Cuba – The selling of a nation
Posted on Monday, 02.03.14
Cuba: The selling of a nation
BY CARLOS ALBERTO MONTANER
I first heard the concept from a European diplomat who had lived in
Cuba. It has since spread. The model created by the Castro brothers is a
It’s an uncomfortable designation but in line with the reality that
circulates sotto voce among the Cubans on the island. The government has
specialized in the extortion of its own citizens. Fifty-five years after
the dictatorship was imposed, almost all the significant forms of income
that sustain the country come from shady deals made abroad.
The Venezuelan subsidy. Estimated at $13 billion a year by Prof. Carmelo
Mesa Lago, dean of Cuban economists on the subject. That includes more
than 100,000 barrels of oil per day, half of which are re-exported and
sold in Spain. Thirty thousand others apparently go to PetroCaribe,
originating a double corruption of political support and illicit enrichment.
The public source of this information is expert Pedro Mantellini, one of
the great connoisseurs of the topic of Venezuelan oil. He explained it
in Miami, on María Elvira Salazar’s program on CNN Latino. Caracas buys
international influence with oil but shares with its Cuban accomplices
the management of those gifts.
The trade in doctors and health givers. This business brings in $7.5
billion a year. Specialist María Werlau has described this activity in
the Miami Herald.
The Cuban government leases its professionals and charges for their
services. It confiscates 95 percent of their salaries. Angola pays as
much as $60,000 a year for each medic. Not even the aid to Haiti escapes
this scheme. The services rendered in that devastated nation are paid to
Havana — at a hefty price — by international organizations.
Brazil, which pays for medical services, is Cuba’s latest grand partner
in this dark activity of international procurement. It is a practice
known to Cuban slave traders since the 19th century.
While slavery lasted (until 1886), the masters used to lease their
slaves when they didn’t need them. The most profitable aspect of the
“Negroes-for-hire” business were the poor girls the masters delivered to
the brothels. The masters charged for the services the girls provided.
They were businessmen-pimps. Now, we’re dealing with a state-pimp.
Other leases, other businesses. But that’s not the end of the
exploitation. The Cuban government leases other professionals to private
The ancient Greeks referred to slaves as “talking tools.” I don’t
believe that Raúl Castro knows the classics, but he does understand the
latest meaning of that expression.
There are Latin American or Portuguese-speaking universities that lease
from the Havana government the services of good Cuban professors of
mathematics or physics at bargain prices. European and Latin American
companies exploit computer technicians trained on the island.
The Castro regime knows that a well-trained Cuban is totally
unproductive in Cuba, given the demential entrepreneurial system on the
island, but also knows that he is a potential source of wealth once he’s
placed abroad. Objectively, that government is a giant labor
subcontracting agency that violates all the rules of the International
Labor Organization (ILO). It exists for that and profits from it.
Remittances from exiles. Emilio Morales, who fled from Cuba a relatively
short time ago and is a major expert on the subject, places that source
of income (as of 2012) at a little more than $5 billion. Roughly half of
it is sent in cash and the rest in merchandise. The flow grows at the
rate of 13 percent per year.
Every time a rafter escapes, the regime outwardly whines about the loss
but knows that, after a while, dollars will flow toward the needy family
that was left on the island. In Cuba, the malcontent would have to be
fed, even if merely crumbs. Once in exile, he or she is a gratuitous
source of income.
How long can Castro sustain an almost totally unproductive society
through activities that border on, or incur directly, in crime? No one
can tell. Pimps usually live a long time.
Source: Cuba: The selling of a nation – Carlos Alberto Montaner –