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Old 02-19-2008   #21
Steve Blair
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BBC has some coverage on this as well. Here is a link to a summation of Raul and other contenders.
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Old 02-19-2008   #22
J Wolfsberger
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We've been hearing for decades that the end to the US trade embargo will solve all of Cuba's economic problems.

Since Cuba has had the entire rest of the world to trade with, the leftist excuse that it's the big, bad United States' fault that their economy sucks has always struck me as ... self-serving, adolescent crap.

Which leads to my concern. The lousy economy is not and never has been the fault of the US; it's their own, for following a deranged economic system. If we were to lift Helms-Burton, and absent a dramatic shift to rule of law and a market based economy, I can't convince myself that there will be any significant change. The Cubans, however, will be expecting huge changes.

Then what?

(Incidentally, given the current craze for ethanol based fuels, Cuba could easily be a major producer. Why aren't they already?)
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Old 02-20-2008   #23
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Default Actually, this is "Endgame: Part 01 of ???". This was just....

...the opening gambit in a brand new game. Think of it as "Post Castro Era For $100 Billion" (give or take a few).

Originally posted by J Wolfsberger:
Quote:
The lousy economy is not and never has been the fault of the US; it's their own, for following a deranged economic system. If we were to lift Helms-Burton, and absent a dramatic shift to rule of law and a market based economy, I can't convince myself that there will be any significant change. The Cubans, however, will be expecting huge changes.

Then what?

(Incidentally, given the current craze for ethanol based fuels, Cuba could easily be a major producer. Why aren't they already?)
First off, let's get the ethanol issue off the table, because that's the easy one. Main reason is the high (and excessive) US tariffs against sugar cane ethanol imports. Substantial reason for tariffs: See Fanjul Brothers, FL. Much, but not all, is in the politics of sugar. The rest of the story has been the corn producers, but that might be changing, simply due to supply and demand issues for corn as a foodstock.

As an example, we (US) impose a $.54 cents per gal tax on ethanol imports. Here's the link to the details. The result is that ethanol imports just can't compete, even though making ethanol from sugar cane is much more cost efficient than making from corn.

Expect to see the most truly unbelievable bipartisan political coalitions come out over the whole issue of Helms-Burton.They're going to be players coming down on different sides of the issue (keep/modify/repeal), and talking about having folks showing up on different sides. Be a show in itself - Ah, the sweet smell of $$$$ & influence by the boatload.

Crazy prediction time: To DeeCee land & environs, Cuba will become the next Iraq. I don't mean in military terms, but in controversy terms. But the players on both sides are just going to be wild. Might take 6 months to a year, but it's going to be fun.

Even on his freaking deathbed, Fidel can still pull off a stunt like this one. Got to hand it to that old buzzard - he still knows how to pull off an exit.
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Old 03-07-2008   #24
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Default Commentary piece which is interesting, because it's plausible.

Quote:
Cuba's Generation Gap
By BRIAN LATELL, Dated 03.01.2008

After waiting his turn for nearly 50 years, Raul Castro traded in his military uniform for a tailored suit and became Cuba's new president on Feb. 24. His brief inaugural address was filled with obsequies to his ailing brother Fidel, along with promises to consult him about important decisions. But the reality is that 76-year-old Raul is now firmly in charge. Fidel's long reign is over.

There is even reason to believe the brothers' relationship had turned acrimonious, and that Fidel was forced into retirement. One indication: During his interregnum following Fidel's provisional cession of power in July, 2006, Raul never benefited from public words of encouragement or support from his brother.

In over 90 ruminations issued by Fidel in the Cuban media over the last year, Raul was only mentioned once. In contrast, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez was repeatedly glorified, once even referred to by Fidel as his "brother."

There's another indication that all is not well between the two. Upon taking command, Raul demonstrated his independence, naming an alter ego as first vice president of the governing council of state -- the same post, first in the line of succession, that Raul had occupied himself for decades.
Link to full commentary

Background; Brian Latell

There's been lots of rumors floating about for a while that Raul and Hugo Chavez aren't on the best of terms, and that neither one really trusts the other. Just something to think about.
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Old 02-18-2009   #25
TristanAbbey
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Default USAWC professor: Junk the Cuba embargo

Hey Folks, we did some Q&A with Army War College research professor COL Alex Crowther, who argues in the latest SSI op-ed that we should nix the embargo on Cuba. May be of interest to some:

http://bellum.stanfordreview.org/?p=250

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Old 02-18-2009   #26
Ken White
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Default That should've been done 40 years ago.

All we've done since then is keep the 'Revolution' humming...
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Old 02-18-2009   #27
Bill Moore
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Default Failed policy

Wholeheartedly agree, all we accomplished with our embargo was keeping Castro in power (until his health failed) and facilitated increased Soviet influence in the region, not to mention fueling the fire of radical left rhetoric throughout Latin America that continues to plague the region to this day.

The best way to subvert communism is to engage their populace economically and socially. Communism cannot survive in an open society where it is exposed to the truth. If we engaged Cuba economically, the people would have been exposed to another America, one that benefited their country and livlihoods; on the other hand, it is easy for the Cuban people to hate America and develop a sense of nationalistic pride when our nation takes offensive action (embargo) against the people.

Unfortunately our policy towards Cuba was hijacked by a few thousand reactionary Cubans in Florida who found they had influence over our ultra right politicians at the time. These are the folks who conveniently seemed to have forgoten that Bastista was ousted from power for a reason, and that a populist insurgency is more democratic than an election where there is only one candidate (Bastita). We didn't put Castro in power, but we sure as heck kept him there.

While on one can tell, I suspect that if we stayed engaged with Cuba, Castro would have seen us as a grave threat and would have barred us from working in Cuba, and the results of ths bar would devastate the economy, thus making Castro the bad guy, not us, then we could support the uprising that follows. All speculation of course, but the revolution I imagined would have been a dream come true for Special Forces. Instead we get dealt the manufactured revolution and the resulting failure with the tragic Bay of Pigs episode.
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Old 02-18-2009   #28
John T. Fishel
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Default The only way to see

our Cuba policy as rational is to accept the truth of Tip O'Neill's comment that, "All politics is local." Our policy was driven by the perception that the Miami Cuban-American community was implacably opposed to an opening to Cuba.

Over a decade ago, while teaching at Leavenworth, I had a Cuban-American student in my Latin American elective. Bright young officer, he was in no way blinded by the then prevailing view of the Cuban-American National Foundation. In this way, he foreshadowed the changes we see in Cuban-American attitudes today.

Final note: Well said, Alex! Hooah!

Cheers

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Old 02-20-2009   #29
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Part two is up!

http://bellum.stanfordreview.org/?p=305
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Old 01-18-2011   #30
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GIGA, 17 Jan 11: Civil Society 2.0?: How the Internet Changes State-Society Relations in Authoritarian Regimes: The Case of Cuba
Quote:
In the debate over the role of civil society under authoritarian regimes, the spread of transnational web-based media obliges use to rethink the arenas in which the societal voice can be raised - and heard. Taking the case of state-socialist Cuba, a diachronic comparison analyzes civil society dynamics prior to the Internet - in the early to mid-1990s, and a decade later, after digital and web-based media made their way onto the island. The study finds that in the pre-Internet period, the focus was on behind-the-scenes struggles for associational autonomy within the state-socialist framework. A decade later, web-based communication technologies have supported the emergence of a new type of public sphere in which the civil society debate is marked by autonomous citizen action. While this defies the socialist regime's design of state-society relations, its effect on democratization depends on the extent to which a web-based voice connects with off-line public debate and social action.
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Old 07-16-2013   #31
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Quote:
PANAMA CITY (AP) — Panama says it has seized a North Korean-flagged ship carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/w...-ship/2520109/

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Old 11-26-2016   #32
Bill Moore
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Default Castro is dead, now what?

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cu...-idUSKBN13L044

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro dies aged 90

As much as I despise communism and cruelty it has inflicted upon mankind, I grudgingly respected Castro's ability to stand up against the world. I believe it was Nixon that said Castro was a leader of men and a force to be reckoned with. I'm sure the pundits will do what pundits do for the next few weeks, but I don't think anyone will have a clue on what way Cuba will go until at least 6 months passes.
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Old 11-26-2016   #33
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Bill,

I doubt what we think will actually affect what happens in Cuba. They can neither access the Web; I am unsure whether they can watch US or other TV.

There have been some bizarre Tweets from political figures here. One of the better retorts was Castro was such a revolutionary his brother succeeded him. Almost like that other "workers paradise" DPRK or North Korea.

The death of a leader, or ex-leader as Castro was, in a communist regime can have an impact, but will Cuba follow that path?
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Old 11-27-2016   #34
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You're right Fidel's death will mean little in the short run, because he stepped down from power in 2006, giving Raul amble time to establish his power base. However, Raul said he is stepping down in 2018, and who follows is a bit of a mystery. Even if it is a reformist, the Cuban military still pretty much controls the Cuban economy. There is always the possibility for a Cuban Spring, and the security forces may not protect the government, but for that to happen I suspect they would have to see an opportunity for themselves and their families in the new Cuba.

Interesting article that came out prior to Fidel's passing, where Raul commented on Trump winning the election.

http://www.worldpropertyjournal.com/...trol-10150.php

Cuba's Raul Castro Reacts to Trump Election Victory

Quote:
The 85-year-old Cuban leader has called out his military to show Trump, 70, and the world that Cuba can defend itself if the U.S. naively plans any kind of illegal military entry.

It's Cuba's first such exercise in three years.

As the military exercises wind down, at least 26 U.S.-based corporations have applied to President Barack Obama's administration for the maximum number of Individual business licenses to operate in Cuba.
The article explains the U.S. deal with Cuba in a fair amount detail, and Trump stated he wanted to redo the deal. Redoing the deal is not necessarily killing it, but one thing he wants is for all the political prisoners to be released. That seems fair enough, and maybe Raul will have more leeway to do that now that Fidel is out of the picture.

Raul did undo some Fidel Castro's communist mandates, and may undo now more. It is a waiting game to some extent, but one can always hope this is an opportunity for a better tomorrow for the people of Cuba.
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