Generals Sharpening The Teeth Over the Burial of Castro-ism / Luis Cino
Posted on September 11, 2013
HAVANA, Cuba, September, Luis Cino, www.cubanet.org — Those who restored
capitalism in Russia rose from the ranks of the Communist nomenklatura.
High-level bureaucrats, officials and generals made immense fortunes
appropriating the assets of the state during the process of economic
privatization that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The cases
of Roman Abramovich and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former comrades turned
multi-millionaires, are two such examples.
It is possible that something similar could happen if Castro-ism has a
soft landing, as seems likely to happen, and is transformed into
something else which, by virtue of being different, will be less bad in
terms of public well-being and political freedoms.
But what could also happen is that, as apparatchiks and generals start
filing their teeth over the prospect of burying Castro-ism, the
Helms-Burton Act could prevent them from diggings its grave.
According to Title III of the law, which deals with protection of
property rights of American nationals, the assets expropriated after
Fidel Castro’s revolution — including those of Cuban exiles who have
acquired American citizenship — would have to be returned by any
government that succeeds the current regime as a condition for American
diplomatic recognition and a lifting of the embargo.
After property is returned and people are compensated, it is quite
possible that very little of the loot will be left over for “the corrupt
bureaucrats, whose jobs were secured through calculation and
opportunism, who use their positions to accumulate fortunes, betting on
an eventual demise of the revolution,” as General Raúl Castro put it in
an address to the National Assembly of People’s Power in December, 2011.
This is the idea the government would like to plant among its supporters
who are hoping for the grand prize and Putinism in the tropics. It wants
to convince them that burying Castro-ism is not in their interests, that
they would be better off digging in, remaining loyal, being satisfied
with what they already have and what they can steal. It wants to
convince them that they should never exaggerate, that they should play
dumb lest the General Accounting Office nab them.
But the chiefs do not have to go along. The players who want to break
open the capitalist piñata at the expense of the state know all too well
the risks they face. And the possibilities as well. They even know where
to stretch their feet and put their hands. Accustomed to shady deals and
a shopkeeper’s economy, they are patient, astute and make do with what
they can steal… for now. They have begun accumulating capital, knowledge
and relationships. After dealing with them for so long, many foreign
entrepreneurs prefer to deal with them over the good guys, even if they
completely lack the know-how. These players have neither class nor moral
scruples but they do have a strong hand, which allows them to maintain
order and get Cubans to work like slaves without complaint.
The Helms Burton Act placates the most hard-line exile factions and
serves the Castro regime by allowing it to portray itself as the victim.
It is not, however, of much concern to today’s players, who hope to be
tomorrow’s oligarchs. In a post-Castro scenario this law will be almost
pointless. Events, once they are set in motion, will make it irrelevant.
And then the players will be the mafiosi of the piñata, ready to
parachute into any given situation with anyone who presents himself. But
they will not exactly be working as doormen, security screeners or
bodyguards. They know, of course, they will not be able to afford
multi-million dollar yachts, real estate in La Luna or mansions in
Silicon Valley. They are not fools. Their aspirations are more modest.
They better than anyone know in what state they have left the country.
By Luis Cino — email@example.com
9 September 2013
Source: “Generals Sharpening The Teeth Over the Burial of Castro-ism /
Luis Cino | Translating Cuba” –