Friday, January 4, 2008

Odds and ends

  • The Cuba Study Group’s idea to aid in the provision of micro-loans to Cuban entrepreneurs is a good one. But its Mexican partner is not so good, as Babalu points out here, citing a Business Week piece on the partner’s abusive practices toward poor and inexperienced Mexican borrowers.

  • Will El Duque and his brother Livan Hernandez both pitch for the Mets this year? Estancia Cubana speculates here.

  • Cuban television personality Carlos Otero explains his decision to leave Cuba, how he managed to leave with his family, and his plans for the future in an interview at Encuentro. If the link doesn't work, find it on the front page here.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Phil,
The link to the Encuentro interview with Otero isn't working. Do you mind re-posting?
Gracias.

Phil Peters said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leftside said...

It is highly hypocritical for the lovers of capitalism over at Babalu to denounce the Mexican Banco Compartamos. After all, capitalism was unable to even attempt to serve the poor majority at all for much of history. The interest rates are astronomical, but they are certainly market-based. That should tell you something about the "free market", not this particular company.

The Mexican State, on the other hand, has a long history of giving fair loans to the poor (as in Cuba). Private microfinance will never be more than a passing trend as long as shareholders must make their 30% profit, salaraies must be in the top tier and millions are wasted on slick advertising and preparing for IPOs. A good will is meaningless in the world of business (which is why the original founder of the bank has left to go non-profit again).

Anonymous said...

you moron, if you really believe that what they practice in Mexico -- or anywhere else in Latin America -- is "capitalism" then you are more ignorant than everyone already thinks you are. The reason you see such abuses by companies and corporations is precisely the LACK OF A FREE MARKET.

leftside said...

You idiot, I never said Mexico was the embodiment of pure Adam Smith capitalism (nowhere is). I said that the private banking system, and this bank in question, operates using basic free market principles (ie. they have to make a significant profit). And that the market is useless to those too poor to profit off of. The same way when lending institutions in the US tried to make loans to the lower middle classes to buy houses, they were only able to offer all kinds of teaser rates and ARM gimmicks (which now threatens the entire private banking system. In a delicious piece of irony is is state run banks from singapore, china and the middle east buying up all the US private banks).

theCardinal said...

If the Marlins want to put butts on seats this year they should be the ones with the Hernandez tandem. It is a marketers dream. Ironically when el Duque was literally begging for another shot a couple of years back he called out the Marlins pointing out that he had never even had a call from them. I don't care how often he wins (you can't care about wins once it comes to the Marlins) el Duque is one of the most charismatic players to take the mound

Omar said...

The Anon at "January 4, 2008 5:50 PM" considers the reason of failure of free market in LatinAmerica is that it hasn't been free market at all. That brings to my ming the common place of communist saying that communism essentially a good idea and should not be confused with the practice of some countries self-appointed as communists. Are you eager to consider the possibility that there is no single-all-powerful-recipy equally valid for all countries and regions in the world? The main thing that Capitalism, especially in the form of Neoliberalism, has brought to Latinamerica is misery. The powerful few sell the country to well structured foreing potencies with the sole purpose of getting richer. It is undeniable that oligarchies all over Latinamerica have had 200 year to improve the situation of their countries but in relative terms it has just got worse. The rise of left leaning and popular movements, inpired by progressive processes such as the Cuban Revolution, is slowly changing the landscape because if you leave it to the oligarchies...you already know the result. Misery, misery and misery. So the recipy by Alvaro, Plinio and Carlos Alberto, including the offences, should not be followed blindly as you seem to be doing.
I don't know if you are the Anon of previous posts, I mean, the same that has been recently spelling cheap offences to the guy posting as Leftside, the proud socialist from Chicago. You should know that this doesn't sound nice. You look desesperate when you attack an articulate person like him, who by the way, use to be very respectful but is now making the mistake of replying you back. Offensive Anon, you look like lacking arguments. Is that your case?

Anonymous said...

crackpot, everyone is getting tired of your little gimmick of isolating abnormal examples to try and discredit the entire free market system.

Anonymous said...

Omar, let me explain why that wretch leftside deserves all the invectice any free man can muster. It would be one thing if he had the courage of his convictions and went to live in Cuba and endured the daily trials and tribulations in pursuit of his socialist "ideal." But he doesn't; he posts from sunny Southern California, enjoying all the benefits that our wonderful free market system has produced for us and made our country the most prosperous in the history of mankind. (Which is the reason why so many literally die to get here.) Yet all the while he criticizes that system and defends an odious regime that keeps its people in the type of squalor that he would never ever think of experiencing himself. The only description for such a person is a detestible wretch....

Anonymous said...

Leftside, the Mexican State may have a long history of giving loans to the poor, but not Castro, not the Cuban state. On the contrary, they even owe money to peasant farmers which they are finally paying, they say. Castro gives nothing to anybody. It is not that type of socialism.

leftside said...

Cuba obviously relies more on straight-up State spending to get things done. But they had a pretty good loan program for housing construction and repair, and most recently for for the millions of Cubans who got new refrigerators and replaced their gas stoves. But of course, loans for private business is something Cuba has not interested in up to now.

I started hitting back all the anonomous name callers as to not be a punching bag. But their lack of logic speaks for itself (Socialists can't criticize capitalism from inside a capitllist country?? Capitalists can only wish we would go away that easily).

Juan Cuellar said...

The fact is that Saladrigas is not interested in changes in Cuba. As meny in this blog, their interest is in changing the US policy. Here is the proof from Saladrigas himself: Carlos saladrigas, Aida Levitan y Jorge Pinon dice no adoptaran ni promoveran posiciones politicas o soluciones a la situacion de Cuba

Phil Peters said...

I'm glad everyone here is getting along so well.

Regarding that bank, sure it's a free-market operation, and it also appears from the Business Week article to be one that preys shamelessly on its borrowers. The Cuba Study Group's idea is that its project would be launched in Cuba once Cuban law would allow it. If that ever comes to pass, here's hoping that Cuba has a greater concept of consumer protection (accomplished through competition or regulation) than does Mexico.

On to more important matters: Cardinal, thanks for that comment about baseball. I didn't know El Duque had wanted to pitch for the Marlins, but what a great thing it would be if he and his brother were to pitch there. I agree about El Duque. I saw him pitch in Miami last year, I went to a Marlins game right at game time and easily got a ticket right behind home plate and watched him work from that wonderful angle. "Charismatic" is right.

leftside said...

Cuba would never allow such high interest rates. Venezuela passed laws that said banks must lend certain percentages to the poor and at certain rates. Is Mr. Peters advocating for such free market distortions?? Competition has shown itself unable to provide fairly and equitably for the poor in Mexico and US. Basic free market concepts simply do not allow it.