June 23, 1909
In the interest of Cuba, and to promote Cuban reciprocity sentiment in the West, General Carlos Garcia Velez, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the United States from Cuba, will make an extensive tour of the Western states, visiting all of the larger cities and the various chambers of commerce.
General Garcia said yesterday at the Hotel Baltimore that his principal object was to get in touch with the merchants and manufacturers of the West, and to interest them in Cuba and her possibilities, and by increasing business, to strengthen the already friendly relations between Cuba and this country.
"We want better freight conditions and facilities," said he. "It is our belief that we can reach the Western states with as great facilities as we now enjoy in the East, that it will be for the mutual benefit of both countries. For instance, we raise one of the largest crops of pineapples of any country in the world. Our pineapples are ready for the market at times when other producers cannot get them to ship. If we could get the rates there is no reason in the world why Cuban pineapples could not sell in Western markets for as low a price as 3 cents a piece.
"Then there are our tobacco and cigars. I had trouble today in finding some of the best grades of our cigars in Kansas City. In New York it is easy to find them
"Statistics show that in the United States there is used annually 1,600,000 tons of sugar. I do not know that there is a refinery in this section of the country. But there is need of one. Cuba will produce 1,400,000 tons of cane sugar this year. We need but a small portion of this amount for our own consumption. Sugar in the United States could be sold cheaper if we had the transportation facilities necessary in the west. It is the same with other products of our country.
"Most of our products are marketable when the season is over. We could ship new potatoes when there was not a new potato to be found in the United States, unless in the extreme southwest. Bananas are plentiful with us when they are scarce and dear in this country.
General Garcia is the eldest son of General Calixto Garcia, to whom was written the famous "message." He was his father's chief of staff, has been a minister to Mexico and since his graduation from an American college has been attached to the consular and diplomatic service of his country.
His brother is Justo Garcia Velez, is the present secretary of state of Cuba. The general will remain in Kansas City several days.