Who Does Cuba Have to Make Concessions to?

Elio Delgado Legon

Trump advisor Helen Aguirre Ferre. Photo: telesurtv.net

HAVANA TIMES — I have just read a news item which has left me flabbergasted: US President Donald Trump believes that Cuba, “with everything we have given it”, has not made any “concessions” within the normalization of bilateral relations process, according to what his adviser Helen Aguirre Ferre said today in an exclusive interview with the Spanish news agency, EFE.

It seems that President Trump isn’t very well-informed. Reestablishing diplomatic ties isn’t a gift of any kind, it was the outcome of long negotiations, because it was something that benefitted both countries and it was illogical that two neighboring countries didn’t have diplomatic relations, which then president Barack Obama recognized. However, Cuba wasn’t the one to break off its diplomatic relations with the United States, it was the other way around, therefore, it was up to the US to patch up their mistake.

The bilateral agreements which have been signed since December 17, 2014, mainly benefit the US more than they do Cuba, therefore there haven’t been any gifts, and there have only been logical agreements between neighboring countries.

I ask myself, why does Cuba have to make concessions to the United States? If we look back over history, Cuba wasn’t the one to intervene in any war in the US, nor did it invade or occupy this country, nor did it impose an amendment to its constitution so as to receive economic and political advantages. It was the United States who did this to Cuba and who used blackmail to get this amendment approved by the Cuban Parliament, even when they didn’t agree with it.

Cuba has not taken by force and does not occupy any bit of US territory, but the US does have a naval base in Cuba, which goes against the Cuban people’s will and international law.

Cuba does not have an embargo on the United States, it’s the other way around. The United States has kept a trade, economic and financial blockade against Cuba in force for more than half a century, which is condemned year after year by all of the countries in the world at the UN. A blockade which violates all of the precepts of international law and even the US’ own Constitution.

Cuba has never attacked the United States; however, it has been attacked by military means with the 1961 mercenary invasion of the Bay of Pigs; with the organization and funding of armed groups within Cuba, which has taken hundreds of Cuban lives, including the murder of farmers and young literacy teachers.

The French ship La Coubre was blown up, on CIA orders, in Havana and dozens of Cubans died. A Cubana Airlines plane was sabotaged mid-flight, on CIA orders, and the 73 people aboard died. Cuban diplomats in other countries were murdered and bombs were planted in diplomatic headquarters in our country, on CIA orders.

Over 600 plans to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro were drawn up and organized by CIA staff.

The human and material losses that the Cuban people have suffered for over half a century, by different US governments, have been immense, and even though they have been assessed, there are some things which can’t be assessed, such as the human lives lost in the US’ attacks on Cuba.

I have pointed out the most famous attacks that I can remember, generally-speaking, because a complete list of these would not fit in the space of this article. So I ask again: Who does Cuba have to make concessions to? Why?

Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.

16 thoughts on “Who Does Cuba Have to Make Concessions to?

  • There are two factors in play:
    – US tourism is mainly limited to Havana. So the impact on hotel prices and casa / paladar prices is more acute there.
    – Havana is the capital and since the Maleconazo the regime favors Havana
    – independent know that there is more money (U$) in Havana and want to get their products there
    – the impact on other provinces is scarcity: goods transferred to Havana
    – prices indeed rise and salaries don’t move. You are right. All the result of the regime searching for more income selling products to paladares and cruise ships. (I can post links)
    – 62% of Cubans get (some) dollars from abroad. Without that IPS (left wing news) reported that Cuban economists have confirmed that a 4 person family needs 7 average wages to make ends meet.
    – wage controls are in place: the regime decides them
    – price controls are in place: the regime decides them
    So both “solutions” you propose are in place and they don’t work. If you think Raul Castro will allow you to set prices and wages you are delusional.
    If the regime spent the money its spends on repression and the military on food, health and education things would be very different.
    Your mistake is that the regime has the money to spend to truly improve the lives of all Cubans and that it would be willing to do so even if it had.
    Sorry my friend: I am an economist. The basic fact is: the Cuban “economy” doesn’t produce the goods it needs to generate the revenue it needs to feed the people. It has lived of subsidies and (un-repaid) loans for 50 years. That won’t change. Your error is that you assume the Cuban economy can generate the cash to “more equally” distribute the goods. It can’t. So price controls will just create more scarcity. Wage increases won’t work as the products created by the work force don’t bring in the revenue needed.
    I applaud your love of the Cuban people. I deplore that you can’t see through the economic quagmire. No offense intended.

  • Note that US travelers are mainly limited too Havana. Impact in the provinces is low except for ports of call for cruise ships. I don’t think the US influx of tourists an overwhelming effect on price hikes in the provinces (excluding Havana). Outside Havana scarcity – maybe provoked to some extent by deviating food to Havana for US tourism – is the main reason.

    You are 100% correct that this puts a strain on people abroad (the “gusanos” – worms) that provide 62% of Cubans with remittances the government “steals” with exorbitant prices for food an appliances (230% tax).
    The 38% that remains live in abject poverty (average pension $10, average salary $25).

    Unlike what you may think we are 90% in agreement. Where we differ is that – while in a transitory phase – price controls may work, in the long run they are destructive. look what is happening with transport in Havana with the price controls on the “boteros ” (private taxis). Their income is limited, their costs aren’t. They are dying and they strike. That is the future. Pay living wages and ensure that the Cuban people can live of their wages (a family of 4 needs 7 average salaries to meet its needs according to Cuban economists – IPS as source). Price controls always favor some and hurt others. It is time to end the suffering.

  • It has been really interesting to watch what has happened in Camaguey since the famous Obama visit. Prices for just about everything have risen while salaries have remained the same. The result of this is that most of my friends are under more stress to make ends meet. If you do not have family abroad or access to tourists the lives of most people are worse off, there is no trickle down effect. It also puts more strain on those friends that either work at the resorts or have access to tourists to help their family members. I think it will continue until, and Moses you might not like this, until some form of price and wage controls are put in place. Raise the salaries of people and freeze prices on the basics. Maybe with a little money to spend on something other than the basics the Cuban economy will benefit.

  • How about the Castro regime make a few simple concessions to the Cuban people? Such as:

    1. Respect human rights
    2. Allow free and fair multi-party elections
    3. Allow a free press & free media
    4. Freedom of religion, association & trade unions
    5. The rule of law, not the rule of powerful men

  • Most of what Elio alludes to is historical fact.
    I would just pick up on one thing:
    The Cubana Passenger Plane was brought down by agents who had previously worked for the CIA and had undergone terrorist training paid for by the US taxpayer.
    However I don’t think that this particular terrorist attack was ordered by the CIA or the USA.
    My understanding is that these US trained terrorists had ‘gone rogue’.
    Although having said that, these terrorists were then subsequently harboured by successive US administrations.
    The only other thing I would mention is that Elio should not be bothered to be flabbergasted by what trump or his cronies say.
    They range from the extremist to the apparently deranged.

  • Simply put, the Castros
    succeeded because the tyrannical Batista dictatorship failed. The Cuban people were never, initially, pro-Castro, but they were very anti-Batista. The Castro dictatorship has remained in power because the US has failed to establish a strong and coherent alternative. Allowing anti-Castro refugees to migrate to the US with relative ease has been a safety valve for the Castro regime. Imagine if these millions of emigres had been forced to remain in Cuba? To the Castros credit, setting up the US as the boogeyman has been a successful strategy.

  • My basic position, Moses, is that Cubans on the island of Cuba need to be able to chart their own course, which would soon likely stress democracy. One reason they can’t…and I believe the primary reason…is the enormous pressure from the nearby imperial-minded superpower {at least when it comes to Cuba} that allows a handful of fierce counter-revolutionaries to get rich and powerful while they dictate America’s Cuban policy that rightfully receives the current 191-to-0 condemnation in the UN. Revolutionary Cuba correctly understands the threats from domestic revolutions and its prime bulwark against encountering one since 1959 relies, I believe, in being able to convince most Cubans on the island that their sovereignty, which the Cuban Revolution provided them, is direly threatened by Miami and Washington. If you disagree with that, then provide us another reason FOR THE SHOCKING VICTORY OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION AND FOR THE EQUALLY SHOCKING LONGEVITY OF REVOLUTIONARY CUBA.

  • I share your rejection of terrorism tactics against innocent Cubans. Yet, I am certainly not pro-Castro! Therefore, it is incorrect of you to assume that I require lock-step agreement with my clearly anti-Castro beliefs as a measure. Indeed, if you support democracy and individual liberty, that’s good enough for me. Those who would rather see Cuba remain a dictatorship and would resist giving Cubans basic human rights would qualify as pro-Castro. The lines are fairly clear. Which side of the line as required you?

  • Concessions by both sides are always necessary when two parties sit down to find resolution to their differences. If either side is unwilling to make any concessions, then the negotiations go nowhere and everything fails.

    Sometimes, one side loses sight of the basic objective which is resolving differences and gets sidetracked into who is right and who is wrong. That party’s objective implicitly shifts from resolving the problems at hand to establishing blame.

    Sadly, this is what happened in the US – Cuba negotiations with the consequence that no real meaningful results were achieved.

  • Rich I find your constant reference to the Batista-Mafia tiresome. Its like if I wanted to criticize the Trump administration, or recent US governments, or all of them, and you defend them by reverting back to say the imperialistic British tiranny was worse before the US revolution. It’s time to separate the distaste for the Batista regime, which I share, and focus on anything positive plus all the abuses of power of the Castro regime.

  • UNFORTUNATELY, Moses, your tactic of accusing everyone of being pro-Castro if they don’t subscribe to your extremist counter-revolutionary positions only plays to your choir. I, for example, find fault with the Batista-Mafia dictatorship that gave birth to Castro and I oppose the civilian airplane-bombing of Cubana Flight 455 and the car-bombing of Miami newsman Emilio Milian when he complained about such terrorism against totally innocent Cubans. Does that make me pro-Castro? In your lexicon, it does. You need tactics that might transcend your choir and resonate, even slightly, with the general public.

  • The price hikes were not a reflection of scarcity alone. It was a strategy to generate income. It backfired and prices are coming down again while nearly no new hotels were built.

  • Unfortunately, Elio’s zealous support of the Castro dictatorship limits his capacity to support his outlandish comments. It would be interesting at the very least and probably hilarious to read why he believes “The bilateral agreements which have been signed since December 17, 2014, mainly benefit the US more than they do Cuba”. I would be willing to allow his arguments regarding what the US has done to the Castro government in our tepid efforts to topple the dictatorship if he would accept the realities of what the Castro have done around the world to undermine democracy and capitalism, not to mention the tyranny they have imposed upon the Cuban people for almost 60 years. But alas, Elio, like most Castro sycophants, simply parrots Castro propaganda with little if any intent to entertain debate.

  • The hotel prizes are crazy high, a reflection of the limited rooms on the Island. Havana is already over priced.

  • Right on!

  • The US-Cuba agreement of 2014 has mainly – nearly exclusively – benefitted the Castro regime: more tourists, higher hotel prices (most hotels are owned by the Cuban military), access to the US, access to luxury products, more income “collected” in the TRD because of higher remittances, more import duties on goods brought in by tourists and Cuban Americans, …..
    The only others that have benefitted are those that owned / could set up a paladar or casa particular mostly with money of people the regime – and its defenders – called “gusanos” (worms).
    The rest of Cubans now face higher food prices and more food scarcity. No flood of cheap domestic appliances, cars, food, …. The regime is only buying a minimal amount of US medicines and looking at the empty pharmacies they seem to end up in the “tourist / elite part of the Cuban apartheid system.
    But the regime is making big mistakes overplaying its hand with absurd hotel prices for the same low quality (both facilities and services). Prices are being driven down by complaints in the US. Interest in Cuba is waning. US tourists may like “quant Cuba”, but they hate bad food, absurd prices and bad service.

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