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July 4 and no “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in Cuba…more arrests, repression and difficulties

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Written by scantojr

July 4, 2017 at 6:25 pm

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Cuban people si, Castro dictatorship no

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President Trump reversed most of President Obama’s Cuba policy.    We will make it more difficult for US companies to do business with Castro Inc:   The Cuban Army (Castro, Inc.) and foreign investment.

Written by scantojr

June 16, 2017 at 4:30 pm

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Castro’s Cuban version of ‘perestroika’ is not working, either

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(My new American Thinker post)

Down in Cuba, Raul Castro made two announcements.

First, he said “adios” to the minister of the economy. For the record, the Cuban minister of the economy is nothing but a figurehead who does whatever the Castro brothers tell him to do. And;

Second, he reminded Cubans that the troubles in Venezuela will bring more hard economic times.   

Raul said this about the hard times ahead:

“Rumors and forecasts of an imminent collapse of our economy with a return to the acute phase of the Special Period … have started to appear,”

Castro said according to a copy of his speech provided by the country’s official news agency Prensa Latina. 

Foreign journalists are barred from the assembly.

He was referring to the years after Cuba’s biggest benefactor, the Soviet Union, collapsed. During that time, in the early 1990s, Cubans had to cope with widespread power outages and food shortages.

“We cannot deny there will be some impact, including worse than currently, but we are prepared and in better conditions than then to revert it.”

In many ways, this is reminiscent of perestroika in the late 1980s, or Mr Gorbachev’s efforts to revive the USSR economy. In other words, talking reform is not reform, unless you are willing to make structural changes in a communist system,

This is how Peter Boettke, Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University, explained the failure of perestroika:

One of the main reasons perestroika failed was because it wasn’t tried. 

During his six years in power, Gorbachev introduced at least 10 programs for the “radical restructuring” of the Soviet economy, not a one of which was implemented.

Instead, economic reform was limited to inconsistent and incoherent half-measures. 

The law on individual economic activity, the law on state enterprises, and the various price-reform proposals, for example, amounted to nothing more than half-measures incapable of producing the desired economic results even if they were implemented in an ideal environment.

Conceptually, economic reform is a fairly simple matter. 

Private property in resources must be established and protected by a rule of law; consumer and producer subsidies must be eliminated; prices must be freed to adjust to the forces of supply and demand; responsible fiscal policy should be pursued that keeps taxation to a minimum and reins in deficit financing; and a sound currency must be established. 

Introducing such reforms — even within Western economies — is anything but simple. 

And the major problem is not just a conceptual one of designing the appropriate sequence or plan of reform.

In other words, communist economic systems cannot be reformed. They have to thrown into the garbage and replaced with real free markets, the rule of law and a respect for private property. Gorbachev did not do that in the USSR and Castro is not doing it in Cuba.

Why is Castro not allowing full market reforms in Cuba? The answer is simple greed. The Cuban economy, and the Castro family’s ownership of it, has turned these two bearded revolutionaries into filthy rich men. Add to this the billions stolen from U.S. citizens (estimated today’s value is US$ 7 billion) and Cubans and this is a racket of unprecedented proportions 90 miles south of Florida!

Reforms mean that the Castro family would have to share its wealth with Cubans. Sorry — that’s not going to happen no matter how many times President Obama and Raul Castro do the wave in Cuba.

How do you say perestroika in Spanish? Same as in Russian!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


Written by scantojr

July 15, 2016 at 6:37 am

The latest in US-Cuba issues with Jorge Ponce.

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Written by scantojr

April 18, 2016 at 11:30 pm

Cuba: The young leave for a better life and the old stay

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(My new Babalu blog post)

Cuba became an independent country in 1902.   You can divide the island’s history into two periods: the pre-Castro years and the current regime’s period in power since 1959.

I was born in the last decade of pre-Castro Cuba.   My story is so typical of the other kids born in the 1950s.   We were the grandchildren of immigrants from Spain or elsewhere.

Our ancestors came to Cuba because it was a prosperous island, an attractive place for Spaniards seeking a better life, for Jewish refugees from Europe, hard working Asians and others.

It was a young and vibrant country with hope and a future.  In other words, the island of Cuba attracted people rather than drive its citizens away looking for a future.

It is really sad to watch Cuba today.   The young escape and look for a better life, preferably in the US.   The old get stuck behind.


It is even more painful when you realize that pre-Castro Cuba attracted thousands of immigrants from all over the world, as our friend Dr Carlos Eire wrote:

• Between 1900 and 1930, the first three decades of Cuban independence, about one million immigrants flooded into the island, mostly European, and mostly northern Spaniards.
This population tsunami also included Asians, Levantines, and Jews.
These immigrants doubled the population of the island and changed its complexion, literally.
Tens of thousands of immigrants continued to flow into Cuba every year after that, up to 1958.
Immigration from the U.S. was comparatively slight, but in 1958 there were more Americans living in Cuba than Cubans in the U.S.A.
Emigration from Cuba was minimal during this half century.
• Rates of immigration as high as this and of emigration as low require a robust and growing economy, and a considerable degree of political stability.


To wither is to shrivel, fade, decay, or lose the freshness of youth.   Cuba is indeed withering today.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.



Written by scantojr

March 13, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Cuba to Obama: Who said we’re changing?

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(My new American Thinker post)

What a week so far for President Obama’s foreign policy.  

First, Iran tests two missiles and threatens to get out of the nuclear deal. Hello VP Biden, and enjoy your visit to Israel.

Second, the Cuban state media put out an editorial ahead of President Obama’s visit. Here it goes:

In a long editorial on Wednesday in Communist Party newspaper Granma and other official media, Cuba demanded Washington cease meddling in its internal affairs and said Obama could do more to change U.S. policy.

The March 20-22 visit from Obama comes 15 months after he and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed to end more than five decades of Cold War-era animosity and try to normalize relations.

They have restored diplomatic ties, and Obama has relaxed a series of trade sanctions and travel restrictions, leading Republican opponents and even some of the president’s fellow Democrats to question whether Washington was offering too much without any reciprocation from Havana.

But the editorial made it clear that Cuba still has a long list of grievances with the United States, starting with the comprehensive trade embargo. Obama wants to rescind the embargo but Republican leadership in Congress has blocked the move.

Cuba also objected to U.S. support for its political dissidents, whom some Americans consider champions of human rights but whom the Cuban government views as an unrepresentative minority funded by U.S. interests.

“(The United States) should abandon the pretense of fabricating an internal political opposition, paid for with money from U.S. taxpayers,” the nearly 3,000-word editorial said.

Let me translate: Americans we want your tourists and their dollars, we want to send you baseball players as long as Castro Inc owns their contracts, we want you to end the embargo, leave Guantanamo but forget all of this stuff about human rights. After all, who ever said that this was about human rights anyway?    

It is embarrassing and in your face, Obama. However, this is what you get when negotiate out of weakness and demand nothing from a dictator desperately looking for a bailout.   

We had the cards and Obama threw them all away!   

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


Written by scantojr

March 10, 2016 at 7:01 am

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President Obama, the dissidents and the trip to Cuba

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Written by scantojr

March 7, 2016 at 10:30 pm

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