(Bloomberg) – A group of 44 former high-ranking U.S diplomats, civil servants, military officers and Cuban-American businessmen is calling on President Barack Obama to further loosen a half-century embargo on the Communist regime in Cuba.
In an open letter sent to Obama, the group, which includes former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, former head of the U.S. Southern Command Admiral James Stavridis and Andres Fanjul, co-owner of sugarcane producer Fanjul Corp., called on Obama to expand the roster of groups allowed to organize travel to the island, authorize import and export licenses between the two countries’ private sectors and encourage the expansion of telecommunications in Cuba by permitting the sale of hardware.
“The U.S. is finding itself increasingly isolated internationally in its Cuba policy,” the group said in the letter. “The Obama administration has an unprecedented opportunity to usher in significant progress using its executive authority at a time when public opinion on Cuba policy has shifted toward greater engagement with the Cuban people while continuing to pressure the Cuban government on human rights.”
I think that someone should put this myth to bed once and for all.
There is no US embargo on Cuba.
Did everyone get that?
Let me say it again.
THERE. IS. NO. U.S. EMBARGO. ON. CUBA.
I can prove that easily.
Go here and read the dollar value of direct U.S. sales to Cuba. In the last ten years (2004 through 2013) U.S. direct exports to Cuba have exceeded $4.35 billion dollars.
The U.S. is one of Cuba’s top ten trading partners. Hard feat to accomplish with an embargo in place, wouldn’t you say?
Here’s an insight from the U.S. Department of State:
Although economic sanctions are in place, in 2012, the United States was Cuba’s primary supplier of food and agricultural products, and humanitarian goods, a significant supplier of medicines and medical products, and Cuba’s seventh overall largest trading partner in goods.
So then, what embargo are Negroponte, Stavridis and Fanjul talking about?
What ‘sanctions” is the Department of State talking about?
What politicians and business tycoons alike, along with the despots in charge in the island itself are arguing for is the lifting of the trade credit terms imposed on Castro’s Cuba which deny credit terms to the Cuban government, and forces them to pay COD for any goods they wish to buy lest the seller wishes to absorb any losses related to non-payment of the goods.
From Capitol Hill Cubans, June 2011:
The Paris Club, a group composed of the world’s 19 largest creditors nations, has released its annual list of outstanding claims (debtors).
Its largest debtor is Indonesia, which owes $40.679 billion.
Second is China, which owes $30.573 billion.
Castro’s Cuba has the third largest debt of $30.471 billion.
Calculated on a per capita basis — that’s a debt of $23 per Chinese national, $177 per Indonesian and $2,650 per Cuban.
Debt for repression — that’s quite a bargain Castro has made for himself, at the cost of the Cuban people.
In a country were a cardiologist earns less than $150 a month, the debt per citizen is $2,650.
So, again… what is it that Negroponte, Stavridis and Fanjul are asking for?
They want the U.S. government to allow Cuba and U.S. industry access to the securities granted by the U.S. Export-Import Bank on credit sales to foreign countries.
Castro’s Cuba is a notoriously bad credit risk.
The island owes billions to the Russian government but refuses to pay them because they say that the country that they owe money to (the U.S.S.R.) no longer exists. They refuse to be members of any international financial body such as the IMF or the World Bank, and will not disclose information about their international reserves to creditors.
They just want us to send them stuff that they may pay for someday.
Should the Negropontes. Stavridis and Fanjuls of thie nation get their way, they will be able to sell boundless good and services to the Cuban government on credit, with their receivables being guaranteed by the U.S. taxpayer.
Did you get that?
U.S. taxpayers would guarantee all debts incurred by one of the worst credit risk nations in the world for goods and services sold to them by U.S. companies.
The ExIm Bank:
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the United States. Ex-Im Bank’s mission is to assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets.
Ex-Im Bank enables U.S. companies — large and small — to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create U.S. jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy.
Ex-Im Bank does not compete with private sector lenders but provides export financing products that fill gaps in trade financing. We assume credit and country risks that the private sector is unable or unwilling to accept. We also help to level the playing field for U.S. exporters by matching the financing that other governments provide to their exporters.
In return for the taxpayers covering the Cuban government’s debt risk, U.S. manufacturers get to negotiate with the Castro government for labor should they decide to build manufacturing facilities in the island.
How does that work?
(HAVANA TIMES) — Ana Teresa Igarza, director general of the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM) Regulations Office, recently announced that a special hard-currency exchange rate had been established for Zone employees.
Contracted employees will receive 80 percent of the salaries agreed to by Cuban employment agencies and investors, and payments are to be made in regular Cuban pesos (CUP), at a “special” exchange rate of 1 Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) to 10 CUP. This is as “special” as the Special Period.
That is to say, if the employment agency negotiates a 1,000 CUC salary (or its equivalent in US dollars) for a Cuban worker, the agency will pocket the 1,000 CUC (or its equivalent in US dollars) and pay the Cuban worker (in CUP) 80 percent of the sum agreed to, at the special exchange rate of 10 CUP to 1 CUC.
If mathematics hasn’t also been deformed by “State socialism”, this means the worker will receive 10 Cuban pesos for each CUC, which means that their salary would be 8,000 CUP (10 x 800).
When that worker comes out of the ZEDM, in order to purchase anything at the hard-currency stores operated by Cuba’s military monopoly, they will have to resort to government exchange locales (or CADECAS), where they are required to buy CUC at an exchange rate of 25 to 1. Thus, their 8,000 Cuban pesos become 320 CUC
In short, Cuba sells her people as laborers and keeps the lion’s share of the wages.
That’s the country of my birth, but what truly concerns me about the idea of trade with a despotic government like Cuba’s, is that it indirectly soils us as a nation.
It is unconscionable to think that the United States would allow American businesses to engage in what constitutes short-hand rightless serfdom.
It is an inexcusable proposition that would make the U.S. taxpayer liable for the bad debts incurred by one of the world’s worst credit risk nations.
And that’s the last wire for May 21, 2014.
What was news before this moment, is now history.