Cuban authorities still see salvation in a more vigorous diversification through Europe. That effort may be more likely now as the U.S. European tiff about the direction of the future of global leadership takes a momentary dark turn. Cuba is right to exploit the rift and the U.S. (and the Europeans, though they ought to pursue their own agenda, in the shadow of the relationship they may be making anew with the U.S. or in a more risky way with the Chinese).
Cuba is ramping up efforts to attract foreign investment as Miguel Díaz-Canel, who replaced Raúl Castro as president last month, begins the tricky balancing act of trying to solve the country’s economic crisis without undermining Communist party rule. Although it is still early days for Mr Díaz-Canel, a party apparatchik, diplomats and foreign businessmen report that a number of negotiations are under way, from infrastructure and agriculture, to tourism and energy.. . . Cuba’s need for investment is urgent. Aid from crisis-stricken Venezuela is drying up, a fleeting US tourist boom popped after US president Donald Trump partially reversed the detente begun by his predecessor and annual revenue from the export of goods and services has fallen by more than $4bn, or 23 per cent, since 2014. (Marc Frank and John Paul Rathbone, "Cuba in Drive to Attract Foreign Investment," Reuters and CNBC 8 May 2018).But in the large scheme of things we are neither talking a lot of money (or the generation of sufficient quantities of hard cash necessary to support the planning for economic growth subsidized by this high margin "deal making" with Western states and their enterprises). "Over the past two years Cuba has signed foreign investment deals valued at a record $3.5bn, but little money has arrived. Plans for an upgrade to Havana's main airport and a Russian-led upgrade of Cuba's railways have been delayed for more than a year. No ground has yet been broken on four golf projects worth a total $2bn, agreed over the past three years. The Total-Siemens energy project is also not yet finalised, although tendered last year." (Ibid.).)But it may be enough--for propaganda purposes surely; for political stability perhaps.
Cuba hopes to avoid importing sugar; will reduce future exports
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba, short on sugar for domestic consumption after a disastrous harvest, hopes to avoid importing by drawing on its reserves and plans to begin the coming harvest early, industry officials told Reuters.
The Caribbean island, where sugar once was synonymous with its name, produced 1.9 million tonnes of raw sugar last year and exported 1.1 million tonnes, according to the International Sugar Organization. But a prolonged drought, Hurricane Irma in September and out-of-season rainfall devastated this year’s crop.
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Based on provincial media reports and sources, Reuters estimates the recently concluded harvest came in at around 1.1 million tonnes of raw sugar, similar to more than a century ago.
Liobel Perez, spokesman for Azcuba, the state-run sugar monopoly, on Wednesday refused to confirm or deny the estimate, citing a government policy of providing no real-time figures for the industry.
Cuba consumes 600,000 to 700, 000 tonnes of sugar and is short after exporting some of this year’s output and not meeting other contracts, traders and shippers said.
“The coming harvest will be moved forward as much as possible to meet domestic consumption,” said Lourdes María Castellanos, director of international relations for Azcuba.
Castellanos said the country would also draw on its reserves “and what is going to be cut a little is exports, not national consumption.”
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“We are going to have problems in 2018-2019 because the planting of cane, its development and growth have been affected to this day,” Castellanos said.
The decline in output, after a more than 10 percent annual increase since 2011, is more bad news for Cuba. The country is struggling with a cash shortage due to ally Venezuela’s economic collapse, a hostile and sanctions-wielding Trump administration, a drop in tourism and its own inertia.
The sugar industry also contributes to electricity production and derivatives such as rum and animal feed.
Sugar was long Cuba’s most important industry and export, with output reaching 8 million tonnes in 1991. But today it ranks behind sectors such as tourism, tobacco, nickel and pharmaceuticals.
Considered in theis light, the Affair of the Sonic Weapons Attack