The Nassau Guardian
“We are becoming increasingly conscious of the fact that the well-being of each separate country does not depend simply on the government of that country alone, but to a great extent on what happens in other countries.
We also know that there are often conflicts of interest between different countries… If our aim is to promote the well-being of every nation as much as possible, then we must ask ourselves how we can best organize economic and social policy for the world as a whole.
Even though it is not yet possible to establish a world government, we must force ourselves to be guided by the question, what would a world government do, if we are to see what the best policy is. We must make the interests of the world as a whole the basis of our own policy.”
Dutch economist Jan Tinbergen
On May 1, 1974, the United Nations Sixth Special Session adopted Resolution 3201 (S-VI), without objection, calling for the establishment of a new international economic order based on: “....equity, sovereign equality, interdependence, common interest and co-operation among all states, irrespective of their economic and social systems, which shall correct inequalities and redress existing injustices, make it possible to eliminate the widening gap between the developed and the developing countries and ensure steadily accelerating economic and social development and peace and justice for present and future generations.”
The economic embargo coupled with the resolution of the United Nations Sixth Special Session is somewhat ambiguous and contradictory in the eyes of the United States in regards to the Republic of Cuba’s economic freedom and the Cubans’ right to self-determination of their economy and political system.
We must be cognizant of the fact that the USA’s economic blockade alone has cost Cuba more than $70 billion and has contributed to the harsh reality of the region’s economic imbalance.
The evidence is clear that America’s style of democratic and economic reform has caused the Americas great social and economic problems.
Haiti is a good case study. A token $70-million aid package will not resolve Haiti’s impending economic quagmire that has no corrective measure in the foreseen future. There are about 10 million people on the island that is about to explode.
France and Spain are responsible for the state that Haiti is in and the European community says and does nothing about it.
“Judging by the state of affairs on a case by case basis, by the mid-1980s one would be obliged to say that Latin America and the Caribbean were at least currently unsuccessful in their development programmes. Measured by just two indicators: debt and the state of unemployment, it would be impossible to claim that these two areas, comprising one geographical region, represent a success story, ” said one economist.
It is clear our entire region is being subjugated to economic form of victimization, manipulation and economic co-dependency that now challenge the very sovereignty of our internal and external affairs. Colonialization has been disbanded but neo-corporate colonialization is on the horizon.
The freedom of economic development and prosperity is now being challenged in every aspect of our existence and this is only the beginning. Jamaica and Guyana are rapidly moving towards the fulfilment of Naipaul’s prophecy that the future of the Caribbean is Haiti. It is imperative that we understand the economic blockade that the United States launched against the Republic of Cuba which, ironically, spent $165 million for U.S. agricultural purchases last year and $240 million will be spent by the end of 2003 in food imports from the United States.
This blockade represents a very good case study as to what can happen when the FTAA and WTO have their way in the region.
Canada is paying a heavy price as a result of the NAFTA agreement in lawsuits and sanctions worth billions of dollars.
Can you imagine if the region decides not to cooperate or abide by FTAA or WTO rules? One could face serious economic sanctions that could lead to the deepening economic erosion of one’s country’s economic freedom.
Cuba has experienced what is foreseen in the future for the entire hemisphere; Canada and Mexico are getting a taste of it.
NAFTA is a nightmare and FTAA would be the “Fatal Economic Tragedy of the Americas.”
More than 60 per cent of the Mexican forest was devastated by NAFTA. Mexico has gone into a deeper state of poverty because of NAFTA.
The Bahamas would do well to remember that size does not always determine success or survival, after all the dinosaur is dead but the ants still live.
Just as the U.S. attempts to control and subjugate the independent economies of smaller nations through the subterfuge of unrealistic compliance requisites such as the OECD and Patriot Act, there are other factions who are even now engaged in dismantling and destabilizing the economic and political power of the U.S. in the global arena. Our offshore sector is being regulated, American-style. One has only to look at the players to see the slow but sure shift of power in the economic currency pot from U.S. dollars to Eurodollars to understand where the real seat of power will be, which is China, Cuba’s friend.
The Bahamas government has lost more than $35 million in tax revenue from the financial centre and the U.S. government is to blame. Will the U.S. government pay the Bahamas this money back? Yet, we supported them against Cuba in the OAS. This is preposterous and borders on stupidity!
Eighty-five per cent of every Bahamian dollar is spent in the U.S. This is incredible! We barely get 15 per cent back into our economy.
Yet, we don’t see the potential in doing business with Cuba! Forty per cent of the Cuban economy today is the service industry; they will surpass the Bahamas in the next five years.
In the next nine years, Cuba will hit the five-million-mark in tourists, despite the embargo.
Two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand Americans visited Cuba last year.
Why would we antagonize the closest neighbour to our border for the sake of the U.S., who is taking 85 per cent of our dollar and insulting our government at the same time? Cuba is 35 miles from the nearest island of the Bahamas and could realistically inject hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy. Where is our foresight? Something is wrong with our foreign policy. Canada, Mexico and Spain are making billions of dollars from the Cuban economy.
We don’t have the foresight to do financial trade with Cuba but Canada and the entire European community have financial trade agreements with Cuba.
SEE economic, business 16
The problem we face in the region: can we understand the importance of Cuba’s economic isolation and survival against the U.S.? Only Cuba can show the region how to systematically cope against the U.S., as Cuba implemented one of the most successful economic models.
During the second half of the 1970s, Cuba implemented its first five-year plan along with an economic reform known as the “new system of economic management and planning” (SDPE), with the goals of:
(a) encouraging enterprises to be financially self-sufficient;
(b) introducing profitability criterion;
(c) promoting decentralization, organizational unity and efficiency.
On the whole, SDPE contributed to strong economic performance. What is interesting is that the entire Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, has never initiated any national economic plan. So the Caribbean is plagued with political clientelism, democracy by default, debt and unemployment.
Based on a historical examination of Cuba’s economic system from 1959 to now, economists have concluded that the SDPE model cannot be considered an unequivocal failure. Notwithstanding economic setbacks, Cuba has made enormous progress in social reform, boasting one of the best educational and health-care systems in the Third World. In 1982, a report prepared for the joint economic committee of the U.S. Congress acknowledged the accomplishments of Cuba including:
(a) A highly egalitarian redistribution of income that has eliminated almost all malnutrition, particularly among children.
(b) Establishment of a national health-care system that is superior in the Third World and rivals numerous developed countries.
(c) Near total elimination of illiteracy and a highly developed multi-level education system.
(d) A relatively well-disciplined and motivated population with a strong sense of national identification.
The author notes that these accomplishments, along with full employment, minimal levels of racial discrimination, improved equal opportunities for women, religious freedom and rapid growth of and universal access to the arts were achieved despite the U.S. trade embargo. The author attributes these successes to a deep commitment on the part of political leaders, namely President Fidel Castro, to reform the nation by drawing upon the participation and support of its citizens.