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Posted December 28, 2008 by publisher in Business In Cuba

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Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

I want to sum up the state of the Cuban economy for anyone interested in the truth about the GDP in Cuba, Cuban accounting practices, Cuban debt and the import and export markets in Cuba.

Many end of year stories about the economy in Cuba have recently been written by many sources so I wanted to post this article so Havana Journal readers can read each article and decide for themselves if the Cuban government is being truthful about their economy.

First, let me start off with a Reuters article Questionable accounting by Cuban government accepted by United Nations. This is a title we gave to the article that had the original title of “Cuba says United Nations accepts GDP formula”. The UN only recognizes two countries in the entire world with Cuba’s accounting practices. So, first off we are dealing with a foundation of questionable accounting practices so the numbers are skewed in Cuba’s favor.

Second, Reuters writes Cuba delaying debt payments to France and businesses and this is a very regular type of news story. Perhaps only delayed debt payments and renegotiated debt to Cuba’s lenders makes the news but their credit rating is among the absolute worst in the world because Cuba is not a reliable debtor.

Third, this Ahora.cu article Call for Increased Exports and Less Imports gives insight into how bad the economic situation is in Cuba while Cuba says GDP rose 4.3 percent in 2008 and Cuba says economy to grow 6 percent in 2009.

Lastly, the Cuban government met to discuss the economy and planning for 2009. Here are two versions of the same information:

Cuban government report: President Raul Castro Calls for Realism and Rationality

Reuters report: Raul Castro calls for harder work, fewer handouts

—————————————- Havana Journal Comments—————————————-

WOW! Growth of 6% Cuba. That’s fantastic. Congratulations. I guess the hurricanes and the Embargo are not hurting the Cuban economy after all??? Bullshit. This is just more propaganda from the Cuban government and it gets old after a while so I feel obligated to sum up Cuba’s economic situation for Havana Journal readers. I have posted all these articles so you can decide for yourself and leave comments below.

So, President Castro, is Cuba doing well or is Cuba in bad shape because of the hurricanes and the Embargo? I know you want it both ways and many apologist nations are willing to allow you to claim a great economy while not paying your debts but that doesn’t make it through the bullshit screen at the Havana Journal.

I say Cuba is a deadbeat nation that blames the Embargo because Fidel and Raul like it that way so they can keep their people enslaved to the Cuban government.

Your thoughts?

  1. Follow up post #1 added on December 28, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Seems like tourism is doing just fine and predicted to be even better next year according to the Latin American Herald Tribune:

    Cuba Says Tourism Up 2% in 2008

    $2 billion from 2.3 million visitors, with Canada, Italy, Spain and Britain topping the list.

    Cuban Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero announced that this sector grew by 2 percent in 2008 and will end the year with 2.3 million visitors, a number that breaks the record set in 2005.

    Marrero said Friday that the sector managed to reverse the decrease that occurred in 2007, while giving an account of his management at a plenary session of Parliament attended by President Raul Castro.

    Marrero, who gave no revenue figures for tourism, said the sector grew despite the devastation wrought by three hurricanes between August and November at resorts in the eastern cities of Holguin and Camagüey and the western city of Pinar del Rio.

    He said that plans for 2009 estimate that the island will welcome 2.5 million foreign visitors and increase both revenues and profits for the sector.

    In 2007 Cuba received more than 2 million tourists, generating revenues close to $2 billion.

    Canada remained the chief source of tourists to the island with more than 800,000 people, accounting for 24.5 percent of the growth, followed by Italy, Spain and Britain.

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  2. Follow up post #2 added on December 29, 2008 by Ed

    It seems like the pot is calling the kettle black, to criticise Cuba for being in debt is a joke. What about the debt of the US?, not to mention the UK and many other countries throughout the developed world. Also Rob, I’m not unusual in that I service a whopping mortgage so I’m in debt to enable a roof over my head as with millions of others throughout the developed world. Most countries and individuals use credit and service debt.

    Also, you mentioned for the first time that the state of Cuba’s economy may be attributable to the embargo. Sounds like you may have woken up and smelt the coffee. Of course it’s attributable, it’s cost them billions in lost revenues, maybe even at least $80,000,000 dollars. Any country with half a brain could improve the lot for their people with that kind of money, I still say that the reason the embargo has been kept in place is because the US don’t want socialism on their doorstep. The only way to change that status quo is to lift the embargo and allow the citizens of the US to travel without any restrictions and you will see change.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on December 29, 2008 by Ed

    Further news reporting on the Cuban economy


  4. Follow up post #4 added on December 29, 2008 by paul

    If the USSR was still in existence, Castro wouldn’t care one bit about the credit blockade. The USSR flooded Cuba with money, yet most of the country is still in shambles.

    With or without money, Cuba’s government will always be authoritarian, and intolerant of anything that isn’t state approved. Castro had a chance to at least offer a real “change” by allowing glasnost to take place, but censored the topic when it was taking place in the USSR.

    I’ll say it again:

    If “friends” of Cuba, and supporters of socialism urge for the credit blockade to be lifted, that tells me that Cuba’s socialist nature and authoritarian structure will not change. There’s no reason why they would advocate for the demise of that society.

    Little will change for the average person (but much will change in the pockets of the Cuban military officers/Cuban bureaucrats/the Castro mafia and American business vultures who just want someone new to sell things to).

  5. Follow up post #5 added on January 12, 2009 by Bonnie Martin

    I have visited Cuba 3 times now and love it.  I get very annoyed with Americans who think because Cubans don’t have their “freedom” that they are all unhappy and would love to leave.  I have not found that to be the case.  Since the revolution most Cubans are much better off than they were pre-revolution.  A lot of countries eg. Iran, have done worse things to America than Cuba has and more recently.  I think it is time for the US to get over it and stop making the average Cuban suffer.

  6. Follow up post #6 added on January 12, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    So the Cuban people are suffering because of the Embargo?

    Fidel can’t buy anything from China or Venezuela or Canada or Spain or Mexico?

    Would you mind telling us where you went in Cuba?

    I love Cuba too, don’t get me wrong but as soon as I read a comment that Cubans are better off since they were pre-revolution, my bullshit radar goes off since that is Cuban propaganda that has been used for decades.

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  7. Follow up post #7 added on February 15, 2009 by Ken

    I recently visited Cuba and found the people to be happy only when they were trying to receive a tip. A trip to Havana was digusting. As soon a bus tour turned into a walking tour we were confronted by beggars. The animal abuse was also disgusting. Dogs with their ribs showing and hardly able to walk were plentiful a d signs of them being beaten were easy to see. A trip to Revolution Square saw many armed guards with guns. Why not give them an important job and let put these dogs out of their misery. I am happy I saw Cuba but I feel sorry for the oppressed people. Won’t be back.

  8. Follow up post #8 added on February 15, 2009 by pipefitter

    Publisher, You are forgetting that after 1959 Cuba could not get parts to repair most of the machinery that was in Cuba as it was pretty well all U.S. made. they couldn’t even get it from other countries as the U.S. gov. wouldn’t allow it to be sold to them. This meant that the parts had to be hand made, patched up or the whole machine had to be replaced at great cost. Do you think this didn’t add a great financial burden to Cuba?
    Any beggars you encounter in Cuba today don’t have to beg to survive unlike the beggars we find in North America today, they do it to get the extras from any tourists foolish enough to give them money etc.

  9. Follow up post #9 added on February 15, 2009 by paul

    They brought that financial burden on themselves when they nationalized American businesses and sided with the USSR…let the flame trolling begin.

    I can’t tell whether or not you read history books, or purposely make statements which sound legit until the reader does some research.

  10. Follow up post #10 added on February 15, 2009 by pipefitter

    Castro attempted to form a relashionship with the U.S. when he came to NewYork in the eary years explained in documents below, offering compensation but he was blown off. He had no alternative but go to Russia for help.
    It’s obvious you haven’t done your research.
    Look at:- http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/index.htm documents released by the National Security Archives released Jan 22/09 and read the first document, a discussion on Cuban-American relations with Che.

  11. Follow up post #11 added on February 15, 2009 by pipefitter

    Sorry I coppied it WRONG it’s http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB269/index.htm

  12. Follow up post #12 added on February 16, 2009 by paul

    Washington, D.C., January 22, 2009

    Yeah broseph, plenty of time to research that.

  13. Follow up post #13 added on February 22, 2009 by Ken

    I think Pipefitter should go to free Cuban clinic and get his head pulled out of his rectum.

  14. Follow up post #14 added on February 22, 2009 by Bonnie

    I think maybe Ken should try and visit Cuba with his closed mind open at least a crack.  Of course people in Cuba are going to ask tourists for money.  I have been asked for money in lots of places other than Cuba, try Mexico and many places in US and Canada.  As for the dogs, Cubans treat their dogs and cats much better than a lot of places and to assume they are beaten is stretching it quite a bit.  Stop thinking the people of Cuba are oppressed and look around.  I find it hard to believe that the people with the smiles and laughter hate living there.  Yes, times are hard but pretty well everyone is in the same boat so they go about their daily lives and make the best of it.  Maybe if Ken went to a free clinic in Cuba they could take the blinders off.

  15. Follow up post #15 added on February 22, 2009 by Ken

    Bonnie give your head a shake.

  16. Follow up post #16 added on February 22, 2009 by Bonnie

    If you want to discuss a topic and someone disagrees with you, do you always come back with ridulous statements that say nothing, only try to insult?  In your comments about Cuba you make a lot of assumptions with no facts to back them up.  As for giving my head a shake, you should try it some time and try and give yourself an unbiased view of a country and it’s people that we could all learn some lessons from.  Learning a little tolerance would be a start.

  17. Follow up post #17 added on February 22, 2009 by Ken

    I guess you have your view and I have mine. If you think oppressed people that do not know any other life and have no chance to have a better life are happy. If you think people that live under a one party government and have no chance of electing another one are happy then you should give your head a shake.  If you can tell me I’m stretching it then I will tell you to give your head a shake. I have travelled throughout Canada and United States and have been confronted by a few beggers but nothing compared to the hundreds that do it in Havana, day in and day out. By hundreds, I mean hundreds and not stetching it.

  18. Follow up post #18 added on February 22, 2009 by Bonnie

    I have spent a lot of time in Havana living with the people and have yet to see hundreds begging day in and day out.  Just where are these hundreds of people?  To compare Cubans begging with what goes on in Canada and the US is kind of like comparing apples to oranges. Maybe compare Cuba with countries like Mexico, Jamaica, and the DR.  Some Cubans can travel and do know another life and some still prefer Cuba. Ask the people of New Orleans what the government has done for them.  Ask the people who waited for hours when doctors and dentists set up in a parking lot in Pen. so they could be seen.  Ask the people living in and around the Smokey Mtns. who can barely feed their children how their life of freedom is. Yes, we do have different points of view but just because a country is “different” from what you are used to doesn’t mean they are wrong.

  19. Follow up post #19 added on February 22, 2009 by Ken

    I think it was you that compared Cuba with Canada and the US in the first place. I will not get into the different degrees of beggars with you. I been down that road before, I call beggars ones that say “Can you give me a peso for my baby?” and I also call beggars someone that draws a picture of me after being told not to, then demanding money” and so on. I am not going to continue this conversation with you. You point to some parts of the US where people are not the well off, we have all seen 20-20. At least it is not the whole country. I’m sure you are a card carrying socialist with a union job, good for you. I’m also sure you enjoy going Havana acting like the last crusader and ignoring the oppresion surrounding you. I couldn’t do it and until Cuba is a democratic country I will not return. Dictatorships are OK if you are the dictator.

  20. Follow up post #20 added on February 22, 2009 by pipefitter

    Kenny, how absolutly adult of you. Did your mommy let you skip sunday school today?

  21. Follow up post #21 added on February 22, 2009 by Ken

    Sorry, I get childish when I talk to idiots.

  22. Follow up post #22 added on February 22, 2009 by pipefitter

    Kenny, Well I guess that explains why you talk to yourself then.

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