Monday, November 9, 2015

The Future of Cuba

Is Tied to Its Economic Survival
{Updated Tuesday, November 10th, 2015}
         Irina Bokova is a Bulgarian politician who is now Director General of UNESCO, which stands for: United Nations, Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. At UNESCO's just concluded 38th General Conference in Paris, Ms. Bokova went out of her way to praise Cuba "for its achievements in education."
      This is a Cuban classroom. Prior to UNESCO's praise for Cuba's educational achievements, the World Bank and the World Health Organization had praised Cuba for the extraordinary percentage of its wealth devoted to education and health. It is generally verboten to mention Cuban positives in the U. S. media.
          Josefina Vidal, Cuba's Minister of North American Affairs, is back in Washington today to review topics with the U. S. State Department. This session was arranged during the last of the four diplomatic sessions Vidal had with Roberta Jacobson that led up to the re-opening of embassies in the two capitals. Vidal is pleased with such advances in the process of normalizing relations but she will today rehash three Cuban irritants that remain: the embargo, regime change programs, and the theft of Quantanamo Bay. 
        In the renewed U.S.-Cuban discussions today in Washington, Vidal will represent Cuba while Alex Lee will represent the U. S. He is the State Department's Deputy Assistant for Latin America. He will counter Vidal's three basic demands with some of his own, including asylum that Cuba provides for  U.S. fugitives.
       This photo is courtesy of REUTERS/ENRIQUE DE LA OSA. It was taken last week -- October 3rd, 2015 -- at the 33rd International Trade Fair in Havana, the first since the U. S. flag began flying at its new embassy in Cuba on August 15, 2015. Standing at the podium above was Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuba's Minister of Foreign Investment. What he said is important to those who love Cuba, those who hate Cuba, and those even moderately interested in U.S.-Cuban relations and how the Caribbean's biggest island will interact with the region and the world in the future. Mr. Malmierca said:
                  "Cuba has 326 projects {seeking foreign investmentranging from the production of rum to a venture that would create high-definition, pay-per-view television. As you can see from our portfolio, we expect about $8.2 billion in U. S. dollars in those international investments, with about $2 billion a year added additionally. We realize, I repeat, that the private sector co-operatives, private entrepreneurs, and other forms of property and management apart from the government, will have spaces within our future development. In the past year we have signed 36 deals, including six at the new Economic Zone built around the port of Mariel, which all of you are invited to visit 28 miles southwest of Havana to judge for yourselves if it is a state-of-the-art, deep-water economic zone. Under no circumstances do we want to go back to being dependent on one market."
       Of course, the most important sentence Rodrigo Malmierca uttered in Havana last week was this one: "Under no circumstances do we want to go back to being dependent on one market." In the 1960s Revolutionary Cuba, fearing that the ousted Batista-Mafia dictatorship, solidly and powerfully retrenched on U. S. soil, would use the awesome might of the U. S. military to recapture the island, turned to the Soviet Union as a counter-balance. After the fall of the Soviet Union to start the decade of the 1990s, Cuba depended mostly on Venezuela for its economic survival. Now Venezuela has its own problems. Cuba's resilience on what Malmierca referenced as "one market" -- first the Soviet Union and then Venezuela -- is now history. No, pugnacious little Cuba is not about to capitulate to a second generation of powerful Batistianos backed by the ultra-powerful U. S. government. Nor is it going to suddenly transition to a capitalist democracy. But what it is going to do, as outlined by Mr. Malmierca, is to incorporate a Chinese/Vietnamese-style economic machine -- one that welcomes local entrepreneurship and foreign investments -- to sustain Cuban sovereignty from the threat it has long perceived immediately to its north.
           This Reuters photo was taken on August 15, 2015. It shows the U. S. flag being raised in front of the reopened U. S. embassy in Havana -- reopened for the first time since 1961. The Cuban flag, a few weeks earlier, had been raised in front of its reopened embassy in Washington for the first time since 1961.
    Pope Francis and the entire world support President Obama's Cuban sanity.
         Each October for the past 24 years the nations of the world, via their vote in the United Nations, have resoundingly denounced the U. S. embargo of Cuba, which was first imposed in 1962 for the stated purpose, according to declassified U. S. documents, of starving and depriving Cubans on the island to entice them to overthrow the still un-thrown Fidel Castro. The Reuters/Getty Images photo above shows the UN vote last month: 191-to-2 with no abstentions. Only Israel, very dependent on billions of dollars each year in military and economic aid from the U. S., voted to support America's flawed Cuban policy.
          Yet there remains a vast, well-funded propaganda apparatus in the United States that is determined to keep the huge and lucrative Castro Industry going strong. That well-funded and well-heeled propaganda machine, for example, controls the easily purchased U. S. Congress regarding Cuba and only the U. S. Congress can end the embargo against Cuba. Therefore, as undemocratic as it may be, it won't be ended. The photo above shows anti-Castro zealot Mauricio Claver-Carone. As a superstar lobbyist in Washington he has a vast array of assets as an anti-Castro zealot. Mr. Claver-Carone, in my opinion, is synonymous with the very lucrative Castro Industry in the United States that was spawned at about the time {1959the Cuban Revolution chased the Batista-Mafia dictatorship off the island, all the way to South Florida.
       Mauricio Claver-Carone was born in Florida, raised in Madrid, became a Law Professor at George Washington University in Washington, has his own national radio program, writes regularly for such media giants as The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal, is a former adviser to the U. S. Treasury Department, has a powerful U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC, and edits the well-funded and well-heeled Capital Hill Cubans blog, which gets less than half the daily hits as this Cubaninsider, which is a lone-wolf blog that has only one participant -- me, a democracy lover not pleased with how the U. S. Cuban policy so severely harms the U. S. and democracy. It appears to me that Claver-Carone and others like him want to either recapture Cuba or just continue the lucrative Castro Industry in the U. S. for another half-century or more. {You are invited to Google the above information and to sample the Capital Hill Cubans blog. I believe Americans should be free to research and then judge for themselves in order to render opinions regarding U.S.-Cuban relations. I further believe self-serving Castro Industry lobbyists/propagandists demand that they alone control the Cuban narrative in the U. S. That apparently is why everyday Americans are the only people in the world without the freedom to travel to Cuba. Should Mr. Claver-Carone be asked, "Should Americans endlessly be denied the freedom to visit Cuba and should Americans endlessly allow Congress to pass laws such as Wet Foot/Dry Foot and The Cuban Adjustment Act that are designed to enrich and empower Cuban-Americans while discriminating against everyone else?" The rest of the world seems to be asking such questions but, when it comes to Cuba, Mr. Claver-Carone and the vast lobbying mechanism that he epitomizes has cowered most Americans into not asking such questions.
          The plush Radio-TV Marti studios in Miami since the 1980s have received an ungodly amount of tax dollars flowing freely and steadily in a plush pipeline from Washington. As far as I know, there is not a single unbiased expert who considers it nothing but a vast anti-Castro propaganda machine that supposedly penetrates Cuban airspace but is easily blocked by the Cuban government. So, it seems since the 1980s the prime purpose of Radio-TV Marti is to serve as one of countless methods to provide tax dollars to selected Cuban-Americans in Miami. {You are invited and encouraged to ask your Congressman if that is so}. The above photo shows Yoani Sanchez, the most internationally famed anti-Castro zealot on the island, broadcasting from those lush Radio-TV Marti studios in Miami. Some may consider this an extreme paradox because Cuba allows her to fly to the U. S. and around the world promoting her views, and then fly back to Cuba to more effectively produce her anti-Cuban blog and online newspaper. By contrast, everyday Americans are not allowed to visit Cuba to make judgments for themselves.
       Cuba even allows its most famed dissident, Yoani Sanchez, to fly to Washington and confer with the two most powerful anti-Castro Cuban-American politicians in the United States -- Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez. And then, with that impetus, she flies back to Cuba and commences her internationally famed and Congress-blessed anti-Castro diatribes. {P. S.: Democracy is still the best government on the planet, even when it often resembles Batista's 1950s-era Banana Republic}.
       When she is in the United States, every rich and powerful right-wing organization covets Yoani Sanchez on its anti-Castro or pro-Batistiano panels. She obliges. During her introduction, one of them mentioned "Yoani's world tour funded by unknown patrons." Uh, yeah -- unknown patrons, ha-ha!
          Since 1959, one way to get rich, powerful, and famous is to be Cuban or Cuban-American and rise to the forefront of the Castro Industry in the United States. A spot at the top awaited Yoani Sanchez's first trip to the U. S. in 2013. To this day, Cuba allows her to fly back-and-forth between the U. S. and Cuba but everyday Americans are restricted by the U. S. from flying to Cuba, a freedom that all non-Americans have. Meanwhile, propagandized Americans are not supposed to question that paradoxical dichotomy. Ask the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Capital Hill Cubans, Fox News, the Tea Party, etc. But, tuh, ask it carefully. 
        For the benefit of most Americans, most Cubans, and most Cuban-Americans, the U. S. and Cuba should be as close as the 50-star and one-star flags depicted above are. That's what President Obama, Pope Francis, and most of the world desires. But it won't happen because, like a cancer deeply embedded within the bowels of the world's greatest democracy, the Castro Industry in the U. S. is too profitable.
       Pope Francis, the first Latin-American pope, played a huge role in ameliorating much of the animus that has existed between the U. S. and Cuba since the triumph of Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959. Pope Francis this year {above} also fulfilled a wish by getting to visit Fidel Castro in his Havana home. Back in Rome after visiting both Cuba and the U. S., according to the respected El Pais website, Pope Francis pondered the state of the 89-year-old Fidel Castro's health. Then he reportedly predicted: "After Fidel Castro dies, those in America who have profited from their portrayal of his life will want to continue to profit from their portrayal of his legacy. And I believe they will succeed."
The above quotation, I think......
...........confirms that Pope Francis............
.........is a very smart and decent man.
      Fidel Castro is now 89-years-old. To his reckoning, his Cuban Revolution is now 62-years-old as of July 26th, 2015. On July 26, 1953, Fidel barely survived his ill-advised attack on Batista's powerful Moncada Army Barracks in Santiago de Cuba on the island's southeastern tip. For most of the next two years, Fidel was imprisoned on the Isle of Pines, which he later re-named the Isle of Youth, a separate island just southwest of the main island. The above photo is courtesy of Toraya/Newscom. It shows this year's remembrance on the 62nd anniversary of the start of Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution. As remarkable as was its victory on January 1, 1959, its longevity is even more remarkable.
And by the way:
      This map shows the 14 provinces of Cuba. I mentioned that Fidel Castro was in a Batista prison from July of 1953 till May of 1955. The prison was on the Isle of Pines, named for its pine trees. After the Cuban Revolution ousted Batista, in 1959 Fidel Castro named it "Isla de la Juventud," or "The Isle of Youth." Notice that The Isla de la Juventud is due southwest of Havana and is an important island in its own right. It is home to 86,420 Cubans and it has one of Cuba's top baseball teams, a major newspaper, etc. Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, has 4,195 keys and islets on or near its alligator-shaped coastlines. 
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