In their own words ...
--Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, speaking to reporters Sept. 26 following a ceremony inaugurating the U.S. Food & Agribusiness Exhibition in Havana.
"I should watch my weight."
--Fidel Castro, as he picked at a plate of French fries on the show's opening day.
"Cuba is an international deadbeat and last in terms of GDP ... This is a Jurassic Park economy and it's no great market for the U.S."
--James Cason, the new chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, warning U.S. exhibitors not to get too enthusiastic about doing business in Cuba.
"We understand this is an election year ... but the people at this trade show represent this country's commercial interests. We cannot be ignored."
--David Radlo, president of Radlo Foods, a Watertown, Mass. egg producer.
"American business has been reintroduced to Cuba. We're back, and this irreversible."
--John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council Inc.
"We are continuously taking the pulse of the U.S. position regarding Cuban trade. I predict that the travel restrictions will be lifted in the next 12 months."
--Gene T. Arthur, president of Comidas y Bebidas International Inc., a New Jersey food exporter that participated in the Havana trade show.
"In our state, producers are looking to diversify. Cuba offers an excellent market. We will definitely let our legislators know that."
--Anthony Moreno, marketing official at Kentucky's Department of Agriculture.
"If Falun Gong practitioners using $10,000 worth of equipment could circumvent the jamming of their programs by China's Communist regime, the U.S. government can most certainly devise a method to ensure that U.S. broadcasts to Cuba are heard from Oriente to Pinar del Rio."
--Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-FL), chair of the House subcommittee on international operations and human rights, speaking Sept. 5 at a seminar in Washington.
"Cuban infants have a right to try our products."
--Kenneth Rosario, general manager of Gerber Products of Puerto Rico Inc.
"For 40 years, U.S. Cuba policy has been held hostage by a self-interested minority while the rest of the nation has suffered the economic burden of being cut off from a natural trading partner."
--Lissa Weinmann of Americans For Humanitarian Trade With Cuba.
"This fair will help build sentiment in Congress for further liberalizing trade with Cuba."
--Brian Alexander, executive director of the Cuba Policy Foundation, a Washington nonprofit organization that seeks to end the embargo.
"As a farmer, my job is to produce food for people to eat. When it comes to the politics of the embargo, that's for the politicians to understand."
--Ralph Kaehler, owner of Homedale Farms in St. Charles, Minn., which won a contract to sell 50 beef and dairy cows and other livestock to Alimport.
"Cuba is a big topic because people like to make it a big topic, but it's not like you have a market down there. It all depends on how it happens. Will people go back to Cuba or will they stay here? I don't know, and I don't think anybody else knows."
--Lettie Bien, president of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce.