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WHEN WILL CUBA END ITS ‘INTERNAL EMBARGO’?

WHEN WILL CUBA END ITS ‘INTERNAL EMBARGO’?
by SPYRIDON MITSOTAKIS 13 Apr 2015

When I travelled for two weeks in working class areas of Cuba last year,
a Cuban worker explained to me that while they hear endlessly from the
government about the “American embargo against Cuba,” the real problem
is the “internal embargo”—the embargo that the government elite has
imposed on the Cuban people to keep them from participating in the
economies of the elite and the outside world.

The internal embargo is so complete that, not only is there physical
separation from the elites, but there is even a separate currency. The
Cuban people use the Cuban Peso (CUP), whereas the government elite and
the tourists use the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC). The CUC is worth 25
times the value of the CUP, and the nation’s tourist areas, luxury
restaurants, and other attractions for foreigners will not accept Cuban
pesos, effectively keeping the native population out. The Cuban
government also uses the two currencies to make it more difficult for
Cuban workers to keep more of their money; Cuban workers employed by
foreign companies, for example, are only allowed to keep 8% of their
salaries once they are converted into CUP.

In the cities, the people live in squalor, while the elites look down on
them from balconies like feudal overlords or prison guards. In the
countryside, the people must travel to work on foot (often barefoot) or
in hot crowded buses where nothing but the engine is working and have to
endure military checkpoints, almost as if they lived under a foreign
occupation. The only successful part of the Cuban economy—the tourism
sector—is off limits to ordinary Cubans. There is literally a wall
separating the Cuban people from the beaches, where the (mostly
Canadian) tourists have the white sand all to themselves. On the other
side of the wall, the people have nothing.

Access to information is completely controlled so that the only sources
of news are the 8-page Communist Party newspaper, Granma, the youth
branch of the Communist Party’s newspaper, Juventud Rebelde, or the
government news stations. The resort areas, at least, have access to
CNN. (Although, when I was there for 3 days, all CNN talked about, 24
hours a day, was the missing Malaysian Airliner—so I had to continue to
rely on the Communist newspapers.)

There were even separate medical facilities. The clinics for foreigners
were absolutely pristine. I did not get to visit a clinic or hospital
for the Cuban people, but the conditions were indicated to me by a nurse
who asked if we had extra bed sheets to spare, because they were dealing
with an outbreak of cholera (a disease that had not been seen in Cuba
for over a century).

According to the Obama administration itself, in the person of Susan
Rice, responding to one of the routine outbursts from the Cuban
delegation to the UN in 2009:

I must address two significant distortions in the Cuban position. First,
my delegation (U.S.) regrets that the delegation from Cuba continues to
label inappropriately and incorrectly U.S. trade restrictions on Cuba as
an act of genocide… Second, it is erroneous to charge that U.S.
sanctions are the cause of deprivation among the Cuban people. The U.S.
maintains no restriction on humanitarian aid to Cuba. In fact, the U.S.
is a major source of humanitarian assistance to the Cuban people and the
largest provider of food to Cuba.

This prompts the question—what good will lifting the restrictions do if
it is unable to breach the apartheid system the Cuban government has
built between itself and the Cuban people?

Source: When Will Cuba End Its ‘Internal Embargo’? – Breitbart –
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/04/13/when-will-cuba-end-its-internal-embargo/

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