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    What would happen in Cuba if Maduro fell?

    What would happen in Cuba if Maduro fell?
    ROBERTO ÁLVAREZ QUIÑONES | Los Ángeles | 1 de Mayo de 2017 – 09:38 CEST.

    There are probably not many Cubans who are aware of the economic and
    social tsunami that the fall of the military regime in Venezuela could
    unleash upon them. They can’t be. Reading Granma, Juventud Rebelde, and
    Trabajadores, and watching the nightly news and listening to Radio
    Rebelde, Radio Reloj and the rest of the radio stations in the country,
    it is impossible.

    Of course, thanks to the new “counterrevolutionary” technologies, and to
    independent journalists, some Cubans are better informed, and can
    already spot a new “Special Period” looming on the horizon.

    State media asserts that Nicolás Maduro is being harassed by terrorists
    and fascists organized by “the right” as part of a plot devised by
    Washington to crush the “Bolivarian Revolution.” Those who are
    anesthetized by this propaganda will be the most shocked when chavismo
    ultimately collapses.

    It is no longer feasible to sacrifice Maduro and replace him with Tareck
    el Aissami, Diosdado Cabello, Jorge Rodríguez or any other chavista
    higher-up. The time to do so ran out when they began massacring
    demonstrators in the streets. There have been almost 70 murders
    committed by the government, in public, since 2014. These are crimes
    whose perpetrators must be tried. They do not prescribe.

    After Maduro, in Miraflores there can be no other chavista, however
    “moderate” and “pragmatic” they attempt to portray him. There will be a
    democratic government, provisional or definitive, and without colonial
    ties to Cuba. A legitimately Venezuelan regime.

    More cash than in the previous 206 years

    Chavismo had the opportunity to diversify the economy and develop the
    country. Between 1999 and 2015 it received $960.589 billion for its
    petroleum, an average of 56.5 million per year, according to the
    consultancy Ecoanalítica. That amount is far superior to all the money
    generated by Venezuela in its 206 years of history, since its
    declaration of independence from Spain.

    This not sufficing, Chávez, to get his hands on even more, and to
    continue squandering mass quantities of capital, ordered the issuance of
    54.327 billion dollars in bonds by the Republic and the PDVSA, the
    State’s petrol entity. Now broke, the country has to pay those
    Venezuelan bondholders (creditors) 110 billion until 2027, for interest
    and principal. It also owes Russia and China. The debt to Beijing
    reached 60 billion dollars. The country is bankrupt.

    Under el chavismo the total number of public employees shot up, from
    900.000 to 2,4 million. And the PDVSA went from 40.000 employees to the
    over 145,000 it staffs today. Chávez used his fat wallet to buy
    political allegiances in Latin America and votes in the OAS And the UN,
    finance leftist electoral campaigns, and consolidate Latin American
    socialism. And also to prop up the unproductive Cuban economy, and
    launch social programs without investing anything in the country’s
    socio-economic development.

    The worst part is that part of this fortune was stolen and deposited in
    foreign banks by members of the chavista leadership. Meanwhile,
    Venezuelans are suffering the worst existential crisis in their history,
    beleaguered by a government of malandros, as they call criminals, drug
    dealers, thieves and murderers there.

    Many of them will end up in jail (even in the US). They know this, and
    are clenching the reins of power. They will never hand it over in an
    electoral process that they cannot control. In the elections of 2013 the
    winner was Henrique Capriles. Maduro governs thanks to a fraud cooked up
    in Havana. The official election result was 50,66% for Maduro and 49,07%
    for Capriles, but everyone in Venezuela knows that Henrique received
    more votes than Nicolás.

    New elections in Venezuela would make sense if the National Assembly
    were allowed to exercise its functions, the members of the National
    Electoral Council and the Supreme Court of Justice were dismissed,
    people who are respectful of the Constitution were appointed, all
    political prisoners were released, and adequate international oversight
    were accepted, including the OAS and EU.

    That is what the Venezuelan people are demanding. They know that only
    pressure from the street can change things. That is why they are out
    there today. They knows that only pressure on the street can cause a
    rupture in the Chávez leadership leading to real elections, or an
    intervention by military forces not linked to drug trafficking and the
    embezzlement of public funds.

    Consequences for Cuba

    For Castro Maduro’s fall would mean the end of “21st-Century Socialism”
    and even the Sao Paulo Forum, the Communist/Castro international created
    in 1990 by Fidel Castro and Lula da Silva with a view to socializing all
    of Latin America. The chavistas’ fall would leave the Cuban dictatorship
    politically and ideologically helpless, more isolated than ever, because
    the “socialist camp” would no longer exist.

    As for the economy, according to calculations by Professor Carmelo
    Mesa-Lago, Cuba’s dependence on Venezuela is equivalent to 21% of the
    Island’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This includes almost half of the
    deficit in the trade balance and 42% of Cuba’s total foreign trade.

    Caracas’ subsidies to Havana amounted to, until recently, about 10
    billion dollars a year. They have fallen to about 7 billion, according
    to a range of sources. This torrent of foreign currency, although
    diminished, constitutes one of the two great pillars of the Cuban economy.

    The other is money received from the “empire” via remittances, packages
    and travel, in 2016 amounting to some 7 billion dollars. The Cuban
    economy depends on foreigners because the state’s productive apparatus
    generates very little and only exports four products (sugar, tobacco,
    nickel and pharmaceuticals), worth less than 4 billion dollars. Tourism,
    in net terms, generates less than 1 billion.

    The collapse of el chavismo would knock out one of the two columns
    underpinning the Castro economy. Until recently Cuba received 36 million
    barrels of oil per year from Venezuela, 61% of the nation’s consumption
    (59 million barrels). Now it receives 19,3 million barrels (32,7%). The
    Island also re-exported gasoline sent from Venezuela or refined in
    Cienfuegos, for more than 720 million dollars annually.

    In short, with $7 billion less in cash, and without receiving 61% of the
    oil consumed by the country, it is time to ask Raúl Castro out of what
    hat he is going to pull the 3,7 billion that would be necessary just to
    buy the oil not sent by Venezuela, and import food.

    Foreign currency from the United States would not be sufficient to
    maintain even the precarious standard of living of Cubans, whose average
    salary of $24 is not even half that in Haiti ($59). In response to the
    reassuring arguments of the regime’s economists that a suspension of
    ties with Venezuela could be weathered without trauma, I can think of
    three questions: How? Are they counting on subsidies from China, Russia,
    Iran or Algeria? Is the European Union, Japan, Canada, Singapore or
    Australia going to give them money?

    These questions lead to another: what can the regime do to prepare for
    such a socioeconomic tsunami? Everyday Cubans have the answer: General
    Castro and his military junta must stop trampling on the economic
    liberties embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, such as
    private property, and having businesses of their own that can grow
    without state obstacles. And they must be able to export and import, and
    invest capital in their own country. Foreign investment must be
    facilitated. And farmers must be able to own their land, and sell their
    crops freely.

    That is, the regime must liberate the Island’s productive forces and
    foster a thriving private sector. Otherwise, there will be another
    “Special Period,” and Cuba might end up resembling China during Mao’s
    “Great Leap Forward,” which almost destroyed the country

    Source: What would happen in Cuba if Maduro fell? | Diario de Cuba –