Thanks to Channel 4 for noting that Gov. Asa Hutchinson plans a late September trip to Cuba to promote Arkansas agricultural products.

Arkansas’s significant agriculture industry is chomping to see Cuba open. It would be a massive importer of, for example, rice, which Cuba otherwise has to receive at greater cost and distance

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In warming to Cuba, Hutchinson joins the Boozman wing of the Republican Party, not the Sen. Tom Cotton wing. Cotton has been nearly bellicose about Obama administration efforts to thaw relations with Cuba, including opening an embassy. He calls it appeasement and promises to continue to do all he can to damage the Castro regime, including presumably by denying it products of Arkansas soil.

The Hutchinson kitchen cabinet includes an old Cuba hand, by the way, who can help the governor negotiate the country. Ad man Gary Heathcott, who handled campaign ads for Hutchinson and is now an executive at CJRW, has been to Cuba 70 times in the course of an interest in cigars and a future when Americans would again have business opportunities on the island. Heathcott picked up a communicators award at this year’s Festival del Habano, a celebration of Cuban cigars.

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