Cleber Tractors is First US Company Authorized in Cuba / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 15 February 2016 – The Cleber Tractor Company has become the first U.S. company to receive authorization from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury to operate in Cuba, as reported Monday Associated Press (AP).

Last November, the Alabama-based company won a license of the Government of Cuba to operate in the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM).

Cleber will built an assembly plant for up to 1,000 small tractors a year, specifically designed to support and expand organoponic cultivation methods. These products will be sold to independent farmers in Cuba, according to the AP. The assembly plant will be called “Oggún,” like the orisha of the Yoruba religion linked to technology and surgeons, and syncretic with Saint Peter in Catholicism.

The company’s partners, Horace Clemmons and Saul Berenthal – who was born on the island – received notice from the Treasury Department last week and plan to initiate their activities in the country in the first trimester of the coming year.

“Everyone wants to go to Cuba to sell something, but we are not trying to do that. We are studying the problem and how to help Cuba resolve the problems that they believe are the most important to resolve,” Clemmons told AP. “We believe that we will both win long term if we do things that are beneficial to both countries.”

Among the biggest problems facing Cuban farmers is access to machinery that will facilitate work in the fields. Currently, the tractors that remain active are state-owned, are affiliated to a cooperative or have decades of use in private hands, and have been preserved thanks to ingenuity and spare parts purchased in the informal market.