Miércoles, 24 de Abril de 2019
Última actualización: 15:36 CEST
Cuba-US Relations

A new sponsor for Castro?

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The US maintains Cuba

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did they do with 215 billion?   

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

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

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

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

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

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