Faria: Opening Trade with Cuba & Letting the US Taxpayers Foot the Bill!

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Much of the recent discussion among both Democrat and Republican members of Congress regarding the need to lift the travel ban and end the U.S. embargo of Cuba has revolved around the possibility of selling millions of dollars in agricultural products to Cuba. These politicians conveniently forget that the Castro brothers are dictators of the old, unreformed Stalinist variety, who have, in fact, devastated and desolated a once beautiful and prosperous island.

Just before the July 4th holiday almost unnoticed by the media, Emily Cadei of Congressional Quarterly wrote an article entitled "Senators Claim to Have Enough Votes to Pass Lifting of Cuba Travel Ban." The legislation is supported by Senators Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) and Michael B. Enzi (R-WY). Dorgan said in a press release "The quickest way to bring democracy to Cuba is through travel and trade." The accompanying House bill, sponsored by Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), in addition to lifting the travel ban would ease restrictions on U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba, essentially ending the embargo that has been in place since 1961.

Opposing the lifting of the travel ban, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) argues that "the legislation being considered . . . would enrich a regime that denies its own people basic human rights." He made it clear that he would oppose and will filibuster any attempt to pass the bill in the Senate. He is supported in the House by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl), the ranking House Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee and a longtime advocate for maintaining the Cuban embargo.

Under the Castro brothers' dictatorship, trading with Cuba's totalitarian, communist system is like prospecting for fool's gold. What no enthusiastic member of Congress is telling the American people is that trading with Cuba, particularly exporting agricultural goods to the communist workers' paradise entails extending loans, in reality subsidies, to the Cuban government that would have to be shouldered by the American taxpayers!

No politician is immune to prospecting for fool's gold. In my own state, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has traveled to Cuba looking for "economic opportunities." In June 2010, he led a delegation to "explore trading opportunities with Cuba." Governor Perdue, a Republican, said "he hoped the two countries would improve relations very soon so they can join the hearts of our people in what would be the best outcome for both nations."

So what are these American politicians expecting to get by lifting the Cuban embargo? Agricultural exports into a trade vacuum from which there are no returns. Cuba has no hard cash, so that again, it would be the American taxpayers who will be saddled with additional debt, a national debt that is now over $13 trillion!

Since at least 2002, Cuba has defaulted on all of its international loans and the communist nation is bankrupt. (Yet back in 1997, Forbes magazine reported that Fidel Castro had amassed a fortune of $1.4 billion.) The Castro brothers owe the Paris Club of European bankers $12 billion; Spain, $9 billion; and another $10 billion is owed to Argentina, Great Britain, Japan, Canada and other nations foolish enough to place their citizens' monies in the iron grip of the tyrants. Ditto for Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, and other friends of communist Cuba. The Castro brothers have not paid them either for oil, produce, and other commodities received over the years. And since 2002, these unpaid loans have astronomically escalated, so that these countries now expect no repayment.

For those who say the embargo is a failure and that trade is the best way to open up Cuba. The reality is that Cuba, despite its Caribbean rhythms, remains a tragic island, where everything and every citizen are state-controlled. When it comes to the Cuban police state, laissez faire economics and rational trading policies are of no use because the Invisible Hand of Adam Smith's free market is shackled by the dictatorship.

And yet in Cuba, foreign tourists (but not ordinary Cubans) can find any item and luxury commodity that they want in the diplotiendas, where foreign goods are available for dollars or Euros. How did these items get there? Because the Castro brothers are able to trade and have been trading with any country in the world foolish enough to trade on loans, except, so far, with the U.S. And yet, the U.S. embargo is porous.

In 2001 under George W. Bush and again in 2010 under the Obama administration, Congress has very gradually eased the embargo, and the U.S. now allows American firms to send food and medicine to Cuba. The communist dictatorship, which has been turning more and more fascist in the last ten years, has in fact, already received repeated shipments of food from the U.S.

All that remains of any substance, as far as the embargo is concerned, is that until now, the U.S. Congress wisely has not allowed U.S. taxpayers to finance the loans that would be made to the dictators. Were we to completely lift the embargo, it would be, once again, the U.S. taxpayers, who will be subsidizing the necessary loans made to the communist nation. The dictatorship will default again, and the U.S. taxpayers will be left holding the proverbial empty bag of worthless IOUs!

As far as an investment risk, in 2002 Cuba was listed as183rd on a list of 187 places (just above Somalia) in a European investment survey for investment opportunity! What are our politicians thinking --- still prospecting for fool's gold?

Worth repeating: Yes, when the Cuban government defaults on its new U.S. loans, courtesy of the politicians in the U.S. Congress or in state governors' mansions, just as it has done on all other loans, the American taxpayers will be left holding the empty bag, shouldering Castro's debts, just like the Canadians, the Spaniards, the Russians, the Argentineans, the British, and the taxpayers of all those nation, whose leaders were foolish enough to lend money to the communist regime.

Suffice to say, as long as the communist Castro brothers remain in power, there's no chance of opening up the Stalinist dictatorship to free trade or to political or economic freedom, as many Cuban apologists claim.

The U.S. embargo has not been a complete failure. Not only has it been a moral statement, but it has also been a tool, the only tool America has had, or that it has been willing to use consistently against the Castro brothers. The U.S. embargo has forced the dictators time and again to divert funds away from their repressive policies at home and from subversive activities in Latin America in conjunction with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

The embargo, for example, has forced the Castro brothers to legalize the dollar and then the Euro; allow Cubans to use their old jalopies as private taxicabs; allow small family restaurants to open; and permit campesinos to sell small amounts of their surplus produce. Even some diplotiendas are now allowing ordinary Cubans with dollars or Euros to purchase goods in their stores.

Lifting of the embargo will only saddle the U.S. taxpayers with more debt that will soon follow the defaulted loans made to the Cuban dictators; will permit Raul Castro to resume his repressive tactics in Cuba and his subversion elsewhere in Latin America totally unimpeded; and allow the entrenched communists to remain in power once the Castro brothers die of old age or excesses.

When should the U.S. end the embargo and restore normal relations with Cuba? It would be appropriate to do so when the Castro brothers step down and permit free and fair elections to take place, restoring constitutional governance to the Caribbean island; allow free speech and a free press; restore individual liberty, freedom of worship, and private property rights; free all political prisoners; and have the cash or credit to pay for goods as other civilized nations do!


Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D. is Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.) Mercer University School of Medicine, Former member Editorial Board of Surgical Neurology (2004-2010), Recipient of the Americanism Medal from the Nathaniel Macon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) 1998, Ex member of the Injury Research Grant Review Committee (now the Initial Review Group (IRG)) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2002-05, Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Sentinel (1996-2002), Editor Emeritus, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) Author, Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995); Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997); and Cuba in Revolution: Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002).

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Opening Trade with Cuba & Letting the US Taxpayers Foot the Bill! Hacienda Publishing. July 8, 2010.  Available from: http://www.haciendapub.com/articles/faria-opening-trade-cuba-letting-us-...

This article first appear in Newsmax.com on GOPUSA and Hcienda Publishing on July 8, 2010. It seems appropiate to republish it at this time given the Barack Obama- Raul Castro rapproachment in U.S.- Cuba relations.

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Comments on this post

Visiting Cuba

In response to the syndicated liberal McClatchy newspapers opinion column also printed in the Macon Telegraph July 9, 2016: “Is Cuba on your bucket list? 7 things to know if you want to go now—Visiting before it’s ‘American-ized,’ as it’s likely to be soon, has pros and cons”

John Smith (Centre Daily Times 7/9/16): Nobody in their right mind would take their family to Cuba. The fact that Obama would grace their land considering how their government has treated their people is a testament to his failed global social agenda.

Let's focus on the USA shall we?

Exactly correct, John! — MAF

Death by socialism!

The Death of a Nation by Richard Fernandez, PJ Media, April 28, 2016

To Chavez's many dubious achievements Venezuela’s President Maduro added more. Today there is only enough power to work 2 days a week.  For the rest of the week, people are confined to their unlighted homes when they are not wandering the streets in search of food to buy.  "We can't go on living like this," a resident told CNN.

The food in the fridge is spoiling. The microwave oven sits unused. The television is dark and the stereo system silent. It's sweaty and uncomfortable inside, thanks to government-imposed electricity blackouts meant to deal with chronic power shortages across the country.

Even getting running water is a problem. There isn't even enough money to print debased money.  Venezuela's fantastic inflation, slated to run between 600 -700 % this year requires bales of currency.  "Venezuela is scrambling to print new bills fast enough to keep up with the torrid pace of price increases ... and with hard currency reserves sinking to critically low levels, the central bank is doling out payments so slowly to foreign providers that they are foregoing further business. Venezuela, in other words, is now so broke that it may not have enough money to pay for its money.”

Colonel Avery Chenoweth: “In summary, Venezuela is a failed state.  The Socialists have robbed the country so thoroughly, that people are literally wandering the streets in search of food with electricity turned on only a couple days per week, and the government is so poor it can’t even afford to print more money -  it had printed so much money it took a wheelbarrow full to buy dinner... The great Socialist Hugo Chavez is now dead but his daughter is supposedly worth $4 Billion...”

Cuban Lovefest

The young are so ignorant today. They know nothing of the horrors of communism or they believe we are somehow are just as bad as the enemy. Their delusion knows no limit.

The US does not need Communist Cuban trade, so why exactly are there people immediately agreeing with Obama?
Is it because they always agree with Obama?
Is it because they want to see our trade help the poor, backward government of this communist country?
Is it because they wish to help financially a country that routinely tortures, imprisons, and murders their political foes?
Or is it simply because they want a Cuban cigar badly enough that they do not care?

The people of Cuba need to be free, and helping the government of Cuba continue their control over the people does not seem to me to be a good tactic.
Your points about making a moral statement applies only to a country led by a moral person. I honestly do not believe what we know as morality applies to the red prez.
But we lived through an era when it did. I remember President Reagan's response to communism: "We win. They lose." And he did not mind calling them what they were, an "evil empire."
Yes, the loans will follow, as will the US debt. This is correct, but nowhere have I seen this written or mentioned.
Liberal Guilt will no doubt have the US responsible for the poor state of Cuba, not the communist dictatorship.
And what exactly does the US get for offering so much to Cuba? Do we demand free elections? I have seen nothing to indicate that.
They intelligentsia of the US laughs at Americans who say the red prez is Muslim or a socialist, but his actions certainly do point in that direction. Personally, I do not care what his religion is, but I do not want him pretending that Muslim terrorists are not terrorists or blaming an obscure video for Muslim terrorism.
Nor do I want him to aid and abet communism because he has a soft spot in his heart for communism.
Sorry for my verbosity.
You have made some good points on the moral principal, US loans and debts, and how economic sanctions have worked, but they only apply to a thinking herd instead of adoring masses. What is so obvious to us--and especially you with your background and education--eludes the herd and allows the deception by the radicals in charge.

Cuban hero missing!

Koba and there is more to the story that seems to be alluding all but the Cubans in Miami, and that is that a man who was part of the exchange, instead of being released and put in the plane with Alan Gross, may have been eliminated and sent to oblivion, receiving a shot in the back of the head, Soviet style!

Obama it seems will be ending this travesty of history, with a hero sacrificed, hoodwinked, and with egg on his face!


Normalizing Relations with Cuba!

US, Cuba seek to normalize relations after Alan Gross released, December 17, 2014,FoxNews.com

President Obama announced Wednesday a sea-change policy shift in US relations with Cuba, issuing a series of orders -- including establishing normal diplomatic relations -- meant to end what he called America's “outdated approach” toward the Castro regime.

“In the most significant change in our policy in more than 50 years, we will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead we will begin to normalize relations between the two countries,” Obama during an address from the White House.

Sources say Obama also plans to call on Congress to lift the long-standing embargo on Cuba. Together, the announcements would mark the most significant shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island in decades and effectively end the half-century freeze in relations between the two countries... 

Available from: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/12/17/american-alan-gross-released-...

My response as to opening relations with Cuba was written years ago in the article above, Faria: Opening Trade with Cuba & Letting the US Taxpayers Foot the Bill!

Available from: http://www.haciendapub.com/articles/faria-opening-trade-cuba-letting-us-...

Let me also point out we are releasing three convicted spies traded for one innocent American, unjustly incarcerated for 7 years for attempting to revive what is left of the Cuban Jewish community in the island, bringing them phones and the internet. For this alleged "crime," referred to as "acts against the territorial integrity of the state," Alan Gross was sentenced for 15 years in communist Cuba.

The captured members of the Red Wasp espionage ring, on the other hand, referred to as the "Cuban Five," are convicted spies, who not only conducted espionage, but their leader Gerardo Hernández was also convicted of murder and orchestrating the shooting down of two American planes conducting humanitarian missions over the Florida keys.

Four Cuban-Americans U.S. citizens, members of Brother to the Rescue organization perished. For this crime, Hernández received two consecutive life terms.

As Fox News point out: "The surprise prisoner deal has echoes of the deal the U.S. cut earlier this year to secure the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban. In exchange for his release in May, the U.S. turned over five Taliban prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. "

Whose side is this President?

President Obama is acting as a virtual autocrat, bypassing Congress routinely, using a record number of Presidential memoranda (198) and Executive orders (195) as dictatorial decrees, to conduct both domestic and foreign policy on his own!

If relations are normalized with Cuba, at this high price, it will not only be appeasement but the U.S. taxpayers will be left holding the unpaid bills!