Thursday, January 31, 2019

Solidarity with Cubans impacted by the tornado that hit Havana

If you can help then please help.

When there have been natural disasters in the past in Cuba, Cuban Americans have stepped up to help. Now is no different. A tornado devastated parts of Havana, Cuba this week and there is an effort underway to get aide to those impacted.

Things that are needed: clothes (used or new), light sweaters, tennis shoes, sandals, soap, deodorant, tooth brushes, tooth paste, underwear, bed sheets, bedding, blankets,  package detergent, powdered milk (packages not cans),  instant soup (packages not cans or cups),  instant mashed potatoes (packages not cans or cups), packages of gelatin, instant pudding packages, medicine, triple antibiotic cream, antibiotics, anti-nausea medications, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.

There are five locations above across South Florida where you can go to drop off supplies and donations to the island.

Hialeah Gardens
3174 W 76th Street

1675 W 49th Street

Westland Mall
10801 Sunset Drive

North Miami Beach
1678 NE Miami Gardens Drive

3496 Red Road

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

71 years ago today Mohandas Gandhi was assassinated

"We are ruthless and ask no quarter from you. When our turn comes we shall not disguise our terrorism." - Karl Marx, Marx-Engels Gesamt-Ausgabe, vol. vi pp 503-5 (The final issue of Neue Rheinische Zeitung, 18 May 1849)

"Terrorism and deception are weapons not of the strong but of the weak." - Mohandas K. Gandhi

Body of Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi lies in state at Birla House in New Delhi.
Seventy one years ago Mohandas Gandhi was shot three times in the chest and killed by a Hindu nationalist at 5:17pm. The Soviet press published an article written by S.M. Vakar in 1948 following Gandhi's assassination on January 30, 1948 titled "The Class Nature of the Gandhi Doctrine" subtitled "Gandhi as a Reactionary Utopian" in the Soviet philosophy journal Voprosy filosofii (Questions of Philosophy). The Marxist Leninist argument was outlined as follows:

Although Gandhi regarded the union and independence of the Indian peoples as his goal, his reactionary-Utopian social theory and the reformist methods of struggle connected with it caused his activity to fail in facilitating overthrow of the colonial yoke [...] The social essence of the Gandhi doctrine and its fundamentally reactionary role in the history of India's national liberation movement has hardly been treated in Marxist literature. Yet this doctrine still retards the development of class awareness among the Indian masses.
What was this social essence of Gandhian thought that so troubled the Marxist Leninists in the Soviet Union? First, the reformist methods of struggle referred to in the above quote was nonviolent resistance and secondly his social theory rejected class struggle as another manifestation of destructive violence. On September 11, 1906 a new word came into existence that would give a better understanding of Gandhi's social theory and method of struggle which he described as:
'Satyagraha.' Truth (Satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore serves as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement 'Satyagraha,' that is to say, the Force which is born of Truth and Love or non-violence, and gave up the use of the phrase 'passive resistance,' in connection with it, so much so that even in English writing we often avoided it and used instead the word 'Satyagraha' itself or some other equivalent English phrase.
The Marxist-Leninists embraced revolutionary violence and a movement led by a small vanguard of intellectuals and professional revolutionaries that would carry out the changes necessary by whatever means necessary and rejected nonviolence as naive. They followed the doctrine of Lenin as presented in his 1902 revolutionary tract What is to be done.

Over a century has passed since both sets of ideas have been set out and applied around the world. An analysis done by Maria J. Stephen and Erica Chenoweth systematically explores the strategic effectiveness of both violent and nonviolent campaigns using data on 323 campaigns carried out between 1900 and 2006.[1] There findings demonstrate that major non-violent campaigns were successful 53% of the time versus only 26% for major violent campaigns and terrorist campaigns had a dismal 7% success rate.

Today, India with all its flaws is the world's largest democracy with a growing economy that presents new competitive challenges to the developed world and Marxist-Leninism has amassed a body count of 100 million dead and counting. It would appear that Gandhi's criticisms of the communists were prescient:
"The socialists and communists say, they can do nothing to bring about economic equality today. They will just carry on propaganda in its favor and to that end they believe in generating and accentuating hatred. They say, when they get control over the State, they will enforce equality. Under my plan the State will be there to carry out the will of the people, not to dictate to them or force them to do its will." - Mohandas Gandhi

"It is my firm conviction that if the State suppressed capitalism by violence, it will be caught in the coils of violence itself, and will fail to develop non-violence at any time. The State represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence." - Mohandas Gandhi
It is Satyagraha that is relevant today in 2019 and offers an alternative to the conflagrations suffered in the 20th century and the wars that plague the world now. Gandhi's Satyagraha is a call to principled non-violence but even pragmatists and realists looking over the historical record cannot fail to be influenced by the fact that non-violent civic resistance works and in the aggregate offers a better chance of a better life for more people.

Below is a German documentary about the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi.

[1]Stephan, Maria J. and Chenoweth, Erica Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict. International Security, Vol. 33, No.1 (Summer 2008), pp. 7-44

[2] Gandhi, Mohandas (author) Dalton, Dennis (editor) Mahatma Gandhi: Selected Political Writings September 1996 Hackett Publishing Company

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Remembering Cuban martyr and dissident Harold Cepero on what would have been his 39th birthday

"Whoever destroys a single life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed the whole world, and whoever saves a single life is considered by Scripture to have saved the whole world." - Mishnah  (1135-1204)

Harold Cepero Escalante
This morning the Christian Liberation Movement, a Cuban opposition group founded in Cuba, observed the birthday of one of their members over twitter. Harold Cepero Escalante was born in Ciego de Avila on January 29, 1980 and was murdered by the tyrannical Cuban dictatorship together with Oswaldo Payá  on July 22, 2012.

Harold understood the dangers of advocating for freedom in Cuba under the Castro regime. In 2012, shortly before his death he explained the cost of resistance:"Christians and non-Christians who have the courage and the freedom to consider the peaceful political option for their lives, know they are exposing themselves to slightly less than absolute solitude, to work exclusion, to persecution, to prison or death."

Monday, January 28, 2019

Loosening sanctions on Cuba has failed three times - But no one wants to recognize the error.

The embargo on Cuba sought to contain the expansion of Castroism and it worked. However when sanctions where lifted or loosened and the regime legitimized, bad things happened.

President Kennedy signs decree broadening trade restrictions with Cuba on Feb 7, 1962
Nicholas Kristof is wrong. Lifting the Cuban embargo would not "let Cuba be a normal country again." Economic sanctions were put in place because the Castro dictatorship is an abnormal regime

The claim that the economic embargo on Cuba is a failure gives an impression that economic sanctions on Cuba have been static and unchanging over that period. American Administrations over the decades have not only “tinkered” with the embargo loosening or tightening it but also made radical changes and there have been dire consequences. 

The original objective of the Embargo was not to overthrow the Castro regime but limit its ability to expand into the rest of the hemisphere while forcing the Soviet Union to expend large sums to keep their client regime in Cuba afloat.

President John F. Kennedy signed a decree broadening trade restrictions with Cuba on February 7, 1962 that became known as the Cuban embargo.  In the aftermath of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis the objective of the trade embargo was set for the rest of the Cold War in a Memorandum From the Coordinator of Cuban Affairs to the Executive Committee of the National Security Council, January 24, 1963 which in part states:

“We will not, of course, abandon the political, economic and other efforts of this hemisphere to halt subversion from Cuba, nor our purpose and hope that the Cuban people shall some day be truly free."

The objectives of the economic embargo were to reduce the capabilities of the Castro regime to direct and support subversion and insurrection within other OAS states; and maximizing the cost to the Soviet Union of supporting the Castro regime. The Cuban regimes insurrections failed to succeed in the Americas and Soviet expenditures in Cuba were high but whether or not that contributed to its eventual collapse is a subject for debate.

However the failure of loosening sanctions is normally not up for debate. This blog entry aims to change that.

The first effort to loosen sanctions and normalize relations was a spectacular failure and here is how it unfolded.

On April 27, 1977 representatives of the Carter Administration and the Castro regime sat down and personally negotiated an international fishery agreement. This was the first time since 1958 that any officials of the United States government sat down with representatives of the Castro regime to formally negotiate an agreement.  

Dictator Fidel Castro and President Jimmy Carter
Former President Carter in an interview with Robert Fulghum on December 19, 1996 quoted on page 310 of the book Conversations with Carter said: "When I had only been in office two months in 1977, I opened up all travel for American citizens to go to Cuba and vice versa. And we opened up an entry section, which is just one step short of a full embassy in both Havana and Washington. And those offices, by the way, are still open."

Towards the end of the Carter Administration the discovery of a Soviet ground forces brigade operating on Cuban territory and the ineptness in handling the Mariel boat lift crisis spelled not only the end of the policy but was also a contributing factor to the defeat of President Carter during his 1980 re-election bid. 

However, the lifting of sanctions and starting to normalize relations during President Jimmy Carter's watch did provide disastrous results in the hemisphere. Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista rebels in 1979 financed and backed by the Cubans, took power and a civil war erupted in El Salvador in 1979 with efforts of Cuban backed guerillas to overthrow the existing government. Central America became a blood bath.

President Reagan took office in 1981 and reintroduced sanctions and turned the tide in the hemisphere. It was during this period  that Latin America experienced its longest and deepest wave of democratization in its history.

On March 1, 1982 Cuba was placed on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. This was less than three months after the US State Department confirmed that the Castro regime was using a narcotics ring to funnel both arms and cash to the Colombian M19 terrorist group then battling to overthrow Colombia’s democratic government. Despite the Castro regime's denials, it has a long and well documented history of sponsoring and taking part in terrorism.

For the second time tightening sanctions generated stability in the region, and in the 1980s was one of the factors that led to a democratic renaissance in the region.

The second time loosening sanctions and engaging with the dictatorship was also a failure.

The Clinton Administration in 1994 initiated regular contacts between the U.S. and Cuban military that included joint military exercises at the Guantanamo Naval base. Despite this improvement of relations the 1990s saw some brutal massacres of Cubans that are rightly remembered such as the July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre. On June 26, 1993 three Cuban patrol boats surrounded a group of swimmers trying to reach the Guantanamo Naval Base, lobbing grenades and spraying them with automatic weapons fire. he Clinton Administration reported the incident witnessed by U.S. personnel on the base. This was but one of five separate "incidents" documented in the summer of 1993. At least three corpses were lifted out of the water with gaffs.  

Maleconazo protests in Havana on August 5, 1994
On August 5, 1994 there was a social explosion in Cuba called the Maleconazo that threatened the dictatorship, and generated a mass exodus. This political crisis for the dictatorship could have been the end of the regime. Elements in the regime that wanted a change looked to a sign from Washington. Instead the White House backed the dictatorship and negotiated an immigration agreement that gave the dictatorship a new lease on life  and the  immigration problem was solved with a lottery. The Cuban dictatorship cracked down internally and Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez compared this uprising with the events in Beijing in June of 1989:

"Apart from the distances: in China they tried to erase what happened in Tiananmen Square and in Cuba the Maleconazo."
In both cases the government of the United States backed up the regimes in power at the expense of the people in the streets. 

Plane clothes police with gun drawn pointing at protesters on August 5, 1994
 Unfortunately, other parts of the world are also following this regrettable path and turning their backs on the example set by a previous generation of leaders who brought their country out of totalitarian darkness into the community of free nations.

President Bill Clinton with Dictator Raul Castro
On February 24, 1996 the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down shook the relationship between the two countries. The shoot down involved two planes blown to bits over international airspace by Cuban MiGs killing three American citizens and a Cuban resident who were engaged in the search and rescue of Cuban rafters. (1996 being an election year Bill Clinton signed the Helms-Burton bill and tightened sanctions on the regime, only to begin immediately undermining the new law and opening cash and carry trade with the dictatorship in 2000.) During this period of loosening sanctions and legitimizing the dictatorship, Venezuela fell under the sway of Fidel Castro with the Hugo Chavez regime in 1998. In September 2000 President Clinton shook hands with  Fidel Castro in New York City, and a month later signed the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act and opened cash and carry trade with the Castro dictatorship at the end of his Administration.

Brothers to the Rescue planes destroyed by Cuban MiGs on 2/24/1996
At the time of its passage,  Fidel Castro said "his country would not buy 'even a grain of rice' under the current terms." Clinton left office on January 20, 2001, and was replaced by George W. Bush who took a tougher line on Cuba. Although now secret, the Bush Administration maintained regular contacts between the U.S. and Cuban military. 

The Cuban dictator ended up buying much more than a grain of rice under those terms during the Bush years. Between 2000 and 2013 American companies sold $4.689 billion dollars in goods to the Castro regime on a cash and carry basis. This was a politically motivated operation that sought to purchase influence both at the state and federal level.

The Castro regime used openings in trade from the Clinton era (medical products in 1992 and agricultural products in 2000)  to build up a pro-Castro lobby and to target congressional districts in agricultural states to advance its interests. The dictatorship accomplished this by purchasing American exports and requiring U.S. corporations and members of Congress to sign "advocacy contracts" that turned them into lobbyists for the dictatorship as a condition of the Castro regime buying their goods.

 Despite the 2003 crackdown on dissidents known as the Black Cuban Spring where the Bush Administration tightened sanctions on being able to travel to Cuba and set limits lower on remittances sent to the island. However, cash and carry sales made by U.S. companies to the Castro regime remained unchanged.

Towards the end of the Bush Administration in August of 2008 the Cuban government announced that the United States was its fifth leading trading partner. The peak year of trade between the United States and Cuba was the last year of the Bush Administration.

The third time loosening sanctions was also a failure.

The Obama Administration beginning in 2009 loosened sanctions on the Castro regime. On April 17, 2009 President Barack Obama said that his Administration sought "a new beginning with Cuba" and stated further that he was “prepared to have my administration engage with the Cuban government on a wide range of issues — from human rights, free speech, and democratic reform to drugs, migration, and economic issues.” Less than eight months later Alan Gross was taken hostage in Cuba. Nevertheless, the Administration continued its policy of unilateral concessions.

The Obama administration, not only began to loosen sanctions on the Castro regime in April of 2009, but also refused to meet in June of 2009 with the winners of the NED Democracy Award who happened to be five Cuban dissidents that year. It was the first time in five years that the president of the United States had not met with the award laureates. 

Alan Gross before and after 5 years in a Cuban prison
American Alan Gross was arrested on December 3, 2009, the Obama administration responded with initial silence, and the Castro regime sentenced Gross to 15 years in a Cuban prison. Alan Gross, an American citizen, had spent 25 days in a Havana jail before being visited by a U.S. diplomat. Gross's supposed "crime" was providing uncensored internet access to local Jewish communities, but in reality it was to test the resolve of the new Administration that had just entered office. The signal sent was that Mr. Gross was not a priority and the drive to normalize relations was continued with new concessions.  

The Obama administration doubled down on concessions ignoring the Castro regime's continued sponsorship of terrorism and smuggling of weapons to sanctioned countries in order to eventually take Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terrorism

This ignored that in 2012 there were reports in the media of Cuban, Iranian and Venezuelan officials meeting in Mexico to discuss cyber attacks on U.S. soil allegedly seeking information about nuclear power plants in the United States. Supposedly the FBI had opened an investigation into the matter, but there was no mention of this in the State Department's 2012 report. 

Human rights defenders were victims of brutal and life threatening machete attacks in the same month that the secret negotiations between the Obama administration and the Castro dictatorship started. On June 8, 2013 in Holguin, Cuba Werlando Leiva of the Christian Liberation Movement was attacked with a machete on a public street. 

Later that same month on June 21, 2013 in Camaguey, Orlando Lazaro Gomez Hernandez, a member of the Pro Human Rights Party of Cuba and of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Civic Resistance Front stepped out of his house with a sign demonstrating his solidarity with hunger striker Luis Enrique Santos Caballero. Seeing this the president of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), an individual known as “Julio” ran out of his home with a machete and started to attack Orlando Lazaro with it, cutting part of his right hand and also striking him on the back. Others in coordination with the CDR president came out as the activist fell to the ground and began to kick him.

Machete attacks, breaking bones, knife attacks since 2012

The Cuban government was caught red handed on July 15, 2013 trying to smuggle tons of weapons hidden under bags of sugar to North Korea through the Panama Canal.  In the  the shipment of smuggled weapons sent by Cuba to North Korea in part, was found the following: "A total of 25 standard shipping containers (16 forty-foot and 9 twenty-foot) and 6 trailers were found, for a total of about 240 tons of arms and related materiel." The Cubans provided the North Koreans with surface to air missile systems, two MiG 21 jet fighters, and 15 MiG-21 engines, eight 73 mm rocket propelled projectiles (PG-9/PG-15 anti-tank and OG-9/OG-15 fragmentation projectiles) to be fired with recoil-less rifles, as well as a single PG-7VR round, a high explosive antitank tandem charge to penetrate explosive reactive armor, were also in the shipment. 

Tons of weapons being smuggled to North Korea by Cuba discovered in July 2013

In addition to the war planes, heavy weapons and projectiles outlined above, the Castro regime provided technology that could aid North Korea's efforts to develop a delivery vehicle for their nuclear weapons. 

The Obama Administration ignored all of this and followed through on his pledge to work for the lifting of economic sanctions on the dictatorship. On his watch human rights worsened with an escalation in arbitrary detentions, violence against activists and prominent opposition leaders who would have been critical for a democratic transition were killed extrajudicially.  

Some of the Cuban rights defenders since 2009 who have died suspiciously

The rising levels of violence against nonviolent activists. included machete attacks, and the suspicious deaths of human rights defenders such as Orlando Zapata Tamayo (2010), Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia (2011), Laura Inés Pollán Toledo (2011), Wilman Villar Mendoza (2012), Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas (2012), and Harold Cepero Escalante (2012).
By December 17, 2014 the Obama administration had freed all five members of the WASP spy network, including Gerardo Hernandez -- who had been serving two life sentences, one of them for conspiracy to murder four members of Brothers to the Rescue, murdered during the previous attempt at normalizing relations during the Clinton Administration. They de-linked the pursuit of full diplomatic relations from the rise in human rights violations in Cuba and in the region by Cuban state security.

President Barack Obama with General Raul Castro

On March 2, 2015 news broke that the government of Colombia had seized a shipment of ammunition bound for Cuba on a China-flagged ship due to a lack of proper documentation. The BBC reported that "Officials said about 100 tons of gunpowder, almost three million detonators and some 3,000 cannon shells were found on board. The ship's records said it was carrying grain products."

Raul Castro was invited to the VII Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama in April of 2015. This violated the democratic ideals of the summit and democratic charter signed in September 2001. On the eve of and during the course of the summit, the anti-democratic and violent nature of the dictatorship in Cuba was made evident. The Panamanian government had hoped that extending an invitation to all elements of Cuban society would propitiate a dialogue where all involved could “listen to each other within the frame of respect.” The summit was inundated with Cuban officials and state security agents that carried out acts of repudiation and violence to disrupt events of the Summit in order to prevent Cuba’s or Venezuela’s independent civil society from participating in designated summit activities. " 

Leticia Ramos and Augusto Monge attacked in Panama
 On May 29, 2015, despite a long history of sponsoring terrorism, the Obama State Department removed Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. 

On January 7, 2016 The Wall Street Journal broke the story that in June 2014 an inert US Hellfire missile sent to Europe for a training exercise was wrongly shipped on to Cuba when it was supposed to be on its way back to the United States. Since 2014 the United States had been privately asking the Cuban dictatorship to return the missile but refused to do so when first discovered. 

Mystery: How did a US Hellfire missile (pictured above) end up in Cuba?

Despite a request from the Administration, Cuba refused to return the missile, until it became a public embarrassment, over a year and a half later in February of 2016.  This was happening while the Obama Administration and the Castro regime were in secret negotiations to normalize relations.

Did Castro manipulate Obama into this photo-op or did White House want it?
Three days before President Obama arrived in Cuba, a Chilean former Minister of Culture and former Ambassador to Mexico tweeted: "Paradox: After decades backing Right wing dictatorships in Latin America, now the United States could end up backing a Left wing dictatorship." On March 20, 2016, the day of President Obama's arrival for the state visit to Cuba, more than 250 Cuban activists were arrested across the island. Video footage of the detentions were widely disseminated over social media.

The aftermath did not generate positive results. 

U.S. diplomats in Havana started being harmed in health attacks in November of 2016. Despite that on December 7, 2016 the United States and Cuba held their fifth Bilateral Commission meeting where they celebrated progress on U.S.-Cuba relations, and signed 11 non-binding agreements on health, the environment, counter-narcotics, and other areas of cooperation.  

No word on these attacks. On January 2, 2017 Cuban troops in Havana marched in a parade over which Castro presided chanting that they would repeatedly shoot President Obama in the head so many times that they would make a “hat of lead to the head.” 

American diplomats were suffering serious harm, including mild traumatic brain injury, permanent hearing loss that included loss of balance, headaches, and brain swelling. Yet, according to The Wall Street Journal no complaint was made until February of 2017 but the attacks on American diplomats continued until August 2017. Cuban officials at first said they did not know what was going on, and later claimed that the noises were crickets and the injuries imaginary.
However the injuries are very real. "Medical experts discovered changes in the brains of US and Canadian diplomats, which fueled growing skepticism that some kind of sonic weapon was involved. Medical testing revealed the embassy workers developed changes to the white matter tracts." Professor James Lin, an expert in Electrical Engineering, at the University of Illinois at Chicago,  made the case that weaponized microwaves may be behind the attacks in Cuba. Canadian diplomats have also been effected

On top of all this, trade between Cuba and the United States collapsed during the Obama Administration. The peak year of trade between the two countries was during the last year of the George W. Bush Administration that had taken a harder line on Cuba than either Presidents Clinton or Obama. 

President Obama left office on January 20, 2017 and today Mexico has a pro-Castro regime in power and both Venezuela and Nicaragua are imploding with violence and bloodshed as their regimes backed by Cuban advisors slide into totalitarian dictatorship with Nicolas Maduro and Daniel Ortega. Now there is a possibility of international military intervention or civil war in these countries.

In November of 2017 former Cuban diplomat, Jose Antonio "Tony" Lopez was linked to terrorists responsible for the June 17, 2017 bombing in Bogota, Colombia that killed three and injured nine according to prosecutors in the South American country. A mother of one of the accused denied her son's involvement in the attack but confirms the link with the former Cuban diplomat.

Perhaps tightening sanctions, recognizing the nature of the abnormal and dangerous regime in Havana, is a better approach than pretending that it is "normal" while watching it wreak havoc in the hemisphere in both lives and treasure.

Speaking of treasure. What of the countries that have normal relations and do business with the regime in Cuba?  

James Prevor, President and Editor in Chief of the publication Produce Business in October of 2002 in the article, Cuba Caution, reported on how Cuba "had exhausted all its credit lines and, at best, was simply rotating the accounts. When the opportunity came to buy from the United States, Cuba simply abandoned all those suppliers who supported the country for 40 years and began buying from us."  The suppliers were not the ones impacted by Cuba's failure to pay its debts, the taxpayers of the suppliers' home countries were the one's left holding the tab.  
Knowing this why are so many pushing so hard to lift sanctions on this dangerous dictatorship that can cause so much mischief? In a word: greed.
Chamber of Commerce's Tom Donahue meets Raul Castro in 2014
When the United States "normalizes" relations with Cuba it will provide standard loan guarantees to minimize the risks of banks and businesses selling to Cuba. While the U.S. Chamber of Commerce touts the virtues of free trade, free markets and free enterprise in its advocacy for lifting economic sanctions on Cuba what it is actually pursuing is trade with the Cuban government that passes the risk of not getting paid on to taxpayers.  Darío Fernández-Morera an associate professor at North Western University in the May 1, 2014 issue of Chronicles in the article The Cost of Normalization reports that the Small Business Exporters Association announced:

"[S]ince March 2009, a select group of commercial banks now will be able to offer terms of 180 days to five years on federally-guaranteed loans to the foreign buyers of U.S. exports without having to obtain prior federal approval.  ... Because of the foreign risks involved  in export lending, most commercial banks through-out the world do not make these loans without government guarantees. In the U.S., the guarantees are provided by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), a federal agency.
Seventeen years ago Prevor predicted where things have now arrived in the Cuba policy debate as far as agribusiness is concerned:
But what the really big grain traders want is to sell to Cuba on credit - and get those credits provided or guaranteed by various federal loan programs. In effect, these agribusiness behemoths want to sell to Cuba and have the U.S. tax- payer pick up the tab. And their bet is that once produce shippers have gotten a taste of the business, they will become a kind of Amen corner for the Cuban lobby, pushing Congress to approve whatever laws will be to the liking of the Cuban government. This really brings to the forefront why trade with a communist country poses unique dangers to a democratic society.
The gullible will believe the Castro regime's claims that the billions in goods purchased from the United States is just the tip of the iceberg for trade opportunities once the embargo is lifted. The reality is that what is taking place is the ultimate variation of the bait and switch con. A policy of normalization with the current government in Cuba may be good for agribusiness, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Castro regime but it will not be good for American taxpayers who will be left holding the bag like so many other tax payers around the world.