Artisanal charcoal will become the first legal Cuban export to the United States in decades under a deal between Cuba’s government and the former lawyer for imprisoned US government contractor Alan Gross, attorney Scott Gilbert, who has sought to build economic ties between the two countries since Gross’s release Gross said a company that he founded will buy 40 tons of charcoal made from the invasive woody plant marabu according to The Guardian.
Prensa Latina reports that Cubaexport general director Isabel O’Reilly, on the part of Cuba, signed the contract. ‘This is the first contract, but we hope to continue these relations for many years, not only with the charcoal, but with other items like honey and coffee,’ O’Reilly remarks.
The charcoal is produced by hundreds of worker-owned cooperatives across Cuba and has become an increasingly profitable export, valued for its clean-burning properties and often used in pizza and bread ovens.
The charcoal of marabu considered between the best of the world for its high caloric and energy power, takes place in handmade stoves of a natural way, using like raw material the residual one of serrated wood and woody residues of the areas of the chopping, therefore it does not constitute a cause of deforestation. Cuba sells about 40,000-80,000 tons of marabu charcoal annually to buyers in Italy, Germany and about a half dozen other countries, O’Reilly said.
Gilbert noted that the document represents another ‘link in the bridge that will connect the links between Cuba and the United States’.