“Let them spend their dollars”

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?

14 thoughts on ““Let them spend their dollars””

  1. Idalmis best described her morals and character when she previously told the Herald in an interview that when she met the Castro Jr. called “El Gordo,” he was separated from his wife and also had a girlfriend. In spite of all that competition and instability, she married him, and not surprisingly were later divorced. Now she is just another tronado viviendo del cuento.

  2. communism is the ultimate capitalism — everyone works for the same company, and everyone has to buy from the company store.

  3. Goldstar tv sets are lousy. They retail here for $99, but Castro wanted $600 for them. Well, you know who was actually buying those tvs, don’t you? The same Cuban exiles who ferry from Walmart to K-Mart looking for the cheapest model to buy for themselves. But in “Castro-Mart” he gets to screw everybody.

  4. Had a chance to observe some of these lizards on Miami TV the past few days and I’m wondering why it is that NOW the local media’s dragging out these sleazeballs into the light to tell us what we all already know ….. as if their wretched and sorry lives give them more credibiity.

    Hypocrites.

  5. All of these former “pinchos,” who were more than happy to take while the getting was good and then, when the game was up, suddenly “found religion,” make me very queasy. To say I’m skeptical is an understatement, especially when they don’t even bother to really apologize or repent–they just switch gears like they were driving a car. I’m sure in some cases the change of heart is genuine, but I expect that’s the minority. There’s a lot of expediency, convenience and opportunism involved, and I personally would not be inclined to take them at their word unless I was really, really sure–which is hardly ever the case.

  6. The way I see it is that these people were and are trying to survive and weren’t in ideological struggle. The only people that really care about the struggle are castro and few other nutjobs. This woman like probably most women in Cuba really only cares about having a better life today than yesterday. I’m, not excusing anyone who may have participated in repression but her “crime” was marrying castro’s son.

    I also see value to having these people speak. For one thing, the shows are broadcast in Miami where we have a lot of new arrivals (in the past 6 or 7 years we’ve had more Cubans arrive in Miami than in Mariel). They are seeing the first hand testimonies that they never saw while they were in Cuba. And then there’s the not so little aspect that these shows are seen in Cuba through the underground cable and satellite networks and are taped and distributed.

    Anything that breaks the information embargo in Cuba is welcome in my opinion.

  7. The way I see it is that these people were and are trying to survive and weren’t in ideological struggle. The only people that really care about the struggle are castro and few other nutjobs. This woman like probably most women in Cuba really only cares about having a better life today than yesterday. I’m, not excusing anyone who may have participated in repression but her “crime” was marrying castro’s son.

    I also see value to having these people speak. For one thing, the shows are broadcast in Miami where we have a lot of new arrivals (in the past 6 or 7 years we’ve had more Cubans arrive in Miami than in Mariel). They are seeing the first hand testimonies that they never saw while they were in Cuba. And then there’s the not so little aspect that these shows are seen in Cuba through the underground cable and satellite networks and are taped and distributed.

    Anything that breaks the information embargo in Cuba is welcome in my opinion.

  8. I understand your point, Henry, but people (and I don’t necessarily mean this woman, for there are many cases far worse) who are still dripping in Castroite shit and stink to high heaven should not get a free pass just because they go on TV and say what they know they’re now supposed to say, whether they mean any of it or not. There may be fringe benefits to it, as you note, but it’s still a very dubious business.

  9. Henry,

    … (castro has children from at least two other women that we know of)…

    You can make it three. There is one more from Las Villas province. I personally knew her; we were classmate for a number of years. Last I know of her, she was living in Miami (Francisca Pupo) and a few years ago the Miami Herald had an article on her.

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