Posts Tagged ‘Fidel Castro’

The Real Cost of Castro Inc.

| December 19th, 2014 | No Comments »
FoxNews.com

By Elizabeth MacDonald 

There is a price that the Cuban regime will exact from American companies to do business there if U.S.-Cuba relations are fully normalized, a price that likely won’t benefit the country’s lower classes, but will instead line the pockets of Castro & Co., experts on Cuba warn.

Because of its tight grip, the Castro regime has kept Cuba’s GDP hamstrung. It’s economy is now at a tiny $72.3 billion, less than half that of the state of Iowa, notes Richard J. Peterson, senior director at S&P Capital IQ. In fact, the average worker earns less than $25 a month.

Cuba is in crisis, it needs a bailout. Its crony communism has failed, it is steeped in debt, and its money is running low. Historically, Cuba has enjoyed lifelines in the form of money and oil from Venezuela, which had been generously ... Read More

Bush Commerce Secretary Says Obama Gave Cuba ‘a Major Political Win

| December 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
From Time

By Eliza Gray

“The U.S. has given so many concessions and not received anything in return,” Carlos Gutierrez tells TIME

Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez told TIME Thursday that the U.S “will have egg on our face” following President Barack Obama’s move to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba for the first time in half-a-century. Gutierrez, a Cuban-born former Kellogg CEO who worked in the administration of President George W. Bush, is now a consultant at the Albright Stonebridge Group.

Here’s his Q&A with TIME, lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

How much flexibility will businesses have if Congress doesn’t actually act to lift the embargo?

How much flexibility there will be for U.S. businesses will depend on how much flexibility the Cuban regime gives to U.S. businesses. That’s the aspect of this that has brought down these agreements. At the end of day, ... Read More

Cuba Opening Shines Light on Obsolete Telecom Links

| December 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

By DREW FITZGERALD And RYAN KNUTSON

Cuba is closing the gap to the U.S. Next up: Closing the gap to the Internet.

The island nation has just one modern, fixed Internet connection to the outside world, with spotty access to satellite links providing the rest. Cuba has access to about 1% of the Internet bandwidth available in the nearby Dominican Republic, according to researcher TeleGeography.

Cuba’s population of about 11 million is bigger than the Dominican Republic’s roughly 10 million, but the Dominican Republic is served by five underwater cable systems. The other fiber optic communications lines crisscrossing the Caribbean wrap around Cuba, a black hole in an otherwise connected hemisphere.

That omission is by design. Cuba keeps tight control of its citizens’ access to information, and the U.S. embargo has limited American companies’ ability to build infrastructure that touches the island. The normalization of relations with the U.S. creates an opportunity to bridge the gap, but ... Read More

Obama Gives Rubio a Gift From Cuba

| December 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

By Eli Lake & Josh Rogin 

U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement today on plans to normalize relations with Cuba is good news for many constituencies. It’s good for the agribusinesses that stand to sell more food to Cuba. It’s good for Democrats, desperate for a tangible foreign policy success from their president. And of course, it’s good for Alan Gross, the Jewish aid worker arrested in 2009 who warned visitors recently that he feared he would die in his Cuban jail cell.

But Obama’s decision is also very good news for Marco Rubio, the man emerging as the leader of the Republican fight against Obama’s new outreach to Cuba. When Republicans take control of the Senate in the next Congress, Rubio will be in charge of the subcommittee that oversees diplomacy in the Western Hemisphere and would hold nomination hearings for America’s first ambassador to Cuba since 1960.

It doesn’t look like that nomination ... Read More

On Cuba, Obama abandons a clear position for a vague project

| December 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Charles Lane

The U.S. embargo on Cuba — or what’s left of it after President Obama’s dramatic Cuba policy announcement — may be a futile gesture. But it is, or was, not an empty gesture.

It put the United States firmly on record that it would have as little as possible to do with a regime whose misdeeds have included inviting Soviet nuclear weapons onto its soil, sponsoring violent guerrilla groups throughout the Western Hemisphere, harboring fugitives from U.S. justice and — last but certainly not least — systematically trampling its citizens’ most basic rights.

In place of this clear position, Obama has taken a stance that is more nuanced morally but, he assures us, more efficacious practically.

He might be right, too — if you believe that this administration, or its successors, will have the diplomatic smarts, and the attention span, to maneuver the Castro regime into letting its people have more ... Read More

Obama and Cuba: The Triumph of Ideology over U.S. National Interests

| December 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
National Review

By Elliot Abrams

The American Left has loathed the embargo and overlooked all of Castro’s repressive actions since the 1960s. They have blamed the U.S.–Cuba deadlock entirely on the United States and have sought the end of the embargo whenever a Democrat was in the White House. Under Johnson, Carter, and Clinton they did not get their way; that had to await Obama.

When the Soviet Union fell, the Castro regime was in dire straits. It survived through sheer repression — until it was sustained by Venezuelan oil money sent by Hugo Chávez. Today Chávez is dead, oil is under $60 a barrel, and Venezuela is reeling. Who will bail Castro out this time? Now we have the answer: Barack Obama.

Put aside the prisoner exchange, which one can be for or against and still decry the rest of Obama’s moves today. It’s clear that Obama told the Cubans ... Read More

Rubio Leads Republican Charge to Block Obama Cuba Policy in 2015

| December 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

By Kathleen Hunter

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who may run for president in 2016, is leading a Republican charge to do everything possible to block President Barack Obama’s move to normalize relations with Cuba.

Yet even Rubio says there may be little the Republican-controlled Congress can do.

“I would concede that many of the changes that have been made today, such as diplomatic relations, fall within the purview of the presidency,” Rubio told reporters today in Washington.

Rubio, whose parents left Cuba in 1956, said Republican lawmakers will “use every tool at our disposal in the majority to unravel as many of these changes as possible.”

Blocking funds for an embassy in Cuba and refusing to confirm an ambassador to the island nation are steps Rubio and others in his party suggested Congress might be able to take.

“We’re going to have a very ... Read More

Cuba’s Castro Brothers Get Big Present From Santa Obama

| December 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
Investor's Business Daily

Foreign Policy: Just as its patron Venezuela hit the rocks, Cuba got a last-minute rescue from none other than President Obama, who announced a Santa Claus-like package of wish-list goodies for the Castro brothers. Why?

In many ways, President Obama’s announced plan to normalize relations with Cuba, lift the embargo, extend trade credits and remove Cuba from the state sponsors of terror list is about on par with the rest of his foreign policy.

It was done by executive order without consulting Congress, just like last month’s decision to temporarily legalize 5 million illegal immigrants.

It was justified by a claim the U.S. embargo was “not working,” comparable to Obama’s claim the U.S. immigration system is “broken.” In reality, the problem in both cases is that of a halfhearted willingness to enforce the law, rendering it full of holes.

As for the hostage swap in the bargain, that of U.S. Agency for International Development subcontractor ... Read More

Cuba’s Castro has given little and gained a lot, analyst says

| December 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
DW

The restoration of diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba has triggered debate on how far normalization will go. Human rights fellow Mark P. Lagon tells DW why he doesn’t expect dramatic changes to come fast.

DW: Why did President Obama push ahead with this now?

Mark P. Lagon:He feels that the Senate is shifting in power to a Republican majority and he wants to take a step in a direction that’s of dialogue with an autocratic government. This is in line with some other politics he’s pursued in the past; for example he also has an inclination to dialogue with the Iranians.

What are the chances that this rapprochement will go any further – seeing as the US House of Representatives and Senate will be dominated by Republicans soon, who may not be in favor of lifting the embargo?

This not cut entirely along partisan lines. ... Read More

Obama gives the Castro regime in Cuba an undeserved bailout

| December 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Editorial Board

IN RECENT months, the outlook for the Castro regime in Cuba was growing steadily darker. The modest reforms it adopted in recent years to improve abysmal economic conditions had stalled, due to the regime’s refusal to allow Cubans greater freedoms. Worse, the accelerating economic collapse of Venezuela meant that the huge subsidies that have kept the Castros afloat for the past decade were in peril. A growing number of Cubans were demanding basic human rights, such as freedom of speech and assembly.

On Wednesday, the Castros suddenly obtained a comprehensive bailout — from the Obama administration. President Obama granted the regime everything on its wish list that was within his power to grant; a full lifting of the trade embargo requires congressional action. Full diplomatic relations will be established, Cuba’s place on the list of terrorism sponsors reviewed and restrictions lifted on U.S. investment and most travel to Cuba. That liberalization will provide ... Read More

A Victory for Oppression

| December 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

By MARCO RUBIO

The announcement by President Obama on Wednesday giving the Castro regime diplomatic legitimacy and access to American dollars isn’t just bad for the oppressed Cuban people, or for the millions who live in exile and lost everything at the hands of the dictatorship. Mr. Obama’s new Cuba policy is a victory for oppressive governments the world over and will have real, negative consequences for the American people.

Since the U.S. severed diplomatic relations in 1961, the Castro family has controlled the country and the economy with an iron fist that punishes Cubans who speak out in opposition and demand a better future. Under the Castros, Cuba has also been a central figure in terrorism, narco-trafficking and all manner of misery and mayhem in our hemisphere.

As a result, it has been the policy and law of the U.S. to make clear that re-establishing diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba is ... Read More

Most of Latin America Has Adopted Democracy. Will Cuba?

| November 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Huffington Post

By Michel Kelly-Gagnon

Mario Vargas Llosa is one of the greatest writers of our time, whose collection of novels earned him the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature.

He’s also someone with the curiosity and the intellectual courage to change his mind when faced with evidence that contradicts his beliefs, as detailed in a new trilingual booklet entitled My Intellectual Journey: From Marxism to Liberalism that has just been released in bookstores across the province of Quebec.

This booklet is based on a very moving and fascinating talk Mr. Vargas Llosa gave in Montreal last year at an MEI gala event, in which he explained how he came to be an admirer at one time of Fidel Castro’s Cuban experiment, as were many Latin American and other intellectuals of his generation. Understandably, though, his enthusiasm began to wane somewhat when he learned of the concentration camps to which were sent a mix of dissidents, common criminals, and ... Read More

Brazil prosecutor blasts ‘More Doctors’ program

| November 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

SAO PAULO — A federal prosecutors’ office has alleged irregularities in the way Brazil pays Cuban doctors participating in a program set up to provide health care in remote areas, and is urging the country to pay the physicians directly rather than through their government.

In a statement issued late Monday, prosecutor Luciana Loureiro Oliveira blasted as “frankly illegal” an agreement among the Cuban and Brazilian governments and the World Health Organization. Under the setup, the program’s Cuban doctors are paid about a fourth of what Brazil gives the Cuban government through the World Health Organization for their services.

While Brazil pays about $4,000 per month for each of the around 11,000 Cuban doctors in the program, Oliveira said it found a contract in which at least one of those doctors was getting only $1,000 a month.

The statement urged Brazil to pay the Cubans directly, instead of going through the WHO and ... Read More

Las Naciones ‘Sumergidas’ de Latinoamérica

| November 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
Folha de Sao Paulo

Líderes políticos y diplomáticos de América Latina y el Caribe saben más sobre Cuba y Venezuela que incluso los observadores más astutos en Washington. Por lo tanto, deberían saber lo que le conviene más a su región ¿no?

Entonces, ¿por qué el Grupo de América Latina y el Caribe en la ONU le dio su apoyo a Venezuela para ser el próximo representante de la región ante el Consejo de Seguridad? Y, ¿por qué están determinados en invitar a el déspota cubano Raúl Castro a la Cumbre de las Américas en Panamá en la primavera?; haciendo caso omiso de las objeciones por parte de sus socios comerciales más importantes, como Estados Unidos y Canadá.

Para muchas generaciones de latinoamericanos, Cuba fue el hogar de algunas de las mejores editoriales de lengua española en el mundo, cientos de periódicos y estaciones de radio de calidad, derechos laborales progresistas, altos niveles de alfabetización y ... Read More

Cuba seeks over $8 billion in foreign investment

| November 4th, 2014 | No Comments »
Yahoo News-01

By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN and ANDREA RODRIGUEZ

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba asked international companies on Monday to invest more than $8 billion in the island as it attempts to kick-start a centrally planned economy starved for cash and hamstrung by inefficiency.

Foreign Commerce Minister Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz announced a list of 246 potential projects that would cost $8.7 billion to build, from a pig farm to an auto plant. The menu of possible investments is a key step in a push for foreign capital that includes the relaxation of investment restrictions and the creation of a special trade zone around a new deep-water port west of Havana.

“Cuba is pushing strongly to take advantage of the benefits associated with foreign investment to stimulate development,” Malmierca said.

Despite the push, foreigners at Havana’s International Fair, the country’s main economic promotional event, described Cuba as a place ... Read More

Cuba hasn’t earned embargo’s end

| October 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

In October of 1960, the United States imposed an embargo on exports to Cuba covering all commodities except medical supplies and certain food products. That was the beginning of a trade embargo that still endures and still inspires heated debate.

The anniversary of the embargo, plus this week’s upcoming vote in the United Nations condemning it — which the United States will lose, as usual — have prompted calls for a reassessment. Dropping the embargo altogether would require action by Congress. Meanwhile, anti-embargo advocates say, there’s a lot the president can do to soften or minimize its effects and open the door to restoring full ties with Cuba.

We disagree. Such a move would be premature and utterly lacking in justification at this time.

Granted, Raúl Castro has loosened the reins on the tightly controlled economy to permit more individual businesses. Some citizens can own property, and new rules are designed to encourage ... Read More

Venezuelan victory is bad news for Washington

| October 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Star

By Oakland Ross

This month’s election of socialist Venezuela to a two-year term on the UN Security Council is one more sign of dwindling U.S. influence in Latin America, a part of the world once regarded as Washington’s “backyard,” according to some experts on the region.

“Latin America has become a dead star (for Washington),” said Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a somewhat left-tilting think tank based in Washington. “It is simply not in the administration’s workbook.”

In the past — most recently in 2006 — the U.S. government has resorted to determined diplomatic arm-twisting to prevent Venezuela from joining the UN’s powerful inner sanctum.

This time, Washington mounted only a muted opposition, but even that campaign was roundly ignored by UN member states on Oct. 16 when 181 of 193 countries voted to vault Venezuela into a two-year term as one of the Security Council’s 10 non-permanent members.

One ballot ... Read More

No change by Castro, no change in trade embargo

| October 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY JAIME SUCHLICKI

There’s an eagerness among many in this country to begin a process of normalizing relations with Cuba. The belief persists that economic considerations could influence Raúl Castro’s policy decisions and that Cuba’s difficult economic situation will force Cuba’s leader to move toward a market economy and closer ties to the United States.

Yes, despite economic difficulties, Castro does not seem ready to provide meaningful and irreversible concessions for a U.S.-Cuba normalization. He may release and exile some political prisoners. He may offer limited economic changes to tranquilize the Cuban population, but not major structural reforms that would open the Cuban economy. Cuba is not moving to a market economy. In Cuba, political considerations dictate economic decisions.

Raúl’s legitimacy is based on his closeness to Fidel Castro’s policies of economic centralization, control and opposition to U.S. policies. Raúl cannot reject Fidel’s legacy and move closer ... Read More

Cuba should not be rewarded for denying freedom to its people

| October 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By the Editorial Board

THE OTHER day, Fidel Castro wrote an opinion column for Cuba’s state-run newspaper, Granma, as he has done periodically from retirement. He lavished praise on an editorial in the New York Times that called for an end to the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. But Mr. Castro had one complaint: The Times mentioned the harassment of dissidents and the still-unexplained death of a leading exponent of democracy, Oswaldo Payá, and a younger activist, Harold Cepero, in a car wreck two years ago.

The assertion that Cuba’s authoritarian government had yet to explain the deaths was “slanderous and [a] cheap accusation,” Mr. Castro sputtered.

So why has Cuba done nothing to dispel the fog of suspicion that still lingers over the deaths? If the charge is slanderous, then it is long past time for Mr. Castro to order a thorough investigation of what happened on an isolated Cuban road ... Read More

Carromero llega a Miami para demostrar cómo Cuba manipuló la muerte de Payá

| October 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald

El dirigente de Nuevas Generaciones del Partido Popular de Madrid, Ángel Carromero, viajó el jueves a Miami para, entre otras cosas, reunirse con congresistas y senadores de Estados Unidos que apoyarán su intento de demostrar que el Gobierno cubano manipuló las pruebas del accidente en el que murieron Oswaldo Payá y Harold Cepero.

Carromero, que actualmente cumple condena en España por un delito de homicidio —conducía el vehículo en el que viajaban los disidentes cubanos fallecidos—, disfruta del tercer grado desde el 18 de febrero de 2013 aunque con seguimiento por medios telemáticos, pero ha conseguido un permiso para viajar fuera del país durante una semana.

Según ha explicado Carromero en una entrevista, hasta el 16 de octubre tiene previsto reunirse en Miami con la familia de Payá, con distintas organizaciones de derechos humanos y con los políticos estadounidenses, además de promocionar en el país su libro “Muerte bajo sospecha”.

Carromero se presentará ... Read More

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