Referring to the Nov. 27 news article “Castro clung to socialism, mentored new leftists in Cuba”: I think the article provided an overview over the years lived by Fidel Castro until the Cuban Missile Crisis, except for a sentence, “He (Fidel) endured a crippling U.S. embargo ...”
First, Fidel got to his government benefit, a vast richness represented by all the properties and businesses that were confiscated in 1960 without compensation.
Second, he, by playing the Cold War hand, got the Soviet Union and its satellite countries to pay his centralized government huge subsidies for the exports of Cuban sugar and the imports of oil to and from those countries, until 1990.
Third, the U.S. embargo was never an effective tool, as numerous countries continued having commercial ties with Castro’s Cuba.
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President Jimmy Carter in a speech during his visit to Cuba in 2002 said, in regard to the embargo, “... I should add that these restrains are not the source of Cuba’s economic problems. Cuba can trade with more than 100 countries, and buy medicines, for example, more cheaply in Mexico than in the United States.”
I would also tell that sales to Cuba on credit by those countries have resulted in monetary gains to the Castro’s government, as they have left significant balances unpaid in many instances.
The major crippling effect on the Cuban economy has been the inefficient state ownership of farms, industries and other properties. A damaging centralized communist system is the culprit, particularly with Fidel before, and his brother Raul now, being tremendously wrong in most of their micromanagement of the Cuban economy.
The writer is the author of the book “Cuba’s Primer – Castro’s Earring Economy.” Lulu, 2009. The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response.