The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Castro feeds buffalo, tries a raisin at US food fair

Havana, Sept. 26 (Reuters): Cuban President Fidel Castro bottle fed a Wisconsin buffalo calf and tried a Californian raisin today at the opening of the largest US-Cuban trade fair since the 1950s.

More than 280 companies from 33 US states hope to recover a lost market for US food products as they push for further lifting of sanctions imposed on Cuba after Castro’s 1959 revolution.

“We today open a new chapter in our relations with Cuba,” said Allen Andreas, chairman and CEO of Archer Daniel Midland, the largest US food processor and chief sponsor of the five-day fair.

ADM led the first shipments of grain and soy to Cuba in 43 years last December under a two-year liberalisation of the trade embargo.

Maverick Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, heading the American delegation of 800 food company executives and agriculture officials from seven states, said the fair was “a first step” towards normal relations between Cuba and the United States. Castro, 76, the son of a farmer, took most interest in the US livestock when he toured the fair. He held a milk bottle in two hands to feed a five-month-old buffalo and entered a pen to pat a beef breed bull.

“Little by little the difficulty is being overcome,” he told reporters when asked about moves in Washington to lift the trade embargo and a ban on American tourists visiting the island. The legislation proposals in Congress are firmly opposed by the Bush administration. Castro tried a chocolate shake and fries, but not the burger, at a 1950s diner built by ADM to promote sales of its soy products.

The California Raisin Marketing Board gave Castro two bottles of red wine and boxes of raisins.

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