Author Topic: Cuba  (Read 33377 times)

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile


ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18596
    • View Profile
Communist = kings/queens
« Reply #52 on: May 04, 2017, 04:53:09 AM »
They could also offer the job to Obama.  He is free (or rather we are free of him! - thank God)

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/274558d9f2924a16958be4e47384953a/cuban-presidents-daughter-his-successor-may-be-surprise

ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18596
    • View Profile


G M

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 26643
    • View Profile

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile

DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18365
    • View Profile

ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18596
    • View Profile
good question
« Reply #58 on: September 19, 2017, 05:17:32 AM »
"I wonder what the proper response is for - an act of war."

Obama would have sent them aid to show how nice we are and to express our deep empathy for what the horrible US did to them.

Clinton would have sent lawyers for more diplomacy and talks that would have done nothing .

No idea what Trump would do.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile
Re: Cuba
« Reply #59 on: October 14, 2017, 11:10:46 AM »
Save As PDF
Highlights

    Cuban President Raul Castro will hand power to a successor, likely Miguel Diaz-Canel, by February 2018. The new president will likely maintain Cuba's current policies toward Venezuela and the United States.
    Cuba's government will attempt to wean itself off Venezuelan energy shipments while trying to diversify its import sources. In the meantime, Cuba will keep importing oil and fuel from Venezuela at current levels for as long as it can.
    To accomplish this goal, the Cuban government will continue to try to keep pro-Cuban Venezuelan officials, such as President Nicolas Maduro, in key positions of power.

In Cuba, austerity is threatening to make an unwanted comeback. The island's government is planning for an immediate future of budget cutbacks with little chance of financial relief. At the root of Cuba's slide into austerity is the Venezuelan economic crisis. Cuba receives around 55,000 barrels per day of mostly crude oil from Venezuela — down from more than 100,000 barrels per day only five years ago — as well as an unknown amount of financial assistance. The decline in Venezuelan energy shipments has forced the Cuban government to seek to diversify its import sources and to cut back on imports of higher-grade gasoline and diesel.

In this sense, Cuba's new austerity is a far cry from the "special period" of the early 1990s, when its primary source of foreign assistance and trade, the Soviet Union, disintegrated and the Cuban government's income declined precipitously. In 1993 alone, Cuba's gross domestic product fell nearly 15 percent. Venezuela's economic crisis will not affect Cuba as dramatically or as rapidly as the Soviet Union's collapse did, but declining oil and fuel shipments from Venezuela will raise the financial burden on Cuba's central government.

Facing a New Necessity

Since 2000, when the two countries signed an energy cooperation agreement, Cuba has enjoyed access to low-cost (and often free) Venezuelan oil, gasoline, diesel and fuel oil, providing medical care and training in return. In addition, Cuban intelligence and internal security services have worked with their Venezuelan counterparts to monitor and thwart any threats from Venezuela's political opposition or armed forces. As a result of the agreement, Havana has not had to budget meaningfully for energy expenses for nearly two decades. This dependence was mutually beneficial as long as both governments were capable of keeping up their ends of the deal. But the steady degradation of Petroleos de Venezuela's oil production and refining capacity since the mid-2000s has loomed over Havana's relationship with Caracas, and once the collapse of global oil prices in 2014 plunged Venezuela into economic crisis, finding a new energy patron became a necessity for the Cuban government.

Cuba has several advantages when it comes to dealing with the domestic effects of Venezuela's economic decline. As an authoritarian state with virtually no private sector, it can quickly dial down energy consumption by refusing to import or distribute some fuel shipments. Subsequent shortages might breed discontent, but not necessarily to a point that would threaten the government. Private vehicle ownership in Cuba isn't as high as it is in other Caribbean or Latin American countries, and the government's reputation in managing dissent would keep most would-be protesters in check. Cuba likely will try to keep the decline in Venezuela's fuel shipments gradual, while Venezuela, for its part, will likely reduce shipments to other Caribbean states before cutting off Cuba's subsidized energy.

A sudden change of government in Caracas or a shift in priorities from the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela could alter these likelihoods. The first scenario would require a coup, and the second would occur only if party factions hostile to Cuban interests were able to decisively influence Caracas' stance toward Havana, if, for example, a political figure such as Diosdado Cabello, a former military officer not closely linked to Cuba's government, pressed for a quicker reduction in Venezuelan assistance to Cuba. To mitigate these risks, Cuba will continue to support the efforts of Venezuelan intelligence services to detect threats from within, to protect pro-Cuba political figures, such as President Nicolas Maduro, and to defend their influence over the National Constituent Assembly and other government institutions.
A Steady Extraction

For Havana, the trick will be managing Cuba's energy consumption amid Venezuela's economic decline and growing political instability. A gradual decline in Venezuelan oil supplies would allow the Cuban government to slowly wean itself off that source and steadily substitute imports from other state and private companies. That effort could become easier if a plan by Mexico's government to substitute Venezuelan energy shipments with its own comes to fruition. On the other hand, the financial burden of a sudden loss of Venezuelan oil and fuel lifeline would be extremely high. At current prices, losing Venezuela's energy shipments would cost an extra $1 billion to cover. That amounts to about 50 percent of the Cuban central government's entire budgeted income.

Miguel Diaz-Canel, a career politician and member of Cuba's Politburo, is in line to succeed the aging Raul Castro as president by February 2018. There is no reason to expect Diaz-Canel to significantly change Cuba's policy toward either Venezuela or the United States. The lifting of the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba is off the table for the foreseeable future, given that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump moved to tighten sanctions on the Cuban government and pulled its diplomats from Havana after a series of suspected sonic attacks against them by an unknown actor. This deterioration in political ties means that Cuba's finances are unlikely to receive a sudden windfall from a further influx of U.S. tourists in coming years. The Cubans will keep supporting the Venezuelan administration because its energy consumption and domestic finances depend on the survival of Maduro's government.

For Cuba, the near future presents major financial obstacles that it will attempt to overcome by trying to steadily extract itself from its relationship with Venezuela. But cementing a new trade relationship with the United States is likely off the table for now. The upcoming leadership transition in Havana is unlikely to change that situation. Instead, Cuba will try to steadily supplant Venezuelan oil and fuel with shipments from other sources while hoping its energy patron doesn't suddenly cut off its energy supply.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile

DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18365
    • View Profile
Re: Cuba, Congrats to President Miguel Díaz-Canel
« Reply #61 on: April 19, 2018, 10:48:56 AM »
Miguel Díaz-Canel won an astonishing 605 to 0 election of the National communist manifesto Assembly yesterday.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-43823287

He is a staunch ally of Raúl Castro and is not expected to make any radical changes.

His most vocal opponents are either dead or in prison.

ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18596
    • View Profile
Re: Cuba
« Reply #62 on: April 19, 2018, 03:08:10 PM »
another foreign policy success of Obama's

ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18596
    • View Profile
Obama : just vote for crass to make Cuba better
« Reply #63 on: November 03, 2018, 12:26:30 PM »
Miami Cubans would not buy this sales pitch:
https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2018/11/03/cuba-first-barack-obama-says-florida-democrats-help-make-cuba-great-again/

no mention Cuba is Communist.  (like obama)

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile
GPF: A New Chapter in Cuba-US Relations
« Reply #64 on: January 27, 2019, 07:34:30 PM »


Summary

During a speech outlining U.S. policy in Latin America in November, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton branded Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua a “troika of tyranny.” Bolton criticized the prevalence of poverty, violence and oppression in these countries, stressed that the U.S. would increase pressure on their autocratic governments, and vowed that Washington would stand with those fighting for freedom. It was no coincidence that he delivered the address in Miami, the home of many expats from these nations.

For Cuba, the United States’ new hard-line approach has meant intensifying economic pressure, and, in many ways, the timing couldn’t be worse. The Cuban economy has been struggling for the past few years with sluggish growth and disappointing investment levels. Its closest allies are also struggling with their own domestic challenges and disputes with the U.S. and are in no position to come to Cuba’s aid. This Deep Dive will look at the history of U.S.-Cuba relations and the new efforts of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to squeeze the Cuban government.

Cuba’s Strategic Value

Cuba is an island that stretches 780 miles (1,250 kilometers) long and lies about 100 miles south of the U.S. state of Florida and 125 miles east of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Because of its location, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, it plays a major role in U.S. maritime interests. Cuba, or whoever controls it, could block access to the Gulf of Mexico and leave exports departing vital ports like New Orleans with no way to access international markets. The prospect was dire enough that in 1823 U.S. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams told U.S. diplomats Washington intended to annex Cuba within half a century for fear that another foreign power would claim it.

(click to enlarge)

Cuba’s location cemented its status as a subject of competition among regional and global powers. As a Spanish colony, it served as a major port for ships arriving from Spain whose cargo needed replenishing and whose crews needed rest before moving on with their journey. It also served as a military hub in Spain’s quest to fend off other powers, such as Britain and France, that wanted to establish colonies in the Americas. When anger against Spain started growing in Cuba, the U.S. and Mexico began to court pro-independence groups on the island. Mexico was already much weaker than the U.S. by this time, and Washington managed to align with independence movements to more or less control the island in the early years of its statehood. After Cuba’s revolution, however, Cuban leader Fidel Castro allied the country with the Soviet Union to dry to deter U.S. aggression and influence.

With the end of the Cold War, Cuba’s place in great power competition diminished. Russia was a shadow of the former Soviet Union, and the U.S. solidified its dominance in the Americas, turning its attention and resources to other parts of the world. But nearly three decades later, countries outside the Western Hemisphere, particularly those the U.S. sees as rivals, are once again looking to project power and influence in the Americas. Though they don’t represent much of a challenge to U.S. ascendancy in the region, they are nonetheless a source of frustration that Washington can’t afford to ignore. The scenario may well lead to a revival of the Monroe Doctrine, the 19th-century U.S. policy of opposing foreign (at the time, European) interference in the Americas.

U.S.-Cuba Relations Over Time

Economics have always played a key role in U.S.-Cuba relations. Trade ties between the two, in fact, were a decisive factor in ending Spanish rule over the island. As a colony, Cuba officially traded with only Spain (though it carried out illicit trade with other countries), but as Spanish control over the island declined, it opened up trade with the United States. Their economic ties boomed in the 19th century, so much so that some Cubans pushed for U.S. annexation of the island.

Once Fidel Castro’s Communist Party took power in Havana, relations between the U.S. and Cuba deteriorated. Washington imposed a range of sanctions against the Cuban government starting in 1960, when President Dwight Eisenhower cut Cuba’s sugar quota to the U.S. in response to the nationalization of U.S.-owned refineries on the island. Eisenhower then banned all exports to Cuba except for food and medicine. President John F. Kennedy expanded the embargo, banning all imports from and business transactions with Cuba unless explicitly approved by the executive branch. Trade with the United States fell from 68 percent of total Cuban trade in 1958 to zero percent in 1962, while trade with the Soviet Union jumped from less than 1 percent to 49 percent over the same period. President Lyndon Johnson then led a broader effort to isolate Cuba from Western Europe and Latin America.

In the 1970s, the U.S. began to ease these efforts after realizing they weren’t having the desired effect, since the Soviet Union continued to prop up the Cuban economy. President Gerald Ford started backdoor talks with Cuba to try to normalize relations, exempting foreign-based subsidiaries of U.S. companies from the embargo and helping to relax restrictions imposed on Cuba by the Organization of American States. U.S. President Jimmy Carter also tried to normalize relations – even though Cuba sent troops to Angola to back a leftist movement there – and eased measures such as a ban on U.S. travel to the island. But in the 1980s, as several leftist revolutions in Central America turned the tide of U.S. foreign policy, these efforts stalled. President Ronald Reagan reinstated the travel ban, restricted the flow of hard currency and remittances, and banned the import of products containing nickel (one of Cuba’s top exports) from Cuba or the Soviet Union.

Following the Soviet Union’s collapse, Cuba’s economy became more vulnerable to U.S. economic pressure. From 1989 to 1993, Cuba’s gross domestic product fell by 35 percent, its real income decreased by 75 percent and its capacity to import fell by 74 percent. The U.S. decided the time was right to intensify the pressure in an attempt to bring down the government. President George H.W. Bush once again barred overseas subsidiaries of U.S. companies from trading with Cuba and restricted access to U.S. ports for ships that had docked in Cuba. During his administration, Congress passed the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act, which promoted “a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba through the application of sanctions.” The administrations of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush redoubled measures to limit business ties, remittances and tourism to Cuba before Barack Obama’s administration reversed many of them. Obama opened up travel between the two countries, allowed for business and remittance flows, called for an end to the embargo, and removed Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Trump Changes Course

Over the past two years, the Trump administration has, in turn, reversed the Obama-era moves to warm relations with Cuba. Trump outlined his position on the country in October 2017, stating that the purpose of his Cuba policy was to further the United States’ national security and foreign policy interests and to empower the Cuban people. He introduced two major changes targeting Cuba’s tourism sector, one of the country’s most lucrative industries. First, he restricted travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens. Second, and more important, he restricted U.S. companies from doing business with certain firms linked to the Cuban military – which is heavily involved in tourism. (The initiative built on legislation – introduced in 2015 but never ratified – that would have prohibited dealings with companies tied to Cuba’s military and government.) The U.S. State Department released a list of firms banned from doing business with the U.S. in November 2017 and updated it last year. All of them are tied to tourism.

(click to enlarge)

Just last week, the U.S. also signaled that it may implement the 1996 Helms-Burton Act. The controversial legislation enables U.S. citizens to sue companies profiting from property the Cuban government seized from them after the 1959 revolution and also allows those who were Cuban citizens when their property was confiscated to sue. When the bill – whose implementation could affect all businesses operating in Cuba, including cruise companies that dock there – first passed, major U.S. trade partners that still do business with Cuba, such as the European Union, Canada and Mexico, condemned it. Every administration since its passage has suspended the key clause, Title III, to avoid angering allies. Then on Jan. 16, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the Trump administration would suspend the clause for only 45 days, instead of the usual six months. Pompeo added that the government would use the waiver period to carry out a review of all articles of the law “in light of the national interests of the United States and efforts to expedite a transition to democracy in Cuba.”

Cuba’s Transition

These moves come at a time when Cuba is undergoing a political and economic transition. Its president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, became the first person outside the Castro family to lead Cuba in nearly six decades, after taking over for Fidel Castro’s brother, Raul, in April 2018. The Diaz-Canel administration has proposed a series of constitutional reforms, including measures to introduce a prime minister to oversee the government’s day-to-day management, along with provincial governors, who would replace the presidents of provincial assemblies. Under the proposed changes, which will be put to a referendum Feb. 24, the president could serve a maximum of two five-year terms and would have to be under 60 years old on taking office. (Raul Castro was 76 when he stepped in for his brother in February 2008.)

One of the goals of the changes is to move the country away from a governing style dominated by one leader while still maintaining a single-party system – similar to the systems in place in China and Vietnam today. (The new constitution, if passed, may increase the military’s role in government, too, which explains why the Trump administration has targeted firms with ties to the armed forces.) In addition, many of the changes aim to improve efficiency in the economy. The draft constitution acknowledges recent economic reforms aimed at improving the business environment, streamlining government and reducing debt. It also allows for more transparent foreign investment, gives state-owned companies more autonomy and introduces a tax system. It even recognizes private property and the role of markets, though it maintains the primacy of the state in land ownership, production and economic planning. According to the government, these changes will help Cuba attract sorely needed foreign capital.

Many of these changes build on reforms that Raul Castro introduced in 2011, to little avail. Diaz-Canel hopes his government can succeed where its predecessor did not and is shooting to achieve 1.5 percent economic growth in 2019 by boosting foreign direct investment, increasing exports and reducing imports. (Annual imports are already on the decline, down to $11.3 billion in 2017 from $15.6 billion in 2013.) He also wants to pay down Cuba’s external debt – which hit $15.8 billion in 2015, the last time official figures were released – by implementing austerity measures and using inventory and emergency reserves. And to reduce fuel imports, the government plans to cut fuel consumption, a risky move considering that energy helps drive the economy.

(click to enlarge)

The U.S. plans to target the tourism sector, one of Cuba’s top sources of foreign currency, could damage the Cuban economy. The Cuban government made an estimated $3 billion through tourism last year, while private businesses related to the sector, such as taxi services and restaurants, pulled in an estimated $1 billion. Canada and the U.S. were the top two tourist markets for Cuba, followed by various Western European countries. It seems the Trump administration’s moves to tighten travel restrictions haven’t deterred U.S. tourists yet: U.S. visitors to the island increased last year by about 20,000 – admittedly a more modest bump than in previous years – to reach 630,000. Still, restrictions on business with certain companies in the tourism industry and the uncertainty surrounding the Helms-Burton Act may make U.S. tourists and businesses think twice about spending their dollars in Cuba.

 

(click to enlarge)

External Factors

Complicating matters for Havana is the lack of an external benefactor it can rely on for financial support. After the Soviet Union’s collapse, Russia was too weak to be a reliable economic partner, and courting the U.S. wasn’t an option. Cuba thus looked to strengthen ties with an array of countries, rather than to depend on a single power, as it had for much of its history. It maintained good relations and economic ties with Russia, as well as with like-minded nations such as China and Venezuela. It also increasingly opened up to Western Europe. The problem now is that many of Cuba’s allies are dealing with political and economic problems at home that prevent them from being the country’s patron.

Venezuela, for example, is in the midst of a crisis. Its oil exports to Cuba have fallen by at least 40 percent since 2014, and that’s a generous estimate. Meanwhile, a political scandal in Brazil, and the election of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, mean that Cuba can no longer rely on the country for support. Brazil has scrapped plans for new investments in Cuba and has sent the thousands of Cuban doctors it hosted, whose salaries went to the Cuban government, back home. Making matters worse, Cuba recently defaulted on a loan from Brazil’s development bank.

Though Russia has stepped up to help Cuba with oil shipments and small loans, these measures have had a limited effect. Russia is facing economic problems of its own and can’t offer to sell Cuba large amounts of oil at a favorable price. Of course, it wants to support Cuba as much as it can so that it has an ally in the United States’ backyard. Moscow, in fact, sent a delegation of advisers to the island just a couple of months ago. But it has too many bigger concerns, in places like Syria and Ukraine, to spend much of its time or resources propping up the Cuban economy. Similarly, China is too busy managing the fallout from its economic slowdown and the U.S. trade war to come to Cuba’s aid.

As for the European Union, it has taken a renewed interest in Cuba over the past couple of years. Western Europe is Cuba’s leading source of FDI, and many Spanish companies, in particular, are involved in Cuban tourism and infrastructure. Europe, however, may be one of the regions most affected by the Helms-Burton Act, if the Trump administration decides not to suspend it past March. Furthermore, the European Union is already engaged in disputes with the U.S. over trade, the Iran nuclear deal and energy projects involving Russia. It likely wouldn’t want to put a possible deal on these issues at risk by backing the Cuban government against Washington’s wishes. Cuba, then, will have to hope its political and economic reforms will help it weather the storm of the U.S. crackdown on the “troika of tyranny.”

ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18596
    • View Profile
John Bolton honors the Cuban Bay of Pigs veterans
« Reply #65 on: April 20, 2019, 08:34:46 AM »

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile


Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile

ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18596
    • View Profile
Cuba moving to more economic freedom
« Reply #69 on: February 09, 2021, 07:57:50 AM »
https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/bryan-preston/2021/02/08/trump-defeats-castro-communists-cuba-set-to-open-up-its-economy-n1424105

as we move to more and more corporate -  government fascist style control

 :-(

what. a weird turn of events

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile
Cuba in need of a new patron
« Reply #70 on: February 15, 2021, 04:27:43 AM »
Cuba Is on the Clock
The island is in dire need of a new patron.
By: Allison Fedirka

Cuba may be a geostrategically valuable country, but its value far outweighs its actual power. The island’s proximity to the rest of North America’s coastlines, as well as its position in the Gulf of Mexico, which gives it influence over all maritime traffic in the northern part of the Western Hemisphere, has made it both a prize and a power broker for anyone with interest in this region of the world. Yet, its small size and limited resources prevent Cuba from projecting much power on its own.


(click to enlarge)

Havana’s solution to this historic dilemma has been to offer itself to a patron who in return can offer economic prosperity and security guarantees. The Spanish first established this client-patron relationship in the 15th century, using Cuba as a critical resupply station between the Old World and the New. As the Spanish Empire faded, so too did Cuba’s economic prosperity. Tired of sacrificing for a patron that could no longer meet their needs, the Cubans rose up against the Spanish and allied with the United States. The new relationship was a boon to the Cuban economy, but Washington’s heavy-handed political control led to another revolution, after which the Cuban government, then led by Fidel Castro, quickly aligned with the Soviet Union. After it collapsed, the Cuban economy again fell into disrepair. (Unlike Cuba's break from Spain and the U.S., the split with the Soviets was not initiated by Havana, which was therefore unprepared for it.) Foreign aid, strong security forces and state-sponsored initiatives to promote tourism allowed the Castro government to remain in power until a new patron could be found.

Cuba, a communist country in a post-Cold War world, didn’t have a lot of options. Enter Hugo Chavez. His rise to power in oil-rich Venezuela in 1999 made Caracas a viable patron for Havana. Chavez had the Bolivarian ideology that meshed nicely with Cuba’s. Venezuela gave Cuba subsidized oil, and in return Cuba supported Venezuela with intelligence and security cooperation. Their partnership, however, was short-lived. Chavez died in 2013, leaving Venezuela’s government accounts distorted with high social spending bills and a population dependent on government services. Oil prices tanked in 2014. Since then, Venezuela’s ability to lend support to Cuba has dramatically declined. Caracas can no longer feed its own population, let alone prop up a foreign government. Russia has attempted to fill the void by canceling Cuba’s debt, initiating a railway modernization project and giving Cuba modest grain exports. These efforts were enough to forestall a crisis but not to fundamentally change the direction in which Cuba was heading.

It's now 2021, and Cuba’s behavior over the past few months leads only to one conclusion: that the economy is reaching a breaking point and the government is therefore looking for a patron to ensure its survival. For over a year, there have been anecdotal reports of fuel shortages. Economic problems in the agriculture sector have compromised domestic production and led to shortages. (President Miguel Diaz-Canel has even acknowledged the situation publicly.) Between reduced Venezuelan oil shipments and the high price of alternative oil imports, transportation on the island is also breaking down. The brief influx of U.S. dollars after travel restrictions for Americans were lifted in 2015 ended in 2017, when the Trump administration reinstated past restrictions and introduced more severe sanctions against Cuba. The COVID-19 pandemic killed international travel to the island and thus its lucrative and crucial tourism industry.

The government is looking for answers. It put in a request with the Paris Club for a two-year moratorium on paying its debt; the club granted it a one-year reprieve last month. It has accelerated a raft of economic reforms meant to spark economic activity by reducing distortions and attracting investment. In July, the government made U.S. dollars more accessible so that they can be used to buy a wider range of basic goods. In November, it streamlined the process by which foreign investment was approved and started to experiment with expanding digital services to further reduce processing times. The next month, the Foreign Trade and Investment Ministry announced that the government would no longer be required to have a majority share in joint business projects in the areas of tourism, biotechnology and wholesale trade. This was followed by the end of select subsidy programs and the convertible Cuban peso. More recently, in early February, Cuba announced that it would expand opportunities for private businesses to operate, lifting restrictions on private enterprise in 1,873 of 2,000 sectors. The government also increased fines for those that engage in price speculation.

Mounting social pressure has amplified the government’s sense of urgency. Last November, there was the first of many protests staged by artists who spoke against the government by occupying the palace plaza and going on a hunger strike. The government intervened, made some arrests and offered an empty invitation to engage in dialogue. Since then, supporters and sympathizers have come together to form the San Isidro and 27N movements. Their most high-profile activity so far was the Feb. 9 delivery of a letter intended for President Joe Biden to the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, in which they asked him for help ending some of the recent sanctions placed on the island.

Havana subtly broadcast last week that it was in the market for a new patron. It came in the form of a letter from the Cuban Embassy in Bogota warning the Colombian government of a possible upcoming attack by the National Liberation Army, the paramilitary organization better known as the ELN. The ambassador submitted a document saying outright that the Cuban Embassy had received the information but had not verified it. Given Cuba’s long-standing relationship with the group, the announcement was interpreted as Cuba looking for a political opening.

Among the leading candidates are the U.S. and China. The Biden administration has put nearly all foreign relations under review, and many expect it to revitalize President Barack Obama’s efforts to normalize ties with Cuba. Through executive powers, a U.S. president can unilaterally control, to a degree, anyway, the extent to which the U.S. opens to the island. But it remains a highly contentious issue in U.S. politics; these kinds of changes require a lot of political capital, and Biden is currently in short supply. Cuba-watchers – those for and against closer ties with the island, and those inside and outside elected office – have already started mobilizing to get their way. For now, though, the U.S. government does not appear positioned to make any significant changes to its Cuba policy.

China, meanwhile, has been slowly gaining economic influence in Latin America over the past decade and recognizes Cuba’s strategic position relative to the United States. China needs some leverage against the U.S. similar to the kind Washington has against Beijing in the South China Sea. Improved ties with Cuba would go some way toward getting that leverage. Beijing has certainly used shared ideological beliefs to politically align with the Cuban government, and on the economic front, China is now Cuba’s second-largest trading partner. Important advances have also been made in Cuba’s telecommunications systems. Huawei helped establish public Wi-Fi hot spots throughout the island and is now helping increase household connectivity. China’s Haier now assembles laptops and tablets in Cuba, and the China Communications Construction Company operates in Cuba’s Mariel Special Development Zone.


(click to enlarge)

A U.S. Homeland Security report indicated that China’s telecommunications presence on the island already impedes U.S. firms from entering the Cuban market. Chinese financing now supports port modernization projects in Santiago, and investments are planned in pharmaceuticals and tourism. Cuban officials have also highlighted renewable energy, cybersecurity, technology and biotechnology as areas in which they’d like to work more closely with China. These projects help Cuba, of course, but more will be needed to stabilize the economy, let alone change its current trajectory. How much China comes through will depend in part on how secure its foothold is in Cuba – and how well it will be able to keep the U.S. on edge.

Cuba has made overtures, and though the U.S. and China are the leading options for Cuba, both face constraints in terms of how they can respond. Either way, Havana is on the clock.


Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile
Re: Cuba
« Reply #73 on: July 12, 2021, 07:56:10 AM »
NR PLUS MEMBER FULL VIEW
Have the Cuban People Reached Their Breaking Point?

On the menu today: The people of Cuba take to the streets in revolt; a New Yorker vandalizes the gallery that will sell Hunter Biden’s paintings; and Richard Branson technically travels to space — with a bit of irritating talk about how he’s doing it all to help protect the environment.

A Key Step on the Road to a Free Cuba?

The protests and clashes that exploded across Cuba yesterday probably do not yet mark the end of that country’s authoritarian, Communist regime. But that regime no longer has quite such an uncontested grip over the country — and an authoritarian regime’s ability to hold onto power is often dependent upon a monopoly of force and the ability to deliver goods and services that people can’t get anywhere else. Cubans always had to deal with rampant corruption, the U.S. embargo, and the fact that the country’s most driven and independent citizens keep risking their lives by jumping into rafts and attempting to cross 90 miles of ocean full of sharks. Now throw in COVID-19 and the long lapse in the tourism industry, and the immiseration of the Cuban people has reached an intolerable point.

The New York Times summarizes today that, “in a country known for repressive crackdowns on dissent, the rallies were widely viewed as astonishing. Activists and analysts called it the first time that so many people had openly protested against the Communist government since the so-called Maleconazo uprising, which exploded in the summer of 1994 into a huge wave of Cubans leaving the country by sea.”

The Associated Press reported from Havana:

Although many people tried to take out their cellphones and broadcast the protest live, Cuban authorities shut down internet service throughout the afternoon.

About 2 1/2 hours into the march, some protesters pulled up cobblestones and threw them at police, at which point officers began arresting people and the marchers dispersed.

AP journalists counted at least 20 people who were taken away in police cars or by individuals in civilian clothes.

“The people came out to express themselves freely, and they are repressing and beating them,” Rev. Jorge Luis Gil, a Roman Catholic priest, said while standing at a street corner in Centro Habana.

About 300 people close to the government then arrived with a large Cuban flag shouting slogans in favor of the late President Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution. Some people from the group assaulted an AP videojournalist, disabling his camera, while an AP photojournalist was injured by the police.

Deutsche Welle stated that, “President and head of the Communist Party Miguel Diaz-Canel attended one of the protests in San Antonio de Los Banos, which is located west of Havana. Social media footage showed protesters shouting insults at the president.”

Protests that seem to explode out of nowhere usually have a long fuse. Mary Anastasia O’Grady wrote in the Wall Street Journal on December 20, 2020, about the dissident-artist San Isidro Movement:

As the San Isidro Movement gains street cred in the barrio, support from other dissident groups, and recognition abroad, the question on the minds of long-suffering Cubans is whether this time things are different. There are good reasons to remain cautiously pessimistic about the odds of political change. But it’s also true that Cuban civil society seems to be undergoing a revival, and that makes the landscape markedly different than it was even 10 years ago.

And Agence France-Presse, among others, spotlighted a particularly popular and controversial protest anthem on February 25 of this year:

In Cuba, where music and revolution are intertwined, a song by rappers boldly denouncing the communist government has found viral appeal online — but angered a regime that keeps close tabs on culture.

Entitled “Patria y Vida” (Fatherland and Life) — a positive spin on the slogan “Patria o Muerte” (Fatherland or Death) coined by Fidel Castro in 1960 — the song has racked up more than two million views since its release on YouTube on February 16.

It boasts nearly 130,000 likes — but also 4,400 dislikes.

The track does not pull any punches.

Singers sporting gold chains, hoodies and backwards baseball caps rattle off a long list of grievances about poverty, repression and misrule before declaring: “It is over” and “We are not afraid.”

It didn’t generate a ton of attention, but Raul Castro stepped down as the head of the Cuban regime in April. Whether or not you buy into the “great man theory” of history, leaders are not interchangeable. Ayman al-Zawahiri cannot inspire followers the way Osama bin Laden could. Our Jay Nordlinger observed at the time of Castro’s retirement that odious, repressive regimes often outlast their most charismatic leaders — but not always.

Back at the end of June, Human Rights Watch detailed that, “Cuban authorities have jailed and prosecuted several artists and journalists who are critical of the government. Police and intelligence officers have routinely appeared at the homes of other artists and journalists, ordering them to stay there, often for days and even weeks. The authorities have also imposed temporary targeted restrictions on people’s ability to access cellphone data.”

After a while, the oppressed citizens of an authoritarian state just don’t have that much more to lose.

ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18596
    • View Profile
WSJ: how communists cling to power
« Reply #74 on: July 13, 2021, 07:44:45 AM »
https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-cubas-communists-cling-to-power-11626128117

**
This system didn’t make the island prosperous, but it kept the Castro brothers in control. Backed by the army, the Communist Party, which maintains a nationwide network of snoops and enforcers, protects the regime.
**

Simply substitute the work purge in the military we see now (backed by the army), the DNC ( for Communist Party) ; CIA NSA , USPS and many other agencies for network of snoops an Antifa , the Democrat law machine for enforcers , leaks to the MSM ....

and the perfect analogy is complete.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2021, 07:50:05 AM by ccp »

DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18365
    • View Profile
Re: WSJ: how communists cling to power
« Reply #75 on: July 13, 2021, 08:17:51 AM »
https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-cubas-communists-cling-to-power-11626128117

**
This system didn’t make the island prosperous, but it kept the Castro brothers in control. Backed by the army, the Communist Party, which maintains a nationwide network of snoops and enforcers, protects the regime.
**

Simply substitute the work purge in the military we see now (backed by the army), the DNC ( for Communist Party) ; CIA NSA , USPS and many other agencies for network of snoops an Antifa , the Democrat law machine for enforcers , leaks to the MSM ....

and the perfect analogy is complete.

ccp, I had the same reaction to that.

"This system didn’t make the island prosperous, but it kept the [regime] in control. Backed by the ['government and social' networks] which maintain a nationwide network of snoops and enforcers, protects the regime."

   - I was going to say, they had the same experience in Cuba.  I thought they were describing the US.

G M

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 26643
    • View Profile
Re: WSJ: how communists cling to power
« Reply #76 on: July 13, 2021, 10:24:26 AM »
It's in progress here.


https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-cubas-communists-cling-to-power-11626128117

**
This system didn’t make the island prosperous, but it kept the Castro brothers in control. Backed by the army, the Communist Party, which maintains a nationwide network of snoops and enforcers, protects the regime.
**

Simply substitute the work purge in the military we see now (backed by the army), the DNC ( for Communist Party) ; CIA NSA , USPS and many other agencies for network of snoops an Antifa , the Democrat law machine for enforcers , leaks to the MSM ....

and the perfect analogy is complete.

ccp, I had the same reaction to that.

"This system didn’t make the island prosperous, but it kept the [regime] in control. Backed by the ['government and social' networks] which maintain a nationwide network of snoops and enforcers, protects the regime."

   - I was going to say, they had the same experience in Cuba.  I thought they were describing the US.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile
Re: Cuba
« Reply #77 on: July 16, 2021, 04:42:49 PM »
Cuba eases limits. The Cuban government said it would ease import restrictions to facilitate the flow of medicine, food and hygiene products into the island following widespread protests over basic goods shortages. Travelers will be allowed to bring unlimited amounts of these products tariff-free into the country. Previously, there was a 10-kilogram (22-pound) limit before taxes kicked in. The changes do not apply to travelers entering Cuba from Cayo Coco and Varadero airports.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile
Stratfor: Biden's sanctions
« Reply #78 on: July 23, 2021, 02:09:23 PM »


ANALYSES

U.S. Sanctions Dim Hopes for Cuba’s Economic Opening

New U.S. sanctions indicate President Joe Biden will take a harsher-than-anticipated approach to Cuba, which will hamper Havana’s efforts to attract new private investment. On July 22, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Cuba’s defense minister and entire special forces unit, dubbed the Black Berets, following the violent crackdown on protests that erupted earlier this month. The sanctions were applied under the Global Magnitsky Act, which enables the U.S. government to target perpetrators of serious human rights abuses and corruption around the world. Biden has since warned the measures were “only the beginning” of his administration’s response to the Cuban government’s heavy-handed handling of the unrest, which resulted in mass arrests, collective trials and a social media blackout.

This is the second time that the United States has sanctioned a Cuban entity under the Global Magnitsky Act since it went into force in 2012. During its final days in office in January, the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump used the act to impose limited sanctions on the same elite Black Beret forces.

The sanctions are unlikely to deter the Cuban government from using similar heavy-handed tactics to quell future protests — portending further U.S. actions. On July 11, thousands of Cubans took to the streets to protest against food shortages, the high prices of goods and the country's weak health care system. Black Beret forces attempted to quell demonstrations with military tactics, leading to violent clashes between police and protesters. Several journalists were attacked and internet access was shut down for several days in the wake of the unrest. One man died on the outskirts of Havana and several hundred people remain missing after demonstrations calmed on July 12 due to lack of organization. Police forces have since detained over 160 people who participated in the protests. The regime has since carried out mass trials in which activist leaders are tried in small groups at the same time without access to legal defense.

On July 10, protests began around noon in the municipality of San Antonio de Los Banos, located 26 kilometers (roughly 16 miles) from Havana. Other rallies then began springing up in Havana before ultimately spreading throughout the country as people took to the streets after seeing social media posts.

The July 10 demonstrations were the largest Cuba has seen since a similar uprising against government policies in 1994.

The majority of the detained activists were charged with inciting unrest, vandalism or assault, which could carry up to 20-year prison sentences.

The shift in Biden’s Cuba policy will likely deter foreign investment, which will raise the risk of additional episodes of unrest by prolonging the economic issues that triggered the July 11-12 protests. The sanctions mark a significant shift in the White House’s approach to Cuba, as Biden had promised to lift some U.S. sanctions on the island during his 2020 presidential campaign. There was also hope that the Biden administration would end aspects of the trade embargo and restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, which would in turn enable Western investors to fund business endeavors on the island. But as the White House leans on more restrictive sanctions against Cuba, the majority of investors will likely view business opportunities in the country as a liability. This will, in turn, risk impeding Havana’s recent efforts to open its economy by limiting foreign investment to businesses and stakeholders without ties to the United States — namely those in Venezuela and Iran, which traditionally have less readily available access to expendable capital.

On June 2, Cuba’s Council of Ministers authorized private sector involvement in additional areas of the economy. The reforms allow Cubans to legally own and operate private businesses in more than 2,000 different sectors, expanding a previous list of only 127 sectors.

Biden has promised some relief for the Cuban people — currently experiencing a humanitarian crisis — in the form of pressuring the Cuban government to release political prisoners and restore internet access. The White House is also reviewing the current remittances policy, which, if reversed, would allow Cubans living in the United States to send money to relatives on the island, who are more likely to be against the government regime.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile
GPF: Cuba: 3 Generals Dead
« Reply #80 on: July 26, 2021, 04:34:25 PM »
   
Brief: 3 Cuban Generals Are Dead
Their deaths come after the mass protests on July 11.
By: Geopolitical Futures
Background: The Cuban government’s staying power rests on its ability to maintain social order, often through repressing dissent and controlling the economy. Its control over all aspects of island life has enabled it to outlive the Cold War and Soviet Union itself. The protests from July 11, however, call its staying power into question.

Locations of Protests in Cuba
(click to enlarge)

What Happened: On July 25, the Cuban Ministry of the Armed Forces announced the death of Gen. Ruben Martinez Puente, who was 79 years old. This marks the third death of high-ranking military brass since July 11. Gen. Agustin Pena Porrez (57) died July 17, and Gen. Marcelo Verdecia Perdomo (80) died July 21. The government did not provide cause of death, and the generals’ bodies were cremated.

Bottom Line: It’s hard to be certain what exactly happened. It's true that they were old. It’s true that COVID-19 could be to blame, as some Cuban media reports claim. But it’s also true that July 11 was a wake-up call for the government, which would be expected to clean house after a mass uprising. Maybe their loyalty was questioned, or maybe the government needed someone to blame for the protests. For Havana to appear strong, it’ll need at least a couple of scapegoats.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile
ET: Cuba signs BRI with China
« Reply #81 on: December 28, 2021, 06:29:34 AM »
Cuba Signs ‘Belt and Road’ Agreement With China
By Frank Fang December 27, 2021 Updated: December 27, 2021 biggersmaller Print
Cuba and China have signed a cooperation plan to push forward construction projects under Beijing’s controversial overseas infrastructure program, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has saddled many participating countries with heavy debt loads.

The Chinese Embassy in Cuba announced the agreement on its website on Dec. 26, saying that the deal was inked two days earlier by He Lifeng, head of China’s top economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, and Cuban Vice Prime Minister Ricardo Cabrisas.

The agreement implemented a memorandum of understanding the two nations signed in 2018, when Cuba agreed to become a BRI participating nation.

Under the agreement, the two nations aimed to work together on projects in several key sectors, including communications, education, health and biotechnology, science and technology, and tourism, according to the Agencia Cubana de Noticias news agency.

The Chinese Embassy also stated that a timetable and a roadmap had been proposed to implement the projects, without giving details.

China launched the BRI in 2013 in an effort to build Beijing-centered land and maritime trade networks by financing infrastructure projects throughout Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. In recent years, critics have denounced Beijing for using “debt-trap diplomacy” to lure countries into its initiative.

Many countries have surrendered pieces of their sovereignty after failing to pay off Chinese debts. For example, China Merchants Port Holdings is now running Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port on a 99-year lease, after the South Asian country converted its owed loans of $1.4 billion into equity in 2017. Seizing the port has allowed Beijing to gain a key foothold in the Indian Ocean.

The Chinese regime has also sought to partner with countries rich in natural resources—such as African BRI participants Ghana and Zambia—in order to gain access to these raw materials to drive the Chinese economy.

It appears that China has its eyes set on Cuba’s natural resources, as a Chinese researcher told China’s state-run media outlet Global Times on Dec. 26 that the BRI agreement was good because China and Cuba “have strong economic complementarity.”

The researcher was quoted as saying that “Cuba is rich in mineral and oil resources, and is a major source of nickel ore for China.” Cuba has one of the world’s largest nickel deposits in the world.

China has been Cuba’s important energy partner. Chinese companies have supplied wind turbines to Cuba’s wind farms and overseen the construction of Cuba’s first biomass-fired power plant at Ciro Redondo.

The U.S.-based organization American Security Project, in an article published in March, warned about Cuba’s energy dependency on China and Venezuela as having “serious implications for hemispheric security.”

In addition, the Chinese paramilitary has also provided “counter-terrorism” training to the Cuban military and police forces responsible for suppressing anti-government protesters.

In fact, China has an ambition that goes beyond just Cuba. During a Senate hearing in March, Craig Faller, a retired admiral and a former commander of the U.S. Southern Command, warned (pdf) that Beijing seeks to “establish global logistics and basing infrastructure in our hemisphere in order to project and sustain military power at greater distances.”

Faller told (pdf) lawmakers at the hearing that China was on a “full-court press” in order to achieve its ambition.

“I look at this hemisphere as the front line of competition,” Faller said. “Our influence [in this hemisphere] is eroding. … It is important that we remain engaged in this hemisphere.”


During a press briefing following the hearing, Faller described the Chinese regime’s influence as “insidious,” “corrosive,” and “corrupt.”

“Some examples include their pursuit of multiple port deals, loans for political leverage, vaccine diplomacy that undermines sovereignty, state surveillance I.T., and the exploitation of resources such as illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing,” Faller said.

A month after Faller’s warning, Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) introduced a bill requiring several U.S. federal agencies, including the State Department, to put together a report for Congress. The report would assess China’s influence in Latin America and the Caribbean.

One of the issues the report would examine is China’s relationship with Cuba and Venezuela. Another is China’s efforts to exploit natural resources in the region.

“It is critical for U.S. policymakers to understand what China is doing in the region and to have an effective strategy in place to counter China’s aggressive conduct and to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its actions,” Murphy said, according to a statement from her office.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile
GPF
« Reply #82 on: August 15, 2022, 03:36:42 AM »
August 15, 2022
View On Website
Open as PDF

    
A Small Window for the US and Cuba
The war in Ukraine has magnified the island’s economic problems.
By: Allison Fedirka
The war in Ukraine is a truly global conflict. Citizens of faraway regions may not themselves be in physical danger, but any country that is sensitive to fluctuations in food or oil prices, both of which have risen since the conflict started, have become its victims.

Such is the case with Cuba. Its economic problems are well-documented, as are the government’s limited means of solving them. But the war in Eastern Europe has amplified the situation, and any kind of reconciliation between Havana and Washington will depend to some degree on the outcome of broader global crises sparked by the war in Ukraine.

Hardships

Recent comments by Cuban officials show that Havana is feeling the pressure already. In mid-June, the state sugar company announced that the 2021-22 sugar crop produced only half the expected yield, marking the lowest harvest in a century. The following month, Energy Minister Livan Arronte Cruz said on state-run television that Cuba’s 20 power plants were largely obsolete, largely because of delayed maintenance and lack of funding. Days later, a member of Cuba’s national assembly publicly questioned the veracity of Economic Minister Alejandro Gil’s statements regarding the island’s economic health, saying the government was not, in fact, satisfying the population’s needs. In a country like Cuba, where official data is generally tightly controlled and criticizing the government is fairly rare, these kinds of statements stand out and suggest the government knows more trying times lie ahead.

Partly that’s because Cuba is highly reliant on imports for energy, and thanks to the war in Ukraine and the sanctions that followed, the rising cost of oil has made it impossible for cash-strapped Cuba to purchase sufficient supplies (the discounts it receives from Venezuela and Russia notwithstanding). Rising commodity prices have also curbed the island’s ability to import food and fertilizers. But perhaps more important, the war has deprived Cuba of the attention of its most important benefactor, Russia, which can provide only short-term relief that treats Cuba’s symptoms but not its problems.

The war has also undermined Cuba’s ability to remedy these problems. The government can no longer rely on its plan to leverage tourism for the influx of foreign currency it uses to buy imports. Indeed, the importance of tourism cannot be overstated. It accounts for roughly 10 percent of gross domestic product, employs half a million public workers, and is the second largest source of foreign currency for the government. In 2022, the government hoped to bring in $1.6 billion through tourism from roughly 2.5 million visitors. But by the end of June, only 682,297 tourists had visited the country. High inflation throughout the world reduced disposable income, and consumers have been forced to downgrade consumption habits, which includes vacations. Furthermore, strong sources of Cuban tourism – Russia and wealthy European countries – have been disproportionately affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Currently, Canadians and Cubans residing outside the island account for half of all tourism.


(click to enlarge)

The government has taken steps to create alternative sources of foreign currency, but all of them come with some political costs. For example, the government intensified its policy of holding wages of foreign-employed workers, a practice meant to ensure equitable wages among private and public employees but one that ends up providing more money for the government at the expense of workers. Havana has also altered its relationship with the island’s thriving black market in an attempt to solve market shortages and collect foreign currency. It created special grocery stores where clients who pay in hard currency can purchase food products that are difficult or impossible to come by in regular shops. The problem is that foreign currency is not universally accessible, often reserved for families receiving remittances or with coveted jobs (often determined by the government) that provide access. Most recently, the government decided to embrace the black market by changing the official exchange rate to meet the black market value of 1:120. The move aimed to take foreign currency off the black market and place it under government control. The preferential rate is available only to hotels, banks and currency houses willing to sell, since buying foreign currency is not an option.

In addition to currency problems, the Cuban government appears to have reached its limit on what it can do about energy prices. The high cost of oil and the dilapidation of electricity generation plants present an immediate threat that can be met only by time and massive funding – two things the Cuban government does not have. Chronic power shortages became notably worse in recent months. The government canceled public celebrations to save energy, encourages the use of wood stoves for cooking, and had to introduce regular rolling blackouts across the island. In the second week of August, the daily electric deficit ranged from 650-950 megawatts, with peak shortages at night reaching 750-1071 megawatts, according to UNE.

Disruptions and Maintenance at Cuban Thermal Electric Plants (CTE)
(click to enlarge)

Energy drives economic activity, so electricity and fuel shortages naturally constrain economic growth. But the shortages have also already begun to affect the everyday lives of Cubans. Since March, the government has been diverting fuel supplies to generation plants to keep as much electricity online as possible. This intensified fuel shortages across the island, limiting people’s ability to work and conduct normal business, including much-needed agriculture production. Electricity shortages resulted in water shortages in rural areas at elevation because there was no electricity to pump the water.

Naturally, these economic problems have had social consequences. Last year, when large-scale anti-government protests erupted across the island, leaders in Havana had no trouble cracking down and sending agitators to jail – some sentences were as along as 30 years, just to show the new generation what it was capable of. This is very much in keeping with Cuba’s rich history of suppressing political dissent. The problem is that suppression can’t fix the underlying problems that led to protests in the first place. The current demonstrations are not an expression of ideological difference but the direct result of nearly unfixable economic hardship.

Lingering Protests in Cuba
(click to enlarge)

Make or Break

The backdrop for Cuba’s latest economic meltdown, coupled with the absence of a benefactor like Russia, creates a small window of opportunity for the U.S. and Cuba to improve ties. Cuba needs a strong patron to survive economically, and Washington could at least partially fill the void. Migration has become an important area for improving diplomatic ties. From November 2021 to July 2022, an estimated 140,000-150,000 Cubans have entered the U.S., the highest number in 40 years. The influx coincides with Nicaragua’s lifting visa restriction on Cubans, which opened up the Central American land route. While Cubans represent a small percentage of migrants on the U.S. southern border, their presence in a hotly contested area forces Havana and Washington to engage on the matter.

In May, the U.S. government launched a rapprochement strategy toward Cuba. The strategy prioritizes working closely with the Cuban government for issuing visas as part of the family reunification program. Washington has made it clear that it has no plans to soon resume its political refugee program or fast-track political prisoner emigration. So by prioritizing families over politicians, the U.S. is letting a contentious point lie rather than undermining the Cuban government.

Another part of the strategy indirectly helps Havana by eliminating limits on remittances from the U.S. to Cuba, which account for approximately 90 percent of all remittances to the island. Remittances rank as the third largest source of foreign currency on the island and support household incomes where the government falls short. On both accounts, the Cuban Foreign Ministry said these were limited steps in the right direction.

The potentially problematic portion of the U.S. strategy – support for entrepreneurs – is the one that has remained untouched. This provision was meant to help entrepreneurs by improving internet access, cloud technology and e-commerce. It could be a boon to small businesses, yet increased internet access is a threat to Havana because it can popularize and fuel unrest.

How the U.S. pursues this portion of its Cuba strategy can make or break its relationship with Havana, and Washington is unlikely to burn any bridges before getting a clearer picture of how the world will take shape in the wake of Ukraine and global economic chaos.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile
Oh, did they fail to mention these things?
« Reply #83 on: September 03, 2022, 11:50:49 PM »
Cuba on the way to Castro! I wish our children's generation would reflect on this.

Since 1829, Cuba was the first country in Ibero-America (including Spain and Portugal) to begin using steam ships for sea transportation.

1837 - the third country in the world (after England and the USA) in which a railway was built.

1847 is the first country in America to start using air in anesthesia during surgical operations.

1877 was the first country in the world to demonstrate the use of electricity in industrial areas.

1881 - Cuba solved the most terrible tropical disease of that time - yellow fever - and the medicine used until now was invented. The opener was the Cuban doctor Carlos Finlay.

1889 - Cuba installed the first in Ibero-America (including Spain and Portugal) and the second in the Americas, after the United States, street lighting.

Between 1825 and before independence in 1898, Cuba was the source of 60-75% of Spanish Treasury revenue. In the Spanish-American War of 1902, after Spain's invasion of Cuba and the island's request to the United States to protect the country, Spain lost the war. The United States, under the terms of the peace treaty with Spain, receives the island of Puerto Rico as compensation from Spain, paying ALL Spanish businessmen and merchants who wished to leave Cuba and Puerto Rico (there were few willing) through Spanish government the fir tree in total is 3 million dollars.

1900 - the first cars in Latin America appear in Cuba. The first female driver in America and Spain was the Cuban Rene Mendes Capote.

1900 - the first Olympic champion in Latin America was the Cuban fencer Ramon Fonts.

1906 - Havana was the first city in the world to install a direct-drive telephony (not through the "lady operator", but with disk-drive telephones).

1907 - X-ray department opens in Havana for the first time in Latin America (including Spain).

On May 19, 1913, the first flight in Latin America takes place in Cuba. The first pilots were Cubans Agustin Parla and Domingo Rosillo. The flight lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes, between Havana and Cayo Hueso in Florida, USA.

From 1915 to 1959, the Cuban peso (peso cubano) was the only currency in the world that depreciated against the US dollar by only 1 cent in 44 years.

1918 was the first country in America, including Spain and Portugal, to legalize divorce.

The third world chess champion and the only one from 1921 to 1927 was Jose Raul Capablanca.

1922 - the second country in the world to open a radio station and the first in the world to broadcast a radio concert and regular news.
The first radio presenter in the world was the Cuban Esther Perea de la Torre.

In 1928, Cuba already had 68 radio stations, 43 of which were in Havana. According to this indicator, Cuba was ranked 4th in the world after the United States, Canada and the USSR, and the first in the world in terms of the number of radio stations per population and such a small area.

Cuba is the first country in the world to produce a radio production (radioshow), which became the pioneer of radio series and in the future - television series. Thus, Cuba is considered the home of TV shows. The author of the first production is Felix Cainet from Cuba

1929 - Cubana de Aviació n airline was founded, one of the first commercial airlines in the world.

1935 - Cuba becomes the largest Hispanic country in terms of export of radio series and radio scripts.

1937 - Cuba was the first in Latin America to adopt a law on an 8-hour working day and a minimum wage.

1940 - the world's first president - a mulat (from a black mother and a mulat father), elected by the absolute majority of Cubans. Meanwhile, in Cuba then, as now, the majority of the population is white. Strangely enough, they became the future dictator - Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar.

1940 - Cuba adopted the most advanced constitution in Ibero-America (including Spain and Portugal), among its achievements: for the first time in Latin America, equal rights between men and women, between races, etc. d. In Spain, a woman received equal rights with a man only in 1976.

1950 - the second country in the world to open a television station and a studio. Cuba becomes television center of Latin America, Havana becomes show business center of Latin America (now the center is Miami).

1952 - the world's first concrete residential building was built in Havana (El Focsa building).

1954 - Cuba - the country with the largest number of cows and bulls per capita in the world - one per capita. At the same time, Cuba is the third country in the world in meat consumption per capita (after Argentina and Uruguay).

1955 - the second country in Latin America (including Spain) after Uruguay with the lowest rate of infant mortality (33.4 per thousand newborns).

1956 - The UN recognized Cuba as the Latin American country with the lowest number of illiterate population (23%, at that time it was a low number). Haiti was 90% illiterate, Spain, El Salvador, Guatemala, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Dominican Republic - just over 50%.

1957 - The UN recognizes Cuba as a country with one of the best medical indicators in the world and the best in Latin America and Spain. In Cuba, there was 1 qualified specialist doctor for 957 residents.

1957 - the most electrified country in Latin America with the highest number of electrified residential buildings (83%) and homes with a toilet and all amenities (80%). These indicators were among the highest in the world.

1957 - the number of calories consumed daily per Cuban - 2870 - Cuba was second after Uruguay.

1957 - Havana - the second city in the world with a 3D cinema and a multi-store cinema opened. Havana was the city with the largest number of cinemas in the world — 358 — overtaking New York, Paris, London and all the other cities in the world.

1958 was the second country in the world to start broadcasting color TV and mass sale of color TVs (many homes still have these TVs).

1958 - the third country in Latin America by the number of cars (160 thousand, that is, one car for 38 Cubans). The first country in LA for the number of electrical appliances in Cuban homes. The first place in the world in terms of railway length per square meter. km and by the number of radio receivers in the world (1 per 2 people).

From 1950 to 1958, Cuba was second/third in terms of income in Ibero-America, overtaking Italy and more than twice Spain. Despite its small area and a population of only 6.5 million people, in 1958, Cuba ranked 29th among the world's economies, far ahead of all Latin American countries, Spain, Italy, and Portugal.

1958 - according to the International Labor Organization, Cuba was eighth in the world by average salary of workers (after the United States, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark and Norway), and seventh in the world in terms of peasant income. The unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world - 7.07%. The total working population in Cuba in 1958 was 2204,000.

In addition to all this, by 1958 Cuba was the country with the best road coverage in Latin America, with the largest number of supermarkets in Latin America, the most modern airport (Havana), with the most foreign investment and with the largest budget for the preservation of historical and architectural monuments in America.

And then socialism won ...

Cuba on the way to Castro!

ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18596
    • View Profile
Re: Cuba
« Reply #84 on: September 04, 2022, 06:34:03 AM »
don't forget Cuba gave us Ricky Ricardo
 :-D

DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18365
    • View Profile
Re: Oh, did they fail to mention these things?
« Reply #85 on: September 04, 2022, 07:50:14 AM »
Great post Crafty.  People forget or weren't born yet to remember how rich Cuba (and Venezuela) were before fascist Socialism came to town and bankrupted all but the leaders and their families.

Lucky that can't happen here?  Why can't it?

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile
WSJ: China into Cuba?
« Reply #86 on: June 08, 2023, 11:32:18 AM »
Cuba to Host Secret Chinese Spy Base Focusing on U.S.
Beijing agrees to pay Havana several billion dollars for eavesdropping facility
By Warren P. StrobelFollow
 and Gordon LuboldFollow
June 8, 2023 7:00 am ET






The Biden administration has taken steps to pull closer to the government in Havana. PHOTO: YANDER ZAMORA/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCk

WASHINGTON—China and Cuba have reached a secret agreement for China to establish an electronic eavesdropping facility on the island, in a brash new geopolitical challenge by Beijing to the U.S., according to U.S. officials familiar with highly classified intelligence.

An eavesdropping facility in Cuba, roughly 100 miles from Florida, would allow Chinese intelligence services to scoop up electronic communications throughout the southeastern U.S., where many military bases are located, and monitor U.S. ship traffic.

Officials familiar with the matter said that China has agreed to pay cash-strapped Cuba several billion dollars to allow it to build the eavesdropping station, and that the two countries had reached an agreement in principle.

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP

What’s News

Catch up on the headlines, understand the news and make better decisions, free in your inbox every day.


Preview

Subscribe
The revelation about the planned site has sparked alarm within the Biden administration because of Cuba’s proximity to the U.S. mainland. Washington regards Beijing as its most significant economic and military rival. A Chinese base with advanced military and intelligence capabilities in the U.S.’s backyard could be an unprecedented new threat.

“While I cannot speak to this specific report, we are well aware of—and have spoken many times to—the People’s Republic of China’s efforts to invest in infrastructure around the world that may have military purposes, including in this hemisphere,” John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, said. “We monitor it closely, take steps to counter it, and remain confident that we are able to meet all our security commitments at home, in the region, and around the world.”

U.S. officials described the intelligence on the planned Cuba site, apparently gathered in recent weeks, as convincing. They said the base would enable China to conduct signals intelligence, known in the espionage world as sigint, which could include the monitoring of a range of communications, including emails, phone calls and satellite transmissions.


Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Singapore last week. PHOTO: VINCENT THIAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Chinese Embassy in Washington had no comment. Cuba’s Embassy didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Officials declined to provide more details about the proposed location of the listening station or whether construction had begun. It couldn’t be determined what, if anything, the Biden administration could do to stop completion of the facility.

The U.S. has intervened before to stop foreign powers from extending their influence in the Western Hemisphere, most notably during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The U.S. and the Soviet Union came to the brink of nuclear war after the Soviets deployed nuclear-capable missiles to Cuba, prompting a U.S. Navy quarantine of the island.

The Soviets backed down and removed the missiles. A few months later, the U.S. quietly removed intermediate-range ballistic missiles from Turkey that the Soviets had complained about.

The intelligence on the new base comes in the midst of the Biden administration’s efforts to improve U.S.-China relations after months of acrimony that followed a Chinese spy balloon’s flight over the U.S. earlier this year.


China in 2017 marked the opening of a military base in Djibouti, in eastern Africa. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
Last month President Biden sent Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns on a secret trip to Beijing, and national security adviser Jake Sullivan held talks with a top Chinese official in Vienna. It couldn’t be determined whether the planned Chinese eavesdropping station figured in those exchanges.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to travel to Beijing later this month and possibly meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Biden said in May that he believed there would be a thaw in U.S.-China relations despite recent public tensions.

Beijing is likely to argue that the base in Cuba is justified because of U.S. military and intelligence activities close to China, analysts said. U.S. military aircraft fly over the South China Sea, engaging in electronic surveillance. The U.S. sells arms to Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province, deploys a small number of troops there to train its military, and sails Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait.

Advertisement - Scroll to Continue

An eavesdropping facility in Cuba would make clear “China is prepared to do the same in America’s backyard,” said Craig Singleton, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a national-security think tank in Washington.

“Establishing this facility signals a new, escalatory phase in China’s broader defense strategy. It’s a bit of a game changer,” Singleton said. “The selection of Cuba is also intentionally provocative.”

China’s only declared foreign military base is in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa. It has embarked on a global port-development campaign in places including Cambodia and the United Arab Emirates. U.S. officials say that effort is aimed at creating a network of military ports and intelligence bases to project Chinese power around the globe.


An aerial view of the Lourdes signals intelligence facility near Havana about a year before Russia said in 2001 that the site was closing. PHOTO: MAXAR
Security relations between Washington and Beijing have grown tense in recent weeks after close encounters between U.S. and Chinese ships in the Taiwan Strait and between the two nations’ military aircraft over the South China Sea.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and China’s defense minister, Gen. Li Shangfu, traded barbs at a conference in Singapore last weekend, though the two shook hands in a widely publicized gesture. Austin complained about Beijing’s lack of communication on military matters and Li’s refusal to meet with him. China has said it won’t agree to such a meeting until Washington lifts sanctions it placed on Li in 2018.

The Biden administration has attempted to pull closer to Havana, reversing some Trump-era policies by loosening restrictions on travel to and from Cuba and re-establishing a family-reunification program. The administration has also expanded consular services to allow more Cubans to visit the U.S. and has restored some diplomatic personnel who were removed after a series of mysterious health incidents affecting U.S. personnel in Havana.

Moscow has historically been Cuba’s closest partner among major world powers, supporting Havana with economic and military aid. But Beijing has been building closer diplomatic and economic ties to the island. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel met with Xi in Beijing in November.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union operated its largest overseas signals intelligence site at Lourdes, just outside Havana. The site, which closed down after 2001, reportedly hosted hundreds of Soviet, Cuban and other Eastern Bloc intelligence officers.

There were reports in 2014 that Russia would reopen the Lourdes station, but that doesn’t appear to have happened, and its current status couldn’t be determined.

ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18596
    • View Profile
Re: Cuba
« Reply #87 on: June 08, 2023, 01:38:39 PM »
the only problem with the bay of pigs is we did not support them

enough to win

yet we spent yrs in Vietnam on the other side of the world

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile
GPF: Will Cuba open up again?
« Reply #88 on: August 29, 2023, 02:14:41 PM »
August 28, 2023
View On Website
Open as PDF

    
Will Cuba Open Up Again?
Efforts from the U.S., Brazil and others are encouraging but not without risk.
By: Allison Fedirka

Diplomatic exchanges don’t carry much geopolitical weight by themselves. Even the truly monumental moments in international affairs are made possible by months if not years of inconspicuous meetings, third-party consultations, and high- and low-level consultations that, eventually, prove greater than the sum of their parts. Such is the case in Cuba. There has been a flurry of talks of late among the United States, the Vatican, Brazil and Cuba, and all available evidence suggests Washington is trying to make another opening with the government in Havana.

The U.S. has a permanent interest in who controls Cuba. The island’s position in the Caribbean provides a layer of protection to the Gulf Coast and serves as a strategic launch point for any activities against the U.S. Cuba’s small size and limited natural resources mean that the country needs the support of a foreign benefactor. Naturally, the U.S. played this role until the Cuban revolution, at which point it was replaced by the Soviet Union and now, to a lesser degree, Russia. (Venezuela is also an important patron.)

The current global conditions are ripe for the U.S. to make a move on Cuba. The island’s economy has all but collapsed. Its current patrons cannot meet the island’s needs. The country’s population has few revolutionaries. There is growing public discontent against the government, which faces increased political pressure amid threats of protest.

But it’s unclear how exactly the U.S. will engage Cuba. It has plenty of tools at its disposal. For the past 65 years, the U.S. has cycled through open hostility and overt reconciliation. And over the past year, the Biden administration has gradually been improving bilateral ties through low-level government talks and some easing of a handful of economic restrictions, such as the amount of money people can send relatives on the island.

However, the use of back-channel talks and the presence of certain officials suggest Washington may have bigger plans in mind. Indeed, President Joe Biden’s diplomatic engagement closely resembles President Barack Obama’s from 2014. Prior to the opening with Cuba, there were a series of meetings between U.S. officials, then-Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, Panamanian officials, representatives from the Vatican, and, of course, Cuban officials. After the successful restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba, it became clear how important Mujica and the Vatican were as mediators and messengers. Mujica was an ideal candidate to bridge the political divide between the U.S. and Cuba. His work with the Tupamaros and subsequent imprisonment during the military dictatorship resonated with the Castro regime. Politically, he followed left-leaning ideology and held office at the height of the Pink Tide era. However, he also openly spoke out against human rights violations in ways that resonated with Washington. The Vatican was essential, too, given its importance to Cuban Catholics and the pope’s advocacy for human rights.

The similarities to the current diplomatic engagement suggest another attempt at reopening is in the works. Back on June 20, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel met separately with Pope Francis and the Vatican’s secretary of state, both of whom were involved in the diplomatic offensive in 2014. Afterward, he went directly to Paris to attend President Emmanuel Macron’s Summit for a New Global Financial Pact on June 22-23. He met with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on the sidelines of the gathering.

Activity steadily increased the next month. On Aug. 16, Biden and Lula held a phone call to discuss areas of cooperation. Two days later, Lula’s top adviser, Celso Amorim, paid a visit to Cuba and delivered to Diaz-Canel a letter that expressed Brazil’s interest in improving ties with Cuba. Then, on Aug. 21, Amorim spoke directly with U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan about “the importance of continuing to build upon joint efforts to expand Atlantic cooperation.” Lula is expected to meet Biden on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly and with Diaz-Canel on the sidelines of the G77 meeting. Both events are in New York in late September.

Tying this all together is an Aug. 17 report in Busqueda, the Uruguayan newspaper that had publicized Mujica’s involvement in 2014. According to the report, Lula invited Mujica to travel with him to Cuba before the end of the year to work with the Cuban government to open its economy and international relations. They are expected to meet with both government officials and members of civil society, which could include businesspeople and opposition figures.

Facilitating these back-channel talks puts Brazil in a position to serve as a patron for Cuba and raises the possibility of political transition in Cuba. Without a reliable benefactor, Cuba’s economy is in disarray, and Brazil has shown that it is willing to help solve some of its major problems. In fact, after his meeting with Diaz-Canel, Lula announced his country’s interest in reviving relations with Cuba and reassessing Cuba’s resumption of debt payments to Brazil. Brasilia plans to send multiple missions to Cuba in the coming weeks, including business delegations, health specialists and technical missions for sectors such as agriculture. The Brazilian government noted the importance of investing in places like Cuba and not being “left behind” as other major countries make strategic investments overseas.

The Cuban government is struggling to find effective solutions to its economic problems in a way that preserves its primacy. Over the past few years, Havana has introduced measures that ease state controls and open up small sectors of the Cuban economy. The island now has 8,000 micro, small and medium-sized companies that are not state-owned. These private companies account for 14 percent of the island’s gross domestic product and 15 percent of its employment. However, the government has discovered it cannot rely on the private sector to complement its priorities. In the first half of the year, U.S. food products and agricultural commodities exported to Cuba totaled $37 million, up 11 percent from the previous year. The Cuban government imported basic staples like chicken and corn. The private sector imported many novelties such as coffee creamers, ice cream, chocolate, cookies and potato chips – treats that don’t do much to solve the food crisis. (The private sector has brought in some critical goods the government has not been able to, such as toilet paper, soap, construction materials and industrial machinery.)

Havana’s latest moves to address its economy threaten to hamper the budding private sector. Earlier this month, the central bank started to dramatically restrict the amount of cash in local currency that private businesses can withdraw from their accounts. Private companies can withdraw only 5,000 pesos ($22 on the parallel market) per day for payments related to contracted goods and services. While they can continue cash transactions, they must offer alternative payment systems with banking cards and authorized digital platforms. Small private businesses are also required to deposit all cash revenue in their bank accounts the day after a sale, a major setback given that cash is king in Cuba. The government eliminated the first-year tax exemptions for micro, small and medium-sized companies, which must now pay 35 percent on profits. According to the central bank, the measures mean to promote the use of banks for transactions that have evaded the system. A secondary consequence of the measures, however, is that they threaten the ability of private companies to continue imports.

The country’s economic problems have already raised concerns within the Cuban government. At the end of July, Diaz-Canel warned that outside forces were trying to sow seeds of discontent. There are also increased anecdotal reports of discontent rising among the citizens and a growing threat of demonstrations. Havana has embraced the BRICS, particularly because of its supposed potential to transform an international financial system that has taken advantage of the Global South. In this regard, Cuba sees Brazil as an attractive economic and political patron.

The U.S. strategy to include Brazil in back-channel talks with Cuba is not without risk, and its options aren’t without constraints. Washington has to strike a balance between supporting the Cuban people and getting money into the island without empowering the regime or sparking a revolution. All this means that the U.S. needs Brazil's participation to help seize this unique opportunity. Washington sees Brazil playing a transition role, helping to open up the island gradually in both economic and political terms. The idea would be that the U.S. would then step in once the time is right. But Brazil has its own interests in extending its influence into the Caribbean. Even if the U.S. gets what it wants from the Brazil-led transition, there’s a potential for future confrontation if and when Washington makes its move to become Cuba’s patron.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69662
    • View Profile
Cuba-China
« Reply #89 on: November 07, 2023, 11:32:44 AM »
GPF:

China and Cuba. Chinese President Xi Jinping held a meeting with Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz on Monday. Xi welcomed closer ties with Cuba on agriculture, tourism, health, technology and communications.

Body-by-Guinness

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 2023
    • View Profile
Cuba on the Brink of Collapse?
« Reply #90 on: March 20, 2024, 05:01:29 PM »
Odd that an Asian paper is reporting on what’s going on in our backyard regarding an issue American MSM has not noted, perhaps due to the failure of communism on full display here:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/commentary/2024/03/20/world/communist-cuba-collapse/?fbclid=iwar1wq4jxcvvkoaozed2fppv4bh1mutwppjgi7dfqvaig2vdr4__70trnngg

Body-by-Guinness

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 2023
    • View Profile
Cuba on Campus
« Reply #91 on: May 13, 2024, 01:42:09 PM »
What a surprise: Cuban-trained activists are involved in leading the campus protest at Columbia, and likely elsewhere:

How Cuba Fuels the Campus Protests

Some of the ‘outside agitators’ against Israel are Havana’s fellow travelers

By Mary Anastasia O’Grady

There’s a dog-bites-man quality to the news reports that recent campus chaos in support of Hamas is the work of well-funded revolutionary groups out to destabilize the U.S. Even less surprising is the charge that “outside agitators,” as New York Mayor Eric Adams has termed these groups, share an ideology with the Cuban military dictatorship—and in some cases have attained practical support from Havana.
On the other hand, the American public needs to be reminded that the Cuban regime has for 65 years nursed bitter opposition to the U.S. Constitution and American freedom. And that for decades it has spent enormous resources burrowing into America’s educational, diplomatic and political circles in an effort to topple our democratic republic.

This truth was obscured during the Obama administration, when Ben Rhodes—struggling creative writer turned national-security guru—shaped U.S. policy to profess that Cuba is no longer a threat. Who can forget the photograph—iconic for the American left—of Raúl Castro raising the arm of a limp-wristed President Obama in 2016?

Cuba is still run by angry, envious tyrants who excel at only one thing: destruction. Having achieved that goal at home and made themselves rich in the process, they toil endlessly to expand their reach. Columbia University is merely one more destination on their revolutionary map.
As Mr. Adams explained on “CBS Mornings” on May 1, “It was clear we had to take appropriate actions when our intelligence division identified those who were professionals, well-trained.” The mayor probably knows a lot more about those professionals and their training than he’s letting on. None of it is good.

A vocal advocate of the recent hate-ins in New York is Manolo De Los Santos. The New York Post describes the 35-year-old as “the leader and de facto mouthpiece for the People’s Forum, a radical anti-Israel group that encouraged the takeover of Hamilton Hall at Columbia University.”

Born in the Dominican Republic, Mr. De Los Santos moved to the U.S. at 5 but seems to have spent time in Cuba beginning in 2006. In May 2023, Mr. De Los Santos tweeted a photo of himself with Cuban dictator Miguel Díaz Canel on the island. He wrote that he was “leaving Cuba after 10 days learning with its people” and with Mr. Diaz-Canel. “Young people in the U.S. have great tasks ahead of them,” he explained. In September 2023, Mr. De Los Santos was photographed with the Cuban dictator in New York during the week of the U.N. General Assembly meeting. “Welcome dear comrade!” Mr. De Los Santos tweeted.

It isn’t clear if Mr. De Los Santos was on the Columbia campus. But hours before pro-Hamas activists took over Hamilton Hall, he gave a rousing speech to a volunteer meeting at the People’s Forum offices in Manhattan, where he “urged the group to ‘give Joe Biden a hot summer’ and ‘make it untenable for the politics of usual to take place in this country,’ ” according to the Washington Free Beacon, which said it attended the meeting by Zoom. “Breakout sessions” that followed, the website said, “focused on organizing new methods of ‘resistance.’ ”
On May 7 Mr. De Los Santos was detained by the New York City Police Department for his role in a traffic-blocking march. It wasn’t his first brush with the law. The Post has reported that he was also arrested by the NYPD on Jan. 27 during a day of pro-Hamas activism.

Mr. De Los Santos is a political entrepreneur who has made a career out of activism. He claims concern for Palestinians. But he’s fine with the Cuban police state, which is holding more than 1,000 political prisoners—including performance artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantará and musician Maykel Osorbo—and starving its people by prohibiting farmers’ markets and the ownership of boats for fishing. He blames U.S. policy for Cuban suffering.

There’s nothing special about Mr. De Los Santos. Since 1969 Cuba has been using the U.S.-based Venceremos Brigade to build teams of Americans willing to infiltrate, spy and indoctrinate in the name of the revolution. The solidarity group recruits sympathizers and brings them to Cuba to turn them against their own government. It identifies those most ripe for leadership and teaches them how to run a communist underground back home. Venceremos graduates return to work in the U.S.

In a 2014 unclassified report, “Cuban Intelligence Targeting of Academia,” the FBI said that schools, colleges, universities and research institutes are “a fertile environment” for foreign intelligence. “The Cuban intelligence services,” it added, “are known to actively target the U.S. academic world for the purposes of recruiting agents, in order to both obtain useful information and conduct influence activities.”
Cuba wants to do the U.S. harm. Let’s stop pretending otherwise.

Write to O’Grady@wsj.com.

https://apple.news/AqyDUKgbtRdW7ldEiJYlsdQ