Friday, April 24, 2009

Telecom possibilities

I and others were asked to comment on the Obama Administration’s telecom opening to Cuba by the Inter-American Dialogue’s daily publication, Latin America Advisor. Our comments are in this issue (pdf). Note the comment by former U.S. Ambassador and former AT&T executive Cresencio Arcos, who focuses on competition policy issues and Cuba’s very high rates. He advises companies who might strike deals to enter the Cuban telecom business to treat them “as a ‘Sicilian’ marriage: before marriage both eyes should be wide open, after marriage you only close one.”

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Sicilian marriage" remark is funny. I would add that this would enhance Ramiro Valdez' position while posing challenges to the Cuban government's control of communications within Cuba and from Cuba to the world. In the debate money vs. control, control has always won in the past 50 years in Cuba.

Good insights by all three of you!

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

Phil Peters,

It is instructive to read both Fidel Castro's last reflection and Daniel Ortega's interview on Cuban TV. It appears that the main foreign policy initiative by the ALBA contigent is to exclude the US from the OAS or failing that to organize a walkout by Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia. This could happen at the next OAS ministerial meeting in Honduras. Both Fidel Castro and Raul Castro had said that Cuba will not rejoin the OAS. Any such move would pose a serious challenge to US policy in LA as the OAS has been instrumental in resolving various interamerican conflicts in the last few years (Haiti, the Colombia/Ecuador spat over the Rojas raid, etc). It is not clear what role would Pres.Zelaya would play in all of this, but he may have to learn a lesson from the punishment to be extracted from Trinidad's Mr.Manning by the Cuban government.

This has the potential to blow up (not brake) any movement toward normalization of US-Cuba relations.

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

Brian Latell's latest "Latell Report" documents well overtures made by US administrations to resolve "the conflict" with the Cuba. Obama's overtures are one of the clearest and strongest. Given FCastro's recent reflections, it is likely that his overtures will be unfortunately in vain.

leftside said...

Vecino, ALBA is not designed as a foreign policy grouping. They are focussed on economics and trade. I have not heard anyone talk about excluding the US from the OAS. Seems impossible, as the US basically owns the OAS (70%). What I heard is that without allowing Cuba in soon, there may not be any point in continuing to meet under OAS asupices. In other words, it may just fizzle and die. Brazil's FM said that pretty much (not just ALBA is lobbying for Cuba). Other regional groups (sans US) are sprouting up all over, so the OAS importance is really only for the US. That is why the US will likely no longer stand in the way of Cuba's re-entry. That Cuba is saying it wants no part of the OAS is likely a strategy to try to weaken US influence in the group - or start/strengthen a new group, minus the US.

Anonymous said...

It is time to stop paying any attention to an old, physcially (and most likely mentally) infirm former president"s ramblings.
Fidel is out,the new president is Raul. We all know that Fidel does not want any normalization with the US. He is visibly nervous it might now nevertheless happen, as his ever more frequent "reflections" prove. He will do all he can to sabotage any rapprochement.
Lets forget about the old geezer and look to the future and the persons (Cuban + US) who will shape it.

Anonymous said...

Leftside,

I agree that almost every country in the Americas have indicated that they want Cuba to rejoin the OAS. Both Castros have said that they are not interested.

The last ALBA declaration gave the ALBA a common foreign policy. As far as ALBA being a viable economic or trade organization time will tell. At best it can evolve into a COMECON but with the serious shortcoming that no industrial countries are part of ALBA.

I would offer that the main beneficiaries of the OAS right now are all the non-North American countries. Without the OAS they would be forced to either negotiate bilaterally with the US or openly confront it. Not a good idea with the current asymetry in the correlation of forces.

As far as conflict resolution take for example Bolivia. Bolivia is a country that needs the support it can get from as many multilateral organizations as possible. Without that support it must solve by itself territorial disputes with all its neighbors, internal regional conflicts, and major economic tensions with its main trading partner, Brazil. It also lacks any land link with its current political allies (Neither Cuba nor Venezuela could help Bolivia without the active support of its neighbors, all of which are currently in various states of confrontation with Bolivia.) With the OAS, those conflicts can be mediated and resolved. Without the OAS, the fight goes to the strongest (Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru).

Now on the other hand if one's purpose it to release the dogs of war and internal conflict, then getting rid of the OAS as a multilateral organization makes a lot of sense.

Just some thoughts!

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

Leftside,

You said "I have not heard anyone talk about excluding the US from the OAS."

Daniel Ortega said the following on Cuban TV two days ago (April 22, 2009):

"Porque ahí viene otro debate: los que piensan que la OEA, que nace como un instrumento del imperio y ha sido un instrumento del imperio, incluso para invadir naciones como República Dominicana, hay que salvarla; sencillamente, la OEA está muerta, la OEA está muerta, es un cadáver insepulto la OEA, esa es la verdad, y quienes estamos convencidos de que necesitamos tener..."

I am not going to bother translating it. The entire transcript can be found at http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2009/04/24/nacional/artic07.html.

It sounds to me like Ortega wants to get rid of the OAS.

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

Leftside,

You said "ALBA is not designed as a foreign policy grouping" but the Cumaná declaration is nothing but a foreign policy document addressed to the participants in the Summit of the Americas. (see http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2009/04/18/interna/artic04.html).

I apologize to fellow readers who do not read Spanish. I have to assume that Granma International has an English version of the above link).

What am I still missing?

Vecino de NF

leftside said...

Vecino, you seem to think the OAS is the only multilateral grouping around. No longer. UNASUR is quickly taking its place. You mention Bolivia. The crisis there last year was resolved only when UNASUR convened and acted in the defense of Evo's Government, against seperatism and subversion (supported by Washingon). Yes, the OAS issued a statement as well. But UNASUR really showed its increasing importance at that moment.

Yeah, I saw Ortega's (and other) comments about the OAS being basically a dead organism. That is why I said it may just fizzle and die. But again, have not heard anyone talking about excluding the US from it. That would seem impossible to engineer.

It's true that ALBA can take foreign policy positions. I was just pointing out that it has not up to this point done so. It is an integrationist structure - political, social and economic. This was probably their first real united foreign policy endeavor. Chavez held ALBA together during the Summitt, leaving Manning and the US high and dry with no agreement. This was an important success for ALBA. Just because some of the major regional powers are not a part of ALBA, that does not decrease its significance. ALBA is growing and just showed its mettle. It is providing an alternative to neo-liberal trade deals designed by multinationals. ALBA focuses on mutual cooperation and making deals that play on the strengths of different countries (Cuba's is human capital, Venezuela's is oil, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Who would DARE to question the Maximum Leader's zeal to make the blessings of the internet available to every Cuban citizen? Why, the same miscreants would falsely claim that the Coma Andante also wants to deny the worshipful Cuban proletariat access to uncensored newspapers, magazines, films, plays, books, TV programs and radio stations. Oooooooh, those gusanitos never cease their despicable slanders directed against the First Free Territory of the Americas! It just makes my blood boil! Lefty is the ONLY clearthinking contributor to this forum, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

anon 822 -- say, are you being sarcastic? because your postings are consistently insightful, helpful and informative. you obviously know a lot about cuba from your vulture's perch in miami.

in my opinion your opinion is really worthless.

Anonymous said...

They're priceless.

Anonymous said...

exactly -- without price. worthless

Anonymous said...

Priceless because he or she holds up to ridicule all you sycophants to a megalomanic dictator who wouldn't recognize a human right if one hit him on the head.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:56 wrote: "in my opinion your opinion is really worthless."

I heartily agree! Those frustrated gusanos, even at this late date, REFUSE to acknowledge the suerhuman wisdom and benevolence of the Maximum Leader, or his compassionate and humane acolytes, such as Lefty.


And since, without question, Anon 8:22's reactionary opinions are worthless, Phil should follow the example of the Revolutionary Press in Havana and ban this miscreant from posting.

As we all know, the Maximum Leader is very sensitive, so any hint of desacato or other unpleasantness here just might be enough to send him to his Eternal Reward, where at least we can all worship him forever and ever, in company with his esteemed companeros of blessed memory, such as Che, Mao, Mussolini and the Great Stalin.

Anonymous said...

日本飯島愛a片哪還有得下載的。

Anonymous said...

日本飯島愛a片哪還有得下載的

I agree completely with this comment. What ever is the Cuban problem, USA-Cuban relation, and the new USA telecommunications regulations towards Cuba, they are resolved by 日本飯島愛a片哪還有得下載的.

Anonymous said...

ahh, im not sure i understand that cubano -- is it from Pinar?
anyone, please translate, anyone
because if it really does resolve things i think we'd all like to know. unless the point is cuba should move to asia and then the americans wouldn't be so obsessed.
anonimo

Anonymous said...

it's a message from the Chinese... it says, "Fidel, you senile old fart, don't you realize that socialism is dead?"

leftside said...

5:21, have you missed the last 7 months? You know the period when the Governments of the world had put the people of the earth in massive debt to (once again) save capitalism from shriveling up and dying?

Anonymous said...

ok i got my chinese friend to interpret it -- says gusanos of the world unite, don't let the worm turn.

anonimo