Sunday, January 29, 2017

Is Cuba Heading Towards Virtual Annexation to the US?

Is Cuba Heading Towards Virtual Annexation to the US? / 14ymedio, Pedro

14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 28 January 2017 — Guided by the current
political-military leadership, the Cuban economy could be heading
"without pause, but without haste*" towards virtual annexation to the
United States.

There would be no Platt Amendment, nor Marines landing on any Cuban
beach, no any formal agreement or formal treaty that would make Cuba an
associated state or one more star on the US flag, but everything
suggests that, sooner rather than later, capital from the United States
will disembark big time on the island and consume our trade.

The United States will be turned into our number one trading partner,
the biggest source of tourism to Cuba, as well as the number one foreign
investor, hotel towers will flourish on the beaches and keys of the
Cuban paradise along with golf courses and low-wage factories making
consumer goods, cars, buses and equipment for construction, agriculture
and light industry.

No, it's not a play on words. It's a real possibility. The explanation
is quite simple: the Cuban state economy is in crisis, the state owns
the land and the beaches and has no interest in disposing of them for
Cubans to exploit, be it private, cooperatives or emigrants, but they
have all the delight of sharing them with foreign capital, especially
American, consistent with a simple reading of the "menu of opportunities."

Add to that the geographic and cultural proximity and the expressed
desires of many American businesses: the president of the United States
Chamber of Commerce just left the island.

Realizing an annexation would demand some arrangements between both
governments: the Cuban government should improve its image with respect
to human rights and allow free contracting with labor, although under
the table it would be allowed "to guarantee its interests."

The United States should move clearly to lift the embargo in a way that
there are no obstacles for investment and businesses.

Foreign business interests would not fight the government for political
power, they would only share economic power and Cuba would be widely
penetrated by the great American capital. Possibly the dollar would
circulate as the medium of exchange, remaining economically tied to the
United States like never before, which would imply a kind of virtual

The road has been forged long ago, because the Cuban economy now depends
in great measure on remittances from the United States, on the tourists
from that country and on the trade in food.

The United States is one of the few countries in the world with the
capital to undertake the investments Cuba needs in infrastructure,
construction and services to bring the country up to the standards of
modern economies and to create conditions for housing, mobility,
Internet access and markets to ensure the prosperity of its business.

Until now, the full penetration of US capital has been impossible
because the Cuban government has always conditioned it on the lifting of
the embargo, which could not be fully lifted during the Obama
administration because Republicans opposed giving the Democratic
president the chance to crown his policy towards Cuba with that measure,
with the real justification that Havana violates human rights.

Now there are the conditions for the rapprochement initiated by Obama to
advance in the direction of the lifting of the embargo, because there is
a Republican president characterized as a businessman who was already
exploring the possibility of investing into hotels and golf courses in Cuba.

Trump is a friend and admirer of Putin, the one time friend of Raul
Castro, and there is a congress dominated by Republicans and the Cuban
government is "making noises" because of its recession and already
destroyed economy and the effects caused by the situation in Venezuela
and the reversal of the populist wave in Latin America.

Trump has just named Jason Greenblatt as special representative for
international negotiations, and he is a supporter of the rapprochement
with Cuba, ex-president of the Trump Consortium and its current legal
director. According to specific information, he is the same person who
visited Cuba to explore the possibilities of investing in hotels and
golf courses.

The Mariel Special Development Zone is fully included in the interests
of making the United States Cuba's main trading partner, and it is no
coincidence that with Trump as president a government delegation headed
by Ana Teresa Igarza, the Zone's director general, is visiting the US to
explore the possibilities of entering into contracts with six US ports.

Raul Castro congratulated Trump on his electoral triumph. A Cuban
delegation attended the inauguration. So far, the Cuban government has
not made any negative statements to the new president (and there have
been no lack of reasons to!) in the newspaper Granma or as gossip.

It's a secret to no one that the Trump team was consulted by Obama on
the rescinding of the wet foot/dry foot policy, demanded by the Cuban
government, which could contribute to the effort to "normalize" relations.

If they continue along this path, virtual annexation could be realized
soon. All this contrasts with the broad-based political and economic
projects of the opposition, the socialist dissidence and the different
thinking all of which prioritized the participation of Cubans in the
control of the economy, but instead have been accused by government
extremists of serving the imperialist enemy.

*Translator's note: A phrase commonly used by Raul Castro and others in
relation to the government's implementation of planned changes.

Source: Is Cuba Heading Towards Virtual Annexation to the US? /
14ymedio, Pedro Campos – Translating Cuba -

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