Cuba Has Its New Foreign Investment Law

March 29, 2014 | Print Print |

Parliament unanimously approves the legislation

Cuba’s parliament votes on the new foreign investment law on 29-3-2014.

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba’s parliament today unanimously approved the new law to attract more foreign investment to the Caribbean island, reported dpa news.

The more than 600 members of the National Assembly gathered at the Havana Convention Center to approve the latest in the market reforms championed by the government of Raul Castro. It will take effect within 90 days.

Even the most controversial legislation in Cuba is routinely approved without opposition, from what detractors consider a rubber-stamp parliament.

The Foreign Investment Law will open the economy to foreign capital in nearly “all sectors”, according to information published in the official media. Foreign Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca said the new law will also allow investments from Cuban exiles.

Some of the nuances are a drop in the tax for joint ventures (with the Cuban state) on profits from 30 to 15% with an 8-year grace period, while fully owned foreign projects will have fewer incentives.

With the reform, the government hopes to obtain up to 2.500 billion dollars a year in direct foreign investment, noted Vice President Marino Murillo, who is in charge of overseeing the economic reforms.

Raul Castro (bottom left) and his top brass, also deputies, were on hand to cast their votes.

Some of the more attractive areas of the economy to open for investment are agriculture, sugar production, building renovation and real estate, notes Reuters.

“If the economy does not grow at levels around 7 percent … we are not going to be able to develop,” said Malmierca.

President/General Raul Castro also attended the parliament meeting to cast his vote. He has repeatedly advocated in recent months for such a law to increase capital inflows to revive the economy of the island and support the socialist agenda.

While the new law involves virtually all of Cuba, investors in the recently opened Mariel Port Special Economic Zone will receive additional incentives.

A discussion on the rights of Cuban workers employed by the joint ventures or all foreign companies was not mentioned in any of the reports.

Related Post: Cuba Opens Wide to Foreign Investment


What's your opinion?

  • Griffin

    “A discussion on the rights of Cuban workers employed by the joint ventures or all foreign companies was not mentioned in any of the reports.”

    Nor will it be. The whole point of this new law is to sell cheap Cuban labour to foreign corporations. Workers’ rights would interfere with that plan. Once again the Cuban people get screwed.

    • rodrigvm

      You mean just like NAFTA and other treaties by the USA? I bet you don’t demand from the US the same things!

      • Griffin

        Workers in Canada, Mexico & the USA ware free to form independent unions and negotiate for higher wages and better working conditions. Not so in Cuba, where there is one trade union for all workers, the union is controlled by the Communist party and the function of the union is to enforce government policy onto the workers. Given that the government is the biggest employer, that means the union serves the interests of the bosses, not the workers. Cuban workers have no right to strike, no freedom of assembly and no free speech.

        • Terry Downey

          Griffin, so I suppose what you’re recommending is that nobody should invest in Cuba? Keep in mind that you have to walk before you can run. Cheap Cuban labour is a commodity and available for hire. They have to start somewhere. You can’t continue to insist on change overnight. It will come, but unfortunately, you seem to always want change immediately…and to the exclusion of any form of compromise.

          • Moses Patterson

            Change must and will come to Cuba. However, before substantial capital investment will take place in Cuba, real political reform should take place. If not, this latest attempt to attract foreign investment, like the previous attempt in the early 1990′s will likely end badly for investors. The Castros have no desire to share Cuba with anyone. The current foreign investment reforms are aimed at sustaining the regime long enough to restore stability to economy at which point the regime will reverse itself. The end game of Socialist utopia and a heavy foreign investment presence are incompatible.

          • ac

            Except that this time they can’t. Last time was a partial opening and *lot* of people made a buck from it, but the government kept absolute control of the situation (they always had at least 50% + 1 of the shares, granted only time-limited leases, etc).

            Now things are different, they already agreed to rule changes allowing the investors full ownership. If the Cuban government breaks their own laws and scares away foreign investment, it will cause permanent damage to their economy and they are not THAT crazy.

            Their end game is a mixed economy with the state in control of key areas while preserving political control of the country, similar to current China, thinking otherwise is mildly delusional and doesn’t match the scope of the current opening.

          • Moses Patterson

            AC, try telling the Canadian businessman (forgot his name) still in a Cuban jail after two years without any charges being filed and tens of millions of dollars in company money taken by the Castros what they can not do. Sure, if they were a law-abiding country, your point is well-taken. But we both know that the Castros care little about “legal” and everything about “expedient”.

          • Griffin

            Sarkis Yacoubian, president of Tri-Star Caribbean. He was released in February, 2014 after serving 2 1/2 years of a 9 year sentence. Two months after Yacoubian’s arrest, authorities raided another Canadian-run company, the Tokmakjian Group, one of the largest foreign operations in Cuba. Cy Tokmaakjian, 73, was arrested September 2011. He remains in Cuba’s La Condesa prison with no charges filed.

            British businessman Steven Purvis of the Coral Capital Group was arrested along with his Lebanese-born colleague Amado Fakhre in 2011. During their time in custody they were questioned at the Villa Marista, a notorious counter-intelligence headquarters, and then taken to a wing specially set aside for foreigners at La Condesa prison in Havana. They were released in 2013, however, the investments made by Coral Capital including a golf course and the Saratoga Hotel in Habana Vieja were seized by the Castro government.

            According to Purvis, there were more than a dozen other foreign businessmen in Cuban jails. Unfortunately, their cases were unknown to the public because their home governments were reluctant to upset the Cuban government.

            Anybody thinking of investing with the Castro regime should consider theses cases very carefully first.

          • Moses Patterson

            Thanks Griffin. The ‘catch-22′ is that the majority of these ‘corrupt’ businessmen were participating in standard business practices in Cuba where bribes are solicited as a first step to doing business. Admittedly, they were free to walk away but for whatever reason, chose not to. Every potential investor should read a book written by Michel Villand, a French businessman and owner of the brand Pain de Paris, called “My Partner Fidel Castro. Cuba, a Detour in Paradise.” This writer was a so-called friend of Fidel and yet experienced a turnabout in relations with the regime which ultimately led to his losing his total investment.

          • Griffin

            The Castros broke the rules and stiffed in investors the past. And they are exactly THAT crazy bough to have ruined the Cuban economy over the past 55 years.

            But you are correct: their goal is something like the China model. That will be a tragedy for the Cuban people who will be forced to live under a rejuvenated regime with more cash to spend on repression.

          • dand1x

            Dont forget the old saying history repeats itself, give it a couple of years then the Gov. will seize all of the wealth.
            That is belonging to foreigners.

          • Terry Downey

            That’s fine, Moses. The Chinese will now pick up where the Soviets left off. And America will have been caught snoozing again, missing a golden opportunity to draw Cuba closer to effect change through direct governmental
            interface and through Cuban/American business relationships. I know you feel that the US has little to lose in this scenario, but mark my words, if the US doesn’t
            act swiftly to strike down the economic embargo now, than the writing is on the wall.

            The US will be delegated to the bleachers while China sets up shop in Cuba to expand markets with cheaply manufactured Cuban products distributed throughout south and central America, reaping immense profits at America’s expense. Cuba will literally become a satellite of China. Cuba will grow rich, and Brazil will grow richer. But China will grow even richer still without the Pacific ocean in their way. And in the end, because China is leading the charge, there won’t be a dammed thing the US will be able to do about it.

            Given China’s very similar political system of governing, you can also be assured that the Cuban government will remain in power for many more decades to come…thanks to the inability of the US to act when it was most required. The US government has been offered a new opportunity to alter the course of history for Cuba, and for the western hemisphere. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is the political will nor the foresight to envision the economic fallout of your governments inaction. The cold-war has been replaced by an economic war, and if China is allowed to have Cuba as their economic satellite, it won’t be missiles that we fear, but it may begin to feel equally as threatening.

          • Griffin

            You exaggerate the profit potential of Cuba under the Castro dictatorship. China has many other sources of low cost labour, including their own population, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and North Korea. More important than low cost labour, China needs a market for the products. So long as the embargo stays in place, the Huge US market will be closed. South America is a possible market, but they too have other lower cost and lower risk producers.

            Your arguments have the smell of desperation. If Cuba will be such a success with China’s investments that the US stands to lose out, then Cuban doesn’t need to have the embargo lifted. If on the other hand, it’s imperative for Cuba’s economic well being that the embargo be lifted, then Chinese investments won’t be such a threat the the US.

            Either way, the US economy is not imperilled by the prospect of a country smaller than the state of Maryland manufacturing cheap sandals and cigars.

          • Terry Downey

            Within the coming years, Cuba will be manufacturing and/or assembling Chinese engineered cars and every other conceivable product…not sandals. They now have the port available to move parts and finished goods in and out. And the market the Chinese are targeting is not the US…they already own the US market. Some would argue they already own the US government too. Again, the writing is on the wall.

          • Griffin

            I will believe the cars when I see them roll off the assembly line. Until then, it will just be another case of the Super Cow. There have been a hundred miracle plans to spring-board Cuba into prosperity. None of them have worked. This one will face the same problems all the others faced: the stultifying effect of the Marxist dictatorship in Havana.

            Unlike the Soviets, the Chinese are not motivated by a mission to spread their empire. Their goal is to make money. When they realize they’re not getting the return on investment they were promised, they will dump Cuba in a snap.

            Still, it is sweet to hear you are motivated by your concern for the lost potential for profits for US corporations shut out from investing in the Cuban economic miracle. And all the while I thought you were worried about the Cuban people.

          • Terry Downey

            Griffin, come on. I think you know where my heart is at. I only mention money because I know how much of a contribuiting factor that can be to motivate America to act (no disrespect intended). Moses once suggested…there has to be something in it for America, othewise why bother. I can appreciate that.

          • Griffin

            I deliberately provoked you to get you to see where your arguments were leading you, which was farther and farther from the welfare of the Cuban people. Your heart may be with the people, but your head is somewhere else.

            I am Canadian. Canadian corporations have invested in Cuba for decades now. The Canadian government has provided millions of dollars in aid and development projects in Cuba. However, I have yet to see any evidence that this influx of money, and that from European investors, has resulted in the slightest improvements in the Cuban government’s respect for the human rights and freedoms of the Cuban people.

            On the contrary, the money has only served to keep the Castro regime afloat. Were it not for the influx of Canadian & European investment in the 1990′s the regime may well have collapsed during the Special Period. It would have been a hard time for the Cuban people, but they would have been rid of the dictatorship which continues to blight their lives today.

            Ask any Eastern European: would they like to return to the days of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw pact? You will find very few Poles, East Germans, Czechs, Hungarian & so on who wish for the return of the Communist dictatorships. After the Berlin Wall fell and the Communist dictatorships of Eastern Europe crumbled, the pro-democracy dissidents spoke out about what the West did right and what they did wrong during the years they were held captive behind the Iron Curtain. They sharply criticized Jimmy Carter and his misguided “detente” with the Soviet Union. They felt betrayed by that recognition because it legitimized what was in fact an illegal dictatorship. The dissidents praised Ronald Reagan for his clear denunciation of the Evil Empire, much mocked in the West, but understood very well and appreciated by the people who lived under the heal of the Soviet Union.

            Today cities like Prague & Warsaw are prosperous and thriving. Tourists from all over the word flock to these countries and local industry is growing. Interestingly, most of the former East Bloc countries are doing better than their Western European neighbours. That could have been Cuba, too, were it not for the misguided or simply greedy Western corporations which bailed them out.

            I advocate for a free, democratic and sovereign Cuba, not one dominated by the US, or the USSR, or China. That is why I steadfastly oppose the current economic reform process which Raul is implementing. It will only serve to perpetuate the oppression of the Cuban people.

            You asked, why not find some compromise? I am sorry, but the Castro regime has never compromised their power with the Cuban people. Why should the US government compromise the Cuban people in a cynical deal with the Castro regime?

            If the Cuban government really want an end to what little is left of the embargo (which is not much, and you know it), all they have to do is make a serious effort to improve the human rights of the Cuban people. President Obama would have jumped at the chance to lift the embargo.

            But no, instead Raul’s goons have cracked down harder than they have in years. The Cuban Commission for Human Rights has documented 813 political arrests by the Castro regime during the month of March 2014. This brings the tally of political arrests for the first quarter of 2014 up to 2,909. These are only political arrests that have been thoroughly documented. Many more are suspected.

            Next time you are in Cuba, why don’t you go ask those dissidents how they feel about the Revolution?

          • Moses Patterson

            Terry, let’s be clear. I would never, as a die-hard capitalist, advocate that the US ignore the possibility of more trade with Cuba. What I suggest is that Cuba, as a trading partner, is not so valuable as to ignore their horrific human rights abuses for the sake of profits. The Chinese threat you speak of is not the threat you make it out to be. The coveted South American marketplace is already controlled by the US. We stand to lose market share, at most, should China expand their business model to Cuba. To date, Cuba’s trade with China has largely been based on trading Cuban labor for Chinese loans. In order for China to increase this trade it would require that cheaply-made Chinese products assembled in Cuba would have to be sold to someone outside of Cuba. Without the US market, there are few other nearby possible buyers. Your do-or-die attitude is largely based on Cuban propaganda and if you bother to drill down just deep enough to ask yourself basic questions like who is the buyer? who do they buy from now? and why would they change? you will see for yourself there is no reason to compromise American values by ignoring the lack of democracy in Cuba. I suggest we continue to do what we can do to assist the dissident community and continue the course pressuring the Castros to make real political change.

          • Terry Downey

            Moses, I don’t want America to compromise their American values…I want America to pull Cuba closer, in all respects, to impart your American values on them….to help effect change. The economic embargo has not done that. It’s time for a new approach…a more intimate approach that will accomplish 2 important goals. It will allow for a close relationship of direct influence with Cuba, and it will help to keep the Chinese and their influential and similar governing system out of Cuba. “Keep your friends close, and your enemys closer”. That’s my motto…and what I’m recommending in this scenario. It will be a win-win for America, and a win too for Cuba, because I firmly believe that if America wants to influence and effect real meaningful change in Cuba, they have to become more intimate with their government. There seems to be a lack of confidence for this approach…which I don’t understand, because to me, working directly with the Cuban government would provide the American government with much more leverage.

          • Moses Patterson

            Terry, really I understand your point. But all your well-intentioned reasoning will not work with tyrants. America is experiencing this first-hand with Russia’s Putin over the Ukraine crisis. So much for “resets”. The Castros understand that a closer relationship with the US will undermine their ability to control Cuba. Indeed, I am among those who sense that the Castros have torpedoed every serious attempt by US Presidents to repair US/Cuban relations. So, according to your plan, the US unilaterally lifts the embargo. We permit increased travel by Americans to Cuba and remove any US obstacles to trade. This will no doubt result in a revenue bonanza for the dictatorship. Yes, every day Cubans will also benefit from more tourism and greater trade but they will still have no freedom to assemble, or speak out. There will still only be government media. There will still be repudiation rallies and summary trials. Worse yet, with the financial breathing room lifting the embargo will provide, the repression will likely worsen. More money means more undercover police, more technology for surveillance and more money to pay fellow Cubans to betray their neighbors. Tyrants do not respond to the ‘warm fuzzies’. Your idea is a dignified and noble one. It simply will not work with the Castros.

          • Terry Downey

            Moses, thank you for that. But I must admit, I’m worried that the Chinese will get their hooks into Cuba first, and if that happens, Cuba may pass a point of no return. It will then be China who will pressure the US government to drop the embargo. The whole thing could blow up in our faces.

          • Moses Patterson

            Your fear is not a practical one. The totality of the business that China could possibly do with tiny Cuba, while significant for Cuba, is a drop in the bucket when compared to the economic ties binding the Chinese to the US. For example, McDonald’s franchises alone, do more business in mainland China, ($2 billion) than will likely ever be done in Cuba by Chinese business. Terry, here’s the bottom line: There is no valid economic argument to be made to pressure the US to unilaterally capitulate to Castro demands. On the contrary, the recent tepid economic reforms in Cuba reflect the desperation of the Castro regime to breathe life into their moribund economy. Even these reforms, if believed and fully implemented, will take years to turn a profit. This is time that the Castros, literally and philosophically, may not have to wait. As Griffin mentions in his comment, China has several other low-wage labor cost markets available to them. In order for Cuba to remain a favorite, they will have to maintain a low-wage profile. This only serves to minimize the benefits of the proposed reforms. Add to that that the Castros retain 90% of the earnings, the amount that trickles down to the Cuban worker is pathetic. While it is true that overall more jobs will be created, it will become clear that these jobs will do little to change Cuban lives. They will still be poor and unable to change their economic circumstances. Nothing Terry will blow up.

          • Griffin

            Foreign corporations are not being invited to invest “in” Cuba. They are being invited to invest “with” the Castro regime. The new laws are designed to serve the interests of the regime, not the Cuban people.

            Instead of defending the dictatorship, why not put a wee bit of your effort into advocating for freedom and democracy for the Cuban people? If it’s good enough for you and me, why not for them? Why should the Cuban people be willing to compromise on their rights and freedoms?

            Then when the Cuban people are free to elect a government of their own choosing, they can invite all the foreign investment they like, and do so with laws which serve the interests of the Cuban nation while protecting the rights of the Cuban workers.

          • Terry Downey

            “Instead of defending the dictatorship, why not put a wee bit of your effort into advocating for freedom and democracy for the Cuban people? If it’s good enough for you and me, why not for them? Why should the Cuban people be willing to compromise on their rights and freedoms?”

            Griffin, I’m not defending the dictatorship, I merely understand that it’s pointless to continue to belly-ache demands for freedom and democracy without a mutually benificial plan of action to move Cuba in that direction. As we all know, nothing in Cuba happens immediately…and especially if it’s demanded. There has to be a more moderate approach to lead the Cuban government in the right direction. And establishing a more intimate relationship directly with the Cuban government to help influence change is where I choose to concentrate my efforts. I’m promoting a reasonable solution to end the stalemate, instead of issuing demands that have continued to lead no where and accomplish nothing for decades. Now there is even more reason to entertain normalizing relations with the Cuban government, otherwise their relationship with the Chinese will be greatly enhanced and their governing system further supported and celebrated. Once Cuba has bonded fully with China…instead of America, it will be impossible for the American government to later entice Cuba to their camp for negociated compromise going forward. The time for America to act is now.

        • rodrigvm

          Just to mention Mexico in the same sentence with Canada is a joke, Canada is a social democratic country Mexico is a narco state controlled by US capital. Ask the electrical Workers Union or the Petroleros what do they think about “freedom to form unions”? At least in Cuba they have representatives in the legislature while in Mexico NADA!

          • Griffin

            You brought up NAFTA, rod. If Mexico is controlled by US capital, why does the Mexican government have friendly relations with Cuba?

          • rodrigvm

            I could wear a blond wig that does not make me blond. It’s what is called “window dressing” for the false nationalism that maintain the elites in power in Mexico while the genuflect to the gringos.

          • Moses Patterson

            US/Mexico bilateral trade is one of the world’s largest and most balanced trade relationships. It would appear that your anti-US views color any cooperative relationship that the US might have as being one based on unfairness. With regards to Mexico, nothing could be farther from the truth. Moreover, since you hate America so much, how is it that you are so deadset on lifting the embargo so that Cuba, at best, could become a mini-Mexico to US trade. Seems hypocritical to me.

          • rodrigvm

            Yep, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn I am willing to sell for $20 bucks. You know, it really helps to know something about a topic before one writes something about it.

            After 20 years of NAFTA:

            Real wages in Mexico have risen only 2.3% from 1980 to
            2012 and are nearly unchanged since 1994.

            The number of persons living below the poverty level in
            Mexico increased by more than 14 million from 1994 to 2012.

            Unemployment in Mexico has risen from 2.2% in 2000 to
            5.0% today.

            There were 4.9 million family farmers driven out of
            business by U.S. subsidized agricultural imports. Only about 3
            million agribusiness Mexican jobs were created.

            Mexico experienced a massive emigration to the U.S.
            1991-2006 due to degrading economic conditions and fewer opportunities at
            home.

            Mexico now imports corn (from Kansas Iowa) instead of exporting

            Oh, and those cmapesinos who lost their lands and went bankrupt are not in Imperial Valley, not vacationing, working for nothing.

            http://www.cepr.net/documents/nafta-20-years-2014-02.pdf

          • Moses Patterson

            My undergraduate degree is Mathematics (Statistics). I am well aware of how ‘stats’ can be manipulated. You should mention that your unemployment numbers also reflect a world economic crisis which took place during this period. Current US/Mexican immigration is roughly a net zero. Mexico now imports corn but exports cars. In the same interim tourism jobs increased 160% in Mexico. The seemingly low 2.2% unemployment number is largely due to poor data collection. Increased economic activity has led to increased inflation in Mexico which has cut into real wages. It also appears that you hate Mexico too?

          • Griffin

            Wow! Mexico has only 5 % unemployment today? That’s a damn site better than the US which is at least twice that. It seems that Mexico, and Canada, are getting the better deal out of NAFTA.

            I read today that During the 1960s and 1970s, when Cuban agents were promoting revolution throughout Latin America, Fidel decided to leave Mexico alone as a safe haven for the Cuban government to do business with the capitalist world. Say what you will about Fidel, but he certainly was a shrewd character.

          • rodrigvm

            They count unemployment differently than in the US. Yes, we could in the US also have lower unemployment is we sent 11 million people to Mexico like the Mexican government has done. NAFTA also had a severe impact on agricultural employment, as U.S. subsidized corn and other products wiped out family farmers in Mexico. From 1991-2007, there were 4.9 million
            Did NAFTA Help Mexico?: An Assessment After 20 Years 2
            Mexican family farmers displaced; while seasonal labor in agro-export industries increased by about 3 million. This meant a net loss of 1.9 million jobs.

        • John Goodrich

          You did forget to mention that the Cuban people are SO stupid that they actually want to keep their revolution despite the intelligent and cogent arguments you make for your case.(not)
          How is it that 11 million Cubans can’t see how correct you are ? Don’t they know that YOU have all the solutions to their problems ?
          What gall!

          • Moses Patterson

            Your sarcasm continues to fail your intent to disagree with prevailing wisdom. Griffin’s remarks don’t imply that Cubans are stupid. Your sarcasm does. There is no moral equivalence between the employer-employee relationship under NAFTA and what Cubans have under the Castro dictatorship. None.

          • rodrigvm

            Really, ask the electrical workers in Mexico who were shot at by the Mexican police, just like against the students in 1968. By the way, how many massacres of dissidents in Cuba? Like in Puerto Rico in the 1930s, 50s by the US?

    • N.J. Marti

      I take it you don’t trust the state to protect workers rights ? Cheap is a relative term. For many, employment in these new ventures present opportunity.

      • Terry Downey

        Agreed. Ask many of those who are long-term unemployed in the U.S. and I think you you’ll find they would be overjoyed to simply have a job.

    • rodrigvm

      One of the things that are unusual about joint ventures in Cuba (compared to Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic for example) is that most of the upper level management is Cuba. A requirement for foreign investors…in most countries locals clean the toilets…

  • Moses Patterson

    If we build it, they will come. Or in this case, if we pass the law, they will invest. Since it is clear that the Castros are hoping that ‘savage capitalists’ are the ones to bring the earnings gained from the exploitation of the wage-salary worker, it goes well beyond hypocrisy to witness the rhetoric come full circle.

    • Terry Downey

      Moses, you know that this is what I’ve been promoting all along. And now the stage is set for foreign investors to hire Cuban workers and to put Cuba back to work. It’s about time, no doubt. It’s also time for the economic embargo to be dismantled too.

      If the American government doesn’t embrace this specific opportunity in time, the Cuban government will now get in bed with the Chinese in much the same way as they did with the Soviets. America had the opportunity to pull Cuba into their camp years ago…but failed to understand the urgency and the potential to influence change by drawing them closer. I hope America doesn’t sit on their hands again while another massive competitor takes advantage of American inaction and complacency with the status quo. The time to act is now. The embargo has to end…regardless of political differences. The objectionable issues with the Cuban government can be sorted out in time when American interests are directly playing influence to establish joint success.

      • Griffin

        This is not the first time the Cuban government has invited foreign corporations to invest with the regime. There was a big push in the 1990′s and for a while it looked like a growing prosepct. Then the political direction in Cuba changed and Castro cancelled may of the deals, the profits were withheld and some businessmen even found themselves arrested and their assets seized.

        Unless and until the political system inside Cuban changes, this latest invitation looks like just another case of rinse & repeat as a new pile of suckers are lined up.

        The embargo doesn’t actually have to end. The Castro regime certainly spends a huge amount of time, money and effort on getting rid of it. If, as you suggest, ending the embargo will lead to political changes inside Cuba, would the regime be so stupid as to promote a policy which will end their grip on power? No, they would not. The Castros have been accused of many things, but they are not stupid. They know that getting the embargo lifted will be a boon for the regime and all those in the powerful elite who are positioning themselves to profit from it.

        • rodrigvm

          You should read Granma and all the international petitions of Cubans and foreigners for information about how to invest….

  • rodrigvm

    I wonder what the die hard anti-Cuban will say about this? Is this a ruse? By the way Cuban workers have worker councils that discuss work conditions and can influence policy. I participated in a meeting more feisty than my own union deliberation! Contrary to non union workers at Walmart, Mac Donald etc.

    • Griffin

      I am pro-Cuban. The defenders of the Castro regime are the die-hard anti-Cubans. Nobody has done more to harm Cuba than those brothers.

      So go ask yourself.

      • Terry Downey

        “Nobody has done more to harm Cuba than those brothers.”

        Griffin, I talk with a lot of Cubans, and especially those old enough to remember how things were before the revolution. Every single one of them has told me that Cuba is much, much, better today than it was before the “brothers” seized power away from the Americans and their puppet regime. From my own research, I know this to be true too. So why are you so intent on distorting the truth about Cuba, and especially, the benefits of the revolution?

        • Griffin

          Opinions will vary a lot depending on whom you ask. Opinions will also vary depending on who does the asking and who else is around when you ask. Keep that in mind when you talk to Cubans in Cuba: they know the risks for speaking critically of the regime and the rulers.

          For the rural poor, the Revolution did bring improvements in healthcare, education and housing. These improvements have declined since their high water mark during the Soviet era. The Revolution did not improve the human rights of the Cuban people. In fact, human rights under Castro has been much worse than even during the Batista years. Now, if you were a dirt poor tenant farmer before the revolution, you would not much miss your rights and freedoms, but you would appreciate the better food, healthcare, housing and education for your children. Many of these old believers still support the revolution, although many will tell you that it has lost its way or failed to achieve all of the promises.

          The urban working class in Cuba had strong independent labour unions. Union leaders were punished, jailed & executed in the early 1960s to in order to bring the unions under the control of the Revolution. Urban workers did indeed object to the loss of their labour rights.

          The urban middle class, including professionals and small business owners very much objected to the loss of their property, the lowering of their standard of living and the broken promises to hold free & fair elections. It is from this group that the largest number of exiles came. Over a million Cubans left the island rather than live under Castro’s dictatorship.

          Those who were born after the revolution were raised by it and fed the propaganda. Their opinions about how life was before the revolution are highly distorted by the effect of the Party propaganda.

          Therefore, the conditions inside Cuba have served in different ways to produce a bias in the opinions one hears. Many of those who opposed the most are gone. Those who oppose but remain are afraid to speak. Only those who support the Revolution are free to voice their opinions.

          Did your research also reveal that the Castro brothers were not the only people who opposed the Batista regime and took up arms to get rid of it?

          There were other groups who fought and died in that struggle. The agreement among all of the rebels was that when Batista was overthrown, the constitution of 1940 would be re-establised and there would be free and fair multi-party elections in Cuba. Castro himself repeated this promise several times. But once the Castros got their hands on power, they cancelled the promised elections. They changed the constitution to ban all political parties except for the Communist party. Their former allies in the fight against Batista objected to this broken promise and were either shot, arrested or driven into exile.

          The history of the Revolution is complex and contentious. There is much more to it than a simple slogan like “USA no, Castro si!”

          • Terry Downey

            Griffin, you wrote a whole lot about nothing…an incredible amount of babble as if you were reading out of a text book. I know what I know…and that’s good enough for me.

          • Griffin

            Well, there you go. Your conversations with your Cuban friends do not in any way refute any of the points I made. So why are you so angry at me for what I wrote? I apologize for upsetting you and “what you know” with a lot of historical facts. I gave you a very honest and fair minded response, including a factual account of the early days of the Revolution.

            Your only response is to insult me and insist your conversations with the local CDRiste is authentic and convincing. Have you spoken with any members of the Ladies in White? How about Dr Elia Biscet? Or Oswaldo Paya. Oh, sorry, too late to talk with him.

            Ask your CDR friend what he thinks of Fidel & Raul Castro, and ask him when other CDRists are around. You will get a very carefully worded answer.

            I too have spoken with Cubans in Cuba. From some I got the Party line. From a few I heard direct and bitter criticism. From most I heard very careful, circumlocutions which hinted at doubts but never openly stated their feelings.

            I have also read dozens on books about Cuba and by Cubans, pro & con. Again, the opinions vary. But ultimately the picture that assembles is one of a Revolution which brought some achievements, failed at many more, and in which the heavy hand of the repressive state is never far away.

            Has the cost been worth it? Very few Cubans believe it has been worth the suffering to arrive 55 years later at a country that is physically crumbling, with a useless education system and a medical system in serious decline. The 39,000 Cubans who emigrated from the island last year clearly do not believe it has been worth it.

          • Dan

            I speak with many Cubans, in the privacy of my office right here in the United States. A good chunk of them support the revolution, even though they live here. All most all of them would like to see the US get its boot off of Cuba’s neck.

          • Griffin

            Like I said, that’s one segment of the population. There are others who oppose the revolution and the Castros. Maybe these people have no reason to go to your office and talk with you.

        • rodrigvm

          Yes, that is why Cuban exiles are called “tubo” I All “had ” plantations and lots of money when in fact Cuba had lots of poverty and illnesses unless you were white and upper middle class….

      • John Goodrich

        You’re as pro-Cuban as I am Santa Claus.
        You’re for capitalism
        Cubans are not
        You’re for imperialism/U.S. militarism
        Cubans are not
        You support the embargo which punishes all Cubans
        Cubans do not.
        You are against socialist-style economies
        Cubans are for them.
        Who are you going to blame for Cuba maintaining its revolutionary course when both Castro brothers have retired ?
        You may well have been born in Cuba but you’re as much a U.S. imperialist as George W. Bush was and the vast majority of Cubans do not agree with your thinking.
        Otherwise when they have elections in Cuba ,half the Cubans would stay home just as they they do in the U.S. or deface their ballots .
        In any Cuban election only about five percent of the ballots are defaced .
        In the U.S half the voters stay home
        In Cuba some 95-97% of eligible voters do cast their ballots at every election.
        Finally, do you any idea of the number of people who said that once Fidel goes , Cuba will embrace what the U.S. wants which is a restoration of capitalism under a totalitarian government.
        ( You cannot have a totalitarian economic system AND a democratic government at the same time -no sane person in a democratic political system would support the incredible economic inequities manifested under capitalism .
        Now you had to go another ten years in saying the same thing about Raul .
        Do you never tire of being so obviously incorrect ?
        Why don’t you just concentrate on enjoying your life under the totalitarian economic system you love so much and leave the Cuban people to decide their own fate .
        Stop trying to tell them to do what they clearly do not want to do .
        Cuba and Cubans would be much better off without people like you trying to crush them.
        i
        .

        • CUBAQUS

          Some errata:

          - Cuba is capitalist: state capitalist

          - Cuba is moving to more capitalism with partnerships with foreign investors and % foreign ownership

          - lots of Cubans dream from having their own little “capitalist” business

          - Lots of Cubans support sanctions against the regime and almost all know that the real reason Cuba is in dire straits is the mismanagement by the regime

          - The embargo that punishes all people is the internal embargo that stops Cubans from economically developing themselves

          - It is the repression by a totalitarian regime that punishes the Cuban people

          - Cuba has no “socialist style” economy. It is a Stalinist style state capitalist system

          Opposing human rights abuses and exploitation of the people is being pro-Cuban. You are anti-Cuban as you are pro-Castro.

          When the Castro brothers are gone, Fidel has “retired” but still is the power behind the throne, those that try to continue the current system are the once one can blame for the continuing a system that has shown itself to be repressive, ineffective, corrupt, inefficient, unable to adequately feed the Cuban people and totally unable to provide the Cuban people with a decent quality of life.

          As far as elections in Cuba go: I agree with the UN:
          “the electoral process is so tightly controlled that the final phase, the voting itself, could be dispensed with without the final result being substantially affected”
          See: E/CN.4/1998/69

          The regime controls who can be “candidate” and then sends out the chivatos of the CDR to ensure people are pressured to participate in the charade under the clear threat of sanctions. The Cuban people knows elections can’t and won’t change anything. Even if all candidates would be rejected the new ones would again be vetted by the regime. there is no democratic remedy in a system that has no freedom of speech and that doesn’t allow all to stand freely in elections

        • Griffin

          When Cubans vote in a free and fair democratic election I will support the outcome 100%, whatever the outcome, because that will be the choice of the people. Now if the CUban people vote for capitalism, will you support that free choice of the CUban people? No, you will not, because you are not in favour of the Cuban people having any choice but yours.

          The tragedy is the people of Cuba haven’t had a free & democratic election since 1948.

          “leave the Cuban people to decide their own fate” …that is exactly what I am calling for.

          • rodrigvm

            Free and democratic elections like in Venezuela where the rightists do not accept their defeat, or like in El Salvador where the rightists do not accept their defeat, or like in US 2000 when the GOP stole the elections. The problem is that your Democratic champion is like the emperor esta desnudo.

          • Griffin

            My bias for a parliamentary democracy such as Canada has. It will be up to the Cuban people to build a free and democratic system based upon their own needs.

      • Dan

        How can you call yourself pro-Cuban if the majority of Cubans obviously disagree with you ?

    • CUBAQUS

      Cuba has no socialism. The “workers councils” are mere ineffective puppets where hardly anything real is discussed let alone anything real is achieved. Cuban workers do not have the right to strike which is the basic mechanism to defend rights that are violated. Workers rights aren’t defended by a trade union: they are subservient to the state-capitalist that is their employer.
      Independent and truly combative trade unions that oppose the state capitalist system that exploits the Cuban workers are jailed.
      Workers in mixed companies see 80-90% of their income confiscated by the regime that receives hard currency salaries for them and pays them in worthless Cuban pesos.
      That is the reality for workers in Cuba
      Note that supporting the regime is the true anti-Cuban attitude. In your blind support of the Castros you see anti-Castro and anti-dictatorship as “anti-cuban”. That attitude in defense of the rights of the Cuban people and workers alike is in fact pro-Cuban

  • jpalli13

    Has anyone read the full text of the “new” law?

    I know it has not been published yet where it has to be published for publicity purposes, the Gaceta Oficial de Cuba -the counterpart to our Federal Register-, but has any of the many writing and commenting on this topic had access to, at the very least, the final version of the law after its approval by Cuba’s “parliament”?

  • N.J. Marti

    Financial reforms, Investment and trade will fuel the rise of the economy. Cuba with it’s educated work force will make rapid strides as it diversifies and trades with other nations. The coming single currency and normalization to a wage based economy from a barter system will further increase the productivity of the work force.

  • CUBAQUS

    As all experts agree: Cuba’s track record and the legal uncertainty will ensure that the aim of achieving 2.5 billion of foreign investment per year will fail.