Cuba: Raul Castro criticizes “outside interference” in Latin America

at the opening of the CELAC Summit in Havana

Raul Castro addressing the opening of the summit of Latin American and Caribbean countries in Havana.

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban President Raul Castro warned today about threats of “foreign interference” in Latin America and the Caribbean from the “centers of power that are not resigned to losing control of the region,” reported dpa news.

Speaking at the opening of the second summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Castro criticized the “long history of intervention in the region’s internal affairs, military invasions and bloody coups,” in a veiled reference to the United States, which is not a participant in the event.

At the same time, the Cuban leader called on the CELAC countries to build their own model adapted to regional realities.

“We live in a world ruled by an unjust and exclusionary international order in which the threats to peace and external interference in the region continue,” said Castro.

“The ‘centers of power’ are not resigned to losing control of this rich region, or waive attempts to change the course of history in our countries to regain lost influence and benefit from its resources,” he added.

At the start of the two-day event, the leaders observed a minute of silence in memory of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. This is the first summit of CELAC after the death of Chavez.

The summit began with a long musical recital of Latin American music, including salsa, merengue, bossa nova and Andean rhythms.

The 2-day summit of Latin American and Caribbean Countries opened today in Havana.
The 2-day summit of Latin American and Caribbean States opened today in Havana.

Attending as guests at the meeting are UN Secretary General Ban Ki -moon , and the head of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, among others. They join the presidents and prime ministers of most of the region.

During the opening ceremony, Castro also recalled that the region has been affected by the crisis in the global economy. The president called for the creation of a “new cooperation paradigm” between countries, and issued a call to work for free and universal access to education, full employment and the eradication of illiteracy.

“All are achievable goals, whose fulfillment will measure the progress of our region,” Castro told the representatives of the 33 countries present.

The Cuban president said the region has the “human capital, economic infrastructure and export capacity” to achieve development.

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), the regional poverty rate in 2012 amounted to 28.2 percent of the population, affecting 70.5 million children.

34 thoughts on “Cuba: Raul Castro criticizes “outside interference” in Latin America

  • Late Addition…. El Salvador and Costa Rica are set to elect leftist presidents this month.

  • Democratic Socialism……only answer

  • United Fruit Co does not exist anymore. It was transformed into Chiquita Brands International Inc, in 1984, when UFC was bought out by Carl Lindner. However, they haven’t much improved their business practices in Latin America.

  • Inflation is currently running at over 56%. Do you understand the effect of such high inflation on savings?

    There are shortages of flour, oil, toilet paper, meat, milk.. the list grows each day. The poor cannot afford to buy these necessities on the black-market. Therefore they are worse off.

    After vowing not to devalue the currency, Maduro did just that last week.

    As of January 2014, the official exchange rate is 1 USD to 6.3VEF while the black market exchange rate is over ten times higher since the actual value of the bolívar is overvalued for Venezuelan businesses. Since merchants can only receive so much necessary foreign currency from the government, they must resort to the black market which in turn raises the merchant’s prices onconsumers.[85] The high rates in the black market make it difficult for businesses to purchase necessary goods since the government often forces these businesses to make price cuts. This leads to businesses selling their goods and making a low profit, such as Venezuelan McDonald’sfranchises offering a Big Mac meal for only $1.[86] Since businesses make low profits, this leads to shortages since they are unable import the goods that Venezuela is reliant on. Venezuela’s largest food producing company, Empresas Polar, has stated that they may need to suspend some production for nearly the entire year of 2014 since they owe foreign suppliers $463 million.[87] The last report of shortages in Venezuela showed that 22.4% of necessary goods are not in stock.[88] This was the last report by the government since the central bank no longer posts the scarcity index. This has led to speculation that the government is hiding it’s inability to control the economy which may create doubt about future economic data released.[89]

    The Venezuelan economy is circling the drain.

  • John, read this carefully. The expansion of left-leaning regimes in Latin America is a GOOD thing for the US and capitalism in general. Going beyond the empty rhetoric of guys like you who grumble about imperialism, military-industrial complex, multinational corporations, blah, blah, blah and then rush out to buy a widescreen TV on sale at WalMart, the issue is the encroachment of al-Qaeda and other anti-US terrorism in Latin America. To the extent leftist despots give safe haven or financial cover to these anti-US terrorists, then, yes, the US must remain vigilant. If on the other hand, if the worst thing Michele Bachelet wants to change in Chile is to make college free to all Chileans, the US only stands to gain. As more poor students are able to attend university in Chile enroll in classes, you can be sure the children of wealthy Chileans will more likely send their children to US universities. As Cristina Fernandez controls prices of basic goods in Argentina, producers in Argentina will chase other markets to increase revenues. This only enhances competition for American consumers. Simply put, the US does not resist “socialist” leaders per se. The US must, however, stand against ANTI-US interests which threaten our national security or interests. There is a BIG difference.

  • Dani, you simply need to extend your view of history. These leftist regimes are not interested in building anything for the future. Rather their focus is redistributing the wealth that already exists. As a practical matter, once this redistribution has taken place, these countries will look like Cuba, having done nothing to invest in the future. Another reason the left continues to be successful at the ballot box is because of the ‘cult of personality’ that surrounds their despotic leadership. While this benefits the current regime, it is a poor model for succession. Compare Brazil to Venezuela. Lulu da Silva left office and his able protégé Rousseff was able to continue his programs. In Venezuela, Chavez groomed no one truly capable and Venezuela was suddenly left leaderless, er…well…Maduro. No doubt, Nicaragua is headed down the path blazed by Venezuela and Argentina is appearing to follow suit as well.

  • Don’t be so thick. I was referring to Brazil’s socialist neighbours. Now that Chile has elected a socialist government, they too will soon head down hill. Socialism destroys wealth.

  • Chavez increased subsidies for food. In the short term, this filled the bellies of the poor and so it made him very popular. However, in the long term, these policies are not economically sustainable. Inflation is rapidly increasing, destroying the life savings of most Venezuelans. There are growing shortages in basic food staples which the poor rely upon. When the economy finally crashes (and it will, because that which cannot be sustained, won’t), it will be the poor who will suffer the most.

    And who is sucking the wealth out of Venezuela today? The clique of officers and businessmen in Chavez’ inner circle who grew rich through government contracts and corruption. They have the connections to get their wealth converted into Euros and US dollars, while the average Venezuelan is left holding onto devalued Bolivars.

  • A military victory in Cuba would require very little bloodshed. It’s the “winning of hearts and minds” or nation-building that would likely be met with costly resistance. International outrage is the least of issues discouraging a military action against tiny Cuba. The internal opposition, led by Cuban-Americans would be the greater obstacle to overcome.

  • Actually, I don’t assume “they” are lazy and the reality is socialism has been more costly to the middle class. The rich, hard-working or not, have somehow managed to flee with their wealth leaving the working class to pay for the top-heavy bureaucracy that has accompanied the newly-installed “socialist” (quotes inserted for your benefit) regime.

  • I.C.
    Do you understand that when a company like say, United Fruit operates a farm in say, Guatemala they take out more money than they put into the operation ?
    That is called sucking the wealth out.
    It’s not that difficult a process to understand .
    See, under capitalism the object is to minimize expenses like work pay and taxes and to maximize profits for the owners and the stockholders.
    A U.S. factory owner in Guatemala is not overly interested in how well or poorly the Guatemalan people live.
    That is why these nations are moving toward the left and away from capitalism and U.S. hegemony

  • Sources for your information please .
    I believe it to be incorrect.

  • You can go to the “Killing Hope” and read about the overthrow of the Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1953 or any one of the 53 U.S. interventions since WWII and get a basic understanding of what U.S.economic imperialism is all about.
    No one should take Pidio Valdez’s or my word or I.C.’s word for anything .
    Do the reading that each of us has to do to become knowledgeable about the subject matter so we don’t look like complete idiots when we post. .

  • But of course YOU would think that socialism amounts to the lazy bums taking money from the hard-working rich .
    Margaret Thatcher was the British P.M. whose government financed the MIG airport in Grenada back in the 80s from whence Fidel Castro was to foment revolution in the region.
    What goes around, comes around.

  • Yep, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina are doing badly except for all the other more right wing capitalist countries.
    Thank you for that last sentence.

  • Exactly which countries are following Cuba’s economic model and specifically which programs in which countries reflects this ?
    Is Cuba the new “Monolithic Communist Threat ” now that the Soviet Union is not it ?
    Latin America and the Caribbean are moving to the left and away from U.S. influence for an obvious reason.
    The neo-liberal brand of capitalism that works so well for the wealthy and the large corporations but horribly for the working people and poor of the U.S, works that much worse in the poorer, developing nations of the hemisphere. .

  • Moses,
    Blaming the victim is typical of U.S. foreign policy to which you subscribe.
    It is the bully United States that is the threat to peace in the world and the bad actor in the U.S.-Cuba contretemps and not Cuba , the victim of the 54 year long U.S. Cuban embargo.
    The U.S. government knows that they would have to wipe out a majority of Cubans in order to win a military victory there and world outrage would be too much for even the ruthless U.S. government .
    Cuba alone since the end of WWII has resisted U.S.imperialism out of some 54 other U.S. interventions.
    These can be reviewed at the “Killing Hope” website .

  • Some good points from yourself and Griffin. I agree that the left tends to concentrate on the sharing of the cake and takes its eye off the cake getting smaller. But just like Old Testament prophesies if you keep on predicting impending doom everywhere you are going to be proved right at some point. The truth is the left won in Venezuela, Ecuador and Chile recently and are set to win again in Nicaragua and Bolivia in the near future. There is no sign that the left is disappearing from the scene. If this is just bribery, well they are very successful at it. If it is so easy to win elections by fooling the electorate and handing out goodies, well everyone would be doing it. Is it worth having them if they can be manipulated so easily? On the other hand has any right wing candidate won more than one election or been at all popular. The ones that have won have done so by default and a number of them literally own the bulk of the Media in the country.

  • Most historians and observers agree that Chavez increased the standard of living of the poor significantly. Hence why he was so popular, hence why the opposition promised not to reverse his social programs in the last election. You contradict yourself with your bribe comment above. But again you pick up on an incidental aspect and ignore the main discussion namely – what is “sucking the wealth” by foreign companies and whether that applied in Venezuela.

  • The answer is banal because the question is. Any foreign company which is making profit in another country is “sucking the wealth” out. The issue is at what level and what the country gets in return. Secondly, are you really saying that I am telepathically keeping these countries in poverty.

  • Check the scoreboard. Extremely well is a stretch. If what you meant to say was “not as bad as before”, I could cut you some slack. The ALBA nations are doing exactly what their Cuban puppetmasters are telling them to do and the results are high inflation, falling currency, shortages, and capital flight. It is not hard to win elections when you give cars and houses away to poor people. But when the giveaways stop, what will you have…well, Cuba.

  • You and Margaret Thatcher agree. She is quoted having said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

  • The poor in Venezuela are got poorer under Chavez & Maduro. The inflation & shortages are ruining the country. At lest Chavez filled their ears with speeches, if not their stomachs with food. Maduro cant even do that. Maduro has handed over control of his country to Cuba.

  • Socialists can bribe the people with borrowed money for a while, but eventually they run into the wall. The economy of Argentina is in a crisis: their peso is collapsing in value, inflation is soaring past 26%, their trade imbalance is unsustainable, foreign currency reserves are low and falling.

    Venezuela is in even worse shape. Brazil is starting to face similar troubles, although for now they’re not quite as bad as their neighbours.

  • The usual banalities aside, you provided no answers. You are unable to show how a company with factories in South America are “sucking the wealth”. It’s your mentality, so pervasive among armchair Bolsheviks that keeps many of these countries in poverty.

    …and Venezuela? Things are going swimmingly there. I suppose there toilet paper shortage is caused by especially trained TP commandos who’s training regimen includes (if you will permit me a slight bon mot…always wanted to say that) “squeezing the Sharmin”.

  • In your dreams. The fact is the left is doing extremely well in Latin America. You can point to individual problems in certain countries and blow these out of proportion. But if you win elections three times in row as most of these leaders have, you must be doing something right. If the opposition promise not to reverse the changes you have done and adopts some of the slogans and ways of thinking (and even your clothes) you can also count yourself a success.

  • This is hardly rocket science. Any US company which operates in Latin America is “sucking the wealth out of these nations”. It can be argued that some recompense for investments is legitimate. But what about all the military takeovers, plotting and manipulation of elections that has happened just to keep this highly exploitative relationship going. Look at Venezuela – so rich in oil – but for the majority of the population didn’t gain anything until the presidency of Hugo Chavez.

  • How will UNITY manifest between countries of Latin America? A common currency as with the Euro? If so, what happened to the SUCRE? Remember that lamebrain idea of Chavez to replace the USD as the regional exchange currency? Venezuela does not even accept the CUC or CUP as an exchange currency? Will there be open borders as in Europe? If so, why did Ecuador and other Latin American countries INCREASE their visa requirements for Cuban passport holders last year? Brasil and Chile are CAPITALIST countries. Do you really believe that Chilean and Brazilian businesses want to help Cuba and Haiti and other poor countries grow rich?

  • I want you to take a moment and explain to our readers exactly how the USA is “sucking the wealth out of these nations”. Please, I’m all ears?

  • What unity? In the end they are only worried about business, regardless of the lip service they give at this love fest.

    I love all you armchair Bolsheviks….always easier for someone else to tighten their belt while you chow down on your borscht huh.

  • Long live the struggle against imperialism and the struggle against the powerful ones that seek to keep the countries in poverty and divided. Long live the struggle of UNITY and its a up hill battle against the all mighty powerful US whom seeks to suck all the wealth out of these nations, in order to remain rich and powerful. Unity will cost every citizen of these nations to tighten their belts economicly but in the long run is something worth investing in bc it will bring lots of richness to them and they will be better off. LONG LIVE UNITY OF THE COUNTRIES of LATIN AMERICA and CARIBBEAN islands. Long live these struggle bc I know they will be better off 10 years after the unity takes place. those behind need to catch up to brasil and chile countries like Haiti and other poor nations but with the help of one another they will all grow richer together. AMEN!!!

  • This article begins, “Cuban President Raul Castro warned today about threats of “foreign interference” in Latin America….”. Really, Castro warned? Since he all but named the centers of power to mean the United States, what does this warning entail? What if the behaviors that elicited this warning continues? Will CELAC impose sanctions, raise trade barriers, impose visa requirements? This is the kind of empty rhetoric that continues to chill relations between the US and Cuba. Worse yet, like the pipsqueak coward on the schoolyard, Raul reserves his bold warnings for those audiences sympathetic to his feeble toothless tiger position. I would encourage him to come to Miami with his warnings. Of course, that would never happen.

  • It is better to strive for development then to submit to exploitation.

  • “….or waive attempts to change the course of history in our countries”

    I would say it’s a safe bet that the course of history is moving steadily against these Socialist / Communist regimes. Just look at Cuba, Venezuela and a number of other leftist countries in Latin America. All of them are squealing like stuck pigs, desperately trying to remain in control in the face of their repression and consumer shortages of all types. These countries always need a boogeyman to explain away their failures….a sure sign that history is against you!

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