Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cuba’s bold new moves...

Rickey Singh logo57

Mark Fraser

 THE CUBAN government is currently pursuing bold new initiatives to combat the destructive effects of the unprecedented 50-year-old trade and economic  blockade  against it by the United States of America. 

While the US warehouse shopping enterprise, Price-Smart, has made a controversial decision to discontinue business transactions with Cuban diplomats and other Cuban nationals in Caricom states, the Cuban government is vigorously pursuing new foreign policy and investment initiatives designed to boost diversified domestic economic development.

The multi-dimensional approaches provide for structured dialogue with the European Union (EU) as well as for accelerating the development of “prosperous and sustainable socialism”, according to Granma, organ of Cuba’s governing Communist Party.

A core dimension of these far-reaching approaches is to also finally overcome persistent consequences of America’s crippling economic blockade.

Details of the proposed  new EU/Cuba relationship are still being formulated, but the Havana administration of President Raul Castro has already signalled its intention to make a reality the hitherto elusive relationship with the EU.

Last month—on March 29 to be exact—Cuba’s national assembly approved legislation to anchor the new foreign investment policy against the backdrop of consultations across that Caribbean island state that has been coping with the enormous political and economic pressures—including acts of terrorism from the US that lies just some 90 miles away from its shoreline.  

The Caribbean Community, which had played a significant role in breaking the diplomatic isolation of Cuba decades ago, is to be officially informed of the new foreign investment law as well as the pursuit of Havana’s new policy in developing mutually satisfactory relations with the EU.

In this regard Caricom is expected to play an enabling role via the existing mechanism known as Cariforum (which comprises the 15-member Community plus the Dominican Republic) in terms of dealing with the EU. The Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat also holds functional responsibility for Cariforum in cooperation with the EU.

Contrary to rumours being spread about so-called “uneasiness” within segments of Caricom’s private sector about Community partner states being disadvantaged by Cuba’s emerging initiatives, based on its new foreign investment law, as well as its proposed arrangements with the EU, the government in Havana, according to its diplomatic personnel, has no intention of “weakening” relations with this region. Rather, their intention is to strengthen relations with Caricom.   

Consistent with this policy of  continuing “fraternal relations” with governments across continents, the administration in Havana is expected to promote its approved foreign investment law as well as relevant information on approaches in Cuba’s proposed new relationship with the European Union.

Meanwhile, the political hiccup that developed between Cuba’s diplomatic and other personnel within Caricom and the America’s PriceSmart (as reported in last Sunday Express), will be irrelevant in light of the coming new initiatives for enabling Cuba to more effectively combat the social and economic consequences of the 52-year old trade, financial and economic embargo against that Caribbean nation. 

* Rickey Singh is a noted Guyana-born, Barbados-based Caribbean journalist.