CUBA: THE START OF SOMETHING BIG?

CUBA: THE END OF MISERY?

At the end of 1958/early 1959, after overthrowing Batista a leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro as the new prime minister of Cuba implemented far-reaching reforms by nationalizing factories and plantations in an attempt to end U.S. economic dominance on the island. U.S.-owned refineries in Cuba refused to process oil, so Castro expropriated the refineries. The United States retaliated by cutting Cuba’s import quota on sugar. This began a decades-long contentious relationship between the two countries.
In May 1959, Castro signed the First Agrarian Reform Law, which limited the size of land holdings and forbade foreign property ownership. The intent was to develop a class of independent farmers. In reality, this program led to state land control with the farmers becoming mere government employees. By the end of 1960, Castro’s revolution had become radical, with purges of military leaders and the suppression of any media critical of Castro’s policies.
Castro’s government also began to establish relations with the Soviet Union, much with dismay by the USA. In February 1960, Cuba signed a trade agreement to buy oil from the Soviet Union and established diplomatic relations.
On April 16, Castro formally declared Cuba a socialist state. On May 1, he announced an end to democratic elections in Cuba and denounced American imperialism. Then at year’s end, Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist and announced the Cuban government was adopting communist economic and political policies. On February 7, 1962, the United States imposed a full economic embargo on Cuba, a policy that continues to this day, forty years later.
Hilary Clinton made a point some years ago when she visited Cuba (or spoke to their delegates), that Cuba seemed to be a tightly controlled country; managed by the Castro brothers, Fidel and Raul. These brothers had an ulterior motive; as they control Cuba they control whatever is there in property, in business, in money, and culture.
Then a cargo of weapons moving through the Panama Canal, loaded in Cuba, was intercepted by Panamanian Police, who charged them dealing with the North Koreans by trading, and reconstructing arms. (A breach of UN regulations), pointing out once more the Russian and Communist support.
Then there began a burgeoning relationship with numerous Caribbean neighbours ( CARICOM Association), with the sale of Venezuelan Oil, called Petro-Caribe. Cuba could not maintain payments and sent in turn Cuban doctors for the inadequate medical conditions in Venezuela, and Militia to keep defence and insurgency under control.
“There is a civil society in Venezuela,” said Eugenio Yañez, a Cuban commentator and former academic who lives in Miami. “The Cuban opposition would love to be able to do what they’re doing in Venezuela, but they can’t.”
The greatest concern to Caribbean members (Caricom) is the support of Petro-Caribe, the Sales organization that manages distribution of Oil Supplies to most Caribbean Nations (including Jamaica). Set up by Chavez the oil is sold or distributed under very favourable terms including a discount to the Energy thirsty Caribbean. Should the Opposition in Venezuela come to power it is doubtful that this benefit would continue.
But the strongest Indictments come from Senator Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Miami, whose parents came to Miami from Cuba just the time of the Revolution, 1959. Senator Rubio is a member of the Legislature, and is very influential in the Cuban American Community in Florida. In response to many claims of efficient medical practice, he explains:
“The infant mortality rate is calculated on figures provided by the Government, who are not accurate in their reporting. If an infant lives only a few hours after birth, they are not counted as persons who ever lived. Children having problems in utero, are encouraged to abort, resulting in one of the highest abortion rates in the world. Skilled Doctors in Cuba would rather drive taxis, or work in a hotel, than be a doctor; their preference is to migrate to the USA or wherever the occupation is more lucrative.”
“Students who claim to be educated and are able to read, have no access to blogs, or the New York Times, or the Wall Street Journal, so while it is great to be literate, what’s the point when there is nothing to read?”
When asked about terrorism Rubio responded, ‘’Cuba is a state sponsor of terrorism, and maintains a strong opposition; compromise is not a word in a lexicon of the Cuban Revolution .”
The point being there will be no real compromises as long as Castro(s) live and grow in Cuba. The country’s people may benefit by migration, desertion, and rebellion. No serious change will take place, sin muerte de Fidel Castro.

(Ref: NY Times; var. op-eds)

EMPHASIS ON MONEY LAUNDERING BY FATCA

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

I
In Sunday ‘s Gleaner (January 4, 2015), a leading prosecuting attorney for the Government, once more extolled the problems and issues that face a potential crisis in Money Laundering; which may be applicable to businesses who operate with cash or near-cash transactions.
I say this because any large money transaction in recent times has been settled by a banker’s draft, which is controlled by the bank’s record of source of funds. So the first contrary point I am emphasizing Is that larger transactions, which may be presented to a Cambio in a cheque form, should have been vetted by the issuer, another financial institution, or a bank; which leads us to say, “Why must we do this verification again?” May I also point out that Cambios in Jamaica are considered financial institutions.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), enacted in 2010 as part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, is an important development in U.S. efforts to combat tax evasion by U.S. persons holding investments in offshore accounts.
Under FATCA, certain U.S. taxpayers holding financial assets outside the United States must report those assets to the IRS. In addition, FATCA will require foreign financial institutions to report directly to the IRS certain information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.
FATCA requires certain U.S. taxpayers holding foreign financial assets with an aggregate value exceeding $50,000 to report certain information about those assets on a new form (Form 8938) that must be attached to the taxpayer’s annual tax return. Reporting applies for assets held in taxable years beginning after March 18, 2010. For most taxpayers this will be the 2011 tax return they file during the 2012 tax filing season. Failure to report foreign financial assets on Form 8938 will result in a penalty of $10,000 (and a penalty up to $50,000 for continued failure after IRS notification). Further, underpayments of tax attributable to non-disclosed foreign financial assets will be subject to an additional substantial understatement penalty of 40 percent.

Other intermediaries in the system of reward are the administrators of ‘FATCA’ benefits, including the Governments that apply to the taxpayer.
But the beginning of the problems listed above is not the main difficulty. Any action by a financial task force against a “’Money Merchant”” has no relief in law.
A Financial Institution, which previously enjoyed a confidential relationship with its clients, is open to be publicly accused of these infarctions, before steps may be taken in redress. The law is so structured that it allows search and seizure of all of the Companies assets: Money, goods, work in progress and disbursements to directors, without any judicial permission or waiver, an action in breach of the Constitution of Jamaica.
Many countries have decided to amend or disregard this ordinance, to the extent that that Americans living out of their country prefer to renounce their citizenship, especially Canadians.
Large business interests, like Warren Berger’s ‘’ BURGERKING ‘’ are relocating their businesses to Canada, saving millions of dollars in taxes.
A client of a well known Canadian Bank said despite the complications she has not thought about renouncing her U.S. citizenship. She said she
will exhaust all options before going that route. She does say it’s been increasingly difficult to remain optimistic about the situation. On a last note, She admits “’ To be brutally honest with you, I’m just very tired” she wrote in a recent blog post. “I’m tired of writing letters, tired of explaining and tired of fighting. There is so much about this that I simply cannot change.

I cannot make homeland Americans feel differently about their expatriates. My influence — even as a U.S. voter — is practically nil. I have lost all faith in the U.S. Government . I no longer think it will improve – on the contrary I can think of a hundred ways it could get worse. And I have slowly come to the realization that American citizenship and globalization are an imperfect fit these days. Perhaps it will get better with time but that, it seems to me, is something I can hope for my children’s sake, but not something I am coming to believe that I can realistically expect to have for myself.””
(730 words)
©Ramesh Sujanani
(ref: Isaac Brock Society, Canada)