Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Odds and ends

  • The Cienfuegos oil refinery is now in operation, Prensa Latina reports, with the arrival of a tanker bringing crude oil from Venezuela. The refinery was a white elephant – built with Soviet aid, never put into operation, idle for more than a decade – until Venezuela sank $166 million into it. Last month’s New York Times report here.

  • Cuba bought $600 million in U.S. agricultural products last year, AP reports.

  • In his Cuba speech last October, President Bush announced that he would ask foreign governments to contribute to an “international freedom fund” for Cuba. Three months later, the idea is apparently still on the drawing board; State and Commerce are “working internally on the concept of the fund and determining what its characteristics will be,” the Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America told AFP.

3 comments: said...

Bush's freedom fund is a joke. It will be created WHEN Cuba has democratic elections and not before. So, it's pretty much a pure pandering to the old Cuban exiles who will get money to discuss the fund, structure the fund, analyze the fund etc etc with USAID of course.

More stupid Bush policy.

Phil Peters said...

The point is to create it now and use it when Cuba has a new government -- follow the link, and there's a description.

It's not an easy sell to other governments -- put your money in this fund, and it can be used in Cuba when U.S. conditions are satisfied. Most governments, I think, would rather keep their money and set their own conditions.

My guess is that it was a last-minute addition to the speech.

Anonymous said...

no real country (besides our small not powerful allies) will contribute.

They all care for a free Cuba. I mean Canadians are freedom lovers too. They also believe in internatinoal law and for the soverignity of countries, whereas the hard right in this country thinks the world should bow to us.