Will Cuba Pull Its Ambassador from Brazil?

Isbel Diaz Torres

Happier times: Dilma Rousseff and Raul Castro at the inauguration of the container port at Mariel.
Happier times: Dilma Rousseff and Raul Castro at the inauguration of the container port at Mariel.

HAVANA TIMES — Without even waiting 24 hours after Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, governments in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, members of the ALBA alliance, pulled out their diplomatic representatives from the South American giant, in solidarity with their government ally.

Meanwhile, an unknown body in Cuba, the self-proclaimed “Revolutionary Government”, has only issued a statement rejecting the result of the legal procedure which has taken place in Brazil against Rousseff, while reaffirming its support for the former president and the Workers Party (PT).

I say “unknown body” because the title “revolutionary government” is used quite frequently, however, we Cuban citizens (who are never consulted before these kinds of declarations are made), don’t know whether it was the National Assembly, the Cuban Communist Party, the Council of Ministers, the Foreign Ministry or just an expert in Public Relations at the GAESA military consortium, who issued this statement.

As we already know, Raul Castro’s government isn’t exactly the same as that of his brother’s, and is characterized by a smaller dose of idealism, and all of the pragmatism that the scarce political resources allow him.

In spite of the fact that Brazil has never gone down the “paths of 21st century socialism”, we already know that Havana has this country as its powerful economic ally, and in order to justify such an alliance, they painted the Rousseff government as being “leftist” and “progressive” (the same disguise they use here, by the way).

However, with what’s going on at the moment, what should the Cuban government do? I imagine that the Cuban Foreign Ministry is under Red Alert right now.

It’s not just that Brazil has been a key player in investing in the Mega Port of Mariel, a strategic objective for the Cuban economy in the mid and long-term; but that the Brazilian government pays Cuba the equivalent of almost $49,000 USD per year for each of the several thousand Cuban doctors employed in that country, through the Mas Medicos program.

Furthermore, we found out just recently that the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, will undertake the expansion work at Havana international airport terminal, under the management of the French companies Bouygues and Paris Airports. And we’re not talking about something small here, as this is a project worth around $207 million USD.

Moreover, Brazil is a key player in Cuban farming, which under the current development framework includes important sources of funding coming from the Brazilian program Mas alimentos. This project, without having to mention the contribution Brazil has made to spreading the use of GMO crops on the island, has been critical.

Right now, with the losses incurred due to low nickel prices on the global market, the Cuban company Cubaniquel is looking for foreign partners for other projects for the mining of this mineral, and Brazilian companies have already declared their interest.

Will Raul Castro’s government be willing to renounce all of this, by pulling out their embassador? What will this self-proclaimed Revolutionary Government do in answer to the calls for a more explicit and convincing solidarity? Will they come to an agreement with Temer like they did with Obama, Pena Nieto, and other examples of the most polished form of capitalism? Or will they insist on putting on their mask of being “radical”, “progressive”, “socialist”, etc…? Will they be loyal to ALBA, CELAC and the Latin American project?

I really doubt the latter, to be honest with you. Firstly, because the Cuban emancipatory project ended years ago and secondly, because we’ve already seen that when money is involved, even the phoniest of flags are lowered.

9 thoughts on “Will Cuba Pull Its Ambassador from Brazil?

  • If I interpret you correctly George, you are saying that a 9% approval rating does not reflect that the people wished to dump Rousseff.
    I would agree that polls have weaknesses and are indicative but not conclusive. But the 9% figure does make it unlikely that Rousseff could have achieved 50% plus 1 in a public vote.

  • Under direct democracy, the people are empowered to vote in all parliamentary votes. Simply saying that the President has 9% approval rating does not mean that her mandate would immediately come to an end. A vote would have to be called first. With regards to Dilma, as I pointed out, it is far from clear that an impeachment vote would have gone the would be impeachers way, despite low approval ratings of the President.

  • I George was responding to your promoting the concept of “direct democracy”. How could Rousseff have retained her position with only 9% support – or does your concept not have affect upon politicians?
    The decision to dump Rousseff may be opposed by some, but was done legally under the law as it applies in Brazil. Of course, her supporters don’t like it – problem is that the majority rules.

  • Reality will trump ideology. Raul is too smart to go down with Maduro chasing a failed economic model. Cuba will patch things up with Brazil, cutting the best deal it can with Temer. They will trade ephemeral support for financial investment. Dilma is history. Cuba needs hard cash now and that new airport. And if the ?uba people had a vote, they would vote economics over ideology. The people are tired of false promises of the failed left. The problem the left has is a failure to deliver a shared prosperity. The South American left needs to moderate and deliver to become relevant again. Exploitative capitalism or shared poverty of the extreme socialism are not only options. They will need to figure out on own as the Clinton Cartel has in the past been horrible for South America. A Hillary Clinton Presidency will have folks wishing Obama was still President.

  • From the BBC: “Although polls suggest there is ample rejection of Dilma Rousseff as a president, the question of whether she is guilty of a crime punishable with the loss of her mandate has proven explosively controversial in Brazil.”

  • Well if your quaint rather naïve concept were in effect, Rousseff would have been turfed long ago as by the time of her impeachment Brazilian polls had her popularity down to 9%.

  • This is where direct democracy, via an internal intranet, would come into its own. The question being asked is whether the Cuban people are willing to sacrifice even more to stand firm in solidarity with the emancipatory project for Latin America. It is a real quandary and putting it to direct vote is the only way the government can be sure it is acting transparently. Unfortunately Cuba does not have the infrastructure in place to empower the people in such a way. Rather than invest in access to the external internet, Cuba should prioritize building an internal intranet specifically for direct democracy.

  • First Argentina, then Brazil and now Venezuela holding massive anti-Maduro demonstrations, could it be that the sun is setting for ALBA and CELAC?

  • No matter how this unfolds it’s yet another bloody mess…

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