Friday, July 25, 2014

From Cyberspace to Moringa

From Cyberspace to Moringa / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar
Posted on July 25, 2014

The signing of 29 documents between the government of Cuba and various
official and business interests from the People's Republic of China on
the occasion of Xi Jinping's visit to the island has awakened great
expectations among Cubans. One of the most striking things was the
television news broadcast of the signing ceremony for the documents,
which could be seen along with all of the boring protocol details. A
parade of ministers and businessmen passed in front of the table placed
in the hall the Council of State, and in the background an enormous
stained-glass titled The Sun of our America stood under the watchful
eyes of the presidents of both countries.

While the television-announcer-turned-master-of-ceremonies was revealing
the nature of the initialed documents and saying the names and titles of
the signatories, it was difficult to take in what was really happening.
What is the difference, many wondered, between a memorandum of
understanding, an exchange of letters, a framework accord, a cooperation
agreement, a commercial contract, and a funding agreement? How could one
discern the hierarchy that distinguishes an exchange agreement from an
executive program? What is the basic difference between a framework
agreement and a memorandum of cooperation?

What everyone did understand was that the Asian giant granted credits
and made donations and investments in very sensitive areas. Examples of
these are cyberspace, communications, digital television, improvements
in the port of Santiago de Cuba, the supply of raw materials for the
production of nickel, oil drilling, and the construction of a building
complex associated with a golf course.

The rest, not wanting to overstate their importance, is filled with
Chinese water meters, young Chinese learning Spanish in Cuba, packaging
lines, office supplies, and transportation.

With regard to what was missing, at least among the 29 documents,
nothing was heard about an increase in tourism, nor was there a single
word about the Port of Mariel megaproject, and there was nothing about
free-trade agreements such as those between China and other Latin
American countries.

By chance—or benevolence—the number 13, a number so significant to the
former Cuban president, appeared at the top of the Framework Agreement
on the Establishment of the Agricultural Demonstration Farm, signed by
the ministers of agriculture of both countries, which had among its
objectives "cooperation on the science and technology of moringa,
mulberry and silk worms." What it said, a mere detail, passed unnoticed.

Source: From Cyberspace to Moringa / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar |
Translating Cuba -

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