Thursday, February 20, 2014

With the Port of Mariel, Cuba Reassesses its Geographical Position

With the Port of Mariel, Cuba Reassesses its Geographical Position /
Miriam Leiva
Posted on February 20, 2014

HAVANA, Cuba , January – The position of the Port of
Mariel has revalued the geographical importance of Cuba, lost with the
end of the Cold War. The soldiers who for 46 years were the support of
the government, when they began to direct everything in mid-2006 they
found a country undercapitalized, productively and humanly.

General Raul Castro has moved the troops towards economic ends to
confront the disaster that can not be overcome, despite his
straitjacketed reforms that don't encourage hard work and creativity to
supply imports and increase exports.

As his travels through the friendly countries failed to achieve a
financial injection for core investments and the replacement for the
possible reduction or loss of petrodollars from Venezuela, he seems to
have taken advantage of the changes in the XXI century, to preserve the
fifty-year revolution, the "unity in diversity" of CELAC, beyond
militant ALBA.

The transit of senior officers of the Armed Forces to create civilian
businesses in innovative sectors began in the late 1980s and,
especially, with the debacle of the "Special Period in Peacetime" and
the loss of subsidies from the Soviet Union and other countries of real

In the early '90s, Fidel Castro authorized the company Gaviota to engage
in tourism, the TRDs or stores for the recovery of hard currency, and
Raul Castro sought the implementation of the successful business system
in the Revolutionary Armed Forces, but passing into the civilian sector
without the conditions of organizational control military did not give
the same results. From here much of the current entrepreneurs emerged.

The Port of Mariel is the only great monument built by the Revolution
and will remain as a legacy of Raul Castro. Companies of the Ministry of
the Armed Forces appear to have met the schedule and built a quality
container terminal , inaugurated by the president and his Brazilian
counterpart Dilma Rousseff last January 27.

Upon completion of all the works, perhaps it will join the seven wonders
of Cuban engineering, like the Albear aqueduct, from the nineteenth
century, still in use. Furthermore, the Special Development Zone boost
the national economy. Stark contrast to the legacy of destruction across
the country, critically wrought over previous decades.

Undoubtedly, President Jose Inacio Lula da Silva and his successor, Mrs.
Rousseff, calculated well the positioning in an economically asphyxiated
Cuba. The Brazilians arrived in a big way to "help confront the northern
neighbor," to open American trade and tourism. The companies of the
competitive Yankees advance with the best technology in the world.

Of course, it also entered the current priority calculations: Super
Post-Panamax vessels, the Panama Canal expansion. In the Cuban press
reports it was noted that the top leaders of the works are executives of
the Brazilian company Odebrecht — the principal in the project — and
Raul Castro said the administration of the container terminal will be in
charge of one of the largest port operators in the world. Lamentable
guarantee that inexperienced Cubans will not hard the adequate functioning.

As a prelude to the opening, the advantages of foreign investment in the
Mariel Special Development Zone have been divulged. Russian, Chinese,
German, British, French, Italian and Brazilian companies of course are
mentioned as interested. The approach of the Mexican president could
follow the same course. However, investors need guarantees that the old
law doesn't offer. Hence a new version has been promised.

As the project only benefits those who desire to hide their problems and
arbitrariness, a greatly cultivated style in Cuba for decades, the
presence of more European Union countries and the United States could be
advantageous to the competence of the best economic opportunities, most
advanced technologies, training, sources of jobs and less dependence.

Cubanet, 31 January 2014, Miriam Leiva

Source: With the Port of Mariel, Cuba Reassesses its Geographical
Position / Miriam Leiva | Translating Cuba -

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