Cuba Prioritizes Foreign Debt Despite Hard Year

By Aurelio Pedroso  (Progreso Semanal)

HAVANA TIMES – Cuban banking authorities have just paid US $2.6 billion in debt owed to the Paris Club, that conglomerate of 14 wealthy countries.

The news has not been given by Cuba’s official media, perhaps out of modesty, which is what I can think of right now. It was instead the Reuters news agency that launched it around the world. And it seems that is true because otherwise a denial would have been issued by the Central Bank.

The payment represents a great effort on the one hand; and on the other, the seriousness and punctuality (occurred about 20 days before the expiration date) demonstrated by Cuba, precisely at a time when the country’s coffers are not in such a happy state. The payment occurs at a time of lesser imports of Venezuelan oil combined with the low amount of Cuban export products, and to top it all off, the nightmare of hurricane Irma, whose effects will be present during 2018.

Under these conditions, our commitments to Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland have been honored.

This agreement with the Paris Club was signed in 2015 and so far the payments have been on time, after we were forgiven the figure of $8.5 billion.

We will start a new year with the belt tighter with forecasts that don’t exactly bring a smile to the day to day. We’ll see what our economists and analysts say as we reach the time to summarize this mischievous year.
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23 thoughts on “Cuba Prioritizes Foreign Debt Despite Hard Year

  • The Castro dictatorship has no real choice but to make the payment. To default on the recently renegotiated Paris Club debt would be to drive the final nail into Cuba’s coffin burying it’s access to international liquidity.

    Reply
    • The Castro “government” is to be commended. Similar to all of your former US government administrations dating back to 1959, apart from Obama’s respectful brief reprieve, the “hard-sell” attitude will always get you nowhere. We both want change in Cuba. A respectful “soft-sell” is the only way to get the job done over time. Unfortunately some will continue to be part of the problem instead of part of the solution, similar again to your current administration. Moses, with your smarts, you could be much more of a positive influence instead of a negative deterrent. If you sincerely want change in Cuba, you won’t care how much extra sugar is needed, if you can’t call it respect.

      Reply
      • Are you disputing the FACT that Cuba is controlled by the Castro dictatorship? The Castros criticized the “soft sell” of Obama. The current regime in Cuba is not going to give up power without a fight.

        Reply
        • Fight or no fight……
          I didn’t see that anyone in Cuba is ever going to be willing to hand power back over to your bunch.
          Not with idiots such as GWBush in the White House…..
          And even less with your current Liar-in Chief at the helm.
          You criticise the ‘dictatorships’ of others but sometimes you need to take a time out and look in the mirror. Take a look at some of the mess your so called democratic process spews up into that big old house at the end of Pennsylvania Ave.

          Reply
          • The democratically elected occupants of the White House are temporary stewards. We are talking mangoes and oranges.

          • In the American system the agent changes. The principal never does.

          • Nice semantic diversion.
            Let me put into your persective….no principle difference between Obama and Trump?
            By the way, Dan. It’s “principle” not “principal.”

          • Hmmm……
            A lot of these ‘temporary stewards’ seem to be about as up to the job as a bag of rotten fruit would be.
            You can ‘democratically elect’ a pig but it’s still a pig.
            Nixon, Reagan, GW Bush, dumb boy trump ??
            Liars, killers, cowboys, even bigger liars, even bigger killers, dumb and dumber and even dumber still.
            Gimme the bag of rotten fruit (either mangoes, oranges or both) over that sad little parade all day long. Couldn’t do a worse job.

          • I see no argument from you as to temporary stewardship.
            You do however, express your dislike of ELECTED officials, which is allowed and encouraged in my country. Not so in Cuba. Whatever you or I feel about Trump – which is more similar than not – he was still (temporarily) elected by the citizens of the US and will be shown the door by the same.
            To quote one of your supposed countrymen: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

          • In Cuba they have elections. Not the two party process that you have in the USA. What they have in Cuba is, to my mind, an imperfect process.
            In the USA they have elections. I would venture to say that it is also an imperfect process.
            Now if you are arguing that the US electoral process is a better, less imperfect or a more democratic process than they have in Cuba, I wouldn’t necessarily altogether disagree.
            But neither process is perfect.
            As for my (supposed??) countryman Winston Churchill….
            He had serious faults too.

          • “In Cuba they have elections.”
            Thank you. I still can’t stop laughing.

          • I respectfully propose that the idea of “perfect” should not be used in any of our conversations. Only one perfect person has ever walked the earth.
            Its all relative my friend. Better to put them on a spectrum.

          • You present a false dichotomy. Sending the Castro dictatorship packing does not mean that my “bunch” will return to power. Unless by bunch you mean a freely elected government put in power through open an independent voting. That’s the only bunch that I associate with.

        • In almost 60 years, tell me when “fighting” with the Cuban government produced anything other than more animosity directed towards your government, and more depravity for the Cuban people? But you want more of the same. What was that definition again of insanity?

          Reply
          • What I want is freedom for my family in Cuba and for the Cuban people. I realize that the Castro regime will not give up their power without a fight.

          • I want freedom for my Cuban wife and daughter, and for all of my friends and my family living there in Cuba too. But fighting with the Cuban government will not produce the desired result. Quite the opposite. That’s been proven. You say that the Castro government will not give up their power without a fight… how do you know that with certainty when the respectful alternative has not yet been tried? Until then, your negative and defeatist speculation serves no purpose. Obama’s brief reprieve was not nearly long enough, nor far reaching enough, to achieve significant results. Even with your US government adopting a much more respectful and non-combative relationship with the Cuban government, Cuba’s transition to democracy may still take decades… but it WILL happen. Again, your fight has been proven to be a complete failure, and worse… it could also be argued that you and your US government are now holding up Cuba’s progress to democracy as long as the Cuban government still continues to feel threatened. Moses, you’re a smart man, but you do need to envision the bigger picture that unfortunately won’t allow for your immediate gratification, nor mine.

          • Power concedes nothing without demand – Frederick Douglass

          • I would much more accurately quote that Cuba concedes nothing BY WAY of demand. How many more years do you and your government need in order to realize the truth in that? I would hate to think that you care more about your own personal pride than you do about maintaining Cuba’s stability to harmoniously transition to democracy over time, but I think it’s well overdue that you personally admit defeat. Your government too still refuses to correct their original error made with Fidel out of blind arrogance, and they continue to further their mistake by not taking ownership of the fall-out that they helped create too.

            Admitting responsibility needs to happen first before it will be possible to move away from that old 1959 cold war mentality to a much more positive, non-combative, and nurturing posture worthy of today’s climate in order to help Cuba recover from the damage that your government has both directly and indirectly caused to Cuba. Your government now also needs to help inspire through positive example to move the Cuban government towards the light of democracy… something that should have happened almost 6 decades ago, instead of the US making their “demands”. In the case of Cuban/American relations, Frederick Douglass could have also quite easily said… “power concedes nothing without the truth”. Keeping the truth in mind, your powerful government now needs to concede their original errors in judgement and allow the truth to set both your nation and Cuba free to finally move forward together in harmony.

    • We probably have more in common than differnces, but to the victors go the spoils of war….Shake it off my friend!

      Reply
  • The total debt is $2.6 billion; repayable by 2033. This year’s installment was $60 million. $6 per Cuban by my reckoning.

    Reply
    • Thank you for clarification as I could not reconcile above article $$s with Cuba Paris Club $$s agreement. So my take away is Cuba had to repay roughly $60M annually over 18 years.

      Reply
    • How many days’ work does it take a Cuban – on average – to earn the equivalent of $6?

      Reply

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