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Cuba, pigs and lipstick
Posted by: McQ on Friday, May 18, 2007

Kate Connally tries to put a happy face on her article on Cuba and how swimmingly it is going there since a 500 million dollar deal with Germany. But while you can put lipstick on a pig, in the end, it's still a pig. Some examples in which the pig shines through:
"We've been asked to send 808 pumps to help the country's infrastructure get on its feet," he tells an audience at Munich's chamber of trade and industry (IHK), noting the dearth of clean drinking water for the Caribbean island's 11.4 million inhabitants.
Clean drinking water. A regime that's been in place for 50 years still hasn't managed that?
Mr Lang's firm, Wilo-EMU, represents one of hundreds of companies in this most capitalist of German states that have agreed to help communist Cuba's command economy, which, despite the United State's embargo, has of late found a new lease of life, largely thanks to help from Venezuela and China.
Or said another way, without outside help in massive doses, Cuba's command economy would go under rather quickly. All you have to do is survey it's rotting infrastructure to see that. And the "United State's embargo" is largely a smoke screen used to excuse socialism's failure in Cuba. In reality, it has little if any real effect.
As far as the Cubans are concerned, Bavarians have proven themselves to be loyal participants in the revolution. By improving infrastructure they are helping to put socialism on a solid footing for the post-Castro generation.
Or said another and more realistic way, it props up the teetering facade for a few more years, but does nothing to really strengthen the foundation (despite the claim), because socialism is built on a foundation of ideological and economic sand and there isn't a thing they can do to change that.
The most delicious part of the deal for Bavarian traditionalists is the request for the luxury carmaker BMW to provide all of Cuba's ambassadors with its Series 1, 3 and 5 models. Even Raúl Castro, who is standing in for his sick brother, is to get a Series 5 car.
Meanwhile the elite get the usual best stuff in wonderfully egalitarian Cuba. Raul cruises in his Series 5 BMW while the peons take the 1950 DeSoto to work.

And as Fred Thompson pointed out recently, anyone except Michael Moore, knows that Cuba certainly isn't anywhere near a free country:
Cooperation is not without risks. The European Union has frowned on dealing with Cuba since Mr Castro's arrest four years ago of 90 critics of his regime and the US is quick to punish firms that break its embargo. German companies with US subsidiaries, or which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, have had to set up in places such as Egypt.
[Notice how effective the embargo is? Heh ... you go to Egypt, you set up a dummy company and everything to do with the embargo is ignored. The embargo is pro forma now.]

Oh and I loved this:
But Mr Castro's illness has slowed the cooperation. "We noticed when he was ill that payment process was much more sluggish," says Mr Mey of MAN. "The power vacuum has been obvious."
Really? Have the goodies been delivered already? Heh ... well look for it to get even more sluggish, Castro or no Castro.

Sometimes "businessmen" amaze me. They'd sell you the rope with which to hang them if the price was right. That's not the case here, but you have to wonder what they expected when the dealt with a country that has so impoverished itself over the years that the last BMW seen there was made in the '50s.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Remember, according to some other posters here, it’s much better to be poor in Cuba than in America.
Written By: steverino
Remember, according to some other posters here, it’s much better to be poor in Cuba than in America.
Hey! No! They have top-notch medical programs! Mikey Moore assures us.
When you’re there for treatment, just, um, don’t drink the water!
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Raul cruises in his Series 5 BMW while the peons take the 1950 DeSoto to work.
Now don’t you go about saying bad things about the 1950 De Soto, it’s a great car and probably worth more than the Beemer. Man, that’s a classic. You don’t mess with a classic.
Written By: James E. Fish
But what about the 9-11 heroes who got free health care in Cuba? But then again, why didn’t Fat Mike that them to Spain, where Castro gets his check-ups??
Written By: Fredrich Lives!
URL: http://
Tarting up Commie pigs. That’s the Guardian for you.

On commonalities between the cultures and attributed, sort of, to "German commentators" -
Bavaria has been ruled by the same party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), for half a century; Castro has ruled Cuba for 48 years. Both understand the benefits of continuity in power.
Uh, yeah. Lot of benefits for those poor people who wish they had a 1950 DeSota - so they could convert it into a boat.

But some of the wheeling and dealing really does look promising:
Communism is despised by the CSU to the extent that the party has invited members of the Cuban opposition to its Alpine training lodge to school them in ways of overthrowing Mr Castro.
And hopefully, when he’s finally dead, burying his brother and the rest of his government with him.
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
"Clean drinking water. A regime that’s been in place for 50 years still hasn’t managed that?"

No matter. The excellent free medical care will take care of any problems. They can always boil the water before drinking. If they had any fuel.

If any of those 1950 DeSotos have any original parts, they could make a good bit of money selling them here. Via Canada, of course.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Still, we should lift the trade embargo. Yes, the regime is an absolute horror. But the Chinese regime used to be an absolute horror too. Now they’re just a plain old everyday horror. But their people are becoming rich, hip, and modern. It’s just a matter of time before the Chinese middle class shakes the off communist rule.

Compare the Chinese experience with that of Cuba. In all seriousness, Cuba is just this side of the bronze age economically; they’ve slipped literally that far. And Castro is not a military threat. There’s a relatively huge, prosperous Cuban-American Community that will dive into Cuba to bring her back up at the first opportunity.

It’s 2007 and we’ve seen dozens of nations freed from the communist yoke. We know how to do it without firing a shot. When Castro dies, the US should immediately lift the embargo and begin empowering the Cuban people one dollar at a time.

Written By: peter jackson
McQ, you seem stuck on the idea of ’50s era automobiles running around Havana. It ain’t so. There are a LOT of ’70s and ’80s east european and russian cars but I guarantee you there are more ’50s model cars in Miami than there is in Cuba.

At least that’s the way it was when I was there in 99.
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
McQ, you seem stuck on the idea of ’50s era automobiles running around Havana. It ain’t so.
It’s a rhetorical device, Arcs. It essentially reminds people of a place stuck in time and the reason that is so. I could just as easily talk about the crumbling art deco buildings (from an even earlier era), but that’s a little harder to weave into a post.
Written By: McQ

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