Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

¿Cuba ofrece oportunidades a empresas estadounidenses?

| June 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Inter-American Dialogue

Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin American Advisor

Preguntas y Respuestas Destacadas

Pregunta:

El presidente de la Cámara de Comercio de EE.UU., Thomas Donohue, encabezó una delegación a finales de mayo durante una visita a Cuba para evaluar los cambios económicos bajo el régimen de Raúl Castro. Esta fue la primera visita de la cámara a la isla comunista desde 1999. El viaje fue criticado por legisladores, incluyendo a el presidente del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores, senador Robert Menéndez (demócrata por Nueva Jersey). El senador Menéndez comentó que  el encarcelamiento de líderes empresariales extranjeros, la violación de las normas internacionales de trabajo y la negación de derechos básicos a los ciudadanos “difícilmente parecen una oportunidad atractiva para cualquier hombre de negocios”. ¿Qué logró el viaje de Donahue? ¿Qué oportunidades ofrece Cuba para las empresas de los Estados Unidos? ¿Qué importancia y éxito han tenido las reformas económicas de Castro?

Respuesta de Roger Noriega, director ejecutivo de Vision ... Read More

Does Cuba Offer Opportunities for U.S. Businesses?

| June 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Inter-American Dialogue

Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin American Advisor

Featured Q&A

Does Cuba Offer Opportunities for U.S. Businesses?

Question:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Thomas Donohue led a delegation in late May to Cuba for a three-day visit to assess economic changes happening under President Raúl Castro. It was the chamber’s first visit to the communist island since 1999. The trip drew criticism from lawmakers including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) who said Cuba’s jailing of foreign business leaders, violation of international labor standards and denial of basic rights to citizens “hardly seem an attractive opportunity for any business leader.” What did Donahue’s trip accomplish? What opportunities does Cuba offer for U.S. businesses? How significant and successful have Castro’s economic reforms been?

Response from Roger Noriega, managing director of Vision Americas LLC, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs:

“Tragically, five decades of absolutist rule have demonstrated that there is very little ... Read More

Ros-Lehtinen teme que Obama intercambie a Alan Gross por espías

| June 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald

POR MARC CAPUTO

Cuando se dio a conocer la noticia del intercambio de prisioneros hecho por el presidente Barack Obama, del que formaron parte cinco talibanes detenidos en la Bahía de Guantánamo, muchos se preguntaron sobre el destino de otra persona encerrada en Cuba: Alan Gross, el contratista del gobierno estadounidense de quien muchos consideran que ha sido encarcelado bajo cargos falsos de espionaje.

La administración de Obama afirma que no está negociando por Gross.

Pero la representante federal Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, republicana de Miami y líder del exilio cubano, no cree que la administración esté siendo honesta.

“Creo seriamente que la administración está considerando la posibilidad de un canje”, dijo Ros-Lehtinen. “La administración ha demostrado no ser fiel a la ley, y no se puede confiar en ella”.

Por ejemplo, dijo Ros-Lehtinen, la administración le informó hace dos años a ella y a otros miembros del Congreso en una sesión de inteligencia a puertas cerradas, ... Read More

CANADA ON GUARD: ASSESSING THE IMMIGRATION SECURITY THREAT OF IRAN, VENEZUELA AND CUBA

| June 4th, 2014 | No Comments »
SFS

By Victoria L. Henderson, Joseph M. Humire, Fernando D. Menéndez

 

INTRODUCTION

 

For decades, the peaceful and virtually unguarded continental perimeter around North America was the pride of both Ottawa and Washington.  In a post-September 11th world, however, this cannot be taken for granted.   The long border between the United States and Canada enjoys the largest trade relationship in the world.[i]  The unhindered movement of goods, capital and labor across borders, however, can and has been, abused by international aggressors to exact violence on innocent civilians.

 

On September 11, 2001 a group of 19 men created havoc on the United States and, by extension, the rest of the Western world.  Armed with box cutters and just enough flight training to take down four commercial aircraft, these 19 men murdered nearly 3,000 civilians.   Similar attacks later took place in other relatively free societies such as England and Spain.[ii]

 

Five years later, in June 2006, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police ... Read More

Repression Up As Flood Of Cash Inundates Cuba

| June 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
IBD

Cuba: As U.S. Chamber of Commerce solons junket to Havana and call for trade with Cuba, arrests of dissidents there have hit a 10-year high, with a record 1,100 this month alone. Seems cash inflows make the regime meaner.

Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is the latest prominent U.S. visitor to travel to the Castro brothers’ shambling socialist hellhole to praise their so-called economic reforms as “a good start” and to call for an end to the 52-year-old trade embargo.

“We’re very pleased to be here,” Donohue said, according to the Associated Press. “We’re learning a lot about the changes taking place in Cuba,” he added, suggesting that change is coming to the rigid communist tyranny.

They’re changing, all right — not so much in the establishment of the occasional private button seller or car-repair cooperative (one of which Donohue toured)or even private media outlet (swiftly shut ... Read More

Investment in Cuban cement plant is questioned

| June 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Juan O. Tamayo

A lawsuit in Spain has turned up documents indicating that a giant Swiss firm invested in a cement plant in Cuba despite warnings the deal might violate U.S. law because the plant sits on land seized from U.S. citizens.

“Holderbank’s investment in the Cienfuegos property clearly would constitute ‘trafficking’ in confiscated property under Title IV of Helms-Burton,” wrote U.S. lawyers hired to advise the Zurich-based Holderbank, now named Holcim, the world’s largest cement company.

The deal to update and manage the plant went through in 2000, but ownership was put under a string of companies in Spain, the Netherlands and Panama to put distance between Holcim and the investment, according to a dozen documents filed in the lawsuit.

Holcim, whose website claims it is the largest supplier of cement in the United States, said it has no investments in Cuba. “Holcim does not own a business or a stake in ... Read More

Foreign Investors Won’t Liberate Cuba

| June 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

The billions already poured into the island have done nothing to advance civil society.

By MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY

Attitudes toward the 52-year-old—though much-modified—U.S. embargo of Cuba’s military dictatorship have changed a lot in recent years. But not always in the ways you might expect.

There was a time when it was not hard to find a Cuban dissident willing to criticize the embargo. Today, a great many of the island’s political activists and human-rights advocates no longer believe that foreign investment helps them in their struggle for liberation. They are asking for more economic pressure on the regime from abroad, not less.

As Cuban political activist Antonio Rodiles told journalist Pablo Diaz Espi for the Spanish website Diario de Cuba last month, “We need, first and foremost, the re-establishment of basic rights and freedoms. The international pressure, which includes the American embargo, is very necessary to at least contain the impunity enjoyed by the totalitarian ... Read More

Concesiones por parte de los Estados Unidos perjudicarán al pueblo Cubano

| June 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times

[Traducción por IASW]

Durante los últimos 15 años, el régimen de Castro ha intentado atraer a las empresas extranjeras a Cuba ofreciendo salarios de esclavos y bienes robados. El costo de hacer negocios ahí es que usted le paga los sueldos de los trabajadores al régimen, se hace socio del gobierno y se compromete a ejercer presión contra el embargo de EE.UU.

Esto puede sonar increíble, pero hay empresarios estadounidenses que analizan estas condiciones lamentables y se preguntan, “¿Qué puedo hacer para formar parte de esto? “La ley de Estados Unidos prohíbe “comerciar con el enemigo.” Así que la gente que no tiene ningún interés particular en cambiar “al enemigo” se propone cambiar la política de EE.UU.

Por ejemplo, el presidente de la Cámara de Comercio de EE.UU., Thomas J. Donohue, acaba de terminar una visita a Cuba, citando “evidencia de que estamos viendo … una extraordinaria expansión de la libertad empresarial….” Esto ... Read More

NORIEGA: Chamber of crony capitalism sells out Cubans

| June 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times

For the past 15 years, the Castro regime has sought to entice foreign companies to Cuba by offering slave wages and stolen property. The cost of doing business there is that you pay workers’ salaries to the regime, take the government as your business partner and agree to lobby against the U.S. embargo.

As astonishing as it sounds, there are American businessmen who look upon these woeful conditions and ask, “How do I get in on this?” U.S. policy bars “trading with the enemy.” People who have no particular interest in changing “the enemy” set out to change U.S policy.

For example, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue, just wrapped up a visit to Cuba, citing “evidence that we’re seeing an extraordinary expansion of free enterprise.” Of course, that is utter nonsense, demonstrating that Mr. Donohue has learned nothing since he first hyped Fidel Castro’s “reforms” 15 years ago.

According to the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic ... Read More

Biden to Cuban media: Alan Gross detention a key obstacle in diplomatic relations

| May 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
From CNN

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden sat down with a Cuban media outlet – a significant move given the decades-long tension between the United States and Cuba since the countries ended diplomatic relations more than 50 years ago.

In the interview published Tuesday, Biden cited the detention of Alan Gross, an American jailed in Cuba, as a key obstacle in improving relations.

Biden made his comments to 14ymedio, a recently launched digital newspaper created by Yoani Sánchez, a Cuban blogger and fierce critic of the governments of Raul and Fidel Castro.

“I cannot emphasize enough that Cuba’s continued detention of Alan Gross is a major impediment to improved relations between the United States and Cuba,” Biden said, according to a translation provided by his office.

Gross was convicted in 2011 for bringing satellite communications equipment into the country as part of his work as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

U.S. officials have said Gross was simply trying ... Read More

U.S. Chamber Cozies Up to Cuba for ‘Potemkin Village Tour by the Castros’

| May 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
PJ Media

BY BRIDGET JOHNSON

Cuban-American lawmakers are criticizing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for leading a “shameful” trip to Cuba this week to, in the words of the business lobby, “develop a better understanding of the country’s current economic environment and the state of its private sector.”

“Since I was last in Cuba 15 years ago, a reform program has reportedly taken 600,000 workers from government payrolls and allowed the number of self-employed entrepreneurs in the country to triple to more than 450,000,” Chamber president and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said last week. “This trip will provide us with a first-hand look at changes in Cuba’s economic policies and whether or not they are affecting the ability to do business there.”

Steve Van Andel, chairman of the U.S. Chamber’s Board of Directors and of Alticor Corporation, and Marcel Smits, CFO of the Cargill Corporation, are traveling with Donohue as part of the Chamber delegation ... Read More

Iranian MPs Leave Tehran for Tour of Latin America

| May 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
FARS News Agency TEHRAN (FNA)- A delegation of Iranian parliament members headed to Ecuador’s capital on Monday to meet the country’s parliament speaker among other high-ranking officials on the first leg of their bi-nation tour which will also take them to Colombia.

The Iran-Ecuador parliamentary friendship group presided by Hamid Reza Fouladgar left Tehran for Quito Monday morning.

The MPs are scheduled to meet high-ranking Ecuadorian officials, including the parliament speaker.

After their visit to Quito, the lawmakers will travel to Colombia on a two-day visit.

Earlier this month, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujeri said Tehran lays emphasis on the deepening of relations with Latin nations, and called for holding a joint meeting of the parliamentary foreign policy commissions of ALBA members.

“Iran favors holding a joint meeting of the foreign policy commissions of the parliaments of ALBA members in Bolivia,” Boroujerdi said in a meeting with ALBA ambassadors to ... Read More

U.S. criticizes Cuba over blocking dissident website

| May 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States criticized Cuban censorship on Thursday after Cubans were blocked from an independent website that is challenging the state monopoly on news on the island.

Dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez started publishing 14ymedio.com on Wednesday, but would-be readers were redirected to another site that is highly critical of her, reflecting the official line.

Sanchez’s site remained blocked to the small minority of Cubans with internet access on Thursday, though it was accessible outside Cuba.

The U.S. State Department stopped short of directly blaming Cuba, referring instead to media reports that the government blocked the site, but it took advantage of the incident to denounce Cuban censorship.

“The Cuban government continues to limit fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and of the press, freedom of assembly, and the free flow of information to, from, and within the island,” a State Department spokesperson said.

“Cubans deserve the right to freely express themselves ... Read More

Cuban Dissident Starts Website, Which Is Promptly Hacked

| May 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

JOSE DE CORDOBA

Cuba’s state-run Communist media got a bit of unwelcome competition on Wednesday from the island’s best-known dissident blogger.

Yoani Sánchez, who has some 608,000 Twitter followers—nearly 10 times the official Granma newspaper and five times President Raúl Castro—introduced Cuba’s first independent, general-interest website. Ms. Sánchez, 38 years old, said the newspaper had no ideological agenda and was committed to defending “truth, liberty and human rights.”

But the project, called “14ymedio,” was promptly hacked after it went live on Wednesday morning, redirecting viewers inside Cuba to a website critical of Ms. Sánchez. The cyberattack didn’t affect off-island viewers.

“Bad strategy of the Cuban government to redirect our new web 14ymedio.com,” Ms. Sánchez tweeted. “From #Cuba there is nothing as attractive as what is prohibited.”

Cuba’s government didn’t comment on the new website, nor did Granma, which is named after the yacht that brought former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro to the island from Mexico ... Read More

Fidel Castro lived like a king in Cuba, book claims

| May 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
The Guardian UK

Former bodyguard Juan Reinaldo Sánchez writes that leader ran country like a cross between medieval overlord and Louis XV

By Kim Willsher

Fidel Castro lived like a king with his own private yacht, a luxury Caribbean island getaway complete with dolphins and a turtle farm, and travelled with two personal blood donors, a new book claims.

In La Vie Cachée de Fidel Castro (Fidel Castro’s Hidden Life), former bodyguard Juan Reinaldo Sánchez, a member of Castro’s elite inner circle, says the Cuban leader ran the country as his personal fiefdom like a cross between a medieval overlord and Louis XV.

Sánchez, who was part of Castro’s praetorian guard for 17 years, describes a charismatic and intelligent but manipulative, cold-blooded, egocentric Castro prone to foot-stamping temper tantrums. He claims the vast majority of Cubans were unaware their leader enjoyed a lifestyle beyond the dreams of many Cubans and at odds with the sacrifices he demanded of them.

“Contrary ... Read More

Disidentes cubanos expresan consternación por carta de personalidades

| May 20th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
DIARIO DE CUBA

Carta a Obama: La oposición interna cuestiona que no aborde los derechos humanos en la Isla.

Berta Soler, líder de las Damas de Blanco

“Si el Gobierno estadounidense levanta las restricciones o las suaviza, le dará oxígeno al Gobierno cubano para fortalecer y equipar su maquinaria represiva contra el pueblo de Cuba y los activistas de derechos humanos”.

“Dar oxígeno al Gobierno cubano sería dar la espalda al pueblo de Cuba. Este país no es de ocio ni de recreo, este es un pueblo que está hundido en el hambre y la necesidad por culpa de un Gobierno totalitario. Una mejoría de las relaciones bilaterales o una autorización de comercio entre Estados Unidos y Cuba va a beneficiar al Gobierno cubano, no al pueblo. Los cuentapropistas no se van a beneficiar en nada porque en Cuba lo que existe es un monopolio del Estado”.

“Con respecto al embargo, la posición de las Damas de ... Read More

Cuban Dissidents: ‘There seems to be obliviousness on how things work here’

| May 20th, 2014 | No Comments »
DIARIO DE CUBA

Letter to Obama: The domestic opposition questions why Obama does not address human rights abuses in Cuba

Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White

“If the U.S. government lifted restrictions or softens them, it will give oxygen to the Cuban government to strengthen its repressive machinery against the people of Cuba and human rights activists.”

“Giving oxygen to the Cuban government would mean that the U.S. is turning its back on the Cuban people. This country is plunged into hunger and need because of a totalitarian government. An improvement of bilateral relations or authorization of trade between the U.S. and Cuba will benefit the Cuban government, not the Cuban people. Self-employed people would not benefit either, because in Cuba there is a state monopoly.”

“With regard to the embargo, the position of the Ladies in White is that it should be strengthened. No oxygen to the Cuban government, no diplomatic overtures, because this ... Read More

Cuba Mobile Email Experiment Causes Chaos

| May 19th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ

On an island where most people have no Internet access, the arrival of mobile phone email service was embraced with joy.

Tens of thousands of Cubans began emailing like crazy in March — for days, until the service started to fail, taking much of Cuba’s already shaky voice and text-messaging mobile service down with it

The island’s aging cellphone towers became swamped by the new flood of email traffic, creating havoc for anyone trying to use the system. Users had to make eight or nine attempts to successfully send an email. Even voice calls by non-subscribers’ began to drop mid-conversation. Callers sounded like they were phoning from the bottom of the sea. Ordinary text messages arrived days late, or not at all.

Since then, the state telecom monopoly Etecsa has issued a rare apology and the troubles have eased. But problems with the service, dubbed Nauta, offer ... Read More

New arrest in case of money laundering to Cuba

| May 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

Jay Weaver and Juan O. Tamayo

A Miami man has been arrested in an unprecedented money-laundering case that alleges some part of $238 million gained from Medicare fraud was secretly pumped into the Cuban banking system.Eduardo Perez de Morales, 26, was arrested by FBI agents Monday on one charge of conspiring with his fugitive brother, Jorge Emilio Perez de Morales, who owned an offshore remittance company, Caribbean Transfers.

The company is suspected of bankrolling a Florida check-cashing business that prosecutors say cashed checks for Medicare fraud offenders and transferred the dirty dollars through Canada to Cuba.

Jorge Emilio Perez de Morales, who owns a seaside home in Havana, is wanted by the FBI and was last reported to be living in Cuba. Charged in 2012, he also could be in the Dominican Republic, Mexico or Spain, authorities said.

The revised indictment now charging his brother alleges that as much as $238 million in stolen ... Read More

The Last Communist City

| May 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
City Journal

By MICHAEL J. TOTTEN

Neill Blomkamp’s 2013 science-fiction film Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, takes place in Los Angeles, circa 2154. The wealthy have moved into an orbiting luxury satellite—the Elysium of the title—while the wretched majority of humans remain in squalor on Earth. The film works passably as an allegory for its director’s native South Africa, where racial apartheid was enforced for nearly 50 years, but it’s a rather cartoonish vision of the American future. Some critics panned the film for pushing a socialist message. Elysium’s dystopian world, however, is a near-perfect metaphor for an actually existing socialist nation just 90 miles from Florida.

I’ve always wanted to visit Cuba—not because I’m nostalgic for a botched utopian fantasy but because I wanted to experience Communism firsthand. When I finally got my chance several months ago, I was startled to discover how much the Cuban reality lines up with Blomkamp’s dystopia. In Cuba, ... Read More

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