Thursday, November 27, 2014

Why the U.S. Should Not Reward Castros' Cuba

Why the U.S. Should Not Reward Castros' Cuba

Cuba, a small island lying in the Caribbean 90 miles away from Key West,
Florida, is the only Communist country in the Western Hemisphere. It has
been ruled by two brothers, Fidel and Raul Castro since 1959. A strong
lobby by the left and some business companies has been launched in
Washington D.C. for the United States to resume economic and diplomatic
relations with Cuba. The New York Times has published five editorials in
five weeks with such a purpose. However, a number of reasons led us to
think the United States should not reward the Castros' regime with open

* Most fundamental freedoms and rights contained in the U.N. Universal
Declaration of Human Rights have been suspended in Cuba since 1959. All
news media is owned by the government that uses newspapers, magazines,
radio and TV stations and online news sites as propaganda machines,
making the Cuban people one of the most misinformed in the world. Cuban
opposition activists are usually harassed and beaten by civil mobs
organized by Seguridad del Estado (political police), arrested,
prosecuted and sentenced to jail. The Cuban government is still the
country's largest employer and uses such a position to politically
control the population. The Cuban people have not voted in democratic
elections since 1948. Cuba is a failed, police state.

* Cuba's economic freedom score is 28.7, making its economy one of the
world's least free. Its overall score is 0.2 point higher than last
year, with deteriorations in trade freedom, fiscal freedom, monetary
freedom, and freedom from corruption counterbalanced by an improvement
in business freedom. Cuba is ranked least free of 29 countries in the
South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is
significantly lower than the regional average. Cuba's average tariff
rate is 10 percent. The country's planned economy deters foreign trade
and investment. The financial sector remains heavily regulated, and
access to credit for entrepreneurial activity is seriously impeded by
the shallowness of the financial market. The state maintains strict
capital and exchange controls.

* The Castro's regime has a long record of hostility toward private
business. In the summer of 1960, it seized all U.S. companies operating
in the island valued at $1 billion. In March 1968, it confiscated 55,000
small businesses still owned by Cubans.

* In September 2014, Canada's businessman Cy Tokmakjian, 74, was accused
by the Cuban government of crimes against the state, taxation and
bribery. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail and $100 million in his
company's assets were seized. His family say charges are "absurd". He
owns the Ontario-based Tokmakjian Group, a transportation company

* The Cuban government last reported its "active" foreign debt,
accumulated after it declared a default in the late 1980s, as $13.6
billion in 2010. The government no longer reports its "passive" debt
from before the default, which economists estimate at $8 billion. By the
Paris Club's accounting, Cuba owed its members $35.5 billion at the
close of 2012, but more than $20 billion of the debt was in old
transferable Soviet rubles, 90 percent of which Russia had to forgive in
2013, according to Reuters. But according to IndexMundi, Cuba's external
debt was $23.44 billion on December 31, 2013.

* A Cuban factory worker earns 400 pesos a month, about 17 US dollars. A
Cuban doctor earns about 700 pesos, 30 dollars per month. These figures
show that the Cuban people live under the poverty line set by the U.N.

* Even if the Cuban state were business friendly, Capitalism has not
brought democracy and fundamental freedoms to China and other countries.
It is not supposed to help Cubans gain democracy and fundamental
freedoms either.

Source: Why the U.S. Should Not Reward Castros' Cuba -

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