Cuba Siglo 21 Calls to ‘Checkmate the Regime’ Instead of ‘Rescuing the Dying’

Blanco believes that “in the short term” there will be a change in Cuba and that the military will play a fundamental role. (EFE)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Miami, 18 January 2023 — The “governance system” in Cuba, an indebted Country, without credit or resources and with growing protests and an unending exodus, “could break at any moment” and it is not the time to “strengthen” the cause of the crisis, warns an analysis conducted by a new “ideas laboratory” in Miami and Madrid.

During a press conference on Tuesday, historian Juan Antonio Blanco and economist Emilio Morales, two of the members of Cuba Siglo 21, an organization founded last December, said, “In Cuba even the ideology has collapsed.”

Their objective, with this and other published reports is for those who have to deal with or negotiate with Cuba to know “the nature” of the system and “where the true power lies,” they said.

In their opinion, there has never before been an opportunity like the current one to “checkmate the Cuban regime” and stop playing games that end in a “draw,” as, according to them, has been happening internationally since the triumph of the Revolution in 1959.

Although he says that “the future is never predetermined,” Blanco believes that “in the short term” there will be a change in Cuba and that the military will play a fundamental role, unless what historians refer to as a “black swan” appears on the scene, a circumstantial event which could suddenly change everything.

If the military are the ones that lead the change, it remains to be seen whether they will impose an opening that is only economic, in the style of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, or also political to move toward democracy. “What is not viable is to rescue the dying,” he asserts.

Although Morales and Blanco maintain that the solution must come from Cubans, they exhort the US to consider what sense does it make at the moment to relieve the pressure on the Government of the Island for failing to meet the needs of the population.

A record number, over 300,000 Cubans entered the US through the Mexican border in 2022 and now the Government led by Joe Biden has established a quota of 360,000 visas for them and for Venezuelans, Nicaraguans and Haitians.

“The crisis will not be resolved by strengthening those who have created the instability in Cuba,” says Blanco, the former President of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights, based in Miami.

The preliminary analysis published today Cuba Siglo 21’s web site is based on the idea that Cuba is no longer a socialist state that tends to the needs of its citizens, but rather a “mafia state” in which an “opaque oligarchy” which surrounds the “Castro clan” controls the country’s resources, according to the report.

The true power in Cuba — states the report — is not the “bureaucratic, institutionalized” government, but rather the oligarchy represented by the Gaesa consortium, which, according to the data analyzed, has $8.2 million in capital and controls 70% of the economy and 95% of the finances.

Gaesa, which belongs to the Armed Forces, has its businesses registered outside the Island, in Panama, Luxembourg, and other countries and not as Cuban businesses, states the Cuba Siglo 21 report.

According to Morales, Gaesa is probably the company with most hotel rooms in all of Latin America, more than 37,000 distributed among 117 hotels, despite the declining number of visitors to the Island.

“Mafia state is not an epithet, it is a reality,” said Blanco, who during the press conference linked Gaesa with international organized crime and with illicit activities such as money laundering.

Morales stated that Gaesa also obtains resources from remittances worth millions, which Cubans abroad send to their family members, as well as the medical missions abroad.

According to Morales, who is a well-regarded consultant on the Cuban economy, Cuba is in “bankruptcy,” although the Paris Club forgave $42 million in debt in 2015.

The debt acknowledged by the government is $20 billion but that does not include the $15 billion and $18 billion it owes Venezuela and the $6 billion to Argentina, to mention a few, as he said.

To recover the sugar industry, which once was the largest producer in the world and now must import to satisfy the domestic market, they will need $10 billion and the same amount to transform the energy grid.

If the trial against the Cuban state in British courts for non-payment ends up in a conviction for Cuba, Morales predicts it will result in a long list of similar lawsuits and embargoes on Cuban goods in other countries.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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