CUBA BRIEF: Will the economy decline 1.4% this year? Venezuelan crisis will determine Cuba’s future. Repression increased after Obama’s visit

Will the Cuban economy decline 1.4 percent this year?
The Miami Herald reports today that “Growth returns to Caribbean Basin, but recovery is uneven” “Economic performance in the Caribbean will be uneven this year: Some economies will grow by 5 percent or more, but others will be lucky to eke out even negligible economic growth.”  According to the article by Jacqueline Charles and Mimi Whitefield “The Cuban government is more optimistic about the island’s prospects than ECLAC is. It is predicting economic growth of around 2 percent with an increase in tourism leading the way. But other economists aren’t as sanguine. Pavel Vidal, a professor at Javeriana University in Colombia, is forecasting a decline of between .3 percent and 1.4 percent in the Cuban economy.”

Venezuelan civil unrest impacts on Cuba 
The civil unrest in Venezuela is very much in the mind of General Raul Castro because as Miriam Celaya writes in 14yMedio”the Venezuelan crisis continues to “what is currently being played out in Venezuela is not only the future of that nation, beyond the adversities of Nicolás Maduro and his cronies, buy the course of the next steps of the Cuban regime, which continues to be the absolute owner of the Island’s destinies. “

14yMedio, April 23, 2017

Tell Us, General, What’s Plan B?

Miriam Celaya, Havana, 20 April 2017 — The Venezuela of “XXI Century Socialism” is wavering and threatening to collapse. It’s only a matter of time, soon, perhaps, as to when it will tumble. And since the economic and political crisis of the country has slipped from the government’s grasp, President Nicolás Maduro, in another irrefutable demonstration of his proverbial sagacity, under the advice of his mentors of Havana, has opted for the most coherent path with the nature of the regime: increase repression and “arm the people.”

Such a strategy cannot end well, especially when thousands of street protesters are not only motivated by the defense of democracy, but also by the reluctance to accept the imposition of forced present and future poverty for a nation that should be one of the richest on the planet. Decent Venezuelans will not accept the imposition of the Castro-style dictatorship that is trying to slip in their country. continue reading

Thus, “Maduro-phobia” has become viral, people have taken to the streets and will make sure that they will stand in protest until their demands are met, which involve the return of the country to the constitutional thread, to legality, to the rule of law, that is to say, without Maduro.

As the Venezuelan crisis increases in its polarization, Nicolás Maduro, allegedly elected by the popular vote, continues to accelerate his presidential metamorphosis into a person of the purest traditional Latin American style, capable of launching the army and hundreds of thousands of armed criminals against their (un)governed compatriots who have decided to exercise their right to peaceful demonstration. [More]

Q24N (Costa Rica),  April 23, 2017

Cuba’s Ladies in White Claim Normalization Made Repression Worse

By Q24N on 23 April 2017
TODAY CUBA – The Cuban opposition group Ladies in White has spoken out again about increased repression against political dissidents on the island.

In Miami, Florida this week, the group spoke about the current political situation, which they claim is worsening.

“We ask the international community to tell the Castro regime to stop repression in Cuba,” the Lady in White member Maria Elena Alpízar said.

According to the organization, the issue has intensified following cooling relations with the United States in December 2014, and President Barack Obama’s approach to opening up the island.

“We gave a report (to the Organization of American States) with all the human rights violations that have been committed against us over the past 95 Sundays,” she said, claiming there has been some form of repression every weekend. [More]

Diario de Cuba, April 24, 2017

Cuban Economics: Theft and Subsidies, Not Exports

By Roberto Álvarez Quiñones | Los Ángeles

Once gain former Economy minister José Luis Rodríguez has attempted to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. Apparently the Castro dictatorship has called on him to do its dirty work and cook the books to present a more favorable picture of the regime’s administration.

Rodríguez recently wrote, in Cubadebate, that the export of doctors, nurses and other health professionals brought in revenue amounting to an average of 11.543 billion dollars yearly between 2011 and 2015. False. As a source he drew upon the 2016 Statistical Yearbook on Health – which was so incomplete that it does not even mention how many health professionals work outside Cuba, the most important factor of all. The Ministry of Public Health acknowledges that there are about 50,000 in all.

I think it is appropriate to note that last February Rodríguez announced that in 2016 Cuba paid its foreign creditors $5.299 billion, which is also false. And, in 2006, as Minister of the Economy, he said, with a straight face, that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Cuba had grown 12.5%, the greatest growth in the world, even surpassing China. [More]

1,2,3,4,5…Cuba by the numbers

  • Number of Cuban provinces in 1959: Six.
  • Number of Cuban provinces today: Fourteen.
  • 1958 Sugar crop 5.5 million tons [The New York Times]
  • 2015 Sugar crop 1.5 million tons [Reuters]
  • Number of political parties in Cuba today: One, Communist Party of Cuba