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Jeff Jacoby: The US embargo and Cuba's future
Boston Globe ^ | March 21, 2002 | Jeff Jacoby

Posted on 03/21/2002 7:06:04 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife

Edited on 04/13/2004 2:07:33 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

WHEN FIDEL Castro dies, will Cuba's communist dictatorship die too?

Absolutely, says a prominent Western diplomat in Havana. ''I believe the whole system will be gone within two or three years after Castro dies.''

Absolutely not, says Ricardo Alarcon, the powerful president of Cuba's parliament. ''There will be the same system afterward,'' he recently told a group of American journalists. ''Cuba has already evolved. We aren't going to discover evolution after Fidel leaves us.''

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: castro; castrowatch; communism
Capitalism's on the sly in Cuba--[Excerpt] By way of explanation for his illicit trade, he holds up his right hand and says, "Look at this." His thumb and two adjacent fingers are missing. Six years ago, Miguel caught his wrist in the bakery mixer, badly mangling it. A month later, his fingers were amputated because he could not afford the three pills needed daily to induce circulation. They cost $1 apiece, and, at the time, he was paid in bread -- six loaves a day. [End Excerpt]

Why is China OK, but Cuba 'enemy'?

China exerts influence in Latin America--[Excerpt] China-Cuban trade already stands at some $500 million annually. Just prior to Jiang's arrival on the island, Havana and Beijing signed an accord in the "electronics, infomatics and telecommunications sector," according to Cuban sources.

Although no mention was made of any military use of China's high-tech aid to Cuba, some observers are uneasy about Beijing's increasingly sophisticated technological assistance to Havana.

Beijing is in possession of advanced technology from U.S., western European and Russian sources -- and some sources claim that China is already operating a spy base in Cuba similar to the Russian surveillance facility at Lourdes.[Excerpt]

Derbyshire: SORRY STATE (Communist, Nationalist, and Dangerous) -[Excerpt] This psychopathological aspect of Chinese nationalism was on display in the Hainan affair. Chinese e-mail forums buzzed with demands for the captured U.S. servicemen to be beaten, or sentenced to life imprisonment. Years of relentless propaganda about historical grievances, real and imagined, and the need to restore ancient glories, have created a febrile atmosphere of hyperpatriotic agitation to which it is hard to think of any Western parallel other than the banal and obvious ones of early-20th century fascism.

………The Chinese people respond eagerly to these ultra-nationalist appeals: That is precisely why the leadership makes them. Resentment of the U.S., and a determination to enforce Chinese hegemony in Asia, are well-nigh universal among modern mainland Chinese. These emotions trump any desire for constitutional government, however much people dislike the current regime for its corruption and incompetence. Find a mainlander, preferably one under the age of thirty, and ask him which of the following he would prefer: for the Communists to stay in power indefinitely, unreformed, but in full control of the "three T's" (Tibet, Turkestan, Taiwan); or a democratic, constitutional government without the three T's. His answer will depress you. You can even try this unhappy little experiment with dissidents: same answer.[End Excerpt]

Bush Calls Cuba A Repressive Regime--[Excerpt] "I'm just going to remind the Human Rights Commission to remember that Cuba is an incredibly repressive regime. It's the one non-democratic government in the Western Hemisphere," said the president.

The UN commission meetings began on Tuesday and will continue through April 26.

President Bush said the Cuban people have suffered because of Castro's dictatorship.

"They put people in prison if they don't agree with you. There's no rule of law there. It's the rule of one person. He's been there for a long period of time and, unfortunately, the people of that country are suffering as a result of him," he said. [End Excerpt]

Showdown over U.S. Cuba policy nears --President Bush, Otto Reich and Sally Grooms Cowal.

1 posted on 03/21/2002 7:06:04 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: All; Dqban22; Luis Gonzalez; Kattracks; Dog Gone; Prodigal Daughter; Victoria Delsoul...
2 posted on 03/21/2002 7:15:53 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Jacoby is absolutely correct. Cuba has nothing we want, except cigars. Propping Castro up would only help perpetuate his regime, even after he's gone.

He is not our friend. He is our enemy.

3 posted on 03/21/2002 8:24:21 AM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
Americans are not losing anything by not doing business with Castro. On the contrary, the law is protecting American entrepreneurs from doing stupid business decisions at the expenses of the American taxpayers.

The powerful Spanish financial group, Endesa, with projects in Cuba of over $100 million dollars, discontinued its association with Castro and sued the regime at the Chamber of Commerce of Paris for $12 million for breaking contractual agreements. The Spanish Guitar Hotels group also liquidated its investments in Cuba. There is a long list of foreign business failures due to Cuba’s centralized Stalinist economy. You cannot throw good money after bad in Cuba’s economic wastebasket. Cubans problems are not derived form the U.S. embargo, It is the lack of freedom stupid!

Cuba’s international credit is nil after Castro stopped payments to the Paris Club of European Banks. He also owes over 3 billion dollars to Japan, about $1.5 billion to Argentina, and several billions to Spain, and all the other business partners.

Canadians, Spanish, Mexican, English, French, and investors of other countries went to Cuba attracted by Castro’s offer of cheap slave labor, a country without labor problems where workers do not have even the right to strike. In fact, whoever invests in Cuba cannot hire a single worker. They have to pay up on front to Castro $300 dollars per worker every month, and the Cuban regime pays the worker 300 Cuban pesos, the equivalent of $15 dollars a month. That means that in order to be able to hire a worker, a foreign investor has to give Castro a bribe of 2,000% up front, that goes to finance the repressive apparatus that keeps the Cuban people under feudal bondage conditions.

Those foreign investors caught in Castro’s scam want that the U.S. and the American taxpayers assume the Soviet Union’s role of maintaining Castro’s regime to the tune of 6 billion dollars annually, hoping that they would be able to recoup some of their ill advised investments. The Cuban people repudiate all those investors and tourists that have exploited them in partnership with the Cuban tyrant.

Cubans are discriminated in their own country. They resent the apartheid system forced upon them that does not allow Cubans to enter the beaches, restaurants and hotels that are reserved for the tourist and the government elite. The ill feeling is not against the Americans but against those foreigners that invest and are involved in the slave and prostitution trade in Cuba.

American investors should be patient. At the end, they will receive the good will and the rewards for being one of the very few countries that remain in solidarity with the Cuban people’s plight for freedom and democracy during the most tragic period of Cuba’s history.

4 posted on 03/21/2002 8:34:48 AM PST by CUBANACAN
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Interesting information, and a perspective I hadn't thought about.


5 posted on 03/21/2002 8:57:30 AM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
Will American Tourism Hasten Castro's Downfall? by Frank Calzon

The Miami Herald

August 13, 2001

On July 26, the 48th anniversary of the start of Fidel Castro's revolution, the U.S. House of Representatives voted not to implement the law that bars American tourists from traveling to Cuba.

Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., introduced the measure. Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart, R-Fla., told El Nuevo Herald that Flake explained to him that he had become interested in the topic ``after a lobbying visit by Cuban dissident Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz.''

Sánchez, whom I consider my friend, stated in a press release distributed in Washington by the Center for International Policy that, ``To maintain the restrictions on travel to Cuba favors only the Cuban regime.'' If this is so, why did the Havana regime immediately celebrate Flake's proposal.

Castro allowed Sánchez to travel to Miami to attend his son's funeral. The Center for International Policy blames Washington for many of Cuba's problems, while it ignores much of Castro's repression. Sánchez's lobbying is important because he lives in Cuba. Cubans on the island who support continuation of the embargo as a form of pressure to secure respect for human rights live under the threat of imprisonment.

Let us refresh our memories. In 1989, when the end of Soviet subsidies plunged the regime into its worst crisis, Castro was forced to allow some adjustments in the economy. In what became known as ``the special period,'' Cubans were permitted to work on their own (though with many restrictions) in trades such as carpentry, barbering, etc.

They also were permitted to open restaurants at home -- paladares -- with no more than 12 seats. The possession of dollars -- until then a crime punishable by jail -- was legalized.

These reforms were conducted solely and exclusively because the regime's very survival was at stake. When the government deemed that the situation had improved a bit, it redoubled its repression. There was a return to the arrest and daily harassment of dissidents; Cubans again were imprisoned for ``crimes'' as serious as buying a chicken from a farmer; the number of cuentapropistas -- self-employed workers -- declined by more than 30 percent.

Yet, Castro still is desperately seeking dollars and favors a lifting of the embargo and the long-awaited injection of millions of dollars brought by tourists. Castro, who stopped paying his country's debt in 1986, now wants loans from the World Bank. Sánchez, leader of a human-rights organization on the island, played a key role in the US House's approval of Flake's amendment, which was part of an appropriations bill.

Sánchez has a serious responsibility on his hands and would do well to use his influence to inform some American politicians about the following:

All business dealings with Cuba are joint ventures between the regime and the foreign investor. Cubans are not allowed to be partners.

Castro receives millions of dollars through labor fraud. Foreign investors are not allowed to hire workers on their own. The regime does the hiring. The foreign companies pay the regime between $8,000 and $9,000 a year for each laborer, and the regime pays the laborer the peso equivalent of $15 a month -- about $180 a year.

In Castro's segregated hotels, Cubans cannot rent rooms even if they have dollars, nor can they enter the restaurants, beaches or clinics set aside for foreigners.

Tourism earnings are not like the family remittances sent from abroad to ordinary Cubans. Tourism-generated income goes directly to the regime's coffers to strengthen the police and armed forces. Gaviota, Cuba's official tourism agency, is a front for the Cuban armed forces.

Cubans need an exit permit from the regime to travel abroad. As in the old Soviet Union, Cubans also need a permit to move from one city to another within the national territory. Cubans who live abroad need a permit from Castro to visit their native land.

Castro confiscates all property of every Cuban who emigrates, down to the electrical appliances and furniture. Air fare and all immigration paperwork inside Cuba must be paid in dollars by the relatives abroad.

Ideas have consequences. Did Elizardo Sánchez err when he lobbied Congressman Flake? Did he take into account the correlation of strength (of resources) between the regime and the domestic opposition? Will tourists risk their skin to defend freedom? Will tourists bankroll with their dollars an increase in the repression? Let's pray to God that I'm wrong and that my friend Elizardo Sánchez won't have to regret his candid lobbying. Meanwhile, he should think how he's going to explain the affair to the dissidents who are in the regime's horrid cross hairs.

Frank Calzón is executive director of the Washington-based Center for a Free Cuba.

6 posted on 03/21/2002 9:53:22 AM PST by CUBANACAN
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All smiles in a country where you may get a prison sentence for buying a chicken.

7 posted on 03/21/2002 10:06:33 AM PST by Dog Gone
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They have to pay up on front to Castro $300 dollars per worker every month, and the Cuban regime pays the worker 300 Cuban pesos, the equivalent of $15 dollars a month.

And don't forget the fully stocked Diplotiendas that only accept U.S. Dollars while refusing to accept Cuba's own Peso.

The fat Canadian tourist in a Hawwiian shirt can buy whatever food he wants in Cuba as long as he brings U.S. Dollars. The Cuban worker that labored for the Revolution for a month to earn 300 Cuban Pesos, worth 15 U.S. Dollars on the black market, must settle for 15 U.S. Dollars worth of food at a Diplotienda at prices that are higher than a U.S. market or use his 300 Cuban Pesos at ordinary Cuban stores where shelves are empty and what little they have is strictly rationed.

8 posted on 03/21/2002 10:19:48 AM PST by Polybius
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To: *Castro Watch
Check the Bump List folders for articles related to and descriptions of the above topic(s) or for other topics of interest.
9 posted on 03/21/2002 12:35:29 PM PST by Free the USA
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
The government has arrested, and sometimes beaten, dozens of signature collectors; Cubans who sign know that they are inviting retaliation. But they sign nevertheless. ''With great serenity and resolution,'' reports Paya, ''citizens are saying, Here is my name, my ID number, my address.''

They are the silent heroes. God bless them.

Cuba may not be inundated with Americans - though 80,000 of them did visit the island last year - but the past decade has brought a huge influx of Canadians and Europeans. Their influence and exports and ''notions of liberty and enterprise'' haven't weakened Castro's grip - the result, in part, of Cuba's ''tourist apartheid,'' which bars ordinary Cubans from mixing with foreigners in hotels, restaurants, and beaches. Why would more Americans make any difference?

After all, Castro is free to do business with every other nation on earth. And make no mistake: Doing business with Cuba means doing business with Castro.

Excellent article CW! Right on target!

10 posted on 03/21/2002 6:02:05 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: Victoria Delsoul
Letters to the Editors: U.S. is right to keep pressure on Castro's Cuba - © St. Petersburg Times published April 3, 2002 -Re: A walk through Havana reveals the sadness, by Jeff Jacoby, March 17. [Full Text] What a refreshing thing to read an account of what life is like for the typical, non-Communist Cuban. This is one of the few accounts I have seen in the press that does not paint the misleading picture of the happiness of the Cuban people under the Castro regime. My observations are not just personal opinions but are the result of a 30-year study of countless sources of life in Cuba.

For those who would insist on lifting America's trade restrictions with Cuba and decry the strong support of the Cuban-Americans who fled the Communist takeover of their country . . . try walking in their shoes. If you lost your home, business, farm, profession and personal possessions to the Communist takeover of this country and fled to Great Britain, don't you think you would pressure the British government to do everything to bring down that Communist-American government?

Castro holds the key to unlocking the door to trade with the United States; he need only allow free elections, honor human rights and release the political prisoners. When that happens, the people of Cuba will benefit from the resurgence of their economy. They, too, will be able to go into grocery stores with shelves stocked with food. It will no longer be just the Communist Party and its power elite that pocket the dollars of tourism and foreign investment in Cuba.

The United States is doing the right thing to keep up the pressure. The people of Cuba, who want to change the system, cannot change it from within the way we can change our government. They have no non-Communist newspapers or TV. They cannot have rallies and protests without disappearing into the prisons. They cannot elect someone who will improve their lot. They cannot even meet in homes without Communist state spys knocking on their doors and reporting them to the party.

As recently as May 2001, Castro, while visiting fellow terrorist regimes in Iraq, Libya and Iran pledged, while in Tehran, "The people and governments of Cuba and Iran can bring the United States to its knees."

Do we really want to help this terrorist government on our doorstep or should we keep at least as watchful an eye as we are keeping on other terrorist regimes half-way around the world? -- William C. Gregg, Belleair [End]

11 posted on 04/03/2002 1:32:15 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Castro holds the key to unlocking the door to trade with the United States; he need only allow free elections, honor human rights and release the political prisoners. When that happens, the people of Cuba will benefit from the resurgence of their economy. They, too, will be able to go into grocery stores with shelves stocked with food. It will no longer be just the Communist Party and its power elite that pocket the dollars of tourism and foreign investment in Cuba.

Great article (#11.) Thanks so much for posting this, CW.

12 posted on 04/03/2002 7:37:15 AM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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