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Old 08-02-2006   #1
SWJED
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Default Cuba (merged thread)

2 August New York Times - U.S. Says It Is Prepared for Transition in Cuba by Anthony DePalma.

Quote:
After waiting nearly half a century for Fidel Castro to relinquish power, Washington is warily monitoring the provisional transition in Havana, confident it has plans in place to assist pro-democracy groups in Cuba and to head off any mass exodus from the island...

The White House made it clear yesterday that it did not see Mr. Castro’s brother Raúl, 75, to whom he handed off much of his power, as very likely to improve conditions on the island or relations with the United States. There were no plans to negotiate with him...

A plan announced by the State Department two weeks ago provides $80 million over two years to help with a post-Castro transition. The United States would also send special monitors and advisers to Cuba in the weeks after a full transition began...
2 August Washington Post - For Castro, a First Step In Calculated Transition by Karen DeYoung and Manuel Roig-Franzia.

Quote:
Cuban leader Fidel Castro's appointment of his younger brother, Raul, to take over temporarily as president and head of the Communist Party marks the beginning of a long-planned transition designed to maintain iron-fisted control of the island after Fidel Castro's eventual death, administration and intelligence officials said yesterday.

"This is their transition plan out for a test drive, a dress rehearsal," one intelligence official said of the surprise announcement Monday night that the Cuban leader had undergone surgery for intestinal bleeding and had relinquished "provisional" power to his brother...
1 August Voice of America - White House Says It Will Not Reach Out to Raul Castro by Paula Wolfson.

Quote:
White House Spokesman Tony Snow says President Bush has long hoped that one day Cuba will be free and democratic. But he says that will not happen with Raul Castro in charge.

"Raul Castro's attempt to impose himself on the Cuban people is much the same as what his brother did, so no, there are no plans to reach out," he said.

During a session with reporters, Snow downplayed prospects for any change in relations between Washington and Havana. He said Fidel Castro is a dictator who is now temporarily handing power to his brother, the nation's prison keeper.

Snow refused to speculate on the health of the ailing Cuban leader, who has long been a major political irritant to the United States. But he did say there is no reason to believe he is dead...
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Old 12-29-2006   #2
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Default Castro's Cuba: Quo Vadis?

Castro's Cuba: Quo Vadis? by Dr. Francisco Wong-Diaz. US Army Strategic Studies Institute monograph, 29 December 2006

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The United States, particularly the Army, has a long history of involvement with Cuba. It has included, among others, the Spanish-American War of 1898, military interventions in 1906 and 1912, the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion, the 1962 Missile Crisis, counterinsurgency, and low intensity warfare in Latin America and Africa against Cuban supported guerrilla movements. After almost 5 decades of authoritarian one-man rule, Fidel Castro remains firmly in power. On July 31, his brother, Raul Castro, assumed provisional presidential power after an official announcement that Fidel was ill and would undergo surgery. What would be the strategic and political implications attendant to Castro’s eventual demise or incapacitation? The author suggests some possible transition or succession scenarios and examines the consequences that might follow and the role that the United States might be called to play.
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Old 01-25-2007   #3
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Default Foreign Affairs article

There is a very good article in last Foreign Affairs about the failure of US foreign policy in Cuba, and the way ahead. It makes a comparison between failed US efforts at de-Baathification in Iraq, and any similar attempt at de-Fidelista purges that the US may wish to see post-Fidel. If this were to happen in Cuba, you would essentially be eliminating the entire white-collar work force of the country. It also points out the extraordinary influence ex-pats or ex-pat communities can have on the US government. While Ahmed Chalabi springs to mind, he fails in comparison with the influence the 1.5 million cuban ex-pat community has on federal policy.
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Old 01-25-2007   #4
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Originally Posted by Strickland View Post
There is a very good article in last Foreign Affairs about the failure of US foreign policy in Cuba, and the way ahead....
Here's the link: Fidel's Final Victory, Foreign Affairs, Jan-Feb 07
Quote:
...Even as Cuba-watchers speculate about how much longer the ailing Fidel will survive, the post-Fidel transition is already well under way. Power has been successfully transferred to a new set of leaders, whose priority is to preserve the system while permitting only very gradual reform. Cubans have not revolted, and their national identity remains tied to the defense of the homeland against U.S. attacks on its sovereignty. As the post-Fidel regime responds to pent-up demands for more democratic participation and economic opportunity, Cuba will undoubtedly change -- but the pace and nature of that change will be mostly imperceptible to the naked American eye....
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Old 03-08-2007   #5
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Default One little, two little, three little Indicators...

US Homeland Security tests response to possible mass exodus from Cuba
from those wonderfully unbiased folks at AFP
Mar 07 3:42 PM US/Eastern

An exodus from Cuba combined with a virus outbreak put US authorities on full alert Wednesday in a simulation meant to tested the response to a mass migration from the communist-run island.

As part of the Homeland Security exercise off Florida, Coast Guard units took to the seas and military planes flew overhead as fictitious Cubans tried to reach US shores.

The maneuver aimed to test the response to a migration crisis similar to the one in which 125,000 Cubans landed on US shores in the so-called Mariel boatlift in 1980.

Some US officials have speculated there could be a massive migration from Cuba when ailing President Fidel Castro, 80, dies, but officers involved in the exercise declined to discuss that specific scenario.

"I'm not going to get into that," said US Coast Guard (USCG) Rear-Admiral David Kunkel. "This is driven because we have to be prepared," he said at a news conference launching the two-day exercise.

"While this exercise focuses on massive migrations from Cuba ... it could be any Caribbean nation," he said. "However, Cuba is something for which we have to be prepared."

In Wednesday's simulation, 2,000 fictitious Cubans took to the seas in a bid to reach the US Coast, and thousands more people left from Florida to pick up friends and relatives from the Caribbean island.

After about 100 Cubans made it to shore, officials found that a contagious virus had spread among the migrants.

More than 300 officials from some 50 agencies participated in the exercise, which officials said was particularly relevant in south Florida.

In the 1970s, more than 50,000 Haitians fleeing the dictatorship of Francois Duvalier and later his son Jean Claude Duvalier headed to the United States.

In 1980, Castro opened the Cuban port of Mariel, allowing anyone who wanted to leave the country by boat to do so. Over five months, 125,000 people had left the island, some on fragile rafts, others picked up by relatives living in Florida.

A similar migration involving 36,000 Cubans again took place 14 years later, once more placing a huge strain on Miami and other parts of south Florida as authorities tried to cope with the humanitarian crisis.

On August 1, then Florida governor Jeb Bush, a brother of the US president, asked authorities to ready for another such exodus. He made the request one day after Castro announced he had undergone surgery and provisionally handed power to his younger brother Raul.

Kunkel said that at the first sign such a movement could take place, he would seek assistance from the Miami-based military Southern Command.

The aim, he said would be to intercept 95 percent of the migrants and return them to the country they left.

Kunkel insisted there would be no repeat of the Mariel crisis.

"Now we have a plan," he said.

He said that the focus would be to return the migrants to their home countries, but did not rule out using the Guantanamo Bay US military enclave in Cuba to house some of them. In the 1980s and 1990s, the navy base had housed thousands of Cuban and Haitian would-be migrants.


Recent media reports indicated the Pentagon was planning to build facilities on the base to house migrants interdicted at sea.
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Old 03-08-2007   #6
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We could stem a lot of the upheaval during the eventual regime change if we dropped economic sanctions that have long outlived their usefulness. The best way to establish future stability in Cuba is to begin pumping US trade and investment dollars into the economy now.
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Old 03-13-2007   #7
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The key is acting before Cuba hits the breaking point. If Raul can be engaged to liberalize the political process in exchange for sanction lifting, then there is an opportunity to prevent the catestrophe that is waiting in the wings. The Cuban situation is different from Iraq in that their is strong Cuban constituency in this country that is going to fight any reapproachment with Cuba as long as Fidel is alive. They will not be happy with Raul either. However, because Fidel is the "face" of Cuba, the Cuban expats might be more accepting of Raul in an interim role with a road to some type of democratic process. And then hopefully, cheap Cohibas!!!
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Old 03-13-2007   #8
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The Miami Cubans make AIPAC look docile. We unfortunately will not see any rapprochement while they maintain their death grip on the swing vote in Florida politics.
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Old 07-27-2007   #9
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Default Cuba’s Revolution Now Under Two Masters

27 July NY Times - Cuba’s Revolution Now Under Two Masters by James McKinley Jr.

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For the first time, Raúl Castro, the acting president, gave the traditional revolutionary speech during Cuba’s most important national holiday on Thursday, deepening the widespread feeling that his brother Fidel has slipped into semi-retirement and is unlikely to return. Yet Cuba continues to live in a kind of limbo, with neither brother fully in control of the one-party Socialist state...

Since the Communist Party has yet to officially replace Fidel Castro as the head of state, his presence in the wings and his towering history here continue to exert a strong influence in Cuban politics. That has made it difficult for Raúl Castro to shake up the island’s centralized Soviet-style economy, experts on Cuban politics said, though Raúl’s public remarks on Thursday made it clear he would like to.

He scolded the nation for having to import food when it possessed an abundance of rich land and vowed to increase agricultural production. He also said Cuba was seeking ways to secure more foreign investment, without abandoning Socialism...
27 July Washington Post - Cuba's Call for Economic Detente by Manuel Roig-Franzia.

Quote:
As one of history's longest-serving political understudies, Raúl Castro often struggled to persuade his all-powerful brother Fidel Castro to open Cuba's moribund economy to more foreign investment.

But Thursday, with Fidel Castro still hidden from public view after intestinal surgery last July and his prospects of returning to power uncertain, the younger brother asserted his desire to push Cuba in a new direction. Speaking at a ceremony commemorating the start of the 54th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, Raúl Castro declared that Cuba is considering opening itself further to foreign investment, allowing business partners to provide this financially strapped nation with "capital, technology or markets."

The younger Castro's remarks, coupled with his unusual admission that the Cuban government needs to pay its vast cadres of state-employed workers more to cover basic needs, amounted to the clearest indication yet of how he might lead this island nation. Castro, who was named interim president last July 31, vowed to partner only with "serious entrepreneurs, upon well-defined legal bases."...
27 July Miami Herald - Raúl Again Offers 'Olive Branch' to U.S. by Frances Robles.

Quote:
In Raúl Castro's most important speech since he replaced ailing brother Fidel, the interim Cuban leader Thursday bluntly admitted during the island's July 26 celebrations that Cuba faces myriad problems and little hope of quick fixes.

Castro, 76, told the tens of thousands convened in the eastern city of Camagüey that while salaries and food production are too low, inefficiency and prices are way too high. He added that Cuba's days of inefficiency, graft and dependence on foreign imports must come to an end.

Castro, also for the third time, called for a dialogue with Washington and made only passing mention of Fidel -- whose absence at the ceremony marking the 54th anniversary of the start of the Cuban Revolution reinforced the belief that Fidel will not return to active rule after his emergency surgery for intestinal bleeding last July...
Wikipedia:

Fidel Castro

Raul Castro
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Old 07-27-2007   #10
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Default Will Cuba chose the way of enlightened despotism?

In a culturally planned economy, capital goods and services are allocated by bureaucratic decision. Over a period of time, prices established by administrative fiat lose their relationship to costs. So long as the system is run as a policy state, the pricing system becomes a means of extorting resources from the population.
However, as soon as terror eases, prices turn into subsidies and are transferred in a method of gaining public support for the communist party. In the end, everything, from food to housing is subsidized without any criterion for efficiency and hence turns into an obstacle to a rising standard of living.

France has consistently engaged into similar methods during the last thirty years, though in the case of this country the communist origins of this way of doing things have systematically been denied. Bureaucratic decisions upon what ought to be relevant to private economy truly exist and the whole economic system is truly run as a policy state, but the subtlety lies in the fact that bureaucrats and officials directly intervening in private economy are not officials, though in many cases they have been indoctrinated and trained in one or several of the four state schools and universities which use to train the ruling elite since decades. Instead those "unofficials officials" act as said-to-be private entrepreneurs and businessmen and other investors and “business angels” who carefully follow official and unofficial state directives touching on nearly everything, from goods and services prices, to wages per profession and specialties, to fashion, to design, to private banking, to insurance, health industry and many other things.

Instead of an open and officially claimed communist economic policy, this system works as one might describe as a conspiracy since it has no official existence; but the visible effects on private economy and the collective behavior of the society are exactly similar to those usually affecting communist and socialist rulled economies and they are likely to lead to depression and unemployment, as it happens in Cuba, for the reasons I explained in the first paragraph of this comment.

At this point, and since the existence of a communist ruled economy is denied, then the system belongs to another category known as enlightened despotism.
Enlightened despotism, when it is not practiced by a visible king or dictator but by a collectivity or a secret council of “wise men” is said to be ruled by synarchy.
This is what also happens in Iran today where the Mullahs truly rule the country from behind the political stage; and in Russia where the ruler is publicly visible and truly influential though he has been put in place by a council of wise men; and in some other countries such as China, though there the system is slightly different and seems to undergo a positive evolutionary phase.

This way of governing is more easily tolerated by other states as long as it is not officially named communism and as long as leaders who practice it fiercely deny it so.
Is Cuba going to adopt such system in the future is a likely hypothesis, in my own opinion, since it constitutes a more suitable, not to say obvious, way to attract foreign investments and to gain a foot, through private investments, in truly democratic countries.
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Old 07-31-2007   #11
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SSI, 30 Jul 07: Security Requirements for Post-Transition Cuba
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This monograph serves multiple purposes, the most important of which is to contribute to the thought process of dealing with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias of Cuba (FAR). Change is inevitable in Cuba. Both Fidel Castro and his brother Raul are aging. Their passing will trigger either a succession or a transition. With that change, Cuba’s security requirements will change as well. This monograph analyzes security requirements that the new Cuba will face and proposes what missions and structure the Cuban security forces might have after a transition. The overall long-range U.S. goal is a stable, democratic Cuba which is integrated into the global market economy. The U.S. Government Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba says that if a Cuban government asks for assistance, the United States could be made available “in preparing the Cuban military forces to adjust to an appropriate role in a democracy.”

The Cuban military will have to change with the times, altering its focus from the territorial defense of Cuba and internal security to missions that are consonant with modern circum-Caribbean militaries: control of air- and sea-space against transnational criminals. The military will need a new structure for these missions, less focused on insurgency in defense of the island and more focused on a common operating picture and integration with the efforts of Cuba’s neighbors.

This monograph proposes a way ahead in preparing Cuban forces for the future, integrating them into the Western Hemisphere community of militaries, and ensuring their support for democracy, subordination to elected officials, and respect for human rights. It also suggests constructive engagement of the Cuban military with the international community. This change is inevitable, and can be relatively painless or long and difficult. Both the Cuban military and the international community have to decide which way they want it to be....
Full 39 page paper at the link.
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Old 09-13-2007   #12
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Military Review, Sep-Oct 07: Cuba After Fidel: What Future for US-Cuban Relations?
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....What should the U.S. response be to a Fidel-less Cuba? Will the immediate change in leadership further normalization of relations and an end to the embargo? Will the U.S. continue its long-standing policy of indirect subversion and sabotage? Or will Fidel’s death and the transition to another leader provide the opportune climate for direct U.S. military intervention? Will the Cuban dissidents on and off the island be able to rally the Cuban people to overthrow a successor government? Should the United States have a role, either direct or indirect, in regime change in Cuba? Would an active U.S. role promote democracy in Cuba and the region? And what would be the immediate and long-term impact of U.S.-sponsored regime change on hemispheric cooperation and security?

How U.S. policymakers respond to these difficult questions will be critical to Cuba’s political and economic development and to a renewal of U.S. credibility in Latin America. But before we begin to consider what the appropriate U.S. security framework for a new Cuba policy should be, we must first put the current U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America into context.....
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Old 09-16-2007   #13
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I'm not at all impressed by the article Cuba After Fidel: What Future for US-Cuban Relations? - I think it falls into what I call the "soft headed, delusional approach to a currently failed state".

For example, they take what I feel are the "glittering generalities" about Cuba, don't look behind the curtain at all to see how things are really working out (the devil being in the details, as we have learned in Iraq), and then drawing all the appropriate soft headed conclusions.

For example, just shook my head over the talk about the Cuban financial miracle. First comment is that the article statements about the “successful tourism sector” is really substantially nonsense, considering that of all the tourism growth occurring in the region (which has experienced a vast expansion virtually everywhere), only a small portion of it has gone to Cuba, and most importantly, not what would be considered to be the “high end” market. Looks like this study gauged “success” by comparing tourism in Cuba to complete total tourism stagnation (say, something like “tourism in Somalia”, or maybe Cali, Columbia during the drug wars).

Secondly, I was amazed for such an article how little attention/knowledge they spent paying attention to individuals like Raul Castro. Raul Castro has a much different style of leadership than his brother, which has quickly become apparent over the last 1-2 years.

Raul reportedly has spent a great deal of effort building a cadre of individuals who would probably be identified as being both “mid level managers” and “upper level managers” in private enterprise, although in Cuba they are part of the military. There have been a number of favorable reports regarding business-to-business contacts with different of these individuals. Impressive.

With Fidel Castro’s recent serious illnesses, Raul Castro has shown some tantalizing hints of potential changes to come post Fidel. Just as a point, there are a number of very hard headed US business types who have a much more favorable impression of Cuba under Raul Castro's guidance than they have of Cuba currently under Fidel Castro's leadership. That talks loudly to me. But who know what, if anything will come of this all.

I would hope that when Fidel passes, the first act by this administration would to be to immediately lift Helms-Burton. No longer needed. And then just sit back for at least 6 months and do nothing (either way). The global marketplace will tell us what steps are required next, if any - but you have got to give it some time.

Of all the options presented in the article, I tend to think it will be Option 2 that will come into effect (Limited Engagement, or the “Miracle of the Marketplace”).

Just as an outsider observation, this article reads like it comes from some fuzzy thinking "think tank" funded with megabucks by some government agency, and they went out and got all the glittering generalities they could find, vacumned up a whole bunch of facts and then sorted out the ones needed to support their conclusions, and ended up with "And It's Away We Go" type of article.

Guys, the business community has a much different, and much more hard headed outlook. There's big time money being planned for capital development in different world markets (all the time), and those folks want insights. Cuba (post Fidel) these days is on that radar screen.
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Old 09-18-2007   #14
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The Mob found rich pickings in Cuba and though tourism alone certainly would not pull Cuba out of its economic cesspool, it certainly would help. The beaches and climate are nice, so they say. A few big casino hotels could pump alot of money into the central government and provide high paying jobs for some locals and relationships between the average Cuban and American would improve. Since I am not a gambler or cigar smoker, I'll let others more wise draw the final conclusions.
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Old 09-18-2007   #15
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Quote:
The Mob found rich pickings in Cuba and though tourism alone certainly would not pull Cuba out of its economic cesspool, it certainly would help. The beaches and climate are nice, so they say. A few big casino hotels could pump alot of money into the central government and provide high paying jobs for some locals and relationships between the average Cuban and American would improve. Since I am not a gambler or cigar smoker, I'll let others more wise draw the final conclusions.
The biggest problem with the entire tourism area of the economy in Cuba are those nagging issues of uneven government interference with the tourism operations (new government edicts which contradict the previous government edicts issued 6-9 months ago, which "revised" the government edicts issued 9 months earlier, etc., etc.). If you've just placed a bet for $100-$200 mil on tourism in Cuba, and now you are getting jacked around by the government, you are NOT HAPPY!

Honestly, another issue is that Cuba has in many ways (at least in the tourism business) also turned into a thriving underground sex business - at least that's the perception out there. Personally, I could care less about the morality issue at play, but getting that type of reputation (even if completely undeserved) just kills Cuba's chances at developing the high end tourist marketplace. Low rent district, and that's hell to change.

As for tobacco, some of their neighbors have really eaten into their marketplace.

Amazingly enough, there's two issues that play to economic development which could come to the forefront for Cuba in a post-Fidel environment.

First is sugar cane - guess what, it's far easier and much more efficient to convert sugar production into Ethanol than corn. Something to think about.

Second, and this is the big one (government, academia, and the politicians seem to all be blind to it), is that Cuba has the one thing that everybody wants in the real estate market - Location, Location, Location. Havana to Miami-Dade distance-wise is close to the same distance as New York-Washington D.C. (about 230 miles to 200 miles).

Miami-Dade in the 1960's and 1970's played second fiddle to both New Orleans and Atlanta. Not these days - Miami-Dade has developed to be a thriving international gateway, and major world class fiscal/trading center.

Cuba (literally, the entire island) would be the perfect location for an "outer collar" for Miami-Dade, with major container ports, feeder for Miami-Dade (think of using Gitmo as both a military/civilian feeder airport into both Miami-Dade International and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson).

But the above is all a pipe dream until we go post-Fidel. Nobody is going to kick in the types of megabucks required until Fidel is off the scene. Business does not "do" political ideology well - and that's Fidel's environment.

Just a few thoughts....

Last edited by Watcher In The Middle; 09-18-2007 at 01:33 PM. Reason: Screwed up my distances (NY to DeeCee)
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Old 09-18-2007   #16
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I hadn't considered the ethanol/biodiesel aspect - seems somewhere South biodiesel is really booming - Brazil? Regarding casinos, it seems really a matter of percentages being put on paper with accountants from both sides insuring contractual harmony. Again a small percentage of the potential GNP but the image issue can be countered with non-casino type resorts, family type places. An 'accidental' overdose for el-Commandante and it's off to Cuban Capitalism for sure and Cuba as a financial "outer collar" is viable. With Fidel in the grave, the Cuban-Americans lose 75% of their clout.
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Old 09-19-2007   #17
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I hadn't considered the ethanol/biodiesel aspect - seems somewhere South biodiesel is really booming - Brazil?
Yes, it is Brazil. But that's just a small part of a bigger story. The whole "Politics of Sugar", in particular in Florida, are going to face radical change once Fidel goes off the scene. Here's a link to the background at opensecrets.org (btw, both political parties are dirty as sin on this one).

Link

Quote:
An 'accidental' overdose for el-Commandante and it's off to Cuban Capitalism for sure and Cuba as a financial "outer collar" is viable. With Fidel in the grave, the Cuban-Americans lose 75% of their clout.
The funny thing is that the new economics are being held at bay by this really weird symbiotic adversarial relationship (more of a shouting match, actually) of Castro vrs. the Cuban-Americans. Remove one group from the scene, and in all likelihood the other side will just be lost without their old adversary.

The funnest part of the whole deal is that if this comes down where Cuba becomes an economic "Outer Collar" from Miami-Dade, the biggest losers will probably be the Chinese. Right now, Cuba is an open field playpen for them, because there are so few players. But flood the playing field with new players, and the Chinese are ust "wannabes". As is Hugo Chavez.
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Old 10-16-2007   #18
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Default Cuban Immigration Into The US Through Mexico.

Here's the article:

Quote:
For Cubans, a Twisting New Route to the U.S.

By MARC LACEY
Published: October 16, 2007

CORTES, Cuba — Cubans are migrating to the United States in the greatest numbers in over a decade, and for most of them the new way to get north is first to head west — to Mexico — in a convoluted route that avoids the United States Coast Guard.

The island of Isla Mujeres has become a stepping stone to the United States for many Cubans who believe that a route through Mexico boosts their odds of reaching Miami.

American officials say the spike in migration is due to a lack of hope for change on the island, since Raúl Castro took over as president from his brother Fidel last year. Cuban authorities contend the migration is more economic than political, and is fueled by Washington’s policy of rewarding Cubans who enter the United States illegally.

In fact, unlike Mexicans, Central Americans and others heading to the United States’ southwest border, the Cubans do not have to sneak across. They just walk right up to United States authorities at the border, relying on Washington’s so-called wet foot/dry foot policy, which gives Cubans the ability to become permanent residents if they can only reach American soil.
LInk to Article

Interesting article, because it strikes home. Recently had a situation where I was made acutely aware that the greatest growth of illegals coming across the Mexican border are from Eastern Europe, with Poland, Romania, etc. leading the way. There are all sorts of newspaper recruitment ads for illegals who can't get visas (or would have incredible waits) to fly to Mexico, make contact with their "handlers", and cross the US border to get to safe houses where they are then transported to major US cities. Cost is $10k to $15k per person, but beats waiting in line for 10-12 years, if you are lucky enough to win the visa lottery.

Got to hand it to the ordinary Cubans, though. They really got this game wired. They've just figured out a way to beat not only the US Coast Guard, but also the Cuban authorities by using Mexico as a conduit. Fidel really can't beat up on Mexico too much, because Mexico is one of "the locals" - Not like the Great Northern Imperialist.

I'm just sitting back and enjoying the thought of Fidel Castro joining sides with the conservatives out there who want to dramatically tighten US-Mexico border security.

Last edited by Watcher In The Middle; 10-16-2007 at 12:05 AM. Reason: Edited incorrect .url
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Old 02-19-2008   #19
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Default A Post Castro Cuba?

Not my AO aside from living in Florida for a few years. I wonder what the future brings for Cuba itself and the US policy toward Cuba


Quote:

Top Story Fidel Castro: Still a hero for many

BUENOS AIRES — While the 81-year-old Fidel Castro announced Tuesday he would not seek reelection as Cuba's president — officially ending nearly five decades in power — the Cuban leader remains a hero for a political class that in many cases came of age during the tumultuous years of Cold War intrigue.

Even if few defend the totalitarian, old-line communist bent of his government — and many criticize him as a dictator — Castro still wins praise around the region for championing social justice and national pride and sovereignty.

Many of South America's heads of state started their political careers as activists denouncing military dictatorships intent on stamping out Cuba-style communism in the hemisphere.
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Old 02-19-2008   #20
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Interesting list of candidates beyond Raul

Quote:
Raul Castro not the only possible successor

BY PABLO BACHELET
pbachelet@MiamiHerald.com


Fidel Castro stepping down after nearly 50 years Cuban leader Fidel Castro has long referred to his brother Raúl as his designated successor and ''temporarily'' ceded power to the defense minister when he got sick in 2006. But there are others considered possible candidates to succeed Castro:

RAUL CASTRO, 76

Fidel Castro's younger brother and most likely heir is widely seen as a hard-liner and master organizer who forged Cuba's military first into one of the world's best fighting machines and later into the island's main economic engine.

Cuba's long-serving defense minister again showed his leadership when the ailing Castro ''temporarily'' ceded power to him in July 2006, successfully steering the nation through the potentially risky hand-over and adopting a handful of changes designed to ease the island's many economic woes.
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