Not much of a 'feliz Navidad' in Cuba again
Raúl Castro went on TV recently to remind the world that change is not coming to Cuba any time soon.
My friend Mike Gonzalez brought this to our attention:
And on Friday, Castro took to the airwaves again, this time wearing the uniform of general, to make demands: "During this year we have not advanced to resolve the issues that are essential if Cuba is to have normal relations with the United States."
Among the demands are ending U.S. broadcasts to Cuba (the only break in the Communist news monopoly in Cuba) ending the trade embargo, and the handover of the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay to the Castros.
In an interview with Yahoo News, Obama last week eerily left open the possibility that this might happen. "There's no doubt they'd love to have Guantánamo back," Obama said. "And I suspect that will be a long, diplomatic discussion that will outlast my administration."
Then again, he also seriously misjudged Castro, saying, "I do see in him a big streak of pragmatism. In that sense, I don't think he is an ideologue."
Not an ideologue? I guess he is not an ideologue. He just wants the U.S. to make all the concessions.
He wants to be compensated for the embargo, the return of Guantánamo, the cancelation of Radio/TV Marti broadcasts to the island, and then he wants U.S. tourists to flood the island with dollars so that he can put more money in the family business (Castro Inc).
It's quite a family business (or racket), as Heather McDonald explained:
There is a price that the Cuban regime will exact from American companies to do business there if U.S.-Cuba relations are fully normalized, a price that likely won't benefit the country's lower classes, but will instead line the pockets of Castro & Co., experts on Cuba warn.
Because of its tight grip, the Castro regime has kept Cuba's GDP hamstrung. It's economy is now at a tiny $72.3 billion, less than half that of the state of Iowa, notes Richard J. Peterson, senior director at S&P Capital IQ. In fact, the average worker earns less than $25 a month.
Cuba is in crisis, it needs a bailout. Its crony communism has failed, it is steeped in debt, and its money is running low.
A year after the change, and Castro has Cuba stuck in the same hole. The bad news is that he is dealing with a president who may just give him anything he wants! Or everything that he needs to keep the family running everything, from the prisons to the media to the hotels.
And Raúl Castro will keep asking. He's got 13 months to get what ten U.S. presidents, from Eisenhower to Bush 43, didn't give him.
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