The Wikileaks cables have revealed that nations that sell to Cuba on government credit get stiffed. In other words, we have a confirmation of what has been evident – for those with eyes to see – for a long time: Castro does not pay his debts. This explains why the so-called “U.S. embargo” of Cuba has saved the American taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars – because it has saved him from being cheated by Castro.
The embargo on Cuba is a “so-called” embargo because this unilateralism in U.S. foreign policy does not prohibit commerce with Cuba, as would a genuine embargo. In fact, for going on a decade now, the U.S. has ranked as one of Cuba’s top food suppliers and its fifth biggest trading partner. In 2008, for example, the U.S. sold $710 million worth of products to Castro’s fiefdom and has transacted more than $2 billion worth of business with Cuba in the last decade. The key here is that, since 2001, the so-called U.S. embargo has merely stipulated that the Castro regime pay cash up front through a third–party bank for all U.S. agricultural products; no Export-Import (U.S. taxpayer) financing of such sales is allowed.
Enacted by the Bush team in 2001, the eminent wisdom of this cash-up front policy was displayed by a recent Wikileaks cable, as noted in the Miami Herald:
The [Wikileaks] cable reported on a breakfast hosted by a U.S. diplomat in Havana with commercial and economic counselors from five of Cuba’s largest trading partners – China, Spain, Canada, Brazil and Italy – plus key creditor nations France and Japan. The diplomats reported continuing problems collecting their Cuban debts, with the Japanese noting that after restructuring all of Cuba’s official debt in 2009, Tokyo had not received any payments….“Even China admitted to having problems getting paid on time and complained about Cuban requests to extend credit terms from one to four years,” the cable said. “France and Canada responded with ‘welcome to the club.’”
Last month, South Africa was also forced to write off 1 billion Rand debt owed to them by Cuba.
Despite the obvious savings for the U.S. taxpayer ensured by this “embargo,” opposition to it remains widespread and vehement.
“The embargo against Cuba is the stupidest law ever passed in the U.S.” (Jimmy Carter)
“Cuba policy isn’t made in Washington,” griped Bill Press in a CNN column. “It’s made in Miami by former Batista supporters who think they can reverse history.”
“Bush’s defense of the [Cuban] embargo serves a family voting bloc and little else,” Kathleen Parker complained in a column.
“A small number of powerful exiles in South Florida cow our politicians into keeping the crazy Cuban policy,” bewailed media baron Al Neuharth in USA Today.
“The powerful Cuban exile lobby has long dictated the U.S.’s Cuba policy,” said Tim Padgett of Time.
Lately, anti-“embargo” sentiment has even “crossed the aisle.” Pro-embargo Cuban-exile lobbyists managed to get Bill Buckley and Gore Vidal, Chris Dodd and Larry Craig, Pat Buchanan and Antonio Villaraigosa, George Will and Noam Chomsky, The Brookings Institution and the Cato Institute, the Wall Street Journal and The Nation, The U.S. Communist Party and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce–all on the same side of an issue. All of the above have come out publicly against the so-called Cuban embargo. All blame it on the “politically-powerful” and “well-heeled” Cuban-American lobby.
Not that Castroite sponging started recently. In fact, per capita-wise, for years Cuba has qualified as the world’s biggest debtor nation with a foreign debt of close to $50 billion, a credit rating nudging Somalia’s, and an uninterrupted record of defaults. In 2008, one of the world’s most respected economic forecasting firms, the London- based Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked Cuba as virtually the world’s worst country in terms of business. Only Iran and Angola ranked lower. This firm predicted that Cuba’s abysmal business climate would remain that way for the next five years, at the very least.
Standard & Poors refuses even to rate Cuba, regarding the economic figures released by the regime as utterly bogus.
In 1986 Cuba defaulted on most of its foreign debt to Europe. Three years ago, France’s version of the U.S. government’s Export-Import bank, (named COFACE) cut off Cuba’s credit line. Mexico’s Bancomex quickly followed suit. This came about because the Castro regime stuck it to French taxpayers for $175 million and to Mexican taxpayers for $365 million. Bancomex was forced to impound Cuban assets in three different countries in an attempt to recoup its losses.
Last year, the Castro regime suddenly froze $1 billion held in Cuban banks by foreign (mostly Spanish) businessmen. “Cuban banks informed depositors that they had no foreign exchange to back up the convertible peso in which many were doing business,” explained Reuters Havana Bureau.
However valuable to American taxpayers today, U.S. sanctions against Castro’s Stalinist regime were not originally enacted due to their abysmal credit rating. In July 1960, Castro’s KGB-trained security forces stormed into 5,911 U.S. owned businesses in Cuba and stole them all at Soviet gunpoint – $2 billion were heisted from outraged U.S. businessmen and stockholders. Rubbing his hands in triumphant glee, Castro boasted at maximum volume to the entire world that he was freeing Cuba from “Yankee economic slavery” (Che Guevara’s term, actually) and that “he would never repay a penny.”
This is the only promise Fidel Castro has ever kept in his life.
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