Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    2017 ‘Muy malo’ for Cuba

    2017: ‘Muy malo’ for Cuba
    By Silvio Canto, Jr.
    December 29, 2016

    For 10 years, Raúl has benefited a lot from having Fidel around. Fidel
    always showed up at the big celebrations or wrote a column.

    Forget that. It won’t be pretty in 2017, as we see in this report from
    the AP:

    Castro must manage these twin economic and diplomatic challenges during
    a year of transition. The 85-year-old general has promised to hand over
    the office in early 2018 to a successor, widely expected to be Miguel
    Diaz-Canel, a 56-year-old official with neither the Castro name nor
    revolutionary credentials. The change will occur without Castro’s older
    brother Fidel, the revolutionary leader whose largely unseen presence
    endowed the system he created with historical weight and credibility in
    the eyes of many Cubans before he died last month at 90.

    “Even if those two events hadn’t taken place — Trump’s victory and
    Fidel’s death — 2017 was going to be a very difficult year for Cuba,”
    said Cuban economist Omar Everleny Perez, a visiting professor at Keio
    University in Tokyo.

    Cuba publishes few credible economic statistics, but experts expect the
    country to end this year with gross domestic product growth of 1 percent
    or less. It maintained a rate close to 3 percent from 2011-2015.

    By the way, it’s nice to see an analyst admit that Cuba produces very
    little credible economic data. This is why so many have been skeptical
    of health care or literacy gains boasted by Cuba.

    Back to the economy.

    Indeed, there are tourists, but it does not seem to help the Cuban
    economy. This is because Cubans have very little to gain from these
    hotels and restaurants where tourists are spending their dollars.

    Add to this the mismanagement of Cuba’s economy, and you have profits
    that end up in the Castro accounts rather than the pockets of the Cuban

    We are not saying this is new. Cuba has always been for the benefit of
    Castro and the gang that protects him. However, this is the first time
    that they are going to do without a USSR subsidy, EU loans, cheap
    Venezuela oil, or a U.S. president willing to go around the embargo.

    It will be Raúl vs. reality in 2017, and the Cuban elites don’t have a
    clue of what will hit them. There is no one waiting to bail them out

    Source: Blog: 2017: ‘Muy malo’ for Cuba –