Cuba container port now open

I previously mentioned that Cuba, with help from Brazil, was opening a huge container port and free trade zone. Well, it is now officially open.

From a Reuters Article,

Cuba on Monday inaugurated a $957 million port billed as the most modern in Latin America and crucial to the economic future of the communist-ruled island in a project financed by Brazil and equipped for ships passing through an expanded Panama Canal.

It sounds like Brazil is betting on the port for its own cargo. Lots of name brand products from Bosch to Stihl to Volkswagen are now manufactured in Brazil. Having a container port with labor at reasonable prices could lower the price of said products for the rest of Latin America.

Much like the proposed Nicaragua canal, this port could cause significant changes in shipping routes and add Cuba to the list of added value zones (like Nicaragua's free trade zones).

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Bad link ..

... in Phil's post. Here is the right one.

"However, one of the main complaints of foreign investors in Cuba has not changed: that they must hire and fire through a state-run labor company which pays employees in near worthless pesos while investors pay the company in hard currency.

Investors complain they have little control over their labor force and must find ways to stimulate their workers, who often receive the equivalent of around $20 a month for services that the labor company charges up to twenty times more for."

So that's the trick. Get foreign investors to pay you $400 per month in wages for an employee, pay the slave $20 per month, and skim off the rest to subsidize Cuba's famous network of government services, such as decaying tenements that fall down on their residents' heads and oh yeah, great free dental care for people who can't find enough food worth eating to use their teeth to chew.

In its decades-long struggle to prevent its masses from making a concerted lurch to escape the suffocation of a political economy based entirely on sustaining the privileges of El Partido Communisto de Cuba elites, Cuba is finding new ways to prove that the phrase "workers' state" is an oxymoron.

Perhaps Cuba should abandon any further pretense of building a social democracy, implementing instead a system of classic, laissez-faire neo-liberal capitalism, with no hint of socialism except in stale flourishes to which not even state employees pay any attention, except for a handful of clapped-out expat Fourth International Trotskyist Toni Solo-types with rotting teeth who have stranded themselves on foreign shores after lifetimes of failure elsewhere; doing so in order to put themselves on the local government payroll, as measly as it is, primarily because they are so ineffectual that they cannot convince some ALBA organismo to cough up one-way airfare to Caracas, where the nights are hot hot hot and the luscious young chicas spend desperate hours searching for a roll of toilet paper and a tube of toothpaste.

Speaking of which, today all the major international airlines flying into Venezuela cancelled their flights to and from that cash-strapped proletarian utopia.

Now that the ALBA-Petro-Caribe pipeline is drying to a trickle as its infrastructure falls apart, is it any wonder that Cuba is embracing the indentured-slavery zona franca concept by skimming the wages of assembly-line workers to pay for the beach-side cottages and 20-year-old molls of Raul's octogenarian generals?

Out with old boss, in with the old boss.

Link fixed

Your link is to a different article and, well, your comments are pretty much a totally different topic.

Back to the original, Brazil has made a huge investment in the port. It is pretty clear they see the port as a good thing. It is unlikely they did not consider the historic issues related to labor and such that you raise. It also seems to have little if anything to do with Venezuela -- if it did it would likely be an oil port, not a cargo container port and free trade zone.

For over 50 years the US has attempted to change Cuba by isolating it. I suggest that change is not the goal but rather to 1) make Cubans suffer for having to gall to disagree with the US/US mafia and 2) offer a good example of what is wrong with any government model that doesn't follow "US rules" (as Nicaragua discovered in the 1980s).

If the goal is to reform Cuba, I suggest that engagement rather than isolation is the way to make it happen. If the $20/month wage number is correct, clearly it would be a lot easier and cheaper to influence the population (about 11,000,000) by giving them something rather continuing the cold war approach. It seems like Brazil has just done that.

That is, Brazil has invested enough in the port that it can be a new way to change the country. Raul Castro has recognized that the old Cuba is not sustainable. This investment offers him a chance to make changes that are virtually assured to result in a positive outcome. He has been a lot more pragmatic than his brother. I expect this opportunity won't be wasted.


Define "labor at reasonable prices".

Maybe those believing in Cuba as the "workers' paradise" or the great Bolivarian Revolution of $ucialismo XXI think earning the equivalent of slave wages is "reasonable"?

Would not surprise me!

good and bad

I like the competition. It should help shipping costs. Still, I think there will be a lot of United Nations banned trade being funneled through this port.

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

bad? really?

Nah, don't think so...

"Really, all those weapons we shipped to our fraternal socialist brothers in North Korea [ under containers of bananas ] were sent for repairs. REALLY! "

"Oh yeah -- those weapons were all obsolete anyway. REALLY!"

"It's all REALLY the fault of the imperialists and their criminal embargo."

/reality ( it REALLY is stranger than fiction )