Last night I was watching a show called “Polos Opuestos” on Spanish TV here in Miami and the host, Maria Elvira Salazar, was interviewing a woman named Idalmis Menendez.
Some of you may know that fidel castro is married to woman named Dalia Soto del Valle and that he’s had several children with her (castro has children from at least two other women that we know of). Anyway this Idalmis Menendez was married to one of castro’s son’s named Alex Castro Soto.
Ms. Menendez recounted how she first met fidel. She explained to him that she worked at Copextel which is a Cuban corporation (owned by the government, of course; check their web site it’s quite impressive, you’d never know that we have an embargo on Cuba or that the US is “choking off” Cuba’s internet access by looking at it). Anyway, when he heard that she worked at Copextel, which was under the direction of General Ramiro Valdes (the same Ramiro Valdes who has resurfaced as the information czar and is wielding a lot power under “tempory” tyrant raul castro) he asked Ms. Menendez what she thought about certain sales fair the company was conducting.
She answered that it was a lot of hard work but that it was worth it. According to Ms. Menendez castro seemed displeased. She explains (and I’m paraphrasing here) that he didn’t like the sales fair because he knew they were selling color Goldstar (now LG) TV sets that normally cost Cubans $600 in the state run stores for $300. Ms. Menendez was taken aback. To her way of thinking bringing a simple luxury to Cubans for half the normal price seemed like a good thing. fidel then says to her “if they have dollars then let them spend their dollars”. In other words if he could get $600 out of a family that has access to dollars why would he ever take only $300?
I think this anecdote is quite revealing. Of course every company tries to maximize the price it gets for its goods and services but competition limits the ceiling to which prices can go. As I have mentioned here and elsewhere the problem with trading with Cuba is that there is only one client, only one employer, only one distributor: the government. It’s the worst kind of monopoly, the government kind.
The economic system in Cuba is simply set up to capture as much hard currency as possible while providing as little benefit as possible to the Cuban people. Instead the money that isn’t going into offshore bank accounts is wasted on internationalist missions, propagandistic endeavors or spreading Revolution throughout the world. Reminds me of the old mafia protection rackets. That’s exactly what embargo opponents want. They want us to pay the mafiosos their tribute because after all castro, just like Fanucci in the Godfather II, just wants to “wet his beak a little”.
To that I say no. Capiche?