Toma chocolate, paga lo que debes?

D’eso nada, monada…..

Cuba Closes Scores of Foreign Businesses

Welcome mat to firms rolled up

By Gary Marx Tribune foreign correspondent
Fri Jun 24, 9:40 AM ET

In a further sign of economic retrenchment, Cuban officials have closed scores of foreign businesses that were welcomed here a decade ago to bail out the nation’s faltering economy.

Some of Europe’s largest companies formed joint ventures or other arrangements with Cuba’s state-run enterprises, including Swiss food giant Nestle, cigarette producer British American Tobacco and Spanish hotel-management giant Sol Melia.

Sherritt International of Canada also has invested heavily in boosting Cuba’s oil, nickel and energy production.

But many smaller companies also took advantage of the economic opening in the 1990s, importing everything from toys to spark plugs to hospital equipment to sell in Cuba.

Diplomats and business executives say it is primarily these small and medium operators who have been asked to leave Cuba as (f)idel (c)astro and other officials express confidence the island’s economy has recovered sufficiently to withstand the companies’ departure.

“There is a very clear rethinking of foreign investment,” said one businessman, who like others spoke on the condition he not be identified.

Restricted market

“The Cuban market is not open for foreign investment except in very specific areas, and the Cubans only want to deal now with large and important foreign firms,” he said.

Several executives said about a half-dozen of the more than 350 foreign firms once based in Cuba’s duty-free zones are still operating. Investment that once streamed into the country has slowed significantly.

Although Cuban officials have suggested that some foreign businesses were gouging the country and fueling corruption, the crackdown also is aimed at limiting the influence of foreigners on Cuban society, according to diplomats and other experts.

Many executives live in large, state-owned homes, send their children to one of the handful of private schools in Havana and belong to Club Havana, an exclusive beach resort closed to most Cubans.

Their lifestyle contrasts sharply with the island’s 11 million residents, who struggle with frequent blackouts, poor public transportation and salaries that average $12 a month.

“It’s creating an elite that is outside the control of the state,” said a second businessman. “Castro doesn’t like that. It creates a two-tier society. It’s ideological contamination.”

Rather than reaching out to European companies, Castro is strengthening economic ties with Venezuela, an important ally now providing Cuba 90,000 barrels of discounted oil daily.

Cuban officials also are counting on an economic lift from China, which has promised to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to boost nickel production, a key Cuban export.

“For the Cubans, having foreign capital and companies operating is not something that’s inherently good but was a way to help them solve a set of problems from the 1990s,” said Philip Peters, a Cuba expert at the Lexington Institute, a Washington-area think tank.

“They put the reforms in place and got to a point where they feel they have reversed the economy,” he said. “When it came to those reforms, Castro was holding his nose and now he is scaling back.”

Risky economic move

But some diplomats and business officials do not share Castro’s optimism about Cuba’s economic future. Local manufacturing and other activities remain severely hampered by a dearth of investment and an unmotivated workforce.

Cuba also does not have the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to repair its deteriorating electrical grid, water system and other infrastructure.

By pushing foreign investors out, Cuba risks permanently damaging its international reputation even though it may need those investors should the island suffer another economic collapse.

The U.S. economic embargo prohibits American companies from operating in Cuba, though an exemption to the embargo allows U.S. food and agricultural sales to the island.

“For the last 10 years, Cuba has carefully built up an image as a difficult but willing partner,” said the second executive. “The danger for Cuba is that it’s really frightening people off. It will be much harder to get them back.”

The downsizing of the foreign business community is part of an ongoing effort by Cuban officials to recentralize the economy and concentrate foreign investment in several key areas, including tourism, mining and oil exploration.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc–once Cuba’s main trading partners and patrons– Havana sought to lure capital and technical expertise. Cuba not only opened its doors to Western firms but legalized the U.S. dollar’s circulation, liberalized food production and allowed some Cubans to practice trades and open restaurants and other businesses.

But the number of self-employed Cubans has dropped from a peak of 209,000 in 1996 to 153,000 last year, said Peters.

Today, the number of joint ventures between Cuban and foreign companies has fallen to about 300, down from about 400 at the end of 2002, experts say.

12 thoughts on “Toma chocolate, paga lo que debes?”

  1. Well, cry me a fucking river. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. I’m so glad that all those who came in cogiendo mangos bajitos now get lo que se merecen. Profiting from their coddling of a tyrant while turning a blind eye to labor conditions that are nothing short of slavery. I’ve seen them walking through Havana as if they owned the place and met a few on my day. They were the bottom of the barrel, the ones who couldn’t make it in their countries, the opportunists, the scam artists, the middlemen; and they wouldn’t stand a chance competing with Cuban ingenuity and entrepreneurship, have Cubans been allowed to start their own business.

    Let this be a lesson to all those who want to do business with Castro. Roma paga a sus traidores, pero los desprecia.

  2. Que cooosa mas grande esa, chico! Y que pena me da su caso. Fueron por lana, y salieron trasquilados – “went lookin’ for wool, got sheared instead.”

  3. China is trying to buy up Unocal, is anyone else worried about the alliance between, Cuba, Venezuela, Viet Nam, etc.? Scary shit. Notice we don’t hear much about this.

  4. QUE SE JODAN! Quien carajo les dijo que se podia hacer negocios con los comunistas? But the lefties keep experimenting with socialism even here in the US.

    Look at the decision by the supreme court left wingers, where seizing private property by the state using the excuse that it makes good economic sense and creates great business opportunities, just became legal. Eventually it will be just because the state feels like it. That is why the media are looking the other way with what’s happening, after all, they have always worked very hard helping to install the likes of castro all over the place.

    Remember that it was the Clinton administration who sent James Carville to advice Chavez with his campaign and the character assasination of his opponent and the media either applauded it or “failed” to report it.

    The same thing is happening with China’s inroads into Latin America which began when the Clinton administration pressured the Panamanian government that Hutchinson and Lampoa ltd. from Hong Kong (after it was turned over to the Chicoms and under PLA control), was the company who should be given the contract to manage the entry port facilities at both sides of the Panama Canal.

    How convenient that another very liberal and crafty President by the name of Carter had turned the canal over to the Panama just a few years before.

    This has been going on for some time now, the difference is that it just accelerated because a conservative administration is in power, the country seems to be swinging towards a more conservative stance and the commies feel they need to hurry before their window of opportunity closes.

  5. Glad you mentioned THAT Katleen
    when I read that, it was like a 2X4 straigh to my skull …like “whattafuckwasDAT” and how did it get to this point !
    The USA goverment must “lend” the money to ANYONE who can afford payment and kill that transaction.

    I am a LOT more worried about the Communist invasion via economic means that i was about atomic warfare!
    I have a friend in Miami (architect) who says the price of plywood and sheetrock in Miami has increased like 300% ’cause the chinese depleted the supplies in Miami.

  6. Killcastro, not just Miami, you should see the rest of the state! Not just plywood either, concrete is an at all time high, hardware too, we are getting instead cheap chinese crap screws and nails that break off and bend when you hammer them. Concrete hardy board went from $14 a sheet to $22 and yellow pine can only be had in PT at almost twice, or when you find the regular stuff it is really warped and full of blemishes. Granted the hurricanes and the current Florida construction boom has a lot to do with it as the labor pool is also scarce and central American illegals abound at construction sites, but the chicoms are really becoming a building materials’ black hole, and they are getting the good stuff too.

  7. “The Cuban market is not open for foreign investment except in very specific areas”

    For the moment. Eventually, castro will kick them out to – and as he finds new “specific areas” that need a new factory or whatever, he’ll invite europeans in to do it. And those idiots will. And they’ll get kicked out eventually too.

    Europeans aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer.

    5th Amendment – yeah, I’m shocked too. I’m even more shocked that Fox isn’t raising high holy hell over it. Any time the government thinks they can make a buck off your property they’re now allowed to evict you. Fox reported it and that was it – instead, we get 24/7 non-news about that girl in Aruba.

    Biggest pack of idiots ever on the supreme court – how does one interpret the words “public use” to mean “government benefit”?

  8. The Carnival Of Revolutions.

    Welcome to the Carnival of Revolutions! In this time, in our time, we’re witnessing history unfolding every day, a spontaneous explosion of political activity breaking out around the world. We’ve seen it in Ukraine. We’ve seen it in Lebanon. But…

  9. Sic the Capitalist Dogs on Fidel

    What should be done with the cigar-smoking fellow above? Should the U.S. continue its long-time embargo, travel restrictions, business restrictions, and so on? Well, has it worked in bringing Fidel down? No, it has not.

    During the Cold War, the po…

  10. Castro really does suck!…If you will pardon the expression!*** I have to say, one of the greatest moments on television was when Casrto fell on his face! …I am hoping he will do something like that again real soon! …I shouldn’t be that way! BUT I can hardly help it when it is Castro!…

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