Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Wickham: Cuba economic reforms a signal for Obama
DeWayne Wickham, USATODAY 4:46 p.m. EDT March 31, 2014
With positive steps from Raul Castro, it’s time for U.S. to warm relations.

You’ve got to wonder whether anyone in the Obama administration hears
the pinging of Cuba’s economic reforms.

The most recent sound came on Saturday, when its national assembly
adopted a measure that moves the communist country closer to the
mainstream of international business. This new law offers major
financial incentives for foreign businesses to enter into joint ventures
with Cuban companies and, for the first time, permits foreign investors
to own up to 100% of a businesson the embattled Caribbean island. This
new law also exempts most investors from paying a tax on their profits
for eight years.

These pinging sounds started shortly after Raul Castro succeeded his
brother, Fidel, as president in 2008. Since taking office, Raul Castro
has overseen reforms that increased economic opportunities for Cubans by
expanding private ownership of businesses, permitting the sale of homes
and cars among Cubans, and by eliminating the need for Cubans who want
to travel abroad to get an exit visa. He has also made it easier (though
not less costly) for Cubans to own smartphones and access the Internet.

Sure, the big hurdle that many Cubans can’t scale is the price tag of
these things. Their salaries still lag far behind the cost of the new
freedoms. The pessimist would say these reforms are the free-market
window dressing of an unyielding communist system. But the optimist
might argue that Cuba has started down a path from which there is no
retreat, forcing the government ultimately to boost the buying power of
its people.

I think the pinging sounds coming out of Havana these past few years
indicate that the communist state is undergoing a dramatic change – one
that the Obama administration ought to encourage. In fact, Cuba could
use a lot of encouragement. Too many of the country’s aging leaders have
a bunker mentality. Their memories of the USA’s many schemes to topple
Fidel Castro are vivid. Their confidence in this country’s sincerity in
saying it wants to improve relations with is Cuba is awful low.

As the president of the protagonist nation in the long-running rift
between the U.S. and Cuba, Barack Obama inherits the responsibility to
initiate a sincere effort to bring this lingering standoff to an end.
Just as he ended U.S. involvement in Iraq and shut down America’s
longest war in Afghanistan, Obama should be just as aggressive in
seeking to halt this nation’s longest Cold War conflict.

Anyone who knows the bloody costs China made American forces pay in the
Korean War, or that the Vietnamese exacted from U.S. troops in the
Vietnam War, should understand this nation’s ability to overcome the
divisions such warring among nations create.

If this nation could mend its wounds with Vietnam and China – two
communist countries with which the United States now has normal
diplomatic and economic relations – it ought to be able to make peace
with Cuba.

At stake here is not just the lives of 11 million Cubans, who are
hostages of the financial blockade that was imposed to undermine their
country’s economy, but also the legitimacy of our nation’s claim to
moral leadership.

The Obama administration can’t expect to rally worldwide support for its
condemnation of Russia’s intrusion into the affairs of Ukraine while it
continues this nation’s effort to destroy Cuba’s economy. It can argue
its reasons for doing so, but it will not escape the label of hypocrite.

Instead, President Obama should accept the pinging sounds of economic
reform coming out of Havana as the opening he needs to end this
country’s attempt to topple Cuba’s government.

DeWayne Wickham, dean of Morgan State University’s School of Global
Journalism and Communication, writes on Tuesdays for USA TODAY.

In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions
from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors. To read more
columns like this, go to the opinion front page or follow us on twitter
@USATopinion or Facebook.

Source: Wickham: Cuba economic reforms a signal for Obama –

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