Cuba: Blame the embargo! (a.k.a. el mismo cuento de todos los dias)

Image result for cuban shortages images

It’s another week and the Cuban government has a new explanation: Blame the embargo! Blame Trump! Blame everybody but the regime responsible for the mess.

The communist regime in Cuba has issued another warning about food shortages.  And it’s all the embargo’s fault.   Have you heard that before?

This is from Reuters

U.S. farmers and agribusiness’s have sold nearly $6 billion in poultry, soy, corn and other products to Cuba since 2001 under an exception to the trade embargo that allows the sales for cash, helping to alleviate shortages on the Caribbean island.

However, Washington this month allowed a long dormant section of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act to take effect as it ratchets up the pressure on Venezuela and Cuba.

Title III of the Cuba sanctions law, waived by previous presidents, states that anyone whose property was nationalized after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, even if they were not U.S. citizens at the time, can sue any individual or company profiting from their former holdings.

Good for President Trump.  Better for the rule of law and respect for property rights.

Despite my support for President Trump’s actions or my overall agreement that the owners should be compensated, it has nothing to do with Cuba’s food shortages.

First, Cuba can buy food or anything else from any other country. Why don’t they? There are lots of countries who are agricultural exporters who love to sell their tomatoes and potatoes to Cuba.  The embargo won’t stop Brazil, for example, doing that.  It won’t stop Argentina or Uruguay from selling beef.

Second, the real problem is that nobody wants to sell anything on credit to Cuba. It’s “no cash, no tomato” because the regime has a long history of failing to pay its debts. It’s not the embargo it’s a socialist economy that could never sustain itself without a sugar daddy in Moscow or Caracas.

Blame Trump?  Nothing new.  We’ve been hearing that for a long time. 

The solution is for Cuba to reform rather than pretend that change is happening.

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.