Raul Castro Says Cuba is Growing and Paying its Foreign Debt

July 16, 2015 |
General/President Raul Castro addresses the Cuban parliament on July 15, 2015.  Photo: Ismael Francisco/cubadebate.cu

General/President Raul Castro addresses the Cuban parliament on July 15, 2015. Photo: Ismael Francisco/cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES (dpa) — Cuban President Raul Castro addressed the Cuban legislature on Thursday emphasizing the improved macro economy annual growth figure of 4.7 for the first semester of the year and noting that Cuba is paying its debts on time.

“During the first semester of the year we have faced severe external financial restrictions, however, the country continues to strictly meet its debt obligations with foreign creditors and suppliers, a practice that favors renewed credibility in the nation’s economy, despite the US blockade which is still in full force,” said Raul Castro.

Castro, 84, pointed out that even with the reopening of respective embassies on July 20 in Washington and Havana, to achieve fully normalized US-Cuban relations, the half-century economic and financial embargo on Cuba must first be lifted.

The two countries formally resume diplomatic relations next Monday as part of a historical rapprochement started last December, after more than five decades of hostility and ideological rivalry.

Castro insisted in his speech that Cuban society will continue its process of transformations in order “to build a prosperous and sustainable socialism, which will guarantee our independence.”

The general/president also reiterated the demand that Washington return the Guantanamo naval base to Cuba, and discontinue the US programs for the “democratization” of Cuba, which funds some of the exile groups and media based in Florida.

On the international front, Castro praised the landmark nuclear agreement reached Tuesday between Iran and the five veto-wielding powers on the Security Council of the United Nations plus Germany. The agreement, reached after years of difficult talks, provides for several control mechanisms for the Iranian nuclear program.

“This result shows that dialogue and negotiation are the only effective tool to resolve differences between countries,” said the Cuban leader, who also defended the right of all countries to peaceful use of nuclear energy.

 

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  • Monseigneur Gomezz

    Well boys, this should give you a wake up call; 4.7% economic growth over 6 months and foreign debt being paid on time…Humm, isn’t that the total opposite of what some of you, the detractors of the Revolution, have been claiming in this forum? Of course you are going to shout that it’s not true but I know is only the pain from the collapse of your malignant platform right from under your feet. Cuba surges forward and you guys are left behind, swamped by the wake with no paddle in the s–t creek of History.

    • John Goodrich

      Moses is just not happy because despite the effectiveness of the embargo in impoverishing the entire population, Cuba’s autochthonous distribution system has enabled it to survive this imperial attempt to force neo-colonial free-enterprise totalitarianism upon the island.
      That is an accurate description of his his great love for totalitarian capitalism and his great dislike of the Cuban people who overwhelmingly disagree with everything he stands for.

      • Moses Patterson

        Raul Castro promised to put a glass of milk on every table. Cubans are still waiting for that. Because the Castros will certainly lie, the proof will come in other ways. I think Raul simply misspoke. After all, he is 86.

        • bjmack

          that’s true Moses! good point indeed. Water trickling in Havana is also a source of concern. plus he’s back to wearing the fatigues and that’s scary!

          • John Goodrich

            Yeah those 84 year-old revolutionaries in fatigues scare the pants off , I thought I’d mention you imperialists even now .
            Just for the record and because only the author mentioned it in all the comments that followed the article, there was no mention of the effect the ongoing U.S. embargo has on the Cuban economy .
            You Cuba haters can willfully ignore it to try to make your points about how it’s all the fault of the Cuban government but you make the mistake of thinking that everyone is as stupid as you. Anyone writing in an objective way in
            would have to include the effects of the embargo on the Cuban economy and none of you do rendering your arguments lame and openly anti-intellectual.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Now now Mr. Goodrich once again you are making your regular mistake of confusing Cuba and the Castro Family regime.
            They are not synonymous any more than the Bush family and the US of A. Incidentally, are you about to elect another member of that family as your President? I suppose that what you folks in the US really seek a new Royal family.

        • John Goodrich

          Yes, Raul is 84 and at that age has an excuse for saying things which are incorrect and not at all a reflection of reality.
          And your excuse is ????

          • Moses Patterson

            When you can’t defend your position with facts, you make ad hominem attacks. Poor strategy.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        Bunkum Mr. Goodrich. You are totally unqualified to express a view upon what the Cuban people agree and disagree with. You don’t even know Cuba or the Cubans.
        Just stick to anarchy, state capitalism and theoretical socialism and your academic theories about them.

        • Dan

          Take that from our loquacious Liberation Tourist !

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Quite right Dan! Glad for your support!

    • Ken Hiebert

      4.7% over six months (9.4% over a year) would be a remarkably high rate. I am guessing that what Castro is saying is that for the first six months they achieved an annual rate of 4.7%, which is positive and more than some economies are achieving at the present time.

      • Monseigneur Gomezz

        That’s correct Ken, 4.7% annual rate in the first 6 months, as it says in the article, more than Canada or the USA despite the still existing but ever crumbling Blockade; I knew IC would deny it because that’s what he does, Moses is probably having a coronary (sirimbilla) and Carlyle just blew a gasket and unqualified John from knowing anything about Cubans from his Exalted Office as Cuban Knowledge Arbiter because he, Carlyle, had nothing to offer except his jaundiced opinion and total arrogance. Like I said, we are surging forward, bearing glad tidings and leaving our critics to “wallow in the mire” of their own BS.

        • informed Consent

          I did not deny it, I just find it hard to believe. Cuba has a track record of making less than accurate statements. And since Cuba does not adhere to international accounting standards its impossible to verify.

          But if you were forced to place a wager on the veracity on the statement, one way or the other, where would you place your hard earned money eh?

    • Informed Consent

      And yet they can’t keep buildings from collapsing. But seriously, this data is highly suspect and, unlike other countries, there is no way to verify it. It would be extremely remarkable if this were true but past pronouncements have always proven to be erroneous.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      And it’s all coming tumbling down – you speak of a malignant platform collapsing – it must have been a part of Cuba’s infrastructure. Cuba “surges forward” leaving citizens dead in their collapsing homes. I note with a degree of amusement that you are now abbreviating your foul language – at least that is a behavioural improvement!

  • Moses Patterson

    There must be a problem in the translation of his remarks. The sentence “macro economy growth figure of 4.7 for the first semester of the year” does not make sense. It’s incredulous that Cuban GDP is tracking 4.7% growth for the year.

    • bjmack

      Looks better than Puerto Rico and how there now defaulting.

      • Moses Patterson

        Puerto Rico’s problem is not from a lack of productivity. It is a lack of spending discipline. If Cuba had access to the capital markets, they would be far worse off. Relatively speaking, they are debt – free. The Castros have simply mismanaged the income revenues they receive.

        • bjmack

          I spent quite a bit of time in Puerto Rico and never saw such poverty in my life.
          The fact remains, and it’s a fact they cannot pay their bills. Debt is the problem along with the trillions that we have in this country and that will come back to haunt us well.

        • John Goodrich

          Puerto Rico is failing economically because capitalism is failing worldwide and will go continue to go downhill faster and faster due first, to globalization and then second and fatally, automation of the workplace .
          Cuba has economic problems due to the U.S. having impoverished the population over the 54 years of the embargo which counter-revolutionaries must omit in their lame arguments .
          Cuba growing 4% is as likely as the U.S. poverty rate being only what the USG says it is and not double which is the reality.

          • Moses Patterson

            Your economic perspective is shared by a scant few around the world. Ever wonder why that is?

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      You can only take Raul’s word for it Moses and he wouldn’t tell a fib would he?
      Maybe at the end of the year he will say that he miss-spoke?

  • Griffin

    Grow in the Cuban GDP was 1.3% in 2014. Now Raul says it’s grown to 4.7% over six months. Where has this astonishing economic growth come from? In recent years, the Venezuelans gave Cuba oil, which they then sold on the local Caribbean market at a high profit. Now that the price of oil has crashed, that gambit has dried up. Any big jump in Cuban exports? Nickel prices have edged up slightly. There are reports that tourism is up, especially from the US, but is that enough to boost the Cuban economy so dramatically?

    Sorry, but my BS meter is red-lining. Raul is pumping up the picture to attract investors for fleecing.

    • bjmack

      Griffin, i thought you were dead! glad you’re still around. i’m surprised his comments aren’t carefully diagnosed. on a separate note most countries, including the US, have cooked the books big time with trillions pumped into the system keeping rates so low that corporations are borrowing for less than a percentage point and buying back their stocks making earnings look pretty good. i would have been thrilled to have seen the fed step back and let the cards fall five years ago. Back to Raul I still think he looks ridiculous wearing those fatigues.

  • Len Akerstream

    keep it up,we all want this to happen

  • utranda goldstein

    SEE America SOCIALISM works if you are not Greedy like most of you are, you Zionist are all jealous and trying to figure out how to bambozel the Cuban people and exploit them.

    • informed Consent

      Works? Ha, tell that to the Cuban people. …that was a funny joke though!

    • Griffin

      Psst: your Jew-hate is showing!

      • John Goodrich

        I’m of Jewish descent and I also hate Zionism as it is now represented .
        Your ignorance of the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is showing
        Please learn the difference.

        • Griffin

          I know the difference, John. Unlike “utranda goldstein”, you don’t see evil Zionist cabals behind every world conspiracy.

    • John Goodrich

      With US imperialism at its height of world power, it hardly needs the help of the Zionists in crushing non-capitalist and/or democratic aspirations around the world .
      And FYI, there has not been a socialist ( worker-led, democratic) economy or society in humanity’s 100,000 years of existence.
      And yes socialism will work in the future after the demise of capitalism
      Both the free-enterprise U.S. version and the state capitalist version of the so-called communist nations are totalitarian and are doomed to failure for several reasons including for that one and socialism and the future communism are based strictly on democracy .
      .

      • bjmack

        John, whether I agree with you or not the US will remain a top player in world events and policies. You’re not going to alter that and if you did there would probably be a civil war in this country that would make 1860 look like Disneyland. Second of all we all know the US has tried and continues to try to change the paradigm in Cuba and yes, in some instances violently. Agree with that or not it seems to be settling and even Chomsky has commented, for the better. Too short here to go into details but things are looking better for Cuba, in my opinion, and a new order or system should be looked at so as to maintain Cuba’s independence and make life better for its peoples.

    • informed Consent

      Jealous of what? Their the ones immigrating in record numbers to the US, not the other way around.

    • bjmack

      Gabby Johnson lives!!!

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      If you want to see whether SOCIALISM works, leave Havana and visit a typical rural town. There you will find crumbling infrastructure, hospitals, schools, streets breaking up, electrical systems failing, and leaking water pipes permitting water to run down the streets. For transport there is Shanks pony (your own legs), if you are fortunate a bicycle or if going all the way to Havana (to arrive at La Lisa) taxis particular (these can be old trucks with crude seats packed in, but with some passengers standing) The Cuban people are not bamboozled they just have to try to exist on their average earnings of $20.68 per month.
      It has taken 56 years of Socialism to achieve these standards.
      And you utranda goldstein think that Socialism works? Go and live in Cuba!

  • N.J. Marti

    I like the attitude on negotiations. Let’s get these old debts settled, but avoid getting sucked into black hole of investing in Cuba. Leave that to other countries and private sector. Best move with Cuba is let it find it’s own course. Forget nation building thoughts. The 4.7 self reported growth is meaningless.