December 8, 2021

CASTRO’S FOLLY

In recent news, we have been informed of Raul Castro’s intention of approving a law allowing Cubans abroad to invest in the country.    In order to simplify what this new mandate really means I will have to copy and paraphrase what Professor Jose Azel wrote in a recent column, “investing in Cuba, only means investing with Cuba”.    This notion is akin to having had in the 1930’s the ability to open a “numbers racquet” in a mafia controlled neighborhood.    If anyone thinks that this entrepreneur would have had the ability to own, determine, control, or otherwise really own his money, then they are prime candidates to go partner with the Castro’s.    When anyone associates with the persons that have controlled this island for over 55 years, they will have to be morally tied to the abuses of basic human rights that presently exist.   

Not only do the aging brothers still rule.    These are the same thugs that murdered the innocent, brutally repressed their opponents, stole the hard earned fortunes of decent and honest citizens, and continue, with its associated elite, to use human beings as objects for rent, and brutalize the few that dare to express an opposing point of view.   

If there are Cuban owned corporations in exile, that are not directly or secretly involved with the present regime, or have the moral vacuity to overlook the actions of a tyrannical regime, or are blinded with the ambition of accumulating riches, or are useful fools, they would or should ascertain the huge risks involved in following Raul Castro’s latest folly.    To begin with, Castro and his close associates will maintain 51% ownership of the new ventures; force the investors to hire from the labor agencies that they control, and be subject to the rules and regulations that depend of the caprice of their majority partners.   

So, let’s be clear, you put up the capital and give command to a partner that will also be able to have power over your employees, dictate the rules under which you will have to operate, and also having to pay up to 15% taxes on corporate profits, plus on your personal income and other bureaucratic fees.    Some rules on imports will be improved, though details are unknown.    All in all, not an appealing prospect for corporations even after the insufficient changes proposed.    Buyers beware, and even if morally corrupt investors are willing to forgo the human rights issues, they should acquire some knowledge of the reality at large, and not listen to Castro’s swan song.

Fernando J Milanes MD

 

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