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Capital is Cuba's last hope

In 1959, in Cuba, when Fidel Castro overthrew the Fulgencio Batista mafia government, he was coming from a nationalist, even anti-communist background ("orthodox" party). His first wife was the sister of Batista's Minister of the Interior. The CIA and the underworld of Miami, who supported Batista dictatorship, tried to destroy him, he had to seek the support of the Soviets, if he didn't want to be overthrown and finally hanged. It is at this time that Castro built the myth of the revolutionary leftist. He nationalized American companies in Cuba, taxed US imports. Washington imposed, under the presidency of John F. Kennedy, a complete economic embargo to Cuba. In 1961, the CIA mounted the Bay of Pigs operation to drive Castro out of power. The mask fell, democracy meant nothing few miles from the coast of Florida ...
The (planned ?) failure of this agression definitely pushed the Cubans in the arms of Moscow, crystallized the Cold War. The Soviet Union secretly installed launching ramps for nuclear missiles on the island. When, in October 1962, the Americans realized it, the world was flirting with a nuclear war.
Ultimately, Nikita Khrushchev agreed to withdraw the Soviet missiles from Cuba in exchange for the withdrawal of US nuclear missiles in Turkey. All this was resolved well beyond the interests of Cubans.

For fifty years, Americans punished Cubans, much longer than any other country. Ronald Reagan called Cuba "a sponsor of terrorism", George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton reinforced US sanctions. The American embargo cost $ 126 billion to Cuban population. Castro entourage always gets supplies, cuban people suffer. But they clenched their teeth, resisting "gringos" more than the Castro dictatorship. Washington demanded Castros elimination to lift the embargo, cuban people cheered Fidel.

Barack Obama finally allowed Cuban-Americans to send money to Cuba and American citizens to go visit the island. In Havana, in the face of an aging population, external debt and colossal economic difficulties in 2009, the government was forced to launch reforms, timidly liberalizing agricultural sector, small businesses and the real estate market. The number of self-employed workers almost tripled between 2009 and 2013.
In 2014, after 18 months of secret negotiations under the aegis of Pope Francis, Washington and Havana reopened embassies, exchanged prisoners. The Obama administration relaxed travel and trade restrictions, removed Cuba from the list of sponsors of terrorism. In early 2016, President Obama visited Havana. This was the first trip of an American president since Calvin Coolidge, in 1928. American airlines reopened lines between the two countries for the first time in more than fifty years.

In January 2017, to please the Havana government, President Obama abrogated the so-called "Wet foot, dry foot" policy which, since 1995, automatically welcomed Cuban refugees who were able to reach the United States even illegally. Henceforth, they are redirected to Cuban authorities. President Obama seemed to forget that, in the very same year, the Cuban regime carried out 9,940 arbitrary detentions. Cubans seem never to be a primary concern for the occupants of the White House.

The end of the embargo would probably favor the liberalization of the regime, if only by short-circuiting the current monopoly of the leaders. American public opinion itself wants relations to improve between the United States and Cuba, if only to return to Cuban beaches or smoke real cigars. But Republican claim that the Castro regime must be defeated before Washington lifts the sanctions. That is why President Trump announced during a visit to Miami, the stronghold of the anti-Castro lobby, in June 2017, that he would restore restrictions on travel and trade. The president said, in particular, that the US sanctions would not be lifted until Cuba freeds all its political prisoners. The prisoners of the American military base in Guantanamo, in the south-east of Cuba, will appreciate the humor of Washington ...

The last hope for Cuban people comes, paradoxically, from capital: many US companies, including Google, Airbnb and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, have invested heavily in Cuba after warming diplomatic ties under the Obama era. Cuba can count on these powerful lobbies to put their weight on American politicians and ensure that their investment will be well protected in Cuba.


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