James Barrood is the CEO of the New Jersey Tech Council which came to Cuba on two separate trade missions. He offers an unusually clear-sighted, pragmatic view of the way business in both countries could benefit from normalized relations, free of the usual axe-grinding and arrogance about how Cuba needs to do x y or z in order to be allowed to trade with the U.S. Barrood recognizes that trade is a two way street, but even more, he opened his eyes while visiting and saw the amazing things Cuba has to offer Americans. Not just in terms of high technology and biotechnology (the powerhouse that is hardly ever mentioned), but in terms of its society.
“We must forget our preconceptions that Cuba is a third-world, backward, poor island of 11 million people. It is not. Rather, in many ways, it is a modern miracle. I encourage you to visit, not as a cigar or rum aficionado nor a beach bum, but as a passionate student who wants to engage a people and culture, and simply learn. A historical opportunity this extraordinary will never present itself again.”