Author Topic: All Things Cuba (Castro, politics, etc.)  (Read 85425 times)

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Offline CheersShag

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #50 on: October 28, 2004, 19:39:20 »
Quote
Rather ironic that the two main selling features of the revolution were the dictatorship of Batista and economic dependence on the US, which within a couple of years were replaced with the dictatorship of Castro and economic dependence on the USSR ...

Which I agree with you on.
And as I've stated if you read the diaries and works up to an including the revolution you'll find no mention (at least in favorable light) of the USSR, which is why I find it hard to believe that they jumped into bed with the soviets.
And I find it even more difficult to believe that the Cubans pushed the US away at the behest of the USSR, based on said writings.

Quote
the US had too much investment in the country to try to "push" Castro to the Soviets


Agreed, but the land reforms began long before the Soviets came along, they began in the Oriente province (state within a state) during Batista's reign.
In fact, Castro's family farm was the first one to be nationalized.
It's an example of bluffs being called and an ******* stepping in and screwing things up if you ask me
The US pushed and pushed Castro to fall in line because they assumed eventually he would.
The Soviets siezed the opportunity to trade sugar for raw materials, factories, professionals to train, engineers etc.
And of course, piss of uncle Sam.

Offline Aden_Gatling

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #51 on: October 28, 2004, 21:00:48 »
I still don't buy it: the Soviets had a strategic interest in Cuba, and Castro wanted to sever ties with the US by any means necessary.  The Soviets didn't give a rat's a** about sugar or any other Cuban "resources".  Castro only wanted to reduce dependence on the United States: the USSR started bribing him almost immediately by buying sugar well above market prices.  The relationship grew closer as Castro bought Soviet oil at well below market prices (the Soviets were bribing him in both directions), but the (primarily US-owned) oil refineries refused to process the Soviet oil (as if they ever would!).  So Castro nationalised them.  So the US refused to purchase Cuban sugar.  So Castro nationalized pretty much everything else.

An oversimplification, but the points are that: 1> central to Castro's appeal was that he would reduce dependence on American multinationals; 2> that he was proactive vis-a-vis the United States in that regard; 3> he could only afford to do so with the support of the Soviets; and, 4> the Soviets were willing to incur huge trade losses to ensure that Castro was on their side.

Let me put it this way: do you really think that Castro was stupid enough to believe he wouldn't be pushing Cuba away from the US if he nationalized ITT, United Fruit, Texaco, etc.?
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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #52 on: October 28, 2004, 21:16:45 »
>If I were to tell you by riding the backs of the proleteriat this thread might degrade slightly in quality

What is the difference between "free market" and "riding the backs of the proletariat"?

>so suffice it to say I believe the modern developed world got to be developed in ways that are unacceptable in modern times.

Please, be specific.  I'm curious to hear how the industrialization of, say, England compares in terms of "unacceptable" with the industrialization of, say, Russia?  What is acceptable?  In what ways should we constrain our rate of abolishment of poverty (thereby condemning future generations) in order to achieve "acceptability"?

Certainly as a one-crop colony of the USSR Cuba obtained more subsidies than it did as a one-crop colony of US "big agriculture".  The end of the free ride has been a little rough, though.  I wonder how Cuba would look today if had spent the last 50+ years as a tourist destination freely accessible to Americans?
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

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Offline CheersShag

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #53 on: October 28, 2004, 21:35:15 »
Quote
do you really think that Castro was stupid enough to believe he wouldn't be pushing Cuba away from the US if he nationalized ITT, United Fruit, Texaco, etc.?

Never said I didn't think that.
I said he wasn't pushing away the Americans because the Soviets were urging him to.
He pushed away American control before the Soviets entered the fray in Oriente.

Quote
What is the difference between "free market" and "riding the backs of the proletariat"?

Well I would say that the free market had much loose definition at the time of budding US interest in LATAM after the Spanish-American war (And prior to)
Meaning they Couldn't grow certain crops at home due to soil constraints and they could get much cheaper labour by strong arming and pressuring LATAM governments to fall in line and grow what was demanded in the US while caring less about what the actual people of said county could grow.
So in that sense, and I used proletariat in a humorous sense, the free market means not being constrained by laws that the US imposed at home by exporting this labour to cheaper countries.

Cubans, if we might momentarily disregard what occured afterwards, had the fortune of finding a gruop of leaders at the right time in the right place with the right amount of luck and the right message to try and end this.
It's definetly debatable that what happened afterwards strayed from the initial idea due to outside pressure from two warring superpowers vying for a foothold.

Quote
I'm curious to hear how the industrialization of, say, England compares in terms of "unacceptable" with the industrialization of, say, Russia?  What is acceptable?  In what ways should we constrain our rate of abolishment of poverty (thereby condemning future generations) in order to achieve "acceptability

Acceptable in modern terms is not what happened during the industrialization of either country.
If you think I'm pro Soviet you're mistaken.
The people worked insanely long hours at wages that don't even compare to modern wages after inflation is taken into account and were given no subsidies of any kind whatsoever
This made a few very lucky people filthy rich and industralized England and Russia (even more so) in a short amount of time.
Can this be done today?
I don't know, can it? Would it be acceptable?

Quote
I wonder how Cuba would look today if had spent the last 50+ years as a tourist destination freely accessible to Americans?

Roughly without much work, something like this I would wager:
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/gt.html
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ho.html

Offline Acorn

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #54 on: October 28, 2004, 21:42:38 »
Brad, I think Che has a point there. Much of what occurred to bring us to the lofty position of "developed" looked a lot like what has occurred in Latin America in the past 50-odd years. The rise of unions, providing collective protection of workers (leaving aside that gov't has taken much of the union role today, and they are much less relevant and more a nuisiance.) Universal sufferage. A great many socialist "benefits" we have here in Canada, including some which seem to have, unfortunately, come to define our culture, like universal health care.

Perhaps the difference between Castro's Cuba and Pearson/Trudeau's Canada was a common language with the US? We got away with it, and Castro was forced to look to the USSR.

Acorn
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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #55 on: October 28, 2004, 23:05:09 »
Cuba was definitely caught between two superpowers; it simply moved from providing what one wanted to providing what the other wanted.  If I understand you arightly, you believe the leadership might magically have done something else if they were free of those constraints.  Well, if they were truly free of the need to co-operate with a superpower they should've done so.  The evidence to me suggests that they could not, so they made accommodations and had to live with their choices.  I would guess that anytime from the late '60s onward it has been possible for Cuba to move in a direction more of its own choosing, rather than waste time sticking to its client status and fomenting revolutions elsewhere.  At whose feet should that wasted time be laid?  I simply see yet another dictator, bereft of any useful ideas or perhaps merely the energy to do anything with them, dedicated to preserving the status quo of his own rule at all costs.  I have yet to see his chosen "system" benefit any particular nation in the long term; capitalism still seems to be the worst possible system, except for all the others.  How would Cuba look today sans Soviet subsidies for all the time those subsidies were provided?  Let me guess: Cuba will thrive when and only when it obtains free trade and access to free markets.

>Acceptable in modern terms is not what happened during the industrialization of either country.

"Acceptable" is what you get when you can afford a particular level of acceptability.  I am sure that our "acceptable" practices today will seem barbaric to a more advanced level of development in 100 years.  I grant that socialism has enabled some nations to move more quickly through some stages of the transition from agrarian to industrial, although at a fairly spectacular human cost.  Shorter work hours and higher earnings are "earned" by increases in productivity.  Those increases can't be enacted by fiat, although goodness knows some governments have tried.  It will be interesting to see what happens to GDP in India and China over the next few years.  There may be a lesson there that some people haven't learned yet.  Maybe we can also learn something by watching the rate of change of development in Venezuela.

>This made a few very lucky people filthy rich and industralized England and Russia (even more so) in a short amount of time.
>Can this be done today?
>I don't know, can it? Would it be acceptable?

Is your focus on the income gap, or the absolute change in incomes?  The pigs are growing wealthier faster than the sheep, but the sheep are growing wealthier.  Is that better or worse than a system in which the sheep grow wealthy more slowly, but the pigs don't move ahead so quickly?

>I wonder how Cuba would look today if had spent the last 50+ years as a tourist destination freely accessible to Americans?

Honduras and Guatemala?  Why not Costa Rica?  Cuba was a popular destination before its revolution.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #56 on: October 28, 2004, 23:08:59 »
Does anyone have any expertise which would enable them to give a reasonable prediction what direction the net worth of Cubans will move in after they trade their US currency for Cuban?

Supposing that expats will continue to send money "home", but in a different currency, the Cuban economy will now also enjoy the fact that of the wealth "X" that was formerly imported in raw USD, some will now be lost to the transaction cost of changing USD to other currencies.  Good move.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

Omnia praesidia vestra capta sunt nobis.

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Offline CheersShag

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #57 on: October 28, 2004, 23:10:23 »
I do agree with your points to a certain extent and know there is room for both of us to bend on this.

Castro is neither devil nor saint but can and has exhibited qualities of both.

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Cuba was a popular destination before its revolution

Agreed, but what for, and by whom?

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #58 on: October 28, 2004, 23:20:01 »
Quote
Agreed, but what for, and by whom?

Michael Corleone?

But was it necessarily an improvement to trade him in for Boris from Odessa (who now, oddly, has assumed the mantle once occupied by Mr Corleone)
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Offline Aden_Gatling

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #59 on: October 29, 2004, 02:47:25 »
I said he wasn't pushing away the Americans because the Soviets were urging him to.
He pushed away American control before the Soviets entered the fray in Oriente.
This is getting confusing: I thought your claim was that the Americans pushed Cuba into the arms of the Soviets ... this suggests that Castro was pushing away the Americans and not vice-versa!


Quote
Well I would say that the free market had much loose definition at the time of budding US interest in LATAM after the Spanish-American war (And prior to)
Meaning they Couldn't grow certain crops at home due to soil constraints ...
Ahh yes, find discredited old Marxist propaganda, strike out "proletariat" and "bourgeoisie", replace with "third world" and "imperialist American capitalist pigs" and abracadabra new economic theory (and only theoretical assumption required is to equate capitalism with mercantilism)!  And to think that all these years I've been thinking it was the industrial revolution.

P.S> Sorry for the sarcasm: I couldn't resist pointing-out the obvious ...
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Offline CheersShag

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #60 on: October 29, 2004, 09:03:31 »
Quote
This is getting confusing: I thought your claim was that the Americans pushed Cuba into the arms of the Soviets ...


Definetly was pushing at the Americans, who were pushing back it seems trying to call his bluff, and the soviets saw opportunism and jumped on.

Quote
Ahh yes, find discredited old Marxist propaganda, strike out "proletariat" and "bourgeoisie", replace with "third world" and "imperialist American capitalist pigs" and abracadabra new economic theory (and only theoretical assumption required is to equate capitalism with mercantilism)!   And to think that all these years I've been thinking it was the industrial


The industrial revolution, come on, you mean to tell me you think that the industrial revolution could happen in todays world of 9-5, unions etc.?
If you're not going to concede that than you're being as difficult as I am here.
I would say Marxism was viable before the unions etc. because the workers were being seriously exploited as labour without regards to any of the non-existent labour laws.
AND, in Latin America such labour laws were unheard of, as Acorn has pointed out.
Look at the history of Cuba and you'll see a lot of exploitation by the Spanish first than companies like United Fruit which couldn't grow the crops and couldn't use the labour like they could use a bunch of Creoles and "Freed" slaves.
The fact is that all over LATAM at the time massive exploitation was occuring (And it could be argued in some places it still does)

I can't even remember what the discussion is about anymore and obviously none of us are going to budge so I see no point in arguing circles and semantics.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2004, 09:33:22 by Che »

Offline Aden_Gatling

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #61 on: October 29, 2004, 13:41:33 »
I've never before heard of calling someone's bluff as pushing them into someone else's arms (more like not allowing yourself to be taken advantage-of) ... seems like an awfully weak argument to me ... anyway ...

I will let it rest, but before I walk away from the discussion I will point out that the Asian Tigers industrialized very rapidly and very successfully in the latter half of the 20th Century and it had nothing to do with Nationalization of private industry & property, pre-existing social conditions, warmed-over Marxism or griping about real or perceived historical grievances: rather, it had everything to do with Private Property Rights, building on existiing trade relationships and free mobility of capital and labour.  ;D
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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #62 on: October 29, 2004, 14:11:22 »
Rapid industrialization and advancement up to the leading edge should be expected.  It's much easier to follow in someone's footsteps.  The issue is to identify the impediments.  There is plenty of capital floating around out there looking for a labour pool and markets.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

Omnia praesidia vestra capta sunt nobis.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

"But injustice is a rule of the service, as you know very well; and since you have to have a good deal of undeserved abuse, you might just as well have it from your friends."  - The Ionian Mission, by Patrick O'Brian.

Offline CheersShag

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #63 on: October 29, 2004, 15:01:55 »
Alright, Without arguing for or against I just want to clarify.
I question whether comparing Asia to Cuba is apt, but I want to hear your points expanded.

Quote
Private Property Rights,

Who owns the property?

Quote
building on existiing trade relationships
With whom?

Quote
free mobility of capital and labour
Expand please.

Quote
pre-existing social conditions,
So your contention is that social conditions have no impact on the economy?

Quote
griping about real or perceived historical grievances
Once again this is where i have issue in Comparing Cuba to Asia.
And if you're going to tell me that the Asian industrial workers are better off I do want to see some examples.

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #64 on: October 29, 2004, 15:49:53 »
One thing to remember about the growth of the Asian Tigers is that democracy was only addressed once it had a firm framework of civil society to be rested upon - for the most part, states like South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore existed under strong, undemocratic (in our sense of the word) regimes; call it benevolent dictatorship.

None of this foistering democracy at the end of a bayonet crap that we are seeing in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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Offline jmacleod

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #65 on: October 29, 2004, 16:07:13 »
I wonder how Castro can "get rid of the Yankee dollar" - the real currency in Cuba is
the U.S. Dollar. If you want a Coca Cola with your excellent Havana Club rum, the
Coke was made in Panama, shipped in by Container ship, and paid for in US dollars
- Cuban money is unacceptable to Cuba's suppliers, it is also unacceptable in virtually
all the bars, cafes, restaurants, clubs, and for "tourist purchases' - under Castro, the
Cuban economy, which could have been the best in the southern western Hemisphere
has been a disaster. The street kids used to sell Cuban money which featured the
likeness of President Batista - a lot of tourists got sucked into purchasing the "Batista
Bucks" not aware of Cuban history, post 1958. Our associates and I met a lot of Cubans
-great people, smart, looking for the day when the political situation changes. The US
would be smart to lift the Cuban embargo, and wait for Castro to go to Communist
heaven, and open the doors for Cuban/U.S./Canadian trade. MacLeod

Offline Aden_Gatling

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #66 on: October 29, 2004, 18:36:34 »
Alright, Without arguing for or against I just want to clarify.
I question whether comparing Asia to Cuba is apt, but I want to hear your points expanded.

Who owns the property?

Individuals and corporations, both foreign and domestic.


Quote
(Trade) With whom?

Their imperialist overlords (the West).

Quote
(mobility of capital and labour) Expand please.
I'm not sure how to: individuals can move, quit and apply for work basically at will: there is no authoritarian imposition on who can be hired or fired.  Similarly, individuals (again both domestic and foreign) are (mostly) free to invest their wealth in whatever ways that they see fit.


Quote
So your contention is that social conditions have no impact on the economy?

No, but I would argue that there is not any particular pre-existing social condition necessary to realize the benefit of economic liberalization.  More importantly, economic liberalization almost inevitably leads to social/political liberalization.


Quote
Once again this is where i have issue in Comparing Cuba to Asia.
And if you're going to tell me that the Asian industrial workers are better off I do want to see some examples.

Dude, are you for real?  Per capita GDP (PPP - USD):
#16  Hong Kong    $27,200
#26  Singapore      $25,200
#39  South Korea   $19,200
#48  Taiwan          $18,000
#83  Malaysia        $  8,800
WORLD AVERAGE   $ 7,900
And ...
#152 (Socialist Worker's Paradise) Cuba $ 2,700 (not even close!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita

Note: the above is a llittle misleading as all of the Asian economies have a much broader distribution of wealth than in Cuba where it is much more concentrated (i.e., in the hands of our pal, Fidel).
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Offline CheersShag

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #67 on: October 30, 2004, 02:38:56 »
Alright
I'll be gentle alhamduhallah PM me.

Offline jmacleod

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #68 on: October 30, 2004, 05:15:41 »
Take a moment gentlemen, and read Journalist Peter Worthington in today's Toronto
Sun, focused on a recent CBC "version" of Cuba, the worker's paradise, Toronto Sun
October 30, 2004. MacLeod

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Re: Cuba Getting rid of the US Dollar/ Big UN vote Tommorow
« Reply #69 on: October 31, 2004, 21:51:36 »
I thought it was worth posting.



Bush an easy target for Cuba

By PETER WORTHINGTON -- For the Toronto Sun

 
CBC Radio's Anna-Marie Tremonti kicked off this last week of the U.S. presidential campaign by interviewing a woman in Cuba about George W. Bush.

The woman said she was speaking personally, and regarded Bush as something of a gangster, a thug who was filled with mischief towards her country. Anna-Marie went on to document how difficult it was to live in Cuba under the U.S. embargo ("blockade" is the word she used, if I remember correctly).

The woman's pension ran to $4 a month, while that of her husband, a sporadically unemployed taxi driver, was the equivalent of $6 a month.
 

Apart from the anti-American flavour, it was an enlightening program that created a thoroughly misleading impression: That Cuba's shortcomings were somehow linked to America's economic boycott of Cuba. This is a widely shared view, but utterly false.

The U.S. may not trade with Cuba, but every other country in the world is free to do so.

America's boycott should be -- and is -- opportunity for others. Canada, for instance, is a thriving partner with Cuba on various ventures.

Travel in Cuba and you see the Canadian flag flown alongside the Cuban one at various projects. Go to Cuba as a tourist -- a relatively inexpensive holiday -- and resort tables are loaded with food for visitors from all over the world, especially Europe.

This opulence while Cuban citizens scratch for food and stretch their ration cards.

In short, the deprivation that exists in Cuba is homegrown, and the fault of the socio-communist system it practices. Goodness -- a country renowned for producing sugar has to ration sugar to citizens!

Like most Canadians, I think the U.S. is nuts to maintain its economic boycott of Cuba. U.S. policy just feeds the myth that it is responsible for Cuban poverty.

In fact, Cuba is the most politically repressed country in the Western hemisphere. Where 20 years ago most of Latin America was deemed by the respected Freedom House to be "unfree" or "partly free," today most of South America is "free" and evolving towards greater democracy.

Not Cuba.

Although Cubans who escape their regime are arguably the only genuine political refugees in the Western hemisphere, Canada insists of viewing Cubans who seek asylum here as "economic" refugees, and liable for deportation.

A curse of being a profitable partner with a Cuban dictator.

Until this week, Cubans accepted the U.S. dollar as de facto currency, as well as the less-valued peso. No longer. Fidel Castro has decided that all dollars held by Cubans must be exchanged for pesos, with a 10% surcharge to the state. As well as a quick tax, this will also mean more hardships for Cubans (and relatives in the U.S. who send money in Cuba).

It will encourage a blackmarket in currency and is yet another indictment against the regime. While there's no overt revolutionary spirit in Cuba, it is generally accepted that when Fidel dies, changes will occur. But not until then.

It's too bad Anna-Marie Tremonti's voyage of discovery to Cuba couldn't have explored why it has failed so wretchedly to live up to the promise of revolution nearly 45 years ago. Instead, in the parts I heard, an impression was created that its hardships were another reason to hope a new U.S. president is elected Nov. 2. Sorry, Anna-Marie, but I'll bet a pina colada that Dubya is returned to the White House more substantially than he was in 2000.

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Offline Yrys

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All Things Cuba (Castro, politics, etc.)
« Reply #70 on: February 19, 2008, 03:22:56 »
Castro, 81, said in a statement to the country that he would not seek a new presidential term

Quote
"To my dear compatriots, who gave me the immense honor in recent days of electing me a member of parliament ... I communicate to you
 that I will not aspire to or accept -- I repeat not aspire to or accept -- the positions of President of Council of State and Commander in Chief," Castro
said in the statement published on the Web site of the Communist Party's Granma newspaper. The National Assembly or legislature is expected to
nominate his brother and designated successor Raul Castro as president in place of Castro, who has not appeared in public for almost 19 months
 after being stricken by an undisclosed illness.

His retirement drew the curtain on a political career that spanned the Cold War and survived U.S. enmity, CIA assassination attempts and the demise
 of Soviet Communism. A charismatic leader famous for his long speeches delivered in his green military fatigues, Castro is admired in the Third World
 for standing up to the United States but considered by his opponents a tyrant who suppressed freedom.
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Offline CE621

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Re: Castro Stepping Down as Cuba’s Leader - Reuters
« Reply #71 on: February 19, 2008, 04:16:36 »
Time for Jack Bin Layton to polish up the old resume.

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Re: Castro Stepping Down as Cuba’s Leader - Reuters
« Reply #72 on: February 19, 2008, 06:15:18 »
Figured this was coming. I really think that the Cuban people will take the steps for Democracy.
I am the one and only

Offline karl28

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Re: Castro Stepping Down as Cuba’s Leader - Reuters
« Reply #73 on: February 19, 2008, 08:37:52 »
      I am hoping for the Cuban people that Democracy will help  pave the road to their new future . Than maybe they can have the embargo lifted on Cuba at the same time . 

Offline geo

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Re: Castro Stepping Down as Cuba’s Leader - Reuters
« Reply #74 on: February 19, 2008, 09:06:53 »
With Fidel officially stepping down & younger brother Raoul being not too far behind, Cuba is about to face "a new day" sometime soon!.

There will be thousands of Cuban Americans clamoring to influence Cuban politics in the hope of influencing changes and possibly getting their hands on what was once theirs, or at least their grnad-parents.

The American embargo has been a total failure.  If anything, it has forced Cuban authorities to look elsewhere for friends and partners.  Countries like Spain, Venezuela and Canada have firmly entrenched themselves in Cuba... Way to go Dubya!
Chimo!