The Argument of the Embargo and the Ridiculousness of the Cuban Communist Regime

A Cuban farmer makes extra money turning the invasive marabou weed into charcoal for export. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Elías Amor Bravo, Economist, October 16, 2022 — When a government ignores economic problems, it does so for two reasons. Either because of incompetence, or because there are substantive reasons that prevent the adoption of appropriate measures to meet social demands. Or it can happen as in communist Cuba, where the two converge. For example, incompetence and ideological pressure are the factors that condition the terrible results of Cuban agriculture, with declines in GDP in the second half of the year that are above the average of the economy as a whole.

In other words, neither the “63 measures” planned for agriculture, nor the “94 of sugar” have served to change the trend of the two fundamental sectors of the Cuban economy. And, as always, in these cases, the state press directs its accusations to the U.S. blockade, holding it responsible for alleged millions of losses in agriculture, which are added, of course, to those of the other sectors.

Strangely enough, Cubans have experienced this sequence of events since the earliest times of Fidel Castro. Blaming the blockade has always been present, and now, when people can’t take it anymore, Cuban communists shamelessly unleash the embargo/blockade doberman again. The point is that this excuse is no longer believed by anyone in Cuba or in the rest of the world.

In an amazing way, the anti-blockade argument changes over time. Interestingly, the regime now says that “the blockade is the main obstacle to the implementation of the 2030 Development Agenda.” A false complaint, which aims to reach the United Nations forums where these issues are addressed, like the Summit on Sustainable Development Goals, held in the context of the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly two years ago, where such a statement still has force.

Foreign Minister Rodríguez, increasingly irrelevant in international forums, seeing that friends are fewer and fewer, pulls this new story of the embargo/blockade and the 2030 agenda out of a hat. If this aptitude for defining insubstantial paradigms were applied to food production, maybe things would go another way.

Cuban communists, seeing themselves isolated at the international level, have returned to the charge against the impact of the economic, commercial and financial blockade, insisting that it slows the country’s economy and considerably affects  development in all sectors. They have now set their sights on agricultural production. And to that end, they have unloaded again a numerical figure that says the losses due to the blockade amounted to 270 million, 852 million, and 548 million dollars between August 2021 and February 2022, according to estimates by the Ministry of Agriculture. Almost nothing.

Where does that absurd figure come from? Specifically, it was the director of International Affairs of the Ministry of Agriculture, Orlando Díaz Rodríguez, who was in charge of making it known that the estimate, “summarizes the income not received by exports of goods and services, losses due to geographical relocation of trade, as well as from effects on production and services, monetary and financial ones and technological limitations.” Of course, optimistically, no one can beat them.

Income not received from exports is child’s play. The first thing would be to see if those exports have a demand or interest in the U.S., and they don’t seem to. The concept of “geographical relocation of trade” follows the same trend as always but is false. All countries look for the necessary goods and services wherever they are, and then transport them. As for the “allocations,” this is already known. The internal blockade of the regime is much more negative and has been so for 63 years.

The tireless Cuban communists accuse the 243 coercive measures adopted by the Donald Trump administration (2017-2021), still in force with the Biden administration, and say that “they put the brakes on the business system, which includes cooperatives and individual producers, making it impossible to position their products in the North American market.” False. There is nothing in the dispute that prevents independent producers from placing their sales in the U.S. market. The problem is the same as always: is there demand for those products? Cuban communists talk about tobacco, fresh fruit, honey and charcoal  as the products affected by the embargo, but could more of them even be produced? We doubt it.

According to the communist leaders, Americans have been deprived of these Cuban products and cannot purchase them because of the blockade. In particular, in the health sector, he alluded to Vidatox-30 CH, a homeopathic drug developed by Labiofam used as a complementary therapy for the treatment of cancer, which, due to the “criminal policy,” cannot be commercialized in the northern nation. As if the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. didn’t have similar drugs, validated by the World Health Organization.

Not satisfied with everything said, there was also talk of the interest of entrepreneurs, producers and other “representatives of the agricultural sector in denouncing the blockade, as well as the measures that intensify it, and they’ve expressed their interest in cooperation, investment and commercialization with the Island.”

Do you know when they’re going to collect if they sell on credit to Cuba? The U.S. chicken producers and farmers already market their products under the current conditions [i.e. payment in cash at time of sale]. What reason is there to sell if they can’t collect until later? In addition, agriculture in Cuba needs to import animal feed, inputs, technologies and raw materials for the sake of food production for the people. What are they going to pay for it with?

It’s the same old song. The embargo is guilty of everything. They fall into the most absolute ridiculousness. More opportunities will come for accusing the embargo/blockade of all the ills of the Cuban economy.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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