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)