Monday, April 02, 2007

The Spaniards are coming

As you may be aware, the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Miguel Angel Moratinos, is due to arrive in Havana today, Monday, for a two-day visit.

It’s the first official visit by a senior Spanish minister to the island in about 10 years.

In other words, it's a big deal for both Spain and Cuba.

So, to put the trip in perspective, here are some pertinent economic figures, courtesy of the Spanish daily El Mundo:

1. Spain is now Cuba’s third largest foreign investor, behind Venezuela and China.

2. Trade between Spanish firms and the Castro brothers is worth currently about USD1.2 billion a year.

3. Trade between the two countries increased by a staggering 23 per cent in 2005-2006.

4. About a third of all joint ventures in Cuba involve Spanish firms, predominantly in the supposedly highly-profitable tourism and tobacco sectors.

5. The Castros owe Spanish firms about USD1.4 billion in outstanding debts, which the Cuban government has no intention of repaying in a hurry. If at all.

All this may or may not explain why while Moratinos will meet Raul Castro and most other senior representatives of the Castro regime, it is still not clear whether he will have the time to meet dissidents during his visit.

But don’t hold your breath.

2 Comments:

Anonymous asombra said...

It's deeply painful for someone of Spanish ancestry like myself (and so many others) to see, time and again, how shamefully badly Spain behaves with respect to Cuba.

I finally realized that this behavior is, in fact, historically consistent. Spain exploited and mistreated Cuba for centuries. It never wanted Cuba to be free, and deeply resented losing Cuba as a colony. That's the main reason, after all these years, for Spanish anti-Americanism.

If Spain never cared for Cuba's freedom or best interests, why should it care now, when it can, in a sense, re-colonize and certainly exploit all over again, and thumb its nose at the US in the bargain?

The Zapatero set is a particularly egregious offender, but previous Spanish governments are hardly blameless. I don't care about official pronouncements, but about actual deeds and policies.

Spain may be Cuba's mother, but a very bad mother she's been.

1:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buuuuuuuuuu!!! La pobre Cuba colonizada y maltratada por España, el tirano opresor!. Cuba hace ya mas de 2 siglos que es libre de decidir su destino. Cuba es hoy lo que los cubanos han decidido, para bien o para mal. Asi que haced el favor de dejar de llorar y lamentar tanto vuestro destino echando la culpa a España. ¿por qué no renegáis ya de una vez de la madre patria y nos dejais en paz a los españoles?. Ya que os quejáis tanto quizas los yankees os traten mejor , ¿verdad?. Ellos si que son puros y santos y os quieren bien y no tienen ningun interés económico, verdad?, o quizas no?.

3:15 am  

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