6/17/2017

Trump versus Castro

Obama's policy propped up the regime, increased repression, and encouraged Raúl Castro to set in place a succession plan which leaves his family in control, and set to become a Dinasty similar to North Korea's. 
Obama smiling at Raúl Castro, a huge foreign policy blunder
Raul is so ambitious in this respect, that even Fidel's children and grandchildren are given secondary roles. The top security posts, the key to preserving the dictatorship, will be held by his eldest son Alejandro and his grandson Raúlito. The nominal head is married to his grandaughter, and the guy who runs the commercial empire was married to his daughter. 
The sanctions are a message we have to build upon, and work hard to have the dictatorship weakened and overthrown within four years. Because if we don't, the American left, together with corporate interests, will doom Cuba to a horrible future. You see, the Castro dictatorship runs a hybrid system, the Castro dictatorship is nominally communist, it set up the military owned Gaesa conglomerate to partner in joint ventures with foreign investors.

They don't sign deals with other nations, they do it with corporations such as Meliá or Kempinski Hotel chains. These corporations use Cuban labor hired out by the regime, which is essentially slave labor getting less than 10 % of what the joint venture is charged. 
The opportunities were always there for multinational corporations from Europe, Canada, Latinamerica, Japan, etc. so nothing changed, other than they'll see fewer American tourists. 
What hurts the regime is that Trump highlighted Gaesa, forbid doing business with that outfit, and that hit the oligarchy. They are like narcos, so they'll do a work around and I'm sure there's going to be greedy lawyers, banks and corporations willing to help. After all many of them were quite happy to deal with Hitler, the Chinese, and the Burmese military junta. 
What will make investors shy away is the mere fact that the Castro Mafia runs a repressive dictatorship and it chokes the economy with its policies. What makes Cubans dirt poor is the Castro Mafia corruption, the sheer stupidity of their economic system, the way they kill initiative, the way the smart and educated leave...

6/09/2017

Remember Neomar Lander

Neomar Lander, 17 year old student, was killed on Wednesday June 7th, 2017, in Chacao district, Caracas. What I think I know I learned from several videos and interviews made right after the event. What I saw was a skinny young man trying to approach a line of national guards placed above him on Francisco de Miranda (I think the guards were blocking marchers from turning West towards downtown Caracas).
Neomar Lander 

 Neomar was leading a small group of youngsters trying to go down to Libertador Avenue using the sunken access lane when two back to back explosions are heard. The next view shows Neomar lying on the ground and his friends trying to recover his body as the guard fires a volley of tear gas grenades. I can't say whether he was shot at close range with a grenade launcher (this seems to be a prevalent technique used by Maduro's guards and police), or whether he blew himself up. 

Neomar lying on the street after his friends retrieved his body 

The investigation will be tainted because the site was controlled by the same national guard/political police (SEBIN) unit which may have killed him. What I do know is that in most countries we don't see 17 year olds dying during protest marches being tear gassed, beaten, dragged behind motorcycles, run over, arrested, and tortured for over 60 days by a dictator who is stealing, starving the people as the outside world either ignores what is happening (just like they ignore Yemen and ignored the Rwanda genocide), or says they are "concerned" and send their best wishes. 

This video is an edited compilation of what's
 available, it has some bloody scenes


6/02/2017

Goldman Sachs

I sent a note to the FBI office in NY suggesting they investigate Goldman Sachs for possible violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This outfit just purchased $2.8 billion face value Pdvsa bonds from the Venezuelan Central Bank for $835 million via a murky London based bond trader named "Dinosaur". Based on what I've read, there's a possibility the deal was greased with about $200 million USD worth of illegal commissions and/or bribes. For further details please refer to this Caracas Chronicle article by Francisco Toro. Their site includes other good content: https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2017/05/31/watching-250000000-heist-live-bloomberg-terminal/
 
Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sach's head vulture 

The $835 million are a life ring for the Maduro dictatorship, which has found itself running out of cash and with negligible credit lines. This behavior by Goldman Sachs is incredibly unethical, if not a serious violation of USA law.