Cuba’s Opposition and Political Provincialism

Yenisel Perez Rodriguez

Foto: Irina Echarry

HAVANA TIMES — Why limit the debate on the political situation in Cuba to the confrontation between the state and civil society. Any confrontation that goes beyond this is often interpreted simplistically.

Those are views that portray the Cuban government as a ferocious and almighty wolf, with the people depicted as the victims of dreadful international communism. It’s something like Little Red Riding Hood bundled up in her torturous little red hood.

If the democratization of access by Cuban society to cyberspace means winning substantial shares of popular political power, rigidity in a linear and narrow critique of state centralism and authoritarianism will restrict such shares of power.

Some people justify themselves citing psychological distress:

– “What do you expect if we’re bound hand and foot.”

– “People are tired and are doing anything they can to change the situation in Cuba.”

“Anything”? That’s the argument that most threatens the political effectiveness of Cuban civic debate over a democratized internet.

I don’t think that those who distance themselves from one or another bloc in the current international cold war can manage to break with their allies when certain democratic goals are achieved in Cuba.

Bilateralism will be fertile political ground for those who want to ensure the political success of their particular interests.

The Cuban right (that bloc that some describe as adherents of the “Cuban liberalism”) is allying with the US government’s international agenda in the same way the government supports are allying with the agendas of the ruling Russian and Chinese governments.

It’s this curse of the midwife, the go-between or the fifth column that has negatively marked Cuba’s political history.

As for the middle, the real interests of Cuban civil society, it is once again finding itself abandoned and left to its fate when faced with the excuse of facilities offered by alliances with the powerful enemy of your oppressor.

But today this legionary strategy of the Cuban right is anchoring itself in an unprecedented level of provincialism.

It is this well-rooted naivety that allows them to adopt the demagoguery of the imperial US-Israeli-EU blockade.

In this way the Cuban political opposition arrives to the Internet, unaware of the struggles of those people who face the same injustices as they do, behaving like sensual cheerleaders for foreign authoritarianism.

In the end we know that these Little Red Riding Hoods end up allowing all kinds of abuse by the government against the woodcutter who kills their wolf, without really caring about the fates of the others.

The right, however, encourages us by announcing that there’s nothing worse than this game of feigning, with the wolf dressed up like the grandma.

Standing before them it might seem impossible to get out of the game without putting a price on this virginity that many of us want to preserve under any government.

Yenisel Rodriguez

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.


24 thoughts on “Cuba’s Opposition and Political Provincialism

  • September 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm
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    Whoa, there is no way this can take precedence over Canadian citizens’ rightful claims to land confiscated by the Americans during their so-called ‘revolution’, aka the War of Separation in 1776!

    A bill was introduced in the Canadian Parliament – the Godfrey-Milliken Bill – in 1996, demanding that British citizens who fled the country after the revolution, known as Loyalists, be able to reclaim land and property that was confiscated by the American government.

    The bill called for the Canadian government to exclude corporate officers, or controlling shareholders of companies that possess property formerly owned by Loyalists, as well as the spouse and minor child of such persons from entering Canada.

    Three million Canadians are descendants of the Loyalists, including the bill’s sponsors, Milliken and Godfrey. The current value of the land and property seized during the American Revolution is many billions of dollars.

    As a Canadian, I DEMAND COMPENSATION!

    Yeah, well the Godfrey-Milliken Bill was a parody of the provisions in the American Helms-Burton Act.

    Sorry, ‘Griffin’, the demands for compensation for confiscated properties in Cuba are equally a joke that you ridiculously take seriously – to support your continuing demonisation of Cuba’s government.

    And you claim to be Canadian. For shame.

  • September 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm
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    The Bacardi saga…

    In Griffin’s narrative, there is an abrupt gap:

    “The Bacardi’s even helped Castro’s rebels, funneling money & weapons to them in the Sierra Maestra”.

    Followed by:

    “Then when the revolution seized power, Castro seized their distilleries and breweries and the beautiful art deco Bacardi building in Havana.”

    ‘Griffin’ doesn’t seem to care about why there was a falling out, making it seem it was due to when the revolution “seized power” but there was no question the revolution was going to seize power as the Batista regime was not going to give it up voluntarily. Bacardi, or more specifically, José ‘Pepín’ Bosch, the head of Bacardi, would know that when he helped the rebels.

    It appears the story has not been told in detail why Bosch turned against the Revolution – there isn’t even a Wikipedia entry for Bosch – but there are pieces of the story that fit a well-known scenario. Bosch seemed to go with whatever power was in the ascendancy at the time.

    His NY Times obituary, in 1994, when he died at the age of 95, provides interesting background information and a clue to the ‘falling out’. Bosch came from the 1%, the son of a Spanish banker and sugar mill owner. When sugar prices plunged in the early 1920’s, he ‘changed careers’, taking a bookkeeper’s job at the Havana branch of the First National City Bank of New York.

    Then, he “married well”, as they used to say, wedding Enriqueta Schueg Bacardi.

    The aforementioned clue in the obit is this: “After Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista regime in 1959, Mr. Bosch maintained close ties to the Cuban exile community in Miami.” This was before Bacardi’s assets were seized. The exiles, of course, were the privileged class under Batista, fierce enemies of the Revolution.

    The Wikipedia entry for Bacardi indicates Bacardi support turned to opposition when the socialist aspect of the Revolution “began to dominate” and as Castro turned against ‘American interests’.

    After that, the Bacardi story turns quite ugly. “The Bacardí family (and hence the company) maintained a fierce opposition to Fidel Castro’s revolution. Embittered Bacardi helmsman José Pepín Bosch bought a surplus B-26 bomber with the hopes of bombing Cuban oil refineries.

    He was also allegedly involved in a CIA plot to assassinate Fidel. Documents uncovered during congressional investigations into John F Kennedy’s death brought to light a message outlining how he had plans to assassinate Castro, his brother Raúl, and Che Guevara. [Wikipedia]

    Does ‘Griffin’ want to hear the Havana Club story?

    ‘Griffin’ asks, “In your morality, it’s OK to rob wealthy corporations, especially American ones”? Actually it is, but I’ll get into that more in my next post.

  • September 14, 2012 at 11:01 am
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    Oh ho ho, you believe in the Forbes magazine who ‘estimated’ Fidel’s supposed fortune by summing up the net value of several Cuban state-owned companies and put into his account?

    That’s beyond reasonable.

  • September 14, 2012 at 10:26 am
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    An interesting study of the issue of property claims and compensation, including several possible processes for resolution.

    OUTSTANDING CLAIMS TO EXPROPRIATED PROPERTY IN CUBA
    http://www.ascecuba.org/publications/proceedings/volume21/pdfs/anillo.pdf

    “CONCLUSIONS

    There is little doubt that the Cuban government will
    need to provide a remedy to those whose property
    was seized by the revolutionary government after
    1959 and have not yet received compensation for the
    takings. Such an assumption is based on the requirements
    of international and Cuban law, fundamental
    notions of fairness, and the evident political necessity
    to settle property disputes before Cuba can achieve
    stability.

    There will come a time when the United States and
    Cuba will sit down to negotiate a settlement of the
    expropriation claims of U.S. nationals in Cuba. The
    expected conditions under which the settlement will
    be negotiated will greatly restrict the remedies that
    Cuba will be able to offer to the US claimants.
    Therefore, both the Cuban government and the U.S.
    claimants should be prepared to exhibit flexibility in
    working toward as fair and reasonable a resolution of
    the claims.”

  • September 14, 2012 at 8:37 am
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    Go ahead, tell me about Bacardi.

    The Bacardi family built the company from scratch into an internationally recognized Cuban brand. Their sons fought in the Cuban War of Independence against Spain. They opposed the dictators Machado & Batista. The Bacardi’s even helped Castro’s rebels, funnelling money & weapons to them in the Siera Maestra. Then when the revolution seized power, Castro seized their distilleries and breweries and the beautiful art deco Bacardi building in Havana.

    Castro also stole the Havana Club distillery from it’s Cuban owners. In 1994, Castro sold the rights to the stolen brand to Pernot-Ricard and deposited a tidy $50 million in his secret Spanish bank account.

    In your morality, it’s OK to rob wealthy corporations, especially American ones, but Castro stole far more from Cubans.

    http://www.ascecuba.org/publications/proceedings/volume15/pdfs/werlau.pdf

  • September 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm
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    ‘Griffin’, I don’t think you will be winning too many Cuban hearts and minds pursuing this and I definitely know it won’t make Canadians happy. It opens up some very ugly cans of worms, but if you insist…

    I didn’t know about the Sherritt story and suspect few Canadians do, but they will now. It’s another example of how stories not serving the 1% are typically suppressed in our capitalist media. I had to dig around to find it.

    From a Canadian International Council report: “American legislation has targeted Canada’s largest investor on the island, Sherritt International. The United States has barred the company’s senior management and their families from entering the United States… Businesses remain cautious about investing on the island.”

    Discouraging investment in Cuba seems to be clearly the reason the US is doing this. It has nothing to do with seeking compensation for the fabulously wealthy US mining company – then and now – Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, known as the Freeport Sulphur Company then. In 1955, Freeport invested $119 million in constructing a nickel -cobalt mine at Moa Bay, Cuba, that the government nationalized five years later, in 1960.

    The flaw in your simile is typical of American imperialism, thinking they own the world. You posit “a business in Toronto” that is “seized” by a “revolutionary government”. The business and the revolutionary government in the simile are both Canadian.

    In Cuba, a Cuban revolutionary government gained power and nationalized a wealthy US mining company that is totally unconcerned about seeking compensation. Why would they? Here are some facts about Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc:

    Current employees: 31,800. Owns and operates the vast open-pit Grasberg gold, copper, and silver mine in Indonesia. Controls proved and probable reserves of about 102 billion pounds of copper, 40 million ounces of gold, and 266 million ounces of silver. Copper, accounts for most of the company’s sales. It’s the world’s #2 copper company behind Codelco. It is also engaged in smelting and refining with a 25% stake in PT Smelting, which operates a copper smelter and refinery in Indonesia.

    Mystifyingly, you claim, “These people were robbed and they want justice.” From whose perspective – surely not Cubans or Canadians. But if you insist, go ahead and try to sell that story. We can discuss Bacardi if you insist.

  • September 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm
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    Wrong.

    With these subsidies Cuba could have invested on infrastructure. It has nothing to do with being ‘socialist’ or not. And don’t forget the tightening of the embargo in the 90’s. You see the USSR following ‘socialist economic policies’ turned from a rural, backwards country to the world’s second superpower during the Cold War, specially in the 60’s.

  • September 13, 2012 at 11:24 am
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    You think the ban on travel to the US for Sherrit owner is outrageous?

    Consider this scenario:

    Suppose you owned a business in Toronto, a business you invested all your money in and built up. Then a revolution comes along and seizes power in Toronto. All private businesses, including yours, are seized by the new revolutionary government. Some years later, the revolutionary government sells a half interest in your old business to an old business rival of yours, let’s say from Calgary, who proceeds to make millions running the business you once created.

    Would you not be angry at the guy from Calgary? Would you not think he stole something from you?

    Well, that is how the former owners of the Moa nickel mine feel about Sherrit. They feel Sherrit is profiting from their stolen property. The same situation applies to the Bacardi family who’s business, which they founded in Cuba in 1862, was stolen from them by the Castros. There are thousands of other examples across Cuba of businesses and properties the Castros stole from the legal owners without compensation. These people were robbed and they want justice.

  • September 13, 2012 at 11:13 am
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    Cuba failed to make the best investments in their economy because they followed socialist economic policies. Soviet subsidies were worth 10 Marshal Plans, all spent on one small country, yet it failed to develop a sustainable economy. The economy is being kept barely afloat through tourism & mining partnerships with capitalist corporations and free oil from Venezuela.

    Cuba does not invest anywhere near enough in infrastructure or the economy because the socialist policies limit capital formation, which is the lowest in Latin America.

  • September 13, 2012 at 7:38 am
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    ‘Moses’, unfortunately, you have done more than keeping it simple, you have misread what Raul said, and please, drop the habitual characterizations of the Castros as dictators. It serves no purpose in the context of what you write except to identify yourself as an inveterate propagandist. We can reply in kind if you want.

    Your box and bear simile is simplistic to the point of meaninglessness. What if the box carries materials to ward off bears? You wouldn’t throw it away, even if it slightly increased immediate risk. There is an obvious relationship between the bear and what is in the box that you have missed. It contains world class health care and education, full employment and guaranteed housing. The risk would seem to be worth taking as life without the box contents is ‘unbearable’, as 99% of the population that live under capitalism are increasingly finding.

    It’s true, Cubans are struggling with what they may have to give up to come to terms with the blockade the bear has erected. It’s a hard decision and they hardly need the advice of someone who comes from the bear clan. I would have chosen a different animal – a wolf would have been more apt.

    So what did you misread, or misinterpret, or mistranslate in Raul’s speech? This is the translation I used:

    “Not long ago, when speaking at the closing session of Parliament last December, I referred to the belief that corruption is, at this stage, one of the main enemies of the Revolution, far more damaging than the billionaire subversive and interventionist program of the U.S. government and its allies in and outside the country.”

    Raul was talking about ” the main enemies of the Revolution”, of which corruption is certainly one of them. It represents compromising the ideals of the Revolution through personal interest and greed.

    The US blockade is an enemy of the Cuban people, not of the Revolution’s principles. From Wikipedia:

    The embargo has been criticized for its effects on food, clean water, medicine, and other economic needs of the Cuban population. Criticism has come from both Fidel Castro and Raúl Castro, citizens and groups from within Cuba, and international organizations and leaders…

    “Some academic critics, outside Cuba, have also linked the embargo to shortages of medical supplies and soap which have resulted in a series of medical crises and heightened levels of infectious diseases. It has also been linked to epidemics of specific diseases, including neurological disorders and blindness caused by poor nutrition.

    “Travel restrictions embedded in the embargo have also been shown to limit the amount of medical information that flows into Cuba from the United States. An article written in 1997 suggests malnutrition and disease resulting from increased food and medicine prices have affected men and the elderly, in particular, due to Cuba’s rationing system which gives preferential treatment to women and children.

    The enemy of the Revolution is corruption. The enemy of Cuban people is the blockade. Is that simple enough for you to understand?

  • September 12, 2012 at 4:58 pm
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    “Lawrence W”, I will make this simple for you. You are being threatened by a large bear (US embargo) and you are carrying a very heavy box (internal blockade). In order to escape the bear (US embargo), what is the first thing you must do? Until you drop the box (internal blockade), the bear (US embargo), while still a big problem is not your “largest” problem. As it turns out, “Raul the Dictator” agrees with me. I reference his speech to the Communist Party Conference on January 29, 2012. I will leave the quote in Spanish as to avoid accusations of mistranslation, “No hace mucho, al intervenir en la clausura de las sesiones del Parlamento el pasado mes de diciembre, me referí a la convicción de que la corrupción es, en la etapa actual, uno de los principales enemigos de la Revolución, mucho más perjudicial que el multimillonario programa subversivo e injerencista del gobierno de Estados Unidos y sus aliados dentro y fuera del país.” You see “Lawrence W” Cuba has bigger problems than the boogey-man to the north.

  • September 12, 2012 at 4:32 pm
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    You state, “words have meaning”, they can be “misused” and “corrupted” – and I would add, in this instance misused and corrupted for propaganda purposes, requiring analysis and understanding to cut through the bullshit. ‘Griffin’ insists on the “physically blocked” aspect of the meaning of blockade, despite the accepted definition this is not core to the meaning. Why? Because it obviously serves the purpose of supporting his bullshit.

    ‘Griffin’ writes, “The greatest impediment to Cuban banking transactions stems from Fidel Castro’s decision to withdraw from the IMF”. I can only quote Wikipedia criticisms and ask, who would NOT want to withdraw?

    “The IMF has the obstacle of being unfamiliar with local economic conditions, cultures, and environments in the countries they are requiring policy reform. The Fund knows very little about what public spending on programs like public health and education actually means… they have no feel for the impact that their proposed national budget will have on people. The economic advice the IMF gives might not always take into consideration the difference between what spending means on paper and how its felt by citizens.”

    ‘Griffin’ writes, “Yes, the US does ban travel to the US for people who have invested in Cuban joint enterprises. This ban applies to the Canadian director of Sherrit, International”.

    As a Canadian, I find this fucking outrageous! But I live in a capitalist country and can do little to protest the abomination. Cuban people, be aware.

  • September 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm
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    When I said ‘corporations’ it’s crystal clear that I’m talking about huge, transnational ones. You know, those that dictate the logic of the global market. Those whose economic power topple many countries.

  • September 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm
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    It’s not that ‘socialist economics do not work’. The true mistake of the Cuban economy was not to invest on industry (capital and consumer goods) when it could – IE, when it had the USSR as its major trade partner, but it kept selling sugar and other commodities in exchange for industrialized goods.

    The IMF has screwed my country’s economy in the 90’s. If you say socialist economics do not work, well, neither do neoliberal economics.

  • September 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm
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    The Cuban ‘military-industrial complex’, in comparison to what I see in the US on visits, is a joke. I can elaborate in detail with persoanl stories I witnessed in both places. Please, try not to insult our intelligence here. You appear to have limited experience in travelling.

  • September 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm
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    Your assert “the largest “blockade” to economic progress in Cuba is internal”. The statement shows lack of logical knowledge. If there is an external blockade – not denied by you, even attested to by your statement an internal one is the “largest”, you cannot state an internal one is larger as the limitations have been set by the external blockade. How do you know if the internal one is larger when the external one has set prior limits?

    For example, the American Association for World Health determined the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba had the potential for harming the health and nutrition of large numbers of Cuban citizens, with a humanitarian catastrophe averted due to the Cuban government maintaining a high level of support for its health care system, designed to deliver primary and preventive health care to all of its citizens.”

    If the Cuban government was unable to avert the “humanitarian catastrophe” – as it is unable to compensate entirely for the US external economic blockade, ‘Moses’ would no doubt write that the problem with health care in Cuba is “internal”.

    ‘Moses’ continues to assert, like a mantra, “These issues have nothing to do with the US embargo”. To quote Shakespeare, “Methinks you doth protest too much. (Hamlet Act 3, scene 2)

    Amazingly, American ‘real politick’, aka cynical Machiavellianism, emerges on a regular basis from what ‘Moses’ writes.

    “The world today is divided between the blocs of “haves” and “have-nots”. “Corporate titans in China, Russia and the US are allied to maintain the status quo of individual and corporate wealth” and “If giving the appearance that nationalistic tensions exists between these countries helps to maintain control of the vast majority of have-nots who are easily distracted by nationalistic contrivances, then so be it”.

    Whoa, to quote Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ” Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Too right, as they say in Australia. We are in the world of so-called ‘reality-based’ American thinking, made famous in a New York Times article in 2004, quoting an unnamed George W. Bush “aide” – later attributed to Karl Rove:

    “Guys like me are ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ … That’s not the way the world really works anymore … “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    Please, Cubans, be aware.

  • September 12, 2012 at 1:34 pm
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    Insisting on calling it an embargo, not a blockade, you fail to take into account the meaning of the two words in both languages, English and Spanish.

    In English, embargo means “an official ban on trade or other commercial activity with a particular country” while a blockade is “an act of sealing off a place to prevent goods or people from entering or leaving.”(Google Definitions). Both definitions apply to the situation, with ’embargo’ being more specific and ‘blockade’ more general to describe a blocking process.

    ‘Calling it a ‘blockade’ does not imply total blockage so citing “millions of tourists who fly to Cuba every year” as “proof positive there is no blockade” makes no sense whatsoever.

    The equivalent words in Spanish, ‘el embargo’, implying attachment or seizure and ‘el bloqueo’, meaning to block or a blockage, clearly ‘blockade’ is a more appropriate term as nothing is actually being seized.

    Which is why Cuban and Latin America opponents of the insane US action, condemned by every country in the world save the US and Israel in UN votes, refer to it as a blockade. In solidarity with them, from now on, I will only use ‘blockade’ or ‘el bloqueo’ in future writings.

    Writing that “no other country in the world has an embargo on Cuba” is sophistry of the lowest order, I’m afraid. The US forces other countries to obey their embargo through common capitalist practices – “follow it or we won’t do business with you.”

    You are correct, “Israel is one of the top foreign investors in Cuba” but you omitted, “Israel, despite ranking as one of Cuba’s leading trading partners … is the only country that routinely joins the U.S.” in supporting the embargo – 21 annual votes in 21 years. (Wikipedia)

    So Yenisel’s reference to an “imperial US-Israeli-EU blockade” is correct. Israel supports the blockade yet not surprisingly breaks it. The two-faced values of the country are in keeping with its treatment of Palestinians.

    Wikipedia notes that Israel is in violation of the official blockade notice, the notorious Helms-Burton Act and the US allows them to do it without comment.

  • September 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm
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    I am not saying there is no embargo, obviously there is. I am pointing out it is not a blockade. Words have meaning and when words are misused, meaning is corrupted. The trade exists, in some cases with difficutlies, but it is not physically blocked, which is what a blockade means.

    The greatest impediment to Cuban banking transactions stems from Fidel Castro’s decision to withdraw from the IMF back in the very early days of the Revolution. He decided he did not need the IMF when he was throwing his lot in with the USSR. So long as Russian subsidies flowed to Cuba, he mistakenly believed he was correct, but after the USSR collapsed, the reality of the economic situation proved the folly of his decision: socialist economics do not work.

    Yes, the US does ban travel to the US for people who have invested in Cuban joint enterprises. This ban applies to the Canadian director of Sherrit, International. You see, I have done some research.

  • September 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm
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    But the Cuban economy is increasingly controlled by a corporation. GAESA, the holding company owned and run by the Cuban Army is the largest corporation on the island. GAESA has interests in hotels, tourism, restaurants, trucking, farms, manufacturing and numerous other businesses. When the Cuban authorities raid yet another State Enterprise or foreign partnership, the business is handed over to GAESA for operation, further expanding the corporate empire. It should come as no surprise the director of GAESA happens to be Raul Castro’s son-inlaw, Luis Alberto Rodriguez.

    This corporation has become so successful, that through revenues generated from its many operations, the Cuban Army has become self-funding and a key pillar of the regime.

  • September 12, 2012 at 8:56 am
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    Talking about a blockade is NOT non-sense.

    – US companies are not allowed to buy products that contain Cuban components in certain quantities (such as steel that contains Cuban nickel, or sweets that contain Cuban sugar).
    – Companies worldwide cannot sell products to Cuba if they have more than a certain percentage of US components. There have, for example, been cases of car manufacturers in Asia that cannot sell their cars to Cuba because they contain a certain quantity of US components.
    – Banks from anywhere can suffer sanctions if they permit Cuban accounts or trade with Cuba. Because of this, the country has to pay more for its international transactions. Banks are threatened to not be able to operate in the US if they maintain business with Cuba. Of course, most companies would opt for keeping trade with the US because of its far bigger economy.
    – Cuba can not trade with European, Asian or Latin American companies if only a small part of the company is owned by US capitals. It is difficult for Cuba to buy components for buses, cars, ships and so on, as well as high technology, as at lot of these products are offered by companies where US ownership interests are involved.
    – The US punishes investors from anywhere denying them visas to the US if they invest in «confiscated property» (former US property) in Cuba, just as the article about the israeli investor cited above, states.

    There are many more examples of the extraterritorial effects of the sanctions that permit us to call it a blockade, please do some research.

    At the same time, the US sells products to Cuba in some cases, when it is convinient for themselves with regards to profits (US farmers get to sell food in Cuba) or to promote itself as a country with humanistic values (therefore, Cuba is permitted to by medicines, though it cannot buy medical equipment without a special permit).

  • September 12, 2012 at 6:31 am
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    Luis, that is a valid observation. But if I had to decide between the Castros and Coca-Cola, after what I have seen of the Castros, I choose Coca-Cola.

  • September 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm
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    “I have often read that foreign investors are reluctant to risk long-term investment in Cuba, in part, because of the requirement that Cuba retain 51% corporate control of the investment regardless of the less than 51% nominal amount of the government contribution.”

    “The world today is divided between the blocs of “haves” and “have-nots” (…) The corporate titans in China, Russia and the US are allied to maintain the status quo of individual and corporate wealth.”

    If you tie the first excerpt to the second… one can conclude that Cuba’s not interested on being controlled by corporations.

  • September 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm
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    The largest “blockade” to economic progress in Cuba is internal. I have often read that foreign investors are reluctant to risk long-term investment in Cuba, in part, because of the requirement that Cuba retain 51% corporate control of the investment regardless of the less than 51% nominal amount of the government contribution. By comparison, when a Chinese national buys a building in downtown Los Angeles, the building is 100% owned by that Chinese national. Also because of the lack of a clear transition of power after the Castros leave authority or simply pass away, foreign investors are wan to taking any long-term risks in Cuba. These issues have nothing to do with the US embargo. In fact, as demonstrated by the recent activities of Brazil, Mexico, Israel and other foreign governments, the unspoken belief is that the embargo will end or at least be relaxed in the near future. Furthermore, the writer, Yenisel, implies that there are two blocs engaged in a new international cold war. Those blocs are led by China/Russia on one side and the US on the other. This thinking is outdated. The world today is divided between the blocs of “haves” and “have-nots”. The ruling Chinese and Russian governments, as Yenisel writes, are hardly promoting hardline Socialism as is promulgated in Cuba. The age of flag-wavers and international policies bound by borders has disappeared. The corporate titans in China, Russia and the US are allied to maintain the status quo of individual and corporate wealth. If giving the appearance that nationalistic tensions exists between these countries helps to maintain control of the vast majority of have-nots who are easily distracted by nationalistic contrivances, then so be it. Yenisel, like Cuba, appears to continue to confused by outdated international models.

  • September 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm
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    Yenisel wrote: “…the demagoguery of the imperial US-Israeli-EU blockade.”

    Can we finally drop the nonsense of calling the embargo a “blockade”? The millions of tourists who fly to Cuba every year are proof positive there is no blockade. So are the foreign flagged ships in Havana’s harbour. It’s an embargo, and only the US imposes it. No other country in the world has an embargo on Cuba.

    It may come as a surprise to readers to learn that Israel is one of the top foreign investors in Cuba:

    Israelis build huge office complex in Havana’s Miramar
    http://www.luxner.com/cgi-bin/view_article.cgi?articleID=363

    Israeli Know-how Assists Cubans In Citrus Groves
    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1994-03-20/business/9403180672_1_tel-aviv-havana-jaguey-grande

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