The Castro regime and business
Last December, many welcomed President Obama's opening to Cuba as an opportunity to bring prosperity to the island. It went something like this: American tourists will spend money in Cuba, and freedom will blossom. The other version went like this: our past approach has not worked, so let's try something new. Another one went like this: Cubans will talk to Americans and demand multi-party elections and a free press.
Sorry, but U.S.-Cuba relations have not worked out as planned or dreamed. There are two big reasons. The first reason is that the Castro regime is not about to relax political control. On the contrary, there has been a rise in repression, and more and more dissidents find it difficult to express themselves. The second reason is that the Castro regime wants to keep control of the cash flow. This is from Fox News Latino:
The Cuban government, Lee said, still clearly “prefers to channel all business opportunities to state-run enterprises."
And why not? The Obama approach has been completely one-sided. The U.S. gives up everything, and Cuba gives nothing. The Castro brothers have concluded that they will ask, and Obama will provide. So far, so good for the dictatorship.
The Cuban government needs these state enterprises under the Castro Inc. holding company. It allows the Castro brothers to get wealthy, it keeps property ownership from the Cuban people, and it turns the island into a Spanish-speaking Vietnam with good baseball players.
Mauricio Tamargo, an attorney, wrote recently about Cuban finances – or, better put, the Castro family finances:
Forbes Magazine used to list both Castro brothers on its list of the top 100 richest people in the world. Forbes later removed the Castro brothers from the “Top 100” after the Cuban government objected, indicating those Swiss bank accounts in both Fidel and Raul’s names are held by the Castro brothers on “behalf of the Cuban people.”
Again, why should the Cuban government want to give up control of the economy? "Fidelismo" has been very good for the family bank accounts, the gang that surrounds and protects the dictator, and all of those state enterprises that collect dollars and pay Cubans in worthless pesos.
The Obama administration moved too fast and never demanded concessions from a cash-starved dictator about to lose his energy subsidy from Venezuela. We had all of the cards and could have done more for the Cuban people. Instead, the Obama team pleased the left-wing college professors in U.S. universities and threw the Cuban people under the bus.
Prosperity coming to Cuba? It won't happen until there is a regime change.