politics, world power, and commerce -- just what you'd expect the Church
to be involved with, right? The answer is yes, when you're talking the
UMC, GBCS, NCC, ADM, and Elián González! How does Elián end up in this
smorgasbord of alphabet soup, you ask?
This week a ship of goods arrived in Cuba worth
millions in sales to some big conglomerate corporations -- most
significantly Archer Daniels Midland Co., the Illinois-based
agribusiness giant. Little Elián was part of the stock-and-trade in
this deal, so the story goes. All the UMC General Board of Church and
Society (GBCS), the National Council of Churches (NCC), and ADM had to
do to interest Fidel Castro in the trade business was to ensure Elián's
return to the communists. Having lived up to their part of the bargain,
ADM is now beginning what they hope will be a long lucrative
relationship with the dictator to the south.
Perhaps you don't recall how the UMC, ADM, and
Elián got connected--here's the background:
ORLANDO SUN SENTINEL
Published: Sunday, April 23, 2000
Charley Reese of The Sentinel Staff
All of the information comes from the
Archer Daniels Midland Shareholders Watch Committee.
In the fall of 1995, ADM's chairman,
Dwayne Andreas, met with Fidel Castro for dinner in New York. In July
1996, Andreas announced that he was going to Cuba to see Castro. He
said he contemplated building a refinery in Cuba but would do it
through a Spanish subsidiary because of the trade embargo.
In 1997, a Spanish company invested $65
million in Cuba for a refinery for the production of alcohol from
molasses. In October 1999, Martin Andreas, senior vice president, said
ADM would consider constructing a vegetable-oil plant in Cuba if the
market were open.
Last January the Cuban government
announced that it is moving toward consideration of a joint-venture
type of relationship with ADM. In February, ADM announced plans for
another trade exhibition in Havana in December.
What has this got to do with Elian
Well, there are a lot of interesting
coincidences. Remember the meeting with the grandmothers at the home
of the president of Barry University?
Dwayne Andreas is a large contributor to
Barry University, and his wife is a graduate and is past chairman of
the board of trustees. The president of the university was initially
in favor of returning Elian to his father -- until the meeting with
the grandmothers convinced her that the Cuban government was calling
Last October, Andrew Young, an ADM board
member and member of the public-policy committee, was installed as
president of the National Council of Churches, an old left front
group, which has taken the lead in urging that Elian be returned to
Gregory Craig, the high-priced lawyer who
suddenly materialized to represent Juan Gonzalez, who couldn't afford
two seconds of Craig's time, is part of a law firm that also
represents ADM. Craig is ostensibly being paid by the National Council
That seems like an awful lot of
coincidences linking Elian Gonzalez with ADM, which calls itself the
supermarket to the world. Castro is like any other communist dictator.
If you want to cut deals with him, you have to kiss his backside. If
you want to open a news bureau in Havana, you have to kiss his
backside. Castro wants the kid back, and what do you know?
A leftist church group and a high-priced
lawyer, both with ADM connections, pop up to lead the campaign. And,
no surprise, the big American news media jump on the same bandwagon.
Religion and Democracy
April 27, 2000
When Washington attorney Gregory Craig
agreed to represent Juan Miguel Gonzalez in his struggle to bring his
son, little Elian, back to Cuba, a lot of people assumed the Clinton
White House had arranged it. And perhaps the Administration did. Craig
did represent Clinton during the impeachment process.
But the full truth may be stranger, with
participants including mainline church leaders and possibly Dwayne
Andreas, former chairman of food mega-company Archer Daniels Midland.
The head of the United Methodist Church's
lobby office in Washington claims it was he who recruited Craig to
represent Elian's father. Thom White Wolf Fassett, general secretary
of the denomination's Board of Church and Society, is a long-time
advocate for full U.S. ties to Fidel Castro's government. With a staff
of nearly 40 people and a budget of almost $4 million, the Board is
the largest church lobby in the nation's capital.
Fassett flew to Cuba in March with Joan
Brown Campbell, the former head of the National Council of Churches,
to help facilitate Elian's return to his father. Upon returning to the
U.S., Fassett's agency created a "Humanitarian Advocacy Fund," to
raise dollars for Craig's legal fees in the Elian case. The stated
goal was $50,000 to $100,000. Fassett stressed that no church money
would go to the fund. Although there was no visible fundraising effort
by Fassett, the fund quickly gained $50,000, indicating that donors
were already available when the fund was established. "This is not an
appeal we've made to anybody," Fassett admitted. "This is a passive
Unlike most of the Board of Church and
Society's left-wing political activities, this project gained major
media attention. Many United Methodists responded with outrage that
one of their church agencies was enmeshing itself in the Elian
controversy. By late April, the church's agency for financial
oversight forced Fassett to abandon the fund, saying it violated
denominational guidelines. The fund, with its over $50,000, was
transferred to the National Council of Churches, where the collection
for Greg Craig will continue.
Where did the money come from, and how did
a church official enlist Greg Craig on behalf of Elian's father? The
Board of Church and Society is refusing to disclose its donor list or
to explain further. But an obscure group called the Shareholders Watch
Committee is alleging that food giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and
its former chairman Dwayne Andreas were instrumental in procuring the
super lawyer. The committee even alleges Andreas directly donated
$10,000 to the United Methodist Humanitarian Advocacy Fund, a charge
that ADM denies.
Whatever the credibility of the
Shareholders Watch Committee, the connections between Andreas and the
Elian situation are numerous. First of all, Craig's law firm, Williams
and Connally, does legal work for ADM. Secondly, the president of the
National Council of Churches is former ambassador and Atlanta mayor
Andrew Young, who also serves on ADM's board. Third, Andreas is a
major contributor to Barry University in Florida, where Elian's
meeting with his visiting grandmothers was orchestrated. Andreas' wife
formerly chaired the school's board of trustees.
Fourth, Andreas has been generous with the
National Council of Churches. In 1996 he contributed $1 million to the
council's Burned Churches Fund. ADM contributed $200,000 to the fund
in 1998. And last November, when Young was inaugurated as the church
council's new president, Andreas made a special $100,000 gift to the
council. At the time, Andreas explained he was an old friend of Joan
Brown Campbell, the outgoing general secretary.
In 1998, Andreas joined a coalition that
included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Council of
Churches, and the United Methodist Board of Church and Society to
lobby for removing U.S. trade sanctions against Castro's Cuba. Fassett
and Campbell attended the press conference, while a statement from
Andreas was read, in which he insisted that "Now is the time to make a
friend of Castro."
The Shareholders Watch Committee points
out, based on numerous press articles, that ADM's potential business
interests in Cuba are extensive. In 1996 Andreas told The Washington
Post he was going to Cuba to see Castro, commenting, "It'll be sugar
out, cooking oil in." He said he wanted to build a refinery in Cuba
but would operate through a Spanish company to evade the U.S. trade
embargo. A Spanish company did the next year build a refinery in Cuba
to produce alcohol from molasses.
Last year, Andreas' nephew, Martin, said
ADM would consider building a vegetable oil plant in Cuba if
permitted. Early this year, the Cuban government said it was
considering a joint-venture with ADM for distributing soybeans and
other agricultural products in Cuba. Also this year ADM sponsored a
major healthcare exhibition in Havana.
Andreas met Fidel Castro in New York for
dinner in October 1995. During that same visit, Castro also met at the
National Council of Churches with Joan Campbell and Thom White Wolf
Fassett, along with dozens of other church leaders, to share
strategies on overthrowing U.S. trade sanctions against Cuba.
Left-wing church groups like the United
Methodist Board of Church and Society and the National Council of
Churches are no doubt involved in the Elian saga because of their
long-time infatuation with Fidel Castro. But, in so doing, they may be
doing the bidding of a mega-corporation more focused on dollars than
ideology. It would be a strange alliance, one in which little Elian's
best interests were barely a factor.
Jewish World Review
May 8, 2000
by Cal Thomas
Profiting from Elian Gonzalez
Who stands to benefit if Fidel Castro is
handed a huge propaganda victory with the repatriation of Elian and
his father to Cuba? One beneficiary would seem to be Dwayne Andreas,
former chairman of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), one of the world's
largest agribusiness companies. Thom White Wolf Fassett, the head of
the United Methodist Church lobbying office in Washington, says
Andreas recruited Craig to represent Juan Miguel.
Whether the charge is true, Craig's law
firm, Williams and Connally, does legal work for ADM. The president of
the National Council of Churches, former Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor
Andrew Young, serves on ADM's board. Andreas is a major contributor to
Florida's Barry University, where Elian's meeting with his visiting
grandmothers took place. Andreas' wife formerly chaired the school's
board of trustees.
These cozy relations could lead to big
business for ADM in Cuba if sanctions are ended. Andreas, along with
Campbell, Fassett and dozens of other church leaders, met with Castro
in New York five years ago to discuss strategies for ending trade
sanctions against Cuba. And couldn't President Clinton -- who, it is
speculated, wants to lift these sanctions as part of his presidential
legacy -- end up with some sort of sweet deal in his post-White House
years from those American companies salivating to do business in Cuba?
The only suspense left in this saga is, just
what will the UMC, GBCS, and/or NCC have to gain out of these
shenanigans? Were these communist sympathizers simply altruistic
patsies in the deal, who were manipulated and used as throw-away pawns
by ADM? Were these so-called church people simply so zealous in their
desires to cuddle with Fidel that they were willing to go begging for
ADM? Or, were these radical liberal socialists figuring to build a
long-term relationship with the neighboring communist state, which
persecutes Christians and restricts religious freedom? Perhaps time
What is apparent at this time is
that ADM is reaping the harvest from the Elián trade.
Decatur, Illinois Herald & Review
By SUSAN REIDY -- H&R Staff Writer
DECATUR -- Archer Daniels Midland Co.
reached an agreement Tuesday to sell agricultural commodities to Cuba
as part of the first such sales by U.S. food producers in 40 years.
The United States has had an embargo
against the communist country since the 1960s. A devastating hurricane
earlier this month prompted Cuban officials to propose cash purchases
of relief supplies after rejecting an initial offer of U.S.
"Obviously it's exciting news," [ADM Larry
Cunningham, senior vice president of corporate affairs] said. "It's
been roughly 40 years since an American food company has sold any
product in Cuba. We're delighted to be the first people to do so.
We're hopeful that it will lead to further relationships."
Congress passed a law last year
allowing sales of food and medicine to Cuba with restrictions
at the urging of farm groups and companies like ADM.
Cuba has sent several delegations to visit
ADM and other Illinois agriculture centers during the past few years.
Gov. George H. Ryan led a delegation that included ADM
representatives to the island in October 1999 and ADM sponsored a
trade show there in January 2000.
Cunningham said the company was contacted
last week by Cubans, who were part of a delegation that visited
Decatur last fall, to discuss the possible commodity sales.
"This is an opportunity we've been working
on for some time," Cunningham said. "The tragic hurricane created an
opportunity to speed things along."
U.S. State Department officials had said
earlier they would support the sales given the humanitarian nature of
the Cuban's request and consult with other agencies "to expedite
Decatur, Illinois Herald & Review
Monday, December 17, 2001
By DENNIS MAGEE
H&R Chief Photographer
The Archer Daniels Midland Co. completed
its first cash transaction with Cuba on Sunday, when the M.V. Ikan
Mazatlan powered into Havana Bay shortly after 2 p.m. In its hold,
nearly 1 million bushels of corn symbolically collected from nine
Midwestern states up and down the Mississippi River.
ADM, which has labored since at least
the early 1990s to retool American trade policy with Fidel Castro's
Communist regime . . . [emphasis added]
"ADM was the first with contracts, and we
welcome and encourage the presence of ADM. We would like it to be much
more significant -- every day. We would like for ADM to be the main
supplier to Cuba," [said Pedro Alvarez Borrego, president of Alimport,
the Cuban government's import company].
Alvarez said the Cuban government has
committed about $30 million to purchases from the United States since
the aftermath of Hurricane Michelle. ADM has listed the combined
approximate market value of their signed contracts with Cuba at $14
million. [emphasis added]
He also said while Cuba would like to
greatly increase trade, even if sanctions were lifted completely, not
all imports would flow automatically from the United States. He said
the Cuban government has twice learned the painful lesson of
overdependence on a single supplier.
In 1962, shortly after Castro came to
power, sanctions were imposed by the U.S. Then, in 1989, the former
Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies collapsed. The two events
each in their turn wiped out Cuba's primary partners that were
responsible for 90 percent or more of all trade.
The Chicago Tribune
By Tim Jones
Tribune staff reporter
Published December 11, 2001
[John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba
Trade and Economic Council in New York] cautioned that while the
expected green light for food shipments represents a thaw in relations
between the two countries, it does not signal a widespread change in
"It would be a mistake to believe that
these commercial sales under a humanitarian umbrella represent a
fundamental change in the bilateral relationship. These transactions
are significant, but they are not seminal to the relationship," he
In an earlier effort to ease diplomatic
relations and create some economic opportunities, Illinois Gov. George
Ryan met with Cuban President Fidel Castro in October 1999.
The five-day mission ended with Castro
rejecting Ryan's request for the release of four political dissidents,
who were jailed after calling for an open dialogue on political and
The U.S. imposed the trade embargo in 1962
after Castro came to power and installed a communist government. Last
fall, Congress eased some restrictions to allow cash sales of food and
medicine to the island.
The Chicago Tribune
By Vanessa Bauza and Rafael Lorente.
Special to the Tribune.
Published December 17, 2001
Compared to Cuba's annual $1 billion in
food imports, the recent purchases are a "small operation" Alvarez
said. If they were distributed immediately, the commodities would fill
about two weeks of consumption. However, he added, the purchases show
U.S. farmers and agribusiness that Cuba is a market worth
pursuing. [emphasis added]
Executives from Archer Daniels Midland
Co., the Illinois-based agribusiness giant, flew to Havana on Sunday
to await the [shipment] bearing 24,000 metric tons of corn, mostly
Larry Cunningham, ADM senior vice
president of corporate affairs, said Cuba's proximity makes it an
attractive market for U.S. grain surpluses.
"It is our feeling that the best way to
build relations between countries is to have them become trading
partners," he said, adding that the sales culminated about eight years
of "bridge building" with Cuban officials.
Asked whether ADM is concerned about
Cuba's faltering economy and the money it owes to other trading
partners, Cunningham said his company looks at the long-term
"As the economy improves in Cuba, we think
this will lead to the additional production of swine and poultry,
which will need grains," he said.
When Castro seized power in 1959, about 70
percent of the island's imports came from the United States. In 1963
those ties evaporated as economic sanctions took hold and the Soviet
Union became Cuba's main commercial trading partner.
In Havana, officials have said getting rid
of the embargo is their foreign policy priority.
So, there you have the latest events.
What about this ADM corporation? Just what
kind of "bedfellows" did the UMC, GBCS, and NCC link up with?
ADM: Superracket to the World
Dwayne Andreas, the chair of the board of
Archer Daniels Midland, went before a packed shareholders meeting in
October  and apologized for the crimes committed by his company.
"I consider this a serious matter which I
deeply regret," he said. "The buck stops with me. You have my apology
and my commitment that things are arranged so that this will never
Just one week before the shareholders
meeting, ADM pled guilty to various felonies and paid a $100 million
criminal fine -- the largest criminal antitrust fine ever -- for its
role in conspiracies to fix prices to eliminate competition and
allocate sales in the lysine and citric acid markets worldwide. The
two-count felony charges filed against ADM alleged that the company
conspired with other producers (including previously charged Ajinomoto
Co. Inc., Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co. Ltd. and Sewon America Inc.) in the
lysine and citric markets to set prices and allocate sales from 1992
Victims and shareholders were livid over
the plea agreement, under which all executives and employees of ADM --
except for two -- will be protected from prosecution if they cooperate
with the government. Dwayne Andreas, the big cheese, was protected.
Stock analysts applauded the agreement,
saying that ADM could now put the matter behind it, and ADM stock went
up after the announcement of the plea.
"There are a whole number of ADM
executives who committed these crimes," says David Hoech, co-founder
of the ADM Shareholders Watch Committee of Hallandale, Florida. "Those
executives should have been indicted first."
Hoech says that political campaign
contributions from ADM to both political parties inoculated ADM and
its executives from a just result.
Kenneth Adams, a lawyer for the victims of
ADM's crime, says the plea agreement is troubling because "there is no
disclosure in the plea agreement about the particulars of this crime."
"The government shed no light on who was
involved -- whether there were a few individuals or many," Adams says.
"I would want to know who did this. These people are still sitting at
their desks and we don't know who screwed up."
Adams estimates that the citric acid
price-fixing cost his clients $400 million while the lysine
price-fixing cost $100 million. Under federal sentencing law, the $500
million total loss could be doubled, thus putting ADM's potential
criminal exposure at $1 billion. But the Department of Justice's Gary
Spratling defended the $100 million fine, saying "we made all of our
decisions based on the evidence we had developed -- we don't think
anybody is getting off the hook."
Federal officials said that as a result of
ADM's crime, seed companies, large poultry and swine producers and
ultimately farmers paid millions more to buy lysine, an amino acid
used by farmers as a feed additive to ensure the proper growth of
livestock. It is a $600-million-a-year industry worldwide.
Analysis No. 241
September 26, 1995
by James Bovard
The Archer Daniels Midland Corporation (ADM)
. . . and its chairman Dwayne Andreas have lavishly fertilized both
political parties with millions of dollars in handouts and in return
have reaped billion-dollar windfalls . . .
Andreas has long talked and behaved as if
he had a divine mission to give as much money as possible to as many
politicians as possible. The Washington Post noted in 1985 that
"Andreas said he was raised in a religious tradition that called for
'tithing' 10 percent of personal income to the church. And, he adds,
'I consider politics to be just like the church.'" Andreas likewise
declared in 1990, "I was raised to believe you're supposed to support
your mayor and your congressman and your politicians. . . . If a
fellow is willing to devote his life to public service, and a fellow
like me has more money than I ever dreamed existed in the whole world,
wouldn't I be an ass if I didn't respond to requests?" One should not
be surprised that the "public services" that Andreas rewards are
services that subsidize ADM.
The Wall Street Journal declared on July
11  that "for more than two decades, Mr. Andreas has reigned as
the prince of political influence." The Washington Post described
Andreas as "one of the great financial 'switch hitters' of American
politics," meaning that ADM will bankroll any politician who supports
ethanol or sugar subsidies regardless of political creed or
ideological convictions. Andreas has done a masterful job of
diversifying his investments by carefully cultivating both Senate
Majority Leader Bob Dole and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. The
New York Times in 1990 called Dole "ADM's staunchest ally on Capitol
Hill." The Wall Street Journal likewise recently reported, "In the
Senate, Mr. Dole has been the chief promoter of the ethanol subsidy."
The Times also noted that "ADM's private plane has flown Dole to
Midwest speaking engagements, and for a time ADM sponsored Dole's
commentaries over the Mutual Radio Network. The Senator and his wife,
Elizabeth Dole, then Secretary of Labor, purchased an apartment from
Andreas in 1982 at the Sea View, a Bal Harbour, Florida, hotel in
which residents hold shares. They paid $150,000--less than the
apartment's market value." Since 1993 Dole has accepted 29 flights on
ADM's private planes (Dole reimburses the company for the price of a
first-class ticket--far less than the cost of chartering a private
plane). After Elizabeth Dole became the head of the Red Cross,
Andreas's nonprofit foundation gave $1 million to the Red Cross.
Andreas also donated $100,000 to Bob Dole's now defunct Better America
Since 1979 Andreas, family members, and
ADM have contributed more than $4 million to congressional and
presidential candidates, as well as to the national Democratic and
In the two years before the 1992 election,
ADM gave $772,000 to Republicans but only $136,500 to Democrats. But
the likelihood of Clinton's victory did wonders for Andreas's
bipartisan spirit. According to the Wall Street Journal, "Andreas,
whose personal contributions heavily favored Republican candidates in
1992, weighed in a mere six days before the presidential election with
a $50,000 contribution to the Democrats' congressional campaign
by Michael Freedman
February 7, 2000
YOU MAY NOT HAVE MADE IT TO Havana in late
January for the U.S. Healthcare Exhibition--the first American trade
show in Cuba since President Eisenhower slapped on trade sanctions 40
years ago. Among the 100 companies like Pfizer and Eli Lilly that were
showing off their wares to local doctors was a somewhat incongruous
visitor -- Archer Daniels Midland.
What, exactly, was the $14 billion (sales)
processor of grains, oilseed and soy products doing in Castroland?
Chairman G. Allen Andreas isn't saying. But it wasn't the first time
ADM has swapped pleasantries with the Maximum Leader. Over the past
two years the company has donated 360 metric tons of soy products to
Cuba. In early October a group of Cuban diplomats had lunch with
executives at ADM's Decatur, Ill. offices, part of a tour in which
Illinois promoted its agriculture and business. Three weeks later
Andreas joined 45 U.S. business, political and civic leaders who went
with Illinois Governor George Ryan on a reciprocal visit to Havana,
where they pointed out to Castro how easy it would be to ship products
to Cuba via the Mississippi River.
"It's our belief that in the next year or
two trade will open up," says Anthony DeLio, ADM's point man on Cuba.
That's optimistic, given congressional sentiments against lifting the
embargo, not to mention the passions aroused by the proposed return of
a 6-year-old refugee to his father in Havana. Is it worth the effort?
"The idea is to show them what we're capable of," says DeLio, "and to
start building a demand for our products."
ADM could use the boost. Since the
price-fixing scandal in 1995, in which three executives were convicted
and sentenced to jail, earnings have dropped by two-thirds to $266
million in the fiscal year that ended last June 30. If the U.S. trade
embargo were lifted, the company believes the sale of feed grain and
bulk food to Cuba could add up to $500 million a year in revenues.
Other starry-eyed plans: spending $100
million to own a vegetable oil processing plant on the island. DeLio
says investing in Cuba's substantial sugar holdings is yet another
possibility, though it might be difficult to disentangle the state
from once-private assets.
Nothing illegal about ADM's
daydreaming--or its trips and p.r. stunts. But the standoff between
the U.S. and Cuba makes food sales impossible for now. A directive
issued by President Clinton a year ago allows food donations to Cuba
and the sale of food to nongovernment organizations; the Castro
regime, meanwhile, forbids such sales to anyone except for the
The Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 presents a
tiny loophole--exempting medicine and supplies from the embargo. Which
is why ADM is pushing soy protein and vitamin E at the trade show.
Build relationships until the politics are
resolved--that's been ADM's mantra for decades. Dwayne Andreas,
Allen's uncle and now chairman emeritus, met often with the Kremlin
politburo and Chinese officials during the 1970s and 1980s. Today 2%
of sales come from the former Soviet Union and 9% from China. Small
pieces, but proof the Andreas family can pry loose opportunities in
places most fear to tread.
Of one thing we can be certain: This story
ain't over yet . . . stay tuned.
Elian's Father Thanks United Methodist For Sending His Son Back To Life
In Communist State - June 29, 2000
Leader Defends Funding For Greg Craig In Elian Case; IRD Responds - May
UM Fund Raising For Craig To Go To National Council of Churches - April
Accompanies Global Agencies Financial Support Of Clinton Lawyer And
Communist Castro In Elian Case - April 21, 2000
Interviews Church Agency Head In Choice of Clinton Attorney To Return
Boy To Communism - April 17, 2000
UMAction Head Speaks On The Cuba, National Council of Churches, United
Methodist Connection In Elian Case - April 11, 2000