Jobs in Cuba rather than one of our inner cities?
The Obama administration has approved an investment in Cuba, as reported by AP:
The Obama administration has approved the first U.S. factory in Cuba in more than half a century, allowing a two-man company from Alabama to build a plant assembling as many as 1,000 small tractors a year for sale to private farmers in Cuba.
The plant will immediately create 30 jobs and hopes to have as many as 300 people working.
There are several problems with this investment:
1) Is it legal? Capitol Hill Cubans does not think so:
The Obama Administration has given a special license to a small U.S. company to enter into a venture with the Cuban military to manufacture tractors at the Mariel economic zone.
Not only is this in direct violation of the language, intent and purpose of U.S. law -- as codified by Congress -- but it contravenes the Obama Administration's own regulations issued on January 26, 2016.
Those regulations specifically stated that:
"A general policy of denial will still apply to exports and reexports of items for use by state-owned enterprises, agencies, or other organizations of the Cuban government that primarily generate revenue for the state, including those in the tourism industry and those engaged in the extraction or production of minerals or other raw materials. Additionally, applications to export or reexport items destined to the Cuban military, police, intelligence and security services remain subject to a general policy of denial."
Yet, this license authorizes the tractor company to invest and conduct export transactions with the Cuban military, through one of its shadow companies, Almacenes Universales, S.A., which owns the Mariel economic zone.
That is illegal -- plain and simple. It also highlights the insincerity of the Obama Administration.
2) The business plan calls for Cubans in the U.S. to finance tractors for their relatives in Cuba. What? Cubans in the U.S. are going to invest in tractors in Cuba? Sorry, but that does not make sense. I hope they have a Plan B!
3) Does it make sense when U.S. inner cities are desperately looking for jobs? Why not revive Jack Kemp's idea of enterprise zones and tell the Alabama company to make the tractors in a U.S. city? Where is the Congressional Black Caucus when we really need it?
Last, and not least, will this new plan hire Cubans directly, or will it rent them from the Cuban regime? This is what happens in other joint ventures. Raúl gets the dollars, and Cubans get worthless pesos.
Am I the only one who thinks Castro continues to get the best of this deal? Raúl gets jobs, and we get high black youth unemployment in our inner cities!