Are We Cubans More Unruly Than Other Peoples?

Telephone with the handset ripped off

Telephone with the handset ripped off

14ymedio, Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 30 September 2015 – “Nobody takes care of anything,” raged the lady in line at the cash register of a State butcher shop. She was referring to those who leave the refrigerators open or who put their shopping baskets on the glass counters. However, she didn’t seem to notice the lack of air conditioning, the stench coming from some of the freezers where the goods were spoiled, or the single employee taking payments, while the others looked on with their arms crossed. The customers are to blame, according to the feisty woman.

Social indiscipline has become a recurring theme in reports and interviews in the national media. Vandalism is blamed for everything, from problems with public transport buses to the deplorable state of planted areas. Official journalists raise the accusing finger more and more against the pillage, while barely addressing the educational and political system that has molded these citizens so bent on looting and destruction.

Social behavior is shaped by one’s environment. On a spotless floor, a clean sidewalk, in a cared-for city, many will imitate the environment and avoid dirtying, destroying or degrading it. Context greatly influences people’s attitude toward public spaces and common goods. But when the environment is dirty, assaulted by carelessness and becomes hostile, those who inhabit it will neither respect nor care for it.

Cubans are no more unruly than other human beings and yet, right now, a park filled with children’s play structures needs to be guarded like a bank, so that the swing seats, the iron from the carousels or the ropes from the climbing nets aren’t stolen. In poorly lit areas of the city people defecate or urinate, microdumps rise in thousands of corners and a stream of dirty water can fall from any balcony, directly on pedestrians below.

When the environment is dirty, assaulted by carelessness and becomes hostile, and those who inhabit it will neither respect nor care for it

The situation has gone on for so long that many have come to believe that it is in the DNA of our identity to not care for our surroundings. “This city couldn’t have a subway, because imagine the stink in those tunnels with people taking care of all their needs down there,” states a gentleman with the tint of a shabby official, while waiting at a bus stop.

With his words, the man suggested that we Cubans cannot enjoy the privileges of modernity and comfort, because we are unable to maintain them. However, this same “unredeemable exterminator” that we have become can get on a plane, go to New York or Berlin, and in two weeks in those place be throwing trash in the bins, not lighting up in public places, and cleaning the mud off their shoes before entering an office.

Vandalism is a problem present in all societies. Laws and control regulate it and keep it in check, but there it is. It is a part of our human nature that a moment of rage makes us take a blade and inscribe our name on a recently painted wall, or rip the fabric of a movie theater seat. Fines and other penalties should keep this vulture we all shelter within us from getting out of hand.

However, the context has to encourage people to care for things. It is not enough to call for discipline and formal education, the individual has to feel that it’s worth the trouble to preserve his or her surroundings. A street full of potholes, a late and overloaded bus, a sidewalk plunged into darkness, its single streetlight broken years ago, are the ideal components for depredation and pillage.

Many, like the lady who complained at the butcher’s, no longer perceive the scenario of constant attacks on the rights of consumers and citizens that our society presents. So accustomed to the abuse, the inefficiencies, the breakage and the high prices, they throw all the blame on those “unruly Cubans” who couldn’t “live anywhere without destroying it.”

78 thoughts on “Are We Cubans More Unruly Than Other Peoples?

  1. The leftist authoritarian government of the Revolutionaries in Cuba is recognized around the World as a very effective government in meeting or working towards International goals. The economic hardship the Cubans experience in a middle income country of the World which Cuba is are magnified by Cuba being situated next to a Rich country. The United States is being a good neighbor to Cuba by not allowing illegal entry to the United States to Cubans or any other Latin American People. This “safety valve” to civil unrest stops pressure for internal reforms sorely needed in Latin American countries. Cubans, instead of working so hard to get off the island, should be working for expansion of Raul’s reforms in the island nation. The individual that tried to get into the embassy of the United States illegally is an example of bad activism.


    BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: The New Cuban Economy: What Roles for Foreign Investment? – By: Richard Feinberg

    The most unusual characteristic of the Cuban FDI regime is the labor contract system . FDI firms are not generally allowed to directly hire labor . Rather, a state employment agency—typically a dependency of the relevant sectoral ministry (e .g ., tourism, light industry)—hires, fires, settles labor disputes, establishes wage scales, and pays the wages directly to the workers . The FDI pays the wage bill to the state employment agency which in turn pays the workers . But there is a very special twist to the Cuban system: the FDI pays wages to the employment agency in hard currency and the employment agency turns around and compensates the workers in local currency, an effective devaluation or tax of 24-to-1 . Thus, if the firm pays the employment agency $500 a month and the employment agency pays the workers 500 pesos, over 90 percent of the wage payment disappears in the currency conversion; the effective compensation is instantly deflated to $21 per month . This could be the world’s heaviest labor tax . It provoked one Cuban worker to remark to the author: “In Cuba, it’s a great myth that we live off the state . In fact, it’s the state that lives off of us .”

    This labor system, which also authorizes only one national union (the Confederation of Cuban Workers, which is closely allied with the Communist Party), violates many principles of the International Labor Organization, of which Cuba is a charter member . It also freezes Cuba into a low-wage, low-productivity trap .


  3. Humberto: The comments that you like to post are a clear and transparent example of what LLosa, the Nobel Prize Winner Peruvian now a Spaniard citizen, is thinking about when he said:
    ” Perceverencia en el error es una caracteristica Latino Americana” (English: Perseverance in error is a Latin American characteristic).


    THE DAILY MAIL: Castro the commie hypocrite who lives like a billionaire: He’s posed as a man of the people. But a new book reveals Cuba’s leader has led a life of pampered hedonism and a fortune as big as the Queen’s – By Guy Adams

    In a new, 338-page memoir, titled The Hidden Life Of Fidel Castro (published in France by Michel Lafon and co-authored by Axel Gyldén), Sanchez, an employee of 20 years’ standing, lifts the lid on the luxurious excesses enjoyed by the autocrat and his inner circle.
    The book portrays a man obsessed with power and money, who styled himself as a hero of the working classes while living the opulent existence of a medieval potentate.
    Unlike a gilded royal, however, the Cuban leader — whose British apologists have, by the by, included Ken Livingstone, Arthur Scargill and the late Tony Benn — managed to keep his life of luxury a closely guarded secret.
    For that, like any good dictator, he can thank the agents of a security state every bit as oppressive as that forged by dictatorial chums in Zimbabwe, China and the old Soviet Union.
    Sanchez was one of Castro’s security guards from 1977 to 1994, accompanying him on overseas trips to meet everybody from popes to U.S. presidents, and witnessing first hand his boss’s ability to exploit Cuba as a personal fiefdom.

  5. Humberto: Nothing in this World is for free. Specially when it comes to dealing with American Companies. Cuba has a long history of “American Free help”. I am sure that the condition was for the Cuban government to resign and hold new elections so they can have a government that the U.S. can control and manipulate in the same old tradition. Don’t be fool by American Corporatism and the ideology of Liberty, Freedom, Human Rights and Free Market Economics. It is all a camouflage for intervention and aggression. You have to be nuts to accept anything labeled “free” from the United States. China donating the close to 600 tractors to Cuba…YES…China’s foreign policy is not one of intervention or aggression like ours is.

  6. THE ECONOMIST: Cuba and the internet – Wired, at last – Mar 3rd 2011
    ACCORDING to government figures, only 3% of Cubans frequently use the internet, making the communist island the least connected place in the Americas. Those that do require patience: according to an industry survey, Cuba’s dial-up internet access is the world’s second-slowest, after Mayotte, a French territory in the Indian Ocean. Under the guise of rationing the use of bandwidth, internet access is banned in most private homes and censored in offices. In 2009 Barack Obama authorised American companies to provide internet services to the island. But Cuba showed no interest in exploring the possibility. Instead it turned to its ally and benefactor, Venezuela.

    WASHINGTON POST: U.S. Telecoms Eager to Build a Business Presence in Cuba – By Cecilia Kang -April 15, 2009
    U.S. telecommunication firms could open up investment in Cuba now that the Obama administration will allow companies to operate there, a final global frontier for the Internet age.
    But before cellphone and Internet providers rush in, they will closely study potential pitfalls in setting up shop in the Communist nation with one of the poorest populations in the region, analysts said.
    The Cuban government has not been helpful in allowing its citizens access to communications technology, said David Gross, who was U.S. ambassador and coordinator for International Information and Communications Policy during the Bush administration. Now that the United States has opened the door, he said, “the question is whether the Cuban government will allow people to come inside.”
    Cuba has the lowest percentage of telephone, Internet and cellphone subscribers in Latin America, according to Manuel Cereijo, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Miami. About 11 percent of residents subscribe to land-line telephone service, and 2 percent have cellphone service.
    Under President Obama’s plan, U.S. telecom companies would be able to build undersea cable networks that connect the two nations. Cellphone carriers would be able to contract with Cuba’s government-run wireless operator to provide service to its residents and offer roaming services to Americans visiting the island.
    U.S. satellite operators such as Sirius XM Radio and Dish Network could beam Martha Stewart and MTV programs to the nation. Cubans could also receive cellphones and computers donated from overseas.


    GLOBAL VOICE: Cuba Si, Google No: Cuban Officials Rumored to Reject Google’s Free WiFi Offer – 17 July 2015
    Top Cuban officials allegedly have rejected an offer from Google to supply the island with free public WiFi throughout the country. Although neither the company nor the Cuban government has explicitly commented on the matter, multiple news sources seem to have drawn this conclusion from an interview in Juventud Rebelde (“Rebellious Youth”), the island’s long-standing youth newspaper. The interview featured Jose Ramon Machado, a contemporary of the Castro brothers, who after forty years at the helm of Cuba’s Union of Communist Youth appears as determined as ever to instill in young Cubans the values and morals of Cuba’s unique brand of Marxism.

    When the reporter asked Machado what he thought about the value of the Internet for Cuban youth, Machado’s response was clear:

    “Internet access is a great opportunity and at the same time a great challenge, because new technologies are novel and vital, not only for person-to-person communication, but also for development. Everyone knows why there isn’t more Internet [in Cuba]. It’s because of the high cost.

    There are those who would like to give us Internet for free, but they aren’t doing this so that Cubans can communicate with one another, rather they’re doing it with the goal of penetrating us on ideological grounds, in an effort to make a new conquest. We need to get Internet, but in our own way, recognizing that the imperialist intention is to use it as one more way to destroy the Revolution.


  8. COLOMBIA REPORTS: Gabriel Garcia Marquez delivered drug letters from Pablo Escobar to Fidel Castro: Former hitman – by Grace Brown

    The late writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez delivered letters from slain Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar to former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro over drug shipments, Escobar’s former right-hand man claimed.

    In a one-hour interview with Puerto Rico’s Wapa TV, Jhon Jairo Velasquez, a.k.a. “Popeye,” claimed that Garcia was one of Escobar’s key contacts who would deliver drug trafficking information by letter.

    “I am going to give you a key bit of information: the link between everyone [Escobar, Cuba and the US] is called Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel Laureate,” said Popeye, who is alleged to have killed as many as 3,000 people in his Medellin Cartel years.

    According to the hit man who was released from prison early in 2014 after serving 22 years (three fifths) of his prison sentence, Garcia played the role of the messenger in Escobar’s greater plan of creating drug trafficking links between Colombia and Cuba in order to then bridge the trade to Miami.

    Popeye tried to boost this massive claim by assuring the interviewer that he himself spoke with Garcia regarding his position on behalf of Escobar.

    “I was in Mexico carrying a letter to the Nobel Laureate for Raul and Fidel Castro; a manuscript of Escobar’s”, tells the former chief hit man of the Medellin Cartel Hitmen, also dragging the revolutionary leaders of Cuba in to the narco trafficking mix for the first time in the known history of Escobar’s drug network.

    “When I got off the plane theMexican police were waiting for me and took me to where ‘Gabo’ was signing autographs. He called me aside and said, “Popeye, where is the letter?”, and I gave it to him,” recounted Escobar’s sidekick.


  9. Verizon and local Cuban telecommunication companies have come to agreements that Verizon would use their cell towers for roaming services – meaning Verizon customers can use their cell phones to take Instagram photos of the beautiful beaches and arroz con pollo.Roaming charges in Cuba are far from inexpensive. Verizon will be charging its customers $2.99 per minute for phone calls, $2.05 per megabyte of data used, and standard international rates for text messaging.Not all cell phones are capable of receiving this treatment. Verizon also stated their customers traveling to Cuba have to subscribe to the Pay-As-You-Go International Travel Option before heading overseas, as well as the cell phone must be a designated “world device” with the capabilities of receiving signals in Cuba.AT&T (T – Analyst Report) and T-Mobile (TMUS – Analyst Report), two of Verizon’s primary competitors, currently do not have any form of roaming agreements with Cuban telecommunication companies. With that being said, AT&T and T-Mobile customers have the ability to purchase a SIM card from a local Cuban cell phone company to stay connected – so long those cell phones are not locked to the respective US network.Verizon is among the first of a select few of US based companies commencing business relations in Cuba after the US eased diplomatic sanctions of the nation back in 2014. Netflix (NFLX – Analyst Report), for example, began expansion into Cuba this past February and Americans can use their American Express and MasterCard credit cards to make purchases in Cuba.More businesses will most likely be exploring the option of expanding into Cuba, especially when the specific details and rules of the eased embargo will begin on September 21st. The goal is to have a “stronger, more open U.S.-Cuba relationship has the potential to create economic opportunities for both Americans and Cubans alike,” stated U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew per – See more at:

    Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College
    Tania Bruguera in conversation with Paul Ramirez Jonas (Politics, Policy, and the Arts)
    Friday, October 9, 2015 @ 6:00 pm
    47-49 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065
    tel: 212.650.3174 | email:
    PROGRAM: From Havana to Beijing, authoritarian governments continue to crack down on artists whose work sheds light on the social, political, and economic struggles faced by local populations. Yet despite increasing censorship and persecution, artists continue to engage with and shape political consciousness, both at home and abroad. Please join us for a conversation between Tania Bruguera, a Cuban artist, who was arrested in Havana last year after staging a provocative open-mike performance and Paul Ramirez Jonas, a New York City-based artist whose work challenges the boundaries between artwork and spectator, on the role artists can play in creating social, political, and cultural change.

  11. Since 2008 when the new revised foreign investment law was released to align foreign investments with Raul’s reforms, many, many foreign investment projects have been signed and implemented or in process. Omar Everleny Pérez Villanueva is the Czar responsible for making sure all International Foreign Investments are aligned with the goals of Raul Castro’s Reforms. In the case of the United States so far what we have seen is:
    1. Regulatory framework being developed for actual U.S. investments in Cuba.
    2. More remittance to Cuba. (a people to people transactions)
    There are openings in other areas, but, still until Congress lift the embargo, no major impact that can be seen by Cubans in their daily life that are a direct result of commerce, trade and financing from the United States. Unification of the currency also needs to happen in 2016 along with lifting the U.S. embargo.

  12. Beginning in 2008, with the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines (known as the Lineamientos) probable changes to the legal framework were raised. The purpose was “to perfect regulations and procedures for evaluation, approval, and implementation of the participation of foreign investment, and simultaneously streamline the process.”
    Likewise, this calls for “rigorous control over compliance with regulations, procedures, and commitments contracted by the foreign party when any form of foreign investment is constituted.” (2)
    Today, any negotiations for foreign investment in Cuba must meet guarantee that certain objectives are met:
    – access to advanced technology,
    – access to management methods,
    – diversification and expansion of export markets,
    – substitution of imports,
    – medium and long-term external financing to support the construction of the productive objective
    – working capital contribution for its operation
    – development of new sources of jobs. (3)
    Within this context, the country and many would-be investors have been waiting for months for the announcement of a new regulatory legal framework. Many aspire for it to be the sign of an opening, and expectations are diverse. Will foreign investment be possible in the non-state sector? Could Cubans who reside abroad be considered as “foreign investors?” What new legal recourse will be presented to ensure national sovereignty over the country’s resources and the protection of its citizens?

    Some attractive sectors
    Tourism: Is the recipient of the largest amount of foreign investment (more than 30%) and the second-largest source of income for the Cuban economy. In 2012, Cuba received 2,838,468 tourists. Main projects consist of increasing accommodations capacities and developing non-hotel infrastructure focused on diversification of the tourism product. The traditional options of sun/beach and events are joined by high-standard tourism, for which work is underway on hotels of 80-120 rooms, marinas, real estate companies, and golf courses in tourist destinations such as Trinidad, Ancón and Las Caletas (Sancti Spíritus); Santa Lucía (Camagüey); Ciego de Ávila; Covarrubias (Las Tunas); Guardalavaca (Holguín); and Cienfuegos.
    Mining: Cuba is promoting the development of high value-added technical mineral production. This country has the largest proven reserves of nickel in the world (800 million tons) and it also has major reserves of marble and zeolite. Exploration is underway for gold, silver, copper-zinc, lead and chromium.
    Oil: Cuba produces about 4 million tons annually. Currently, at-risk exploration is taking place with the participation of foreign companies in Cuba’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the Gulf of Mexico: 112,000 km2 and estimated reserves of 20 billion barrels. Cuba is promoting exploration in its EEZ, on the mainland and in shallow waters, as well as at-risk contracts for increasing production and recovery of operating wells.
    Energy: Government will is combining with potential for the extensive use of renewable energy sources for producing electric power, especially solar energy, wind energy, and sugarcane biomass. Cuban law permits the country’s national electric utility, the UNE, to buy energy from independent producers.
    Packaging: Essential for meeting the shortage of domestically-produced packaging that is affecting traditional and emerging manufacturing chains, whether by state production entities or private and cooperative ones. Cuba spends more than $400 million on importing plastic, glass, paper and cardboard packaging.

    Steps for initiating a foreign investment process in Cuba
    1. Identification of projects.
    – Contact the Department of Commercial Promotion and Industrial Development of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce.
    – Contract the services of a Cuban-based consultancy firm.
    – Contact the corresponding government ministries and business groups.
    2. Drawing up a letter of intent to do business or a framework agreement.
    3. Preparing the required financial and legal documentation: Draft Business Partnership Agreement, Draft Statutes, and Economic Feasibility Study. Accreditation of the foreign party’s identity and solvency.
    4. Presentation of the documentation to the Ministry of Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation.
    5. Approval (or denial) of the investment project.
    6. Registration of the partnership in the Registry of Companies (Registro de Sociedades) of the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba.
    (1) Omar Everleny Pérez Villanueva and Pavel Vidal Alejandro: “La Inversión Extranjera Directa y la actualización del modelo económico cubano” (“Direct Foreign Investment and the updating of the Cuban economic model”).
    (2) Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution (Lineamientos de la Política Económica y Social del Partido y la Revolución). Document dated April 18, 2011.
    (3) Idem.
    (4) Omar Everleny Pérez Villanueva y Pavel Vidal Alejandro, op. cit.

    Monday, September 28, 2015
    Office of Public Affairs

    U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will travel to Havana on October 6-7, becoming the second U.S. cabinet official to visit Cuba since President Obama called for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba in December 2014.

    While there, Secretary Pritzker will meet with senior Cuban officials and co-chair a Regulatory Dialogue with Cuban officials, through which U.S. government leaders from the Departments of Commerce and Treasury will describe the recent changes made to rules governing trade, financial transactions, and travel with respect to Cuba. U.S. officials will also hear from Cuban leaders on the structure and status of the Cuban economy, including the nongovernmental sector. This Regulatory Dialogue is intended to facilitate more effective implementation of new U.S. policies toward Cuba.

  14. The delivery of 587 tractors to Cuba by Chinese YTO Group, a leading manufacturer of agricultural machinery, is a courageous respite for the domestic food production, based mainly on the existing technological obsolescence in that key sector.
    This acquisition will support priority activities, including production of grain, sugar and milk. As part of the agreement between the Chinese company and the Cuban TECNOIMPORT, his institution validated the supply of tractors of various powers, which are tested by experts from both countries, while local workers are trained in the use of this machinery.
    The most powerful tractors (160 horsepower) will be allocated to the sugar harvest; while the lighter ones (between 65 and 90 horsepower), will be used in lower agricultural activities and health labors.


    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE YOUTUBE : U.S. Priorities in the Western Hemisphere – Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Francisco Palmieri leads a briefing on U.S. Priorities in the Western Hemisphere at the New York Foreign Press Center on October 2, 2015.


    REUTERS: Exclusive: Cuba may revive Paris Club debt negotiations – By Marc Frank – Apr 22, 2014

    Cuba and the Paris Club of wealthy creditor nations are working to resume talks over billions of dollars of official debt in a new sign the communist government is interested in rejoining the global economy.
    A Paris Club delegation quietly traveled to Havana late last year to meet with Cuban bank officials, who were prepared with various proposals and appeared eager to strike a deal, according to Western diplomats.
    Previous negotiations broke off in 2000 and obstacles remain to reviving serious talks, said the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
    The Cuban government last reported its “active” foreign debt, accumulated after it declared a default in the late 1980s, as $13.6 billion in 2010. The government no longer reports its “passive” debt from before the default, which economists estimate at $8 billion.
    By the Paris Club’s accounting, Cuba owed its members $35.5 billion at the close of 2012, but more than $20 billion of the debt was in old transferable Soviet rubles, 90 percent of which Russia forgave in 2013.

  17. TRINIDAD GUARDIAN: Cuba on FATF money laundering blacklist
    Cuba, which is at the centre of a money laundering case in which Republic Bank has been named, is on a list of 15 countries that have been identified as not being sufficiently compliant with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the inter-governmental agency that develops provides international policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
    The list is hosted on the Web site of T&T’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is required to publish the list of countries by virtue of Section 17(1)(a) of the Financial Intelligence Unit Act of T&T. The public notice is dated February 23, 2012—seven days after it was issued by the FATF—and is signed by the FIU’s director, Susan Francois.

    There is a double asterix next to Cuba’s name on the list which draws attention to the fact that the Communist country “has not engaged with the FATF in the process.” There is also a note below the list in which the FATF “calls on its members to consider the risks arising from the deficiencies associated” with each of the 15 countries deemed to be non compliant.

    Anti-money laundering guidelines issued by the Central Bank in October 2011 require local financial institutions to ensure that, at a minimum, the guidelines are also implemented in their branches and subsidiaries abroad. “Where the local applicable laws and regulations prohibit the implementation of this Guideline, the Central Bank must be notified,” according to the document.

    Further, the Central Bank guidelines require that local financial institutions “pay attention to and report if suspicious,” business transactions “undertaken with persons and transactions with financial institutions in or from other countries which do not or insufficiently comply with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force,” such as Cuba.


  18. The Cuban Government and Multi-Million Dollar Medicare Fraud in South Florida – Vanessa Lopez* – January 20, 2011

    The dilapidated state of the Cuban economy has left the Cuban government scrambling for ways to obtain hard currency. Cuba has contrived ways to benefit from leasing doctors, nurses, teachers, and security agents abroad; more recently, Cuba has also found ways to capitalize on large-scale Medicare fraud, possibly committing economic warfare on the United States.

    Given that “at least half of South Florida’s Medicare fugitives are believed to be [hiding] in Cuba,” it is probable that the region’s Cuban-connections can be playing a significant role in the region’s disproportionately high propensity to commit Medicare fraud. (4) There are various possible reasons for this:

    New Cubans arriving to South Florida have become accustomed to lawlessness – a condition of living under a totalitarian regime whereby one needs to regularly resort to illegal acts as a means of survival. This adaptation purportedly predisposes them to embrace opportunities for Medicare fraud. Many troubling questions can be raised against this hypothesis: Why is this phenomenon mostly associated with Medicare and not other crimes? Why is it that the criminals behind this fraud are not only recently arrived Cubans, but also those who have been in South Florida for decades? Since this is the case, blaming this crime on recently-arrived Cubans may be factually inaccurate and discriminatory.

    South Florida’s closeness to Cuba, both geographic and cultural, provides for an easy escape to Cuba – a state with no extradition treaty with the United States.

    The Cuban Government is orchestrating and assisting some of these instances of Medicare fraud. (5)

    In a discussion with a high-level former intelligence official with the Cuban Government, it became clear that the latter two reasons can help account for South Florida’s high volume of Medicare fraud cases. (6) In said discussion, the official, who asked to remain unnamed, states that there are indeed strong indications that the Cuban Government is directing some of these Medicare frauds as part of a desperate attempt to obtain hard currency. The source notes that the Cuban Government is also assisting (while not directing) other instances of Medicare fraud – providing perpetrators with information with which to commit fraud.

  19. Fish farms and seabed oil are fine, Omar, but do not forget another potential for export: military supplies and services.

    Cuba could become Okinawa of the Caribbean. Russian submarines and Chinese Air Force can provide jobs in the maintenance and income from the crews seeking rest and entertainment. The infrastructure is already there: in Guantanamo.

  20. Humberto:
    The relations with the United States are one sided because Cuba cannot get loans to set up businesses in the U.S. But, at the same time I don’t see too many Cuban owned businesses in Canada. Cuba is simply a poor country. It is too expensive to invest abroad. Rule of thumb normally dictates that you improve your domestic economy and increase exports to grow your economy. But, here again, in the entire history of Cuba, Cuba has not had a surplus of exports over imports. Who knows, maybe some day there may find use for another inert matter found in abundance in the island or its surrounding territorial waters. Oil, although expensive to get out presently, you know that it will become economic as the oil from around the World gets depleted. Fish farms for commercial salt water fish certainly has potential.

  21. Humberto, Humberto….don’t support the Dark Side of Humanity….Cubans in Florida are on Welfare because there are no jobs for them. They sign up for Public Aid because they have given up looking for a job in the United States and decide to return to Cuba because they were getting a better deal in Cuba then what they can get in the U.S.

  22. BLOOMBERG VIDEO: Cuba: The Price of Doing Business in a New Economy – Bloomberg Markets’ Michael Smith discusses the cost of doing business in Cuba. He speaks on “Bloomberg Markets.”

    BLOOMBERG: Want to Do Business in Cuba? Prepare to Partner With the General – Things are changing rapidly in Cuba, and people from around the world are eager to get in on the action. Wait until they learn all roads lead to Raúl Castro’s son-in-law. – by Michael Smith
    Omar Everleny Pérez is eager to show me how far Raúl Castro’s overhaul of Cuba’s socialist economy has advanced, and so, on a muggy evening in August, the 54-year-old economist invites me into his home in Havana’s Marianao neighborhood. Above his cramped desk, shelves sag under the weight of economics books and monographs, including more than a dozen that Pérez wrote.

    What isn’t immediately apparent to a person taking a walk on a warm Caribbean night is that all of this—and anything else that stands to make money in Old Havana, and much of the rest of the country—is run by a man who is little known outside the opaque circles of Cuba’s authoritarian regime. A quiet general in the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Cuba’s multibranch military, he has spent his life around the communist elite that served Fidel Castro’s revolution. Yet he is chairman of the largest business empire in Cuba, a conglomerate that comprises at least 57 companies owned by the Revolutionary Armed Forces and operated under a rigid set of financial benchmarks developed over decades. It’s a decidedly capitalist element deeply embedded within socialist Cuba.

    This is Luis Alberto Rodriguez. For the better part of three decades, Rodriguez has worked directly for Raúl Castro. He’s the gatekeeper for most foreign investors, requiring them to do business with his organization if they wish to set up shop on the island. If and when the U.S. finally removes its half-century embargo on Cuba, it will be this man who decides which investors get the best deals.



    THE WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL: The one-sided relationship with Cuba

    SINCE DEC. 17, President Obama has been engaged in a sweeping overhaul of U.S.-Cuba relations at the heart of which are conciliatory gestures by Washington; more travel by dollar-spending Americans to the impoverished island; a pledge to deal with differences, including on human rights, through diplomatic channels rather than confrontation; and a presidential call for the end of the U.S. trade embargo. In calling for “reform” in Cuba this week at the United Nations, Mr. Obama made no use of such provocative terms as “liberty” or “democracy.”

    President Raúl Castro’s regime, by contrast, “seems to have done little beyond reopening its Washington embassy,” as The Post’s Karen De­Young reported Wednesday. Mr. Castro’s son-in-law, an army general, still controls the dollar-earning tourist industry, the Internet largely remains unavailable to ordinary Cubans, and, most important, dissidents remain subject to arbitrary arrest and detention — including several snatched off the streets for daring to approach Pope Francis during his recent visit.

    Mr. Castro has in fact appeared to pocket Mr. Obama’s concessions — and raise his demands. His speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Monday read like one of his brother Fidel’s old jeremiads from the 1960s, complete with a call for Puerto Rican independence and condemnation of alleged NATO encroachment on Russia. More pertinent for Mr. Obama’s normalization project, Mr. Castro cast bilateral reconciliation as a long, complex, process which can only reach fruition once the United States ends the “economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba,” and the “return” of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. These conditions, as Mr. Castro knows, range from politically difficult (lifting the embargo) to impossible (Guantanamo). The true practical relevance of lifting the embargo, at a time when it already exempts food and medicine, and travelers from the United States brought $3.5 billion worth of goods to Cuba in their luggage during 2013, while Cuban Americans sent $3.1 billion cash in remittances, was not seriously discussed.


  24. “This is how people live in Cuba”: Video captures critical housing situation on the island

    Posted by Pedazos de la Isla on March 14, 2013

    This video, filmed and edited inside of Cuba by members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), capture the current housing and living conditions in the country, providing various testimonies of everyday citizens from the Eastern region as well as images which display the conditions in which they live- homes without roofs, underage children working the land to not die of hunger, unemployed and unassisted people, etc. Towards the end of the video, the homes of everyday citizens are compares with those of communist functionaries. See the difference for yourselves.



    RACKED MAGAZINE: Fashion Loves Cuba, But Only as a Backdrop – by Nia Porter

    The problem here doesn’t lie with the two British supermodels or the renowned French fashion photographer, but with the American magazine that sent them to Cuba — a communist country rife with human rights issues, economic problems, and political adversaries, the United States being one of them. When President Obama sat down with Cuban President Raúl Castro this April — the first meeting between US and Cuban leaders in over 50 years — New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman predicted that as strained relations between the two countries improve, the fashion industry would be one of the first to take advantage of loosened restrictions on travel and trade. Fast forward five months and Cuba has become the go-to destination for fashion magazine editorials, from Marie Claire to Net-a-Porter’s Porter Magazine.

    According to Friedman, “fashion is tasked with channeling the zeitgeist.” In other words, even though Obama has cleared businesses for travel to Cuba, American fashion magazines aren’t heading there just because they can. They’re flocking to the country because they have to in order to remain relevant. In doing so, they run the risk of exoticizing Cuban people and culture — something fashion has gotten heat for in the past.

    Can fashion magazines capture Cuba’s allure without glossing over the years of hardship, without simply trading in on all that Cuba is for their own temporary gain? The task seems nearly impossible, but despite the issues that arise, magazines continue to travel to Cuba to shoot.

    In Marie Claire’s September 2015 editorial titled “Havana Days,” Lithuanian model Giedre Dukauskaite poses in a $4,900 Gucci dress next to a plantain cart. In another image, she stands in stark contrast to Cuban natives, her evening gown and the lighting making the difference even more apparent.


    SUN SENTINEL: U.S. welfare flows to Cuba – “They’re taking benefits from the American taxpayer to subsidize their life in another country.” – By Sally Kestin, Megan O’Matz and John Maines with Tracey Eaton in Cuba

    Cuban immigrants are cashing in on U.S. welfare and returning to the island, making a mockery of the decades-old premise that they are refugees fleeing persecution at home.

    Some stay for months at a time — and the U.S. government keeps paying.

    Cubans’ unique access to food stamps, disability money and other welfare is meant to help them build new lives in America. Yet these days, it’s helping some finance their lives on the communist island.

    America’s open-ended generosity has grown into an entitlement that exceeds $680 million a year and is exploited with ease. No agency tracks the scope of the abuse, but a Sun Sentinel investigation found evidence suggesting it is widespread.

    Fed-up Floridians are reporting their neighbors and relatives for accepting government aid while shuttling back and forth to the island, selling goods in Cuba, and leaving their benefit cards in the U.S. for others to use while they are away.

    Some don’t come back at all. The U.S. has continued to deposit welfare checks for as long as two years after the recipients moved back to Cuba for good, federal officials confirmed.

    Regulations prohibit welfare recipients from collecting or using U.S. benefits in another country. But on the streets of Hialeah, the first stop for many new arrivals, shopkeepers like Miguel Veloso hear about it all the time.


  27. YOUTUBE: HRF on MSNBC: President Obama could save El Sexto’s life – The Human Rights Foundation’s (HRF) chief legal officer, Javier El-Hage, appeared on MSNBC’s show ‘The Rundown’ with José Díaz-Balart to discuss the refugee crisis in Syria and the dire human rights situation in Cuba. El-Hage explained the case of Cuban graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado Machado, best known as El Sexto, who has been incarcerated for over nine months and has spent the last 24 days on a hunger strike protesting his wrongful imprisonment. The interview with MSNBC’s Díaz-Balart ended with El-Hage calling on President Obama to ask Raúl Castro to release El Sexto and save his life. This past May, HRF awarded El Sexto its Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent for his bravery and ingenuity in peacefully advocating for individual rights in Cuba. The interview aired on October 1, 2015.

  28. Omar, Charles might be right or wrong about the Revolution, but he is definitively right about the size of some posts. You paste too much, just like Humberto, but Humberto is counter-revolutionary and you don’t expect any etiquette or respect from them.

    The right way is to write a 20-30 words synopsis of an article + link.

  29. So charles…are you a want to be CIA agent or part of the Cubans that want to live like Americans but can’t pay for it…which one is it…I can detect your bias criticism

  30. @Charles
    If you travel to Singapore you will understand how social discipline can translate into urban beauty.
    If you travel to Saudi Arabia you will be able to leave an unlocked bicycle in a public place… and see it again.

    PS: you are quite right about the “overweight” of some posts. This is also due to the lack of social discipline, resulting from the lack of ….. (have a guess, starts with “C”)

  31. The author is right when she says that “Social behavior is shaped by one’s environment.”
    A strong ,effective law enforcement is the most important part of the environment. In the struggle against vandalism or petty theft Cuban police has still a room for improvement.

    Good examples of shaping social behavior can be found in Saudi Arabia or in Singapore.


    U.S. Interventions in Latin America
    Just thought you should know about this.
    © 1996 by Mark Rosenfelder
    Military incursions
    Covert or indirect operations

    1846 The U.S., fulfilling the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, goes to war with Mexico and ends up with a third of Mexico’s territory. 1850, 1853, 1854, 1857 U.S. interventions in Nicaragua. 1855 Tennessee adventurer William Walker and his mercenaries take over Nicaragua, institute forced labor, and legalize slavery.
    “Los yankis… have burst their way like a fertilizing torrent through the barriers of barbarism.” –N.Y. Daily News
    He’s ousted two years later by a Central American coalition largely inspired by Cornelius Vanderbilt, whose trade Walker was infringing.
    “The enemies of American civilization– for such are the enemies of slavery– seem to be more on the alert than its friends.” –William Walker
    1856 First of five U.S. interventions in Panama to protect the Atlantic-Pacific railroad from Panamanian nationalists. 1898 U.S. declares war on Spain, blaming it for destruction of the Maine. (In 1976, a U.S. Navy commission will conclude that the explosion was probably an accident.) The war enables the U.S. to occupy Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. 1903 The Platt Amendment inserted into the Cuban constitution grants the U.S. the right to intervene when it sees fit. 1903 When negotiations with Colombia break down, the U.S. sends ten warships to back a rebellion in Panama in order to acquire the land for the Panama Canal. The Frenchman Philippe Bunau-Varilla negotiates the Canal Treaty and writes Panama’s constitution. 1904 U.S. sends customs agents to take over finances of the Dominican Republic to assure payment of its external debt. 1905 U.S. Marines help Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz crush a strike in Sonora. 1905 U.S. troops land in Honduras for the first of 5 times in next 20 years. 1906 Marines occupy Cuba for two years in order to prevent a civil war. 1907 Marines intervene in Honduras to settle a war with Nicaragua. 1908 U.S. troops intervene in Panama for first of 4 times in next decade. 1909 Liberal President José Santos Zelaya of Nicaragua proposes that American mining and banana companies pay taxes; he has also appropriated church lands and legalized divorce, done business with European firms, and executed two Americans for participating in a rebellion. Forced to resign through U.S. pressure. The new president, Adolfo Díaz, is the former treasurer of an American mining company. 1910 U.S. Marines occupy Nicaragua to help support the Díaz regime. 1911 The Liberal regime of Miguel Dávila in Honduras has irked the State Department by being too friendly with Zelaya and by getting into debt with Britain. He is overthrown by former president Manuel Bonilla, aided by American banana tycoon Sam Zemurray and American mercenary Lee Christmas, who becomes commander-in-chief of the Honduran army. 1912 U.S. Marines intervene in Cuba to put down a rebellion of sugar workers. 1912 Nicaragua occupied again by the U.S., to shore up the inept Díaz government. An election is called to resolve the crisis: there are 4000 eligible voters, and one candidate, Díaz. The U.S. maintains troops and advisors in the country until 1925. 1914 U.S. bombs and then occupies Vera Cruz, in a conflict arising out of a dispute with Mexico’s new government. President Victoriano Huerta resigns. 1915 U.S. Marines occupy Haiti to restore order, and establish a protectorate which lasts till 1934. The president of Haiti is barred from the U.S. Officers’ Club in Port-au-Prince, because he is black.
    “Think of it– niggers speaking French!” –secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, briefed on the Haitian situation
    1916 Marines occupy the Dominican Republic, staying till 1924. ! 1916 Pancho Villa, in the sole act of Latin American aggression against the U.S, raids the city of Columbus, New Mexico, killing 17 Americans.
    “Am sure Villa’s attacks are made in Germany.” –James Gerard, U.S. ambassador to Berlin
    1917 U.S. troops enter Mexico to pursue Pancho Villa. They can’t catch him. 1917 Marines intervene again in Cuba, to guarantee sugar exports during WWI. 1918 U.S. Marines occupy Panamanian province of Chiriqui for two years to maintain public order. 1921 President Coolidge strongly suggests the overthrow of Guatemalan President Carlos Herrera, in the interests of United Fruit. The Guatemalans comply. 1925 U.S. Army troops occupy Panama City to break a rent strike and keep order. 1926 Marines, out of Nicaragua for less than a year, occupy the country again, to settle a volatile political situation. Secretary of State Kellogg describes a “Nicaraguan-Mexican-Soviet” conspiracy to inspire a “Mexican-Bolshevist hegemony” within striking distance of the Canal.
    “That intervention is not now, never was, and never will be a set policy of the United States is one of the most important facts President-elect Hoover has made clear.” –NYT, 1928
    1929 U.S. establishes a military academy in Nicaragua to train a National Guard as the country’s army. Similar forces are trained in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
    “There is no room for any outside influence other than ours in this region. We could not tolerate such a thing without incurring grave risks… Until now Central America has always understood that governments which we recognize and support stay in power, while those which we do not recognize and support fall. Nicaragua has become a test case. It is difficult to see how we can afford to be defeated.” –Undersecretary of State Robert Olds
    1930 Rafael Leonidas Trujillo emerges from the U.S.-trained National Guard to become dictator of the Dominican Republic. 1932 The U.S. rushes warships to El Salvador in response to a communist-led uprising. President Martínez, however, prefers to put down the rebellion with his own forces, killing over 8000 people (the rebels had killed about 100). ! 1933 President Roosevelt announces the Good Neighbor policy. 1933 Marines finally leave Nicaragua, unable to suppress the guerrilla warfare of General Augusto César Sandino. Anastasio Somoza García becomes the first Nicaraguan commander of the National Guard.
    “The Nicaraguans are better fighters than the Haitians, being of Indian blood, and as warriors similar to the aborigines who resisted the advance of civilization in this country.” –NYT correspondent Harold Denny
    1933 Roosevelt sends warships to Cuba to intimidate Gerardo Machado y Morales, who is massacring the people to put down nationwide strikes and riots. Machado resigns. The first provisional government lasts only 17 days; the second Roosevelt finds too left-wing and refuses to recognize. A pro-Machado counter-coup is put down by Fulgencio Batista, who with Roosevelt’s blessing becomes Cuba’s new strongman. ! 1934 Platt Amendment repealed. 1934 Sandino assassinated by agents of Somoza, with U.S. approval. Somoza assumes the presidency of Nicaragua two years later. To block his ascent, Secretary of State Cordell Hull explains, would be to intervene in the internal affairs of Nicaragua. ! 1936 U.S. relinquishes rights to unilateral intervention in Panama. 1941 Ricardo Adolfo de la Guardia deposes Panamanian president Arias in a military coup– first clearing it with the U.S. Ambassador.
    It was “a great relief to us, because Arias had been very troublesome and very pro-Nazi.” –Secretary of War Henry Stimson
    1943 The editor of the Honduran opposition paper El Cronista is summoned to the U.S. embassy and told that criticism of the dictator Tiburcio Carías Andino is damaging to the war effort. Shortly afterward, the paper is shut down by the government. 1944 The dictator Maximiliano Hernández Martínez of El Salvador is ousted by a revolution; the interim government is overthrown five months later by the dictator’s former chief of police. The U.S.’s immediate recognition of the new dictator does much to tarnish Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor policy in the eyes of Latin Americans. 1946 U.S. Army School of the Americas opens in Panama as a hemisphere-wide military academy. Its linchpin is the doctrine of National Security, by which the chief threat to a nation is internal subversion; this will be the guiding principle behind dictatorships in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Central America, and elsewhere. 1948 José Figueres Ferrer wins a short civil war to become President of Costa Rica. Figueres is supported by the U.S., which has informed San José that its forces in the Panama Canal are ready to come to the capital to end “communist control” of Costa Rica. 1954 Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, elected president of Guatemala, introduces land reform and seizes some idle lands of United Fruit– proposing to pay for them the value United Fruit claimed on its tax returns. The CIA organizes a small force to overthrow him and begins training it in Honduras. When Arbenz naively asks for U.S. military help to meet this threat, he is refused; when he buys arms from Czechoslovakia it only proves he’s a Red.
    Guatemala is “openly and diligently toiling to create a Communist state in Central America… only two hours’ bombing time from the Panama Canal.” –Life
    The CIA broadcasts reports detailing the imaginary advance of the “rebel army,” and provides planes to strafe the capital. The army refuses to defend Arbenz, who resigns. The U.S.’s hand-picked dictator, Carlos Castillo Armas, outlaws political parties, reduces the franchise, and establishes the death penalty for strikers, as well as undoing Arbenz’s land reform. Over 100,000 citizens are killed in the next 30 years of military rule.
    “This is the first instance in history where a Communist government has been replaced by a free one.” –Richard Nixon
    1957 Eisenhower establishes Office of Public Safety to train Latin American police forces. ! 1959 Fidel Castro takes power in Cuba. Several months earlier he had undertaken a triumphal tour through the U.S., which included a CIA briefing on the Red menace.
    “Castro’s continued tawdry little melodrama of invasion.” –Time, of Castro’s warnings of an imminent U.S. invasion
    1960 Eisenhower authorizes covert actions to get rid of Castro. Among other things, the CIA tries assassinating him with exploding cigars and poisoned milkshakes. Other covert actions against Cuba include burning sugar fields, blowing up boats in Cuban harbors, and sabotaging industrial equipment. 1960 The Canal Zone becomes the focus of U.S. counterinsurgency training. 1960 A new junta in El Salvador promises free elections; Eisenhower, fearing leftist tendencies, withholds recognition. A more attractive right-wing counter-coup comes along in three months.
    “Governments of the civil-military type of El Salvador are the most effective in containing communist penetration in Latin America.” –John F. Kennedy, after the coup
    1960 Guatemalan officers attempt to overthrow the regime of Presidente Fuentes; Eisenhower stations warships and 2000 Marines offshore while Fuentes puts down the revolt. [Another source says that the U.S. provided air support for Fuentes.] 1960s U.S. Green Berets train Guatemalan army in counterinsurgency techniques. Guatemalan efforts against its insurgents include aerial bombing, scorched-earth assaults on towns suspected of aiding the rebels, and death squads, which killed 20,000 people between 1966 and 1976. U.S. Army Col. John Webber claims that it was at his instigation that “the technique of counter-terror had been implemented by the army.”
    “If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetary in order to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so.” –President Carlos Arana Osorio
    1961 U.S. organizes force of 1400 anti-Castro Cubans, ships it to the Bahía de los Cochinos. Castro’s army routs it. 1961 CIA-backed coup overthrows elected Pres. J. M. Velasco Ibarra of Ecuador, who has been too friendly with Cuba. 1962 CIA engages in campaign in Brazil to keep João Goulart from achieving control of Congress. 1963 CIA-backed coup overthrows elected social democrat Juan Bosch in the Dominican Republic. 1963 A far-right-wing coup in Guatemala, apparently U.S.-supported, forestalls elections in which “extreme leftist” Juan José Arévalo was favored to win.
    “It is difficult to develop stable and democratic government [in Guatemala], because so many of the nation’s Indians are illiterate and superstitious.” –School textbook, 1964
    1964 João Goulart of Brazil proposes agrarian reform, nationalization of oil. Ousted by U.S.-supported military coup. ! 1964 The free market in Nicaragua:
    The Somoza family controls “about one-tenth of the cultivable land in Nicaragua, and just about everything else worth owning, the country’s only airline, one television station, a newspaper, a cement plant, textile mill, several sugar refineries, half-a-dozen breweries and distilleries, and a Mercedes-Benz agency.” –Life World Library
    1965 A coup in the Dominican Republic attempts to restore Bosch’s government. The U.S. invades and occupies the country to stop this “Communist rebellion,” with the help of the dictators of Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
    “Representative democracy cannot work in a country such as the Dominican Republic,” Bosch declares later. Now why would he say that?
    1966 U.S. sends arms, advisors, and Green Berets to Guatemala to implement a counterinsurgency campaign.
    “To eliminate a few hundred guerrillas, the government killed perhaps 10,000 Guatemalan peasants.” –State Dept. report on the program
    1967 A team of Green Berets is sent to Bolivia to help find and assassinate Che Guevara. 1968 Gen. José Alberto Medrano, who is on the payroll of the CIA, organizes the ORDEN paramilitary force, considered the precursor of El Salvador’s death squads. ! 1970 In this year (just as an example), U.S. investments in Latin America earn $1.3 billion; while new investments total $302 million. 1970 Salvador Allende Gossens elected in Chile. Suspends foreign loans, nationalizes foreign companies. For the phone system, pays ITT the company’s minimized valuation for tax purposes. The CIA provides covert financial support for Allende’s opponents, both during and after his election. 1972 U.S. stands by as military suspends an election in El Salvador in which centrist José Napoleón Duarte was favored to win. (Compare with the emphasis placed on the 1982 elections.) 1973 U.S.-supported military coup kills Allende and brings Augusto Pinochet Ugarte to power. Pinochet imprisons well over a hundred thousand Chileans (torture and rape are the usual methods of interrogation), terminates civil liberties, abolishes unions, extends the work week to 48 hours, and reverses Allende’s land reforms. 1973 Military takes power in Uruguay, supported by U.S. The subsequent repression reportedly features the world’s highest percentage of the population imprisoned for political reasons. 1974 Office of Public Safety is abolished when it is revealed that police are being taught torture techniques. ! 1976 Election of Jimmy Carter leads to a new emphasis on human rights in Central America. Carter cuts off aid to the Guatemalan military (or tries to; some slips through) and reduces aid to El Salvador. ! 1979 Ratification of the Panama Canal treaty which is to return the Canal to Panama by 1999.
    “Once again, Uncle Sam put his tail between his legs and crept away rather than face trouble.” –Ronald Reagan
    1980 A right-wing junta takes over in El Salvador. U.S. begins massively supporting El Salvador, assisting the military in its fight against FMLN guerrillas. Death squads proliferate; Archbishop Romero is assassinated by right-wing terrorists; 35,000 civilians are killed in 1978-81. The rape and murder of four U.S. churchwomen results in the suspension of U.S. military aid for one month.
    The U.S. demands that the junta undertake land reform. Within 3 years, however, the reform program is halted by the oligarchy.
    “The Soviet Union underlies all the unrest that is going on.” –Ronald Reagan
    1980 U.S., seeking a stable base for its actions in El Salvador and Nicaragua, tells the Honduran military to clean up its act and hold elections. The U.S. starts pouring in $100 million of aid a year and basing the contras on Honduran territory.
    Death squads are also active in Honduras, and the contras tend to act as a state within a state. 1981 The CIA steps in to organize the contras in Nicaragua, who started the previous year as a group of 60 ex-National Guardsmen; by 1985 there are about 12,000 of them. 46 of the 48 top military leaders are ex-Guardsmen. The U.S. also sets up an economic embargo of Nicaragua and pressures the IMF and the World Bank to limit or halt loans to Nicaragua. 1981 Gen. Torrijos of Panama is killed in a plane crash. There is a suspicion of CIA involvement, due to Torrijos’ nationalism and friendly relations with Cuba. 1982 A coup brings Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt to power in Guatemala, and gives the Reagan administration the opportunity to increase military aid. Ríos Montt’s evangelical beliefs do not prevent him from accelerating the counterinsurgency campaign. 1983 Another coup in Guatemala replaces Ríos Montt. The new President, Oscar Mejía Víctores, was trained by the U.S. and seems to have cleared his coup beforehand with U.S. authorities. 1983 U.S. troops take over tiny Granada. Rather oddly, it intervenes shortly after a coup has overthrown the previous, socialist leader. One of the justifications for the action is the building of a new airport with Cuban help, which Granada claimed was for tourism and Reagan argued was for Soviet use. Later the U.S. announces plans to finish the airport… to develop tourism. 1983 Boland Amendment prohibits CIA and Defense Dept. from spending money to overthrow the government of Nicaragua– a law the Reagan administration cheerfully violates. 1984 CIA mines three Nicaraguan harbors. Nicaragua takes this action to the World Court, which brings an $18 billion judgment against the U.S. The U.S. refuses to recognize the Court’s jurisdiction in the case. 1984 U.S. spends $10 million to orchestrate elections in El Salvador– something of a farce, since left-wing parties are under heavy repression, and the military has already declared that it will not answer to the elected president. 1989 U.S. invades Panama to dislodge CIA boy gone wrong Manuel Noriega, an event which marks the evolution of the U.S.’s favorite excuse from Communism to drugs. 1996 The U.S. battles global Communism by extending most-favored-nation trading status for China, and tightening the trade embargo on Castro’s Cuba.

  34. MEO Australia Limited (ASX: MEO) announced today their entrance into the Cuban oil and gas sector.

    The 2014 Cuban governments Foreign Investment Act to promote new investment in Cuba with a corporate tax rate of 15% to 22.5%. Further benefits include an eight month corporate tax holiday to foreign corporations investing in Cuba. Cuba consumes approximated 50% of a total of 80,000 barrels produced per day. Currently Cuba Petróleo Union (CUPET) the national oil corporation and Sherritt International of Canada are the only companies in Cuba producing oil.
    MEO Australia has now entered the energy sector in Cuba. The announcement today followed the execution of the Cuba Block 9 Production Sharing Contract (PSC) with the national oil company CUPET in a ceremony in Havana. The following press release comes from the MEO Australia website:

    The ceremony was attended by dignitaries including Mr. Juan Torres Naranjo, General Director of CUPET and representatives of MEO, including Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer Mr Peter Stickland. The execution of the Block 9 PSC represents the culmination of over three years of negotiations between MEO and CUPET and is MEO’s first entry into the Cuban oil and gas sector.

    The Block 9 PSC area is in a proven hydrocarbon system with multiple discoveries within close proximity, including the multi-billion barrel Varadero oil field. Block 9 contains the Motembo field, the first oil field discovered in Cuba.

    The exploration period of the Block 9 PSC is split into four sub-periods totaling eight and a half years with withdrawal options at the end of each sub-period. MEO will immediately commence work on the initial activity of evaluating the existing exploration data in the block and reprocessing selected 2D seismic data before determining whether to proceed with a subsequent 24-month exploration sub-period that includes acquisition of new 2D seismic data.

    MEO’s MD and CEO Peter Stickland commented on the announcement:

    “We are delighted to complete the execution of MEO’s first oil and gas block in Cuba. As an early mover into Cuba, MEO is now one of the few western companies with a footprint in the expanding Cuban hydrocarbon sector. The geology of the block has analogies to petroleum systems in which MEO’s technical personnel have significant experience, and we see substantial potential in Cuba overall and Block 9 in particular. We look forward to working closely with CUPET to explore and develop Cuba’s oil and gas resources.

  35. The United States Departments Treasury and Commerce on Friday issued new regulations further easing restrictions on Americans traveling to and doing business in Cuba.

    U.S. companies will be able to open offices on the island and engage in joint business ventures there, while individuals with relatives in Cuba will have more travel opportunities for people and the limit to the amount of money that can be sent people on the island are being eliminated.

    The new rules, which go into effect on Monday, September 21st, are the latest steps taken by the White House and President Barack Obama to weaken the U.S. trade embargo and normalize relations with the communist island.

    Under the new regulations, certain U.S. companies may now have a physical presence on the island, such as an office, retail store or warehouse. News bureaus, exporters of goods, mail service companies, telecommunications or internet companies, businesses associated with educational activities, religious organizations and certain travel services can set up offices there, employ Cuban nationals and open bank accounts on the island.

    Starting Monday, the new rules will also make it easier for cruise ships, ferries and other recreational vessels, including aircraft, to go to Cuba.

    The new rules allow for joint ventures between Cuban and American businesses. This is especially vital for telecommunications and internet companies looking to offer their services on the island, where the telecommunications infrastructure is completely owned by the government-owned ETECSA.

  36. Ownership is the answer. People take care of what they own,hense deposits on rental cars, apartments ect. If the government owns it and people don’t perceive the government as an extension of themselves, there is not impetus to take care of it.

  37. One problem with investing in Cuba is a clause normally found in Bilateral Investment treaties. This clause is the doctrine of ‘necessity” which affords a state room to take actions that “safeguard an essential interest against a grave and imminent peril”. Hence, the applicability of this
    doctrine precludes a state from liability for failure to protect foreign investments….and here is another reason why the United States embargo and regime change law crushes the ability of Cuba to raise the Cuban People standard of living. The constant threat of aggression by the United States against Cuba along with Cuban proxies they support makes International Foreign Investments in Cuba a high risk proposition. No matter how we go around the issue of better quality of life for the Cuban People, the embargo must go away first. This aggression by the United States against the Cuban People impacts all facets of human development in the island nation. The earlier diagram clearly show all the different aspects of Cuban society that the 60 years embargo has had on the Cuban People. The embargo of Cuba by the United States will go down in history as one of the most evil act of aggression by a Rich Nation in the 20th century against a defenseless people….and any Cubans in exile that have aligned themselves with the United States to bring about regime change in Cuba are nothing more than traitors to their nation of origin.

  38. YOUTUBE: DOCUMENTARY – “The New Art of Making Ruins / Arte nuevo de hacer ruinas ” (I de VI)

    CUBAN DOCUMENTARY – ” The New Art of Making Ruins / Arte nuevo de hacer ruinas ”

    This German documentary by filmmakers Florian Borchmeyer and Matthias Hentschler, a portrait of the inhabited ruins of Havana and their strange blend of magic and demolition, captures the final moments of the buildings before they simply collapse all together. The beauty and detail of the images, and the excellent use of the background music, enhance the quality and impact of the film.

    Buildings frequently collapse causing fatalities. The decay of this city and its living quarters is a continues source of danger for its inhabitants.

    The documentary displays the daily life of four people living among the ruins; Reinaldo in the Campoamor Theater, Totico in the old Arbos building, Marisleidys in the former Hotel Regina, and Nicanor del Campo in the family farm El Mayor. The writer Antonio Aponte explains the gradual collapse of the city on the complicity of the Castroit regime administration allowing it to rundown and lack of resources by the people to avoid it.

    Viewing this film will break your heart; shown are skeletal buildings that seem deserted ruins, it’s impossible to accept that human beings inhabit these structures. Yet, to the buildings residents, they represent home, and memories of better times. These people make do with and lovingly tend their crumbling homes, even though they are powerless to stop their decay.

    The hollow buildings look like a war zone, reminiscent of Berlin or Dresden at the end of WWII. However, these ruins were not created by war, but by deliberate neglect. The narrator sees them as a logical construct of Fidel’s speeches–Havana has become an architectural illustration of Fidel’s decade’s old use of a possible U.S. invasion to justify his absolute power.

    By the end of the film, your tears will be replaced by an impotent rage when you remember how many journalists, tourists, and embassy workers must have witnessed this devastation, and have chosen to remain silent.

    Homeless Reinaldo has found shelter in the rubbles of a theater in which once Enrico Caruso sang for Cuba’s high society, the Campoamor Theater. In the background music we can hear Caruso singing “Una furtiva lágrima” from Donizetti. In 1953, Josephine Baker performed in this theater located near the Capitol Building.


    YOUTUBE: DOCUMENTARY/DOCUMENTAL: “Cuba and the Elephants/Cuba y los Elefantes” – Full version w / English Sub-titles: A Look at Cuba, in reality beyond its tourist attractions. A documentary that takes us to reflect on the achievements of the socialist system and how truly the common Cuban people live. A production of the Political Institute of Peru for Liberty. \


    BLOOMBERG: Want to Do Business in Cuba? Prepare to Partner With the General – Things are changing rapidly in Cuba, and people from around the world are eager to get in on the action. Wait until they learn all roads lead to Raúl Castro’s son-in-law. – by Michael Smith

    Omar Everleny Pérez is eager to show me how far Raúl Castro’s overhaul of Cuba’s socialist economy has advanced, and so, on a muggy evening in August, the 54-year-old economist invites me into his home in Havana’s Marianao neighborhood. Above his cramped desk, shelves sag under the weight of economics books and monographs, including more than a dozen that Pérez wrote.

    What isn’t immediately apparent to a person taking a walk on a warm Caribbean night is that all of this—and anything else that stands to make money in Old Havana, and much of the rest of the country—is run by a man who is little known outside the opaque circles of Cuba’s authoritarian regime. A quiet general in the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Cuba’s multibranch military, he has spent his life around the communist elite that served Fidel Castro’s revolution. Yet he is chairman of the largest business empire in Cuba, a conglomerate that comprises at least 57 companies owned by the Revolutionary Armed Forces and operated under a rigid set of financial benchmarks developed over decades. It’s a decidedly capitalist element deeply embedded within socialist Cuba.

    This is Luis Alberto Rodriguez. For the better part of three decades, Rodriguez has worked directly for Raúl Castro. He’s the gatekeeper for most foreign investors, requiring them to do business with his organization if they wish to set up shop on the island. If and when the U.S. finally removes its half-century embargo on Cuba, it will be this man who decides which investors get the best deals.


  41. Here’s hoping that with improved relations with the USA the living situation for Cubans will improve. It might be a good idea to pray that this doesn’t cause the situation to get worse, but with USA involved, I wouldn’t want to bet on it.



  43. Applications

    The application of social ecological theories and models focus on several goals: to explain the person-environment interaction, to improve people-environment transactions, to nurture human growth and development in particular environments, and to improve environments so they support expression of individual’s system’s dispositions. Some examples are:
    Political and economic policies that support the importance of parent’s roles in their children’s development such as Head Start or Women Infants and Children programs.
    Fostering of societal attitudes that value work done on behalf of children at all levels: parents, teachers, extended family, mentors, work supervisors, legislators.
    In community health promotion: identifying high impact leverage points and intermediaries within organizations that can facilitate the successful implementation of health promoting interventions, combining person focused and environmentally based components within comprehensive health promotion programs, and measuring the scope and sustainability of intervention outcomes over prolonged periods. Basis of intervention programs to address issues such as bullying, obesity, overeating and physical activity.
    Interventions that use the social ecological model as a framework include mass media campaigns, social marketing, and skills development.
    In economics: economics, human habits, and cultural characteristics are shaped by geography. In economics, an output is a function of natural resources, human resources, capital resources, and technology. The environment (macrosystem) dictates a considerable amount to the lifestyle of the individual and the economy of the country. For instance, if the region is mountainous or arid and there is little land for agriculture, the country typically will not prosper as much as another country that has greater resources.
    In risk communication: used to assist the researcher to analyze the timing of when information is received and identify the receivers and stakeholders. This situation is an environmental influence that may be very far reaching. The individual’s education level, understanding, and affluence may dictate what information he or she receives and processes and through which medium.
    In personal health: to prevent illnesses, a person should avoid an environment in which they may be more susceptible to contracting a virus or where their immune system would be weakened. This also includes possibly removing oneself from a potentially dangerous environment or avoiding a sick coworker. On the other hand, some environments are particularly conducive to health benefits. Surrounding oneself with physically fit people will potentially act as a motivator to become more active, diet, or work out at the gym. The government banning trans fat may have a positive top-down effect on the health of all individuals in that state or country.
    In human nutrition: used as a model for nutrition research and interventions. The social ecological model looks at multiple levels of influence on specific health behaviors. Levels include intrapersonal (individual’s knowledge, demographics, attitudes, values, skills, behavior, self-concept, self-esteem), interpersonal (social networks, social supports, families, work groups, peers, friends, neighbors), organizational (norms, incentives, organizational culture, management styles, organizational structure, communication networks), community (community resources, neighborhood organizations, folk practices, non-profit organizations, informal and formal leadership practices), and public policy level (legislation, policies, taxes, regulatory agencies, laws)[34][35] Multi-level interventions are thought to be most effective in changing behavior.[36]
    In public health: drawing upon this model to address the health of a nation’s population is viewed as critically important to the strategic alignment of policy and services across the continuum of population health needs, including the design of effective health promotion and disease prevention and control strategies.[37] Thus also, in the development of universal health care systems, it is appropriate to recognize “Health in All Policies” as the overarching policy framework, with public health, primary health care and community services as the cross-cutting framework for all health and health-related services operating across the spectrum from primary prevention to long term care and end-stage conditions. Although this perspective is both logical and well grounded, the reality is different in most settings, and there is room for improvement everywhere.[38]
    In politics: the act of politics is making decisions. A decision may be required of an individual, organization, community, or country. A decision a congressman makes affects anyone in his or her jurisdiction. If one makes the decision not to vote for the President of the United States, one has given oneself no voice in the election. If many other individuals choose not to voice their opinion and/or vote, they have inadvertently allowed a majority of others to make the decision for them. On the international level, if the leadership of the U.S. decides to occupy a foreign country it not only affects the leadership; it also affects U.S. service members, their families, and the communities they come from. There are multiple cross-level and interactive effects of such a decision.

    Criminologists, as well as other social scientists, look at many things when trying to negate what causes people to deviate from social and group norms with regards to their criminal behavior. It follows that sociologists have developed social structure theories in an effort to link behavior patterns to social-economic control and other social factors. Arising from the social structure theories is social disorganization theory, which “argues that crime occurs when the mechanisms of socialism control are weakened” (Worrad, 2000, p. 531).

    Social disorganization theory pioneers Clifford X. Shaw and Henry W. McKay suggested that disorganized communities characterized by poverty, ethnic heterogeneity, residential mobility weakened social stability (Kelly, 2000; Messner, Bauo).

    In light of the social problems(TUPAC)plaguing Chicago and its *(Mamaguevo) suburbs, Shaw and McKay studied the prevalent local crime and delinquency. Building on “an ecological theory of urban dynamics,” social disorganization theory aimed to explain the larger ratio of delinquency that occurred in certain Chicago neighborhoods (Cantillon, Davidson, & Schweitzer, 2003, p. 322). Shaw and McKay “discovered that high delinquency rates persisted in certain Chicago neighborhoods for long periods of time despite changes in the racial and ethnic composition of these communities—a finding that led to the conclusion that neighborhood ecological conditions shape crime rates over and above the characteristics of individual residents” (Kubrin & Weitzer, 2003, p. 374). Further, their study revealed that high rates of crime occur in those communities that exhibit declining populations and physical deterioration (Jensen, 2003).

    At its core, social disorganization theory focuses on the effects of location and location-specific characteristics as they relate to crime (Mustaine, Tewksbury, & Stengel, 2006). Neighborhoods lacking organization lack the necessary social controls and are unable to provide essential services. This leads to an inability of the community to control its public, which is why “one way to define social disorganization is to view such places as unable to maintain public order through informativeness. In fact, “defined in terms of the absence or breakdown of certain types of relationships among people,” social disorganization theory “is intimately tied to conceptions of those properties of relationships that are indicative of social or communal ‘organization’” (Jensen, 2003, p. 1).

    The question then becomes: How effective is social disorganization theory in explaining criminal behavior? There are five criteria used in evaluating theories, which demonstrate whether the theory makes sense in the simplest way of explaining crime and whether the theory is able to be tested to deliver true and valid results. In greater detail, each of the five criteria is applied to social disorganization theory as follows:
    1.Logical consistency: Social disorganization theory makes sense; its assumptions are logically consistent.
    2.Scope: While aiming to explain a broad range of phenomenon, the scope of social disorganization theory is an effective tool to be used in critical analysis of criminal behavior.
    3.Parsimony: Social disorganization theory is simple and easy to comprehend as demonstrated by the name of the theory itself.
    4.Testability: As seen with the early studies of Shaw and McKay as well as more recent efforts, it is clear that social disorganization theory is able to be tested and is not limited in its scientific value.
    5.Empirical validity: Shaw and McKay’s study supported the research as did the more recent efforts of Elizabeth Ehrhardt Mustaine, Richard Tewksbury, and Kenneth M. Stengel in their 2006 study of registered sex offenders, illustrating the validity of social disorganization theory.

    Because social disorganization theory is effective within the scope of the aforementioned criteria, it follows that the theory is useful in the real word and, therefore, has possible public policy implications. The most important of which should be to organize those communities that are disorganized. Services should be offered to community residents; for example, the residents of a disorganized community should be aided in owning and maintaining homes. Also, recreation programs and other community organizations should be created to deter delinquent activity and increase community involvement. By improving neighborhoods and making them more appealing, social controls will be strengthened. In addition to leading to the improvement and organization of communities, social disorganization theory is a useful tool for analysis, which is why it has historically been “the predominant theory of the spatial location of crime has been social disorganization theory” (Rice & Smith, 2002, p. 306).

    Despite its early origins, social disorganization theory continues to be a prominent tool in the study of criminal behavior. In fact, Charis E. Kubrin and Ronald Weizer suggest that “social disorganization theory has experienced a renaissance in recent years” and that the theory may actually be stronger now than when it was first put forward (2003, p. 397). Perhaps, “the need to accurately and validly measure the level of community social organization” (Cantillon, Davidson, & Schweitzer, 2003, p. 321) prompted the recent resurgence of social disorganization theory.

    Regardless of what brought about the rebirth of social disorganization theory, it is clear that the theory is not going anywhere as evidenced by recent studies. For example, in 2002, Kennon J. Rice and William R. Smith used social disorganization theory in an attempt to explain patterns of automobile theft. Then, in 2003, Jodi Lane and James W. Meeker used the theory to study the correlation between social disorganization, gangs, crime, and fear. Even more recently, Elizabeth Ehrhardt Mustaine, Richard Tewksbury, and Kenneth M. Stengel (2006) used social disorganization theory as a guide in evaluating the characteristics of neighborhoods where registered sex offenders reside in an effort to determine whether registered sex offenders are likely to live in areas with greater social disorganization.

    As suggested by the recent body of research and the studies that came before, social disorganization theory continues to dominate in explaining the influence of neighborhood characteristics—specifically, poverty, racial/ethnic heterogeneity, and residential mobility—on crime rates. Looking to the future, social disorganization theory will continue to be applied to different types of crime and will continue to aid criminologists and social scientists in their analysis of criminal behavior.

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