Monday, October 03, 2016

A new sponsor for Castro?

A new sponsor for Castro?
ROBERTO ÁLVAREZ QUIÑONES | Los Ángeles | 3 de Octubre de 2016 - 09:51 CEST.

The Castro regime is immersed in an intense propaganda and diplomatic
offensive preparing its usual draft resolution in the UN General
Assembly to condemn the US trade embargo against Cuba.

This time, however, Havana harbors broader aspirations. Its want to
secure support to make the US Venezuela's successor as patrons of
Castroism. The regime knows that Beijing and Moscow are not going to
give Cuba 10 billion dollars a year, and that, due to language barriers,
it is impossible to send 40,000 Cuban doctors to China or Russia and
later garnish their wages.

At the start of this aggressive campaign Foreign Minister Bruno
Rodríguez told the media (with a straight face): "The blockade is the
first of our economy's problems, the main obstacle to our development."
He added that between April 2015 and March 2016 the country lost 4.96
billion dollars because of the "blockade," which allegedly brought the
amount of damages caused by the US since 1962 to over 125.87 billion

The latter figure is the key. Given the devastating crisis in Venezuela,
the regime's desire is clear: it wants, more than the cessation of the
"blockade" itself, for Washington to pay compensation that would
constitute a long-term subsidy to keep the Cuban economy afloat and
perpetuate the dictatorship.

Moreover, the figures provided by Rodríguez do not stand up to even the
most basic analysis. It is true that Cuba cannot normally do normal
business with the US – although it can buy food and medicine from it,
the most sensitive areas for the population. But the self-employed could
export to the US everything they are able to produce, as the embargo
only prohibits purchases from Cuba of goods and services generated by
State enterprises.

That is, from the supposed losses due to Cuba's inability to export to
the US one must subtract the exports that could be generated by a
normal private sector on the Island. In other words, if the Castros
freed up Cuba's productive forces, they would be able sell billions of
dollars in goods and services to the US.

In addition, State enterprises can export their products and services to
the planet's other 193 countries. Cuba cannot obtain loans from US banks
or its Government, but it could receive them from the rest of the world
– if the country produced enough to pay them back. As it stands the
regime does not pay even the interest on the principal lent it.

The Island cannot import from third countries products containing more
than 10% of American components, but this usually consists of computers
and sophisticated technologies that are so expensive everyday Cubans
cannot buy them anyway. The Government contends that equipment for its
water sector is more expensive because it has to import it from faraway
China, and not the US (with lower freight fees), but fails to mention
that the USA produces all this equipment in, precisely, China, and goes
on to import it from there.

The US maintains Cuba

The embargo prohibits tourist travel to Cuba, but thanks to the
loopholes opened up by Obama, in 2015 more than 600,000 Cubans and
Americans travelled to the Island. In fact, the "empire" was the second
largest source of tourists to Cuba after Canada, with triple the number
of Germans (175,264 ), who ranked third.

Despite the "blockade," in 2015 the Island received more than 6 billion
USD from its northern neighbors through said travel, remittances, parcel
shipments, the payment of surcharges on tickets, passports, renewals,
permits, and the usual cuts taken at Customs.

This financial contribution tripled gross tourism revenue (1.94 billion)
and exceeded the export of goods from Cuba, of barely 3.9 billion USD.
In 2016 this contribution will surpass 7 billion USD. In other words,
the Island received more money from the US in those 11 months than it
"lost," according to the regime's diplomat. What blockade are we talking
about, then?

The regime should be humiliated that Cuba today exports fewer goods than
the Dominican Republic, which in 2015 sold over 9.89 billion in
products, despite being a much smaller country and with a Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) seven times smaller than that of Cuba before the Castro

Half a century ago the Island stopped exporting coffee, pineapple,
fruit, meat, zebu stud bulls, and many other agricultural products and
livestock that in the 50s made Cuba a major food exporter. For example,
before Castroism the country produced up to 60,000 tons of coffee, but
in the 2015-2016 harvest it produced just 5,687 tons (10 times less),
according to the Ministry of Agriculture. In 1957 the country imported
29% of the food it consumed, and in 2015 it imported more than 80%.

Today Cuba exports fewer goods than in the mid-20th century,
concentrated in four basic products: nickel, sugar, tobacco, rum and
pharmaceutical products (16% of the total). The latter is the only
value-added export item that the regime has added in nearly 60 years.
What it does export are doctors, like slaves, so it can later garnish
their salaries.

The cause of this economic disaster is not exogenous, but endogenous:
the socialists' appalling inability to generate wealth. Cuba suffers
from an incurable parasitism that forms part of its DNA, a system
designed by Karl Marx and degraded by Fidel Castro. Its parasitic nature
prevents it from supporting itself, and condemns it to relying on charity.

What did they do with 215 billion?

Speaking of handouts, if the Castros are going to vehemently demand
reparations from the US, they should explain what they did with the 115
billion USD donated it by the USSR from 1962 to 1991. And what happened
to the 100 billion donated by Chavez's Venezuela? No country that
receives 5 billion USD in aid every year for 45 years should be talking
about astronomical losses, but rather its own inability to produce.

China, Russia, the European Union, Japan and other countries support the
lifting of the embargo, but this is because they want to take advantage
of the cheapest labor force in the Americas ($24/month compared to $59
in Haiti) and turn Cuba into a great machine to export at low prices, to
the US and worldwide.

If the question is making demands for reparations, Washington could
quantify everything that the Cuban regime has stolen from it over the
course of nearly six decades by pirating products and licenses worth
billions of dollars.

To begin with, we can cite the most watched program on Cuban TV,
popularly referred to as Encuentro con la Yuma (Saturday movie),
featuring films stolen from Hollywood. Blockbuster films by top American
moviemakers, like Spielberg, Coppola, Lucas, Kubrick, Scorsese, Eastwood
and many others, are shown in theaters and on Cuban TV. Avatar's
elongated blue figures were seen on the Island at the same time as the
rest of the world. In this way the State brings in millions of pesos,
without paying a dime.

The computer software and programs used by the Government, Communist
Party and all Cubans are pirated off the US, as are their antivirus
systems, etc. The music for television's Sector 40 was taken from the
James Bond movies. All the country's entities illegally use exclusive
American patents, licenses, copyrights, trademarks, talks, documentaries
and videos of a scientific, technological, character. Not to mention the
American properties confiscated in 1959 and 1960.

If that amount of money were compared to an accurate figure of the
losses caused by the embargo, the Castros would probably owe the US, and
not the other way around.

Source: A new sponsor for Castro? | Diario de Cuba -
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