Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Cuba, Venezuela: Top Latin Economies in 2005

As we reach a very interesting House vote on CAFTA, we are being told all sorts of lies: that labor and environmental conditions in Central America are not a concern (when censored reports show otherwise), that CAFTA is really about helping Central America, that this exchange is really "free" (when movement of people is excluded, as now are the crucial sugar and textile markets.

But I like focussing on the big questions. What happened to Latin America in the last 25 years that caused such widespread failure? ie. Does capitalism"work?" And are alternatives out there. Can Cuba and Venezuela actually be showing us the future, both economically and politically?

Yes indeed, Cuba and Venezuela (and China...) appear to be far ahead of their peers as far as their projected 2005 economic grownth. Fidel Castro has just reported that Cuba expects to hit 9 percent this year, and Venezuela is at 8%. Meanwhile NAFTA beneficiary Mexico is happy with their 4%, after 2 years at 1%.

Cuba has been helped by an increase in the price of Nickel, strong tourism, bilateral agreements and increased hard currency reserves since taking the dollar out of everyday use. Recent offshore oil finds have increased expectations even higher. In recent months The Government has increased the minimum wage and the pay of teachers and social workers... and even given away free rice cookers to everyone who wants one;) It seems Mr. Bush's attempts to strangle the economy further have failed.

Of course the island still faces many struggles, as Castro and Granma have been stressing lately - particularly since the devastating hurricane Dennis that sliced through the island a few weeks ago, causing blackouts. However Castro claimed that hundreds of millions in investments are being made now that will double the current electrical capacity of the country.


Blogger halcyon67 said...

It is odd. I never really see anything about Cuba and Venezuela, always talk about Brazil.

Those who pushed and passed CAFTA played this as a National Security issue as if that Cuba and Venezuela are going to attack the US tomorrow. I think the main target is Venezuela. Chavez is a thorn in the side of the Bush Administration. Bushy and Co. can't seem to get rid of him (despite their many attempts, most notably the coup in 2002.)

CAFTA is going to ruin that area just as it is going to ruin this area.

I am trying to find this out, but was Bush opposed to NAFTA? I will check back later. Cool blog, by the way.

7:05 AM  
Blogger jsb said...

Samantha, ..we were not involved in a coup in 2002, the U.S. that is. We made the blunder of seemingly supporting the actions of Venezuelans through the White House spokesman at the time, Ari Fleischer. That's a far cry from an "attempt" it was after the fact.

"CAFTA is going to ruin that area"

Which area is that? As Venezuela is not part of CAFTA, how would it be an "attempt" on the power of Chavez?


11:59 AM  
Blogger jsb said...

And Leftside, you say rice cookers were free, but Reuters reports that they were "subsidized", not free. Small quibble, but I thought you'd want to be accurate in your description.

12:03 PM  
Blogger leftside said...

Scott, I knew that about the rice cookers, but somehow forgot, thanks. The government has also ordered 3.1 million pressure cookers, 3.8 million electric hot plates, 1.1 million fans...

And i might just quibble with your assertion to samantha that we were not involved in a coup attempt against Chavez. Newly declassified records show that CIA officers were reporting on the coup plans, its participants and had the dates right weeks before the action. We never notified the Venezuelan government though. I would say that is involvement, ie. we could have stopped it. The fact that our State Department steadfastly denied that a coup had taken place when the whole world knew it did, has raised many eyebrows. It is also common knowledge we fear Chavez. So to suggest CIA involvement is not that far off. Why lie about it otherwise??

3:31 PM  
Blogger leftside said...

This wasn't just a bungled press response. It was
carefully planned. All of what I said is part of the
record now after (thankfully) successful Freedom of
Information Act queries. Otherwise the truth would
still be hidden.

The CIA and other agency documents are available
below. Check the April 6th CIA cable that goes into
great detail (for these cables) about level of
planning, tactics and chances for success. The title
is Conditions "ripening" fo coup attempt. This was
designed for the executive branch:

I don't know what book you are talking about, but
these are straight from the source. If you don't
believe me, I'd imagine you trust wikipedia? Go to
"alleged US involvement" below and you'll see the

It subsequently emerged that Bush administration
officials Elliott Abrams, who is said to have
supervised the planning of the operation, and Otto
Reich (ex-US ambassador to Venezuala) were not only
aware the coup was about to take place, but had
sanctioned it and discussed it in some detail with the
coup plotters at the White House, including Carmona,
right down to its timing and chances of success, which
were deemed to be excellent. On the day Carmona was
installed, Reich summoned ambassadors from Latin
America and the Caribbean to his office and told them
that the removal of Chávez was not a rupture of
democratic rule, as he had resigned and was
"responsible for his fate". [2] [3]

Or if you want to get into more detail about our
actual on the ground involvement in jamming signals,
intercepting communications and een the coordinate
pychological warfare "message" that was repeated
exactly the same in opposition controlled Caracas
media outles and at the Washington Press Briefing.

What evidence are you talking about?


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2:42 AM  

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