Friday, December 28, 2012

Where Trickle-Down Definitely Doesn't Work...

Friday, December 28, 2012
Advocates of normalizing relations with the Castro regime argue that unilaterally lifting sanctions will somehow have a trickle-down effect toward the Cuban people.

They admit that lifting sanctions would greatly benefit the Castro regime, but believe the residual effect would be worth it.

This talking point has also been adopted -- or vice-versa -- by the Castro regime itself.

Yesterday, Cuba's Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero jubilantly announced that a record 2.85 million tourists visited the island in 2012 -- consisting mostly of Canadians and Europeans.

(So much for tourists spreading democracy).

Marrero went out of his way to note that the regime owned 300 hotels with 60,000 rooms, but there were also 4,280 "private" rooms for rent.

(Of course, Marrero failed to note that these are in homes of regime loyalists, who are specially-licensed, heavily-regulated and overwhelmingly-taxed).

In other words, once the regime fills its coffers, money will also flow to its "private" contractors.

Even some in the Obama Administration believe(d) this.

In February 2011, during a Senate hearing, former Assistant Secretary of State Arturo Valenzuela testified:

"Let me just simply say this—that there may be some ancillary benefits [from the Administration's 2011 'people-to-people' trips] to the Cuban government, but it is our view that to be able to have direct contact with the Cuban people, that Americans have direct contact with the Cuban people, will provide them with a kind of space that will allow them to become much more independent of the regime."

Yet, all of the current "people-to-people" trips are pre-approved and hosted by the Castro regime, and frequent the regime's hotels, restaurants and nightclubs (worth thousands of dollars per traveler).

But hey, they might also buy a $2 trinket from an artisan in Old Havana.

Does an Administration that fundamentally disagrees with trickle-down economics, and is therefore looking to raise taxes on Americans that make more than $250,000, really believe this works?

As we've stated before, whether trickle-down economics works is debatable in open, democratic, capitalist societies, where hard-currency is freely and rapidly mobile and fungible.

But it's a laughable concept in totalitarian regimes with closed economies, where the dictator's funnel rules.

The Turn of the Outraged. By Jeovany J Vega....

The Turn of the Outraged
By Jeovany J Vega
Cuban blog: Citizen Zero CubaDecember 28, 2012
In March 2007 the Attorney General of the Republic replied just once to the first of three applications by two doctors who had been unjustly disqualified. It wasn’t just a technical report issued by a non-political and autonomous body against two citizens who considered their rights had been fundamentally violated, but this retrospective response was a vendetta, a written crucifixion using biased and politically-charged language.
But for some mysterious reason, and in spite of the fact that more than five years have passed, I woke up this morning with a couple of doubts circling in my mind. This is what they were about: if, hypothetically, the two people affected were now to decide to file a lawsuit at the Peoples’ Tribunal against those responsible for the serious injury suffered, what process would they have to follow? Would it now be considered appropriate for our Attorney General to accuse these officials – who doubtless still occupy public service positions – of having subjected us to public humiliation and grave professional and family damage?
Above all, the conclusion would unavoidably be drawn that we should be reinstated in our profession and recompensed for the salary owed to us to cover the period in which we had been disqualified; the implication would be clear that it was a total injustice, and that in order to throw the book at us they played with the truth, they slandered us and, obviously, someone was responsible. Today I would ask our “honorable” Attorney General who five years ago dismissed all the evidence in our favour, if we still have the right to accuse those persons who, enjoying full authority, never did anything.
I wonder if one could still proceed on the grounds of perjury and defamation against the then Provincial Director of Health of Havana, Dr Wilfredo Lorenzo Felipe, who is now Municipal Director of Health of Guanajay, and his wife, Doctor Beatriz Torres Pérez, who was then Dean of the Western Branch of the Institute of Medical Science of Havana, against the then Minister of Public Health, Dr. José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera, who is now the Head of International Relations of the Central Committee of the Party, who ignored the 10 letters sent to him, and the present-day Minister, Dr. Roberto Morales Ojeda, who ignored several others.
I wonder if one could proceed against the President of Parliament,  Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada on the basis of perversion of the course of justice, and against Esteban Lazo, Vice President of the Council of State, and Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, First Vice President of the Council of State, or Raul Castro, our President, who received four letters which were not replied to – just a question. All these persons, even if they weren’t responsible for what happened, at least knew about it for years and did nothing about it.
Moving on, I ask myself if the Attorney General of the Republic would consider it to be in order to commence an action for perversion of the course of justice against itself as an institution, for having, since mid-2007, rejected the evidence which should have resulted in our immediate readmission, as it showed that the facts were twisted in order to punish us for political reasons. I am supposedly living under a Rule of Law – as my government assures us – which gives me the authority, I believe, as an ordinary citizen — perhaps Citizen Zero — to place before the relevant powers such resources as I believe necessary to guarantee my personal liberties.
I am not proposing to dig around in the shit. My long and patient struggle to return to work in my profession has made me grow and rise above my miseries. Now I am only driven by curiosity, because although I have the right to feel resentment still, nevertheless I have decided to follow the noble advice of Reinaldo Escobar and Yoani Sanchez, those blessed miscreants who, just a few hours after my reinstatement, proposed that from that moment I should concentrate on my health and forgive everything; after everything it was those “warmongers” who – paradoxically –  put it to me that I should have the courage and stature to forget.
Translated by GH

Three brilliant plans to secure the release of Alan Gross from Carlos Saladrigas’ Cuba Study Group ...
Carlos Saladrigas, AKA, the "Silk Worm"
All the millions of dollars Carlos Saladrigas has poured into his Cuba Study Group from his personal fortune seem to be paying off. Saladrigas created the group to help promote his agenda of eliminating sanctions against the Castro dictatorship in Cuba while maintaining the murderous regime in power. With the sanctions gone or severely curbed, Saladrigas can then cash in on the business relationship he has developed with the Castro brothers.
One of the duties of the Cuba Study Group, besides lobbying for the Castro dictatorship in Washington D.C. and defending them in the press, is coming up with alternatives to the current policy the U.S. has towards Cuba. In the Huffington Post yesterday, the group's Deputy Executive Director, Ricardo Herrero, came up with three brilliant plans that he believes will help secure the release of Alan Gross, the kidnapped American aid worker currently being held for ransom in Cuba by the Castro regime. What makes these three plans so brilliant is their sheer simplicity. Although each is slightly different in its approach, they are all based on a single premise that is nothing short of pure genius and will surely work wonders in winning the release of Alan Gross.
Here is what the three plans boil down to:
Plan 1: Reward the Castro dictatorship for their lawless act
Plan 2: Reward the Castro dictatorship for their lawless act
Plan 3: Reward the Castro dictatorship for their lawless act
I can only begin to imagine the genius that will continue to pour out of the Cuba Study Group when Saladrigas pours in a few more million.