Rob Sequin | Havana Journal
I am always amazed that countries from all over the world give everything to Cuba for free or on credit which is rarely paid back. Cuba always plays the victim card because of the big bad US Embargo. Cuba claims it can’t buy merchandise or pay its debts because of the Embargo. Well, here’s a little secret… Americans buy all their crap from China and China is a MAJOR supplier of goods to Cuba.
So, why can’t Cuba grow sugar and ramp up tourism to be a prosperous nation so it can buy merchandise and pay its debts? Because it doesn’t have to. Venezuela, China, Iran, Vietnam and many countries in Europe just give Cuba mostly everything yet it continues to be poor. Maybe a centrally controlled Communist economy doesn’t work? Hmmm. How many successful centrally controlled Communist economies are thriving around the world? None.
South Africa forgives massive Cuban debt
Why? Because the government of South Africa knew that it would never get paid back. So, now I’m sure there is some unannounced arrangement for South Africa to get some benefit from this debt forgiveness…
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies and the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma signed two important agreements in Havana, aimed at boosting economic relations between the two countries.
Dr Dlamini-Zuma signed an agreement on the waiver of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic, official and service passports. Therefore, Cuban and South African citizens holding such travel documents can enter and remain in the respective countries for up to 90 days without visas.
Dr Davies signed an agreement canceling Cuba’s one billion RAND debt, which had been incurred during the 1990s when Cuba purchased diesel engines from South Africa.
Minister Davies said, “It is not as if Cuba could not repay the debt. The problem is that it was becoming a hindrance to trade and economic development between the two countries. South African businesses demanded cash in advance because the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of the Department of Trade and Industry could no longer insure Cuba’s orders as it had exhausted its credit limit. So we are re-opening the credit lines so that we can start trading actively again.”
Let me jump in here… so the SA government forgives the past debt so it can now do more business with Cuba… on credit of course. Crazy.
South African credit lines to Cuba
* R1,1 billion debt cancellation (about $140,000,000 US)
* The extension of credit guarantees to the value of R70 million RAND
* R40 million RAND to support Cuba with seeds and fertilizers following the devastating 2008 hurricane which destroyed agriculture
* R100 million from our African Renaissance Fund for purchases from South Africa
So, if I’ve done my math right, South Africa forgives $140million in debt and is now offering about $29,000,000 US in new credit or just outright cash donations. Sickening really when Cuba WAS the economic powerhouse of the Caribbean until Fidel Castro destroyed the country and made it the island prison it is today. The Cuban government can’t even grow sugar anymore. How pathetic. Okay, on with the rest of the story…
It is envisaged that this package will help to boost trade and investments between the two countries which had stagnated.
South African exports to Cuba had fallen from R82 million rand in 2008 to only a million rand this year, in 2010.
Me again… so now SA/Cuba business will get back to healthy levels of 2008? Let the credits and frozen foreign bank funds begin until next time South Africa has to forgive this Cuban debt.
Ricardo Alarcon travels the world
One can only wonder why Mr. Alarcon is making such a world tour. My speculation is that he is asking China and Russia for debt forgiveness in exchange for preferential treatment with regards to oil, nickel, sugar and other commodities from Cuba.
France is the country that clears payments to US businesses selling food into Cuba.
I suspect this trip is to prepare these countries for big changes come the Communist Party Congress in April.