For a while Saul Berenthal and Horace Clemmons were the seventy-something poster boys of U.S.-Cuba detente.The retired software entrepreneurs made worldwide headlines by winning Obama administration permission to build the first U.S. factory in Cuba since 1959. Cuban officials lauded their plans to build small tractors in the Mariel free-trade zone west of Havana. But after more than a year of courtship, the Cuban government told Berenthal and Clemmons to drop their plans to build tractors in Cuba, without explanation, Berenthal said Monday.A month and a half ago, their first tractors started rolling off the assembly line — in the town of Fyffe, Alabama, population about 1,000.“Producing the tractors in Mariel was not going to happen,” Berenthal said.He said the company is already selling tractors to customers in the U.S. and Australia and has had inquiries from Peru, Mexico and Ethiopia. He also still hopes to sell to Cuba.
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