11 December 2007

"Cuba Deports 8 Spaniards for Joining Demonstration"

"They told us they were coming for us later to expel us," the spokeswoman for the group, Barcelona city councilor Francina Vila, told reporters.
The foreign women, who traveled to Cuba on tourist visas, carried banners that said "democracy" and "freedom."

Reuters story

I say the Spaniards got off light.

The one theme I read throughout the Island’s history is that the population wants to govern itself. So let them.

Indeed, I find it mind-boggling that any reasonably well educated non-Cuban, including Cuban-Americans, could think that their empathy for those Cubans on the island (against whom an injustice may very well have been served) entitles the foreigners to agitate on the island itself.

From Hatuey through today, I doubt that any population on the face of the earth has sacrificed more than Cubans for a longer period to enjoy right to self-determination.

But even if you (as a foreigner) want to privilege the facts of an individual alive today (e.g. by making an Human Rights case against the Cuban government) over all that the Cuban nation has sacrificed for the cause of self-determination, your making a spectacle of yourself is only going to play into the hands of the Fidelistas.

It is very much in their interest to force a debate (on and off the island) about sovereignty by throwing you in jail for the rest of your life.

And IF the international community takes notice, the Fidelistas would be happy to trot-out the historical record.

Dumb. Really dumb. But another good example of how Fidelista foes play into hands of the Fidelistas themselves.

09 December 2007

Cuba owes Mexico 500 Million

Mexico gives the Cuban government a chance to lift their credit rating:

Mexican Envoy: Mexico, Cuba To Re-Negotiate Debt

November 28, 2007 8:35 p.m.

HAVANA (AP)--Mexico's new ambassador to Cuba said Wednesday that his country will re-negotiate $500 million in debt that the communist-run island owes Mexico to improve strained relations between the nations.

Ambassador Gabriel Jimenez said both sides will meet several times next month and hope to reach a debt settlement plan by the end of the year, marking the first public acknowledgment of talks on the issue.

"I'm very optimistic," said Jimenez, who became ambassador in September. "I arrived at an absolutely fragile moment in Mexican relations with Cuba, and little by little, we're expressing the wishes of both governments to begin to get to know one another again."

Jimenez, a friend of Mexican President Felipe Calderon, said he has reassured his government that Havana has every intention of paying off its debt in time.

"Cuba wants to meet its obligations," he told reporters.

Debt discussions are likely to lead to bilateral talks on other thorny issues, including illegal immigration and human rights, as both sides are "now getting serious" about reconciliation, Jimenez said.

The following recording cannot help Mexico's status among those in Latin America who think that they get pushed around by the U.S.:


Cuba released a recording of Fox urging Fidel Castro to leave a summit to avoid confronting U.S. President George W. Bush later that year, embarrassing the Mexican leader. In 2004, the two nations temporarily withdrew their ambassadors.

and I'm truly not sure whose interest is best served by returning Cubans, but since Cubans can enter the US from Mexico I doubt many of them stick around in Mexico.

Calderon, a member of Fox's conservative National Action Party who took office in 2006, since said he wants to improve relations with Cuba.

Mexico would like to sign an immigration accord that might help repatriate Cuban migrants detained in Mexico or while trying to reach it, Jimenez said.


Tourism to Cuba Down (2007 through June)

November 27, 2007 2:39 p.m.

HAVANA (AP)--Cuba's economy should grow by 10% in 2007, the third straight year of double-digit expansion, despite slips in the tourism sector, according to Economy Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez....

Aided by high prices for the copper, nickel and cobalt its mines produce, the island's government reported economic growth of 12.5% in 2006 and 11% in 2005.

Tourism is the chief source of revenue, but the number of overseas visitors declined through June of this year as compared with 2006 - a year that saw a slight slip from the 2.2 million visitors in 2005.

JBS SA (JBSS3.BR), Brazilian Beef

It looks like JBS has a meatpacking facility in Cuba and yet does business in the United States:

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--This week's deal between Brazilian beef company JBS SA (JBSS3.BR) and Italy's Cremonini affectively gives Brazil's top beef company a physical market presence everywhere but southeast Asia and the Middle East.

JBS, owner of Brazil's leading beef company, the Friboi Group, announced on Thursday that it had entered into a joint venture with Italian beef company Cremonini to acquire a 50% stake in Inalca, a beef producer wholly owned by Cremonini at the time.

The cost of the transaction was put at 225 million euros. It now gives JBS distribution in meat-packing facilities in Africa, Cuba, Europe and Russia, not to mention facilities already acquired by JBS in Australia, Argentina and the U.S.

If I understand the Economic Embargo, JBS will have to shed the Cuba facility or forego its access to US markets.

On the other hand, they sound pretty big. And the Bush cowards are only known for picking on little guys.