks for reading.