Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Odds and ends

  • Reuters’ Marc Frank reports on Cuban attitudes – including party members and officials – on the government’s economic performance and plans as next month’s party congress nears. Reading the quotes, it’s not susprising that the layoffs are proceeding more slowly than planned.

  • The Herald ran a strange article on remittances to Cuba by pollster Sergio Bendixen where he calls on the Cuban government to take measures to make remittances easier to receive and less costly for senders. Can’t argue with that. But I wonder if there’s anything Cuba can do that would match two actions taken without fanfare since December that increased by about 20 percent the value of remittances sent from the United States: Cuba’s devaluation of the convertible peso, and Washington’s decision to allow remittances to be paid out in local currency in Cuba, which eliminated a need for a ten percent surcharge. Bendixen nonetheless refers to “heavy foreign exchange taxes;” – it would be nice to know what he is referring to.

  • BBC runs a Q&A on Cuba’s economic policy changes.

  • Jorge Pinon writes in the Cuba Standard that Petrobras’ pullout from Cuba oil exploration has little to do with Cuba and everything to do with the work it has to do in Brazil.

  • Amnesty International says the release of the 75 political prisoners arrested in 2003 is a “step in the right direction,” and calls for more.

  • EFE: Havana city historian and political figure Eusebio Leal says that resistance to economic reform has to be overcome, the process has to move forward, and “a change in mentality” is needed. “Socialism has to be dialectical,” he says to those who resist, and part of the dialectic is to recognize that “what was not convenient or prudent yesterday is necessary today.”

  • The BBC’s Nick Caistor found himself in toda una tragedia trying to change a hotel reservation in Havana.

1 comment:

Lazaro Gonzalez said...

but the “heavy foreign exchange taxes” are indispensable for the cuba regime like the 200-300% markup