Cuba has become more and more destitute since the revolution and has fallen on hard times since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a period also known as the “Special Period”. ( Efrén Córdova)
A recent Economist article entitled “Flickering lights” describes how the current economic slump has forced the Cuban government to ration electricity in a new austerity program for businesses. One cause of the Cuban budget deficit is falling price of nickel. The price of this important Cuban export has fallen from about US$23.00 in May 2007 to around US$7.15 in late June 2009 (Kitcometals.com), which in a state controlled economy means that Cuba is facing a budget shortfall. The brownouts occurring are caused directly by Cuba’s inability to pay for government programs enacted by President Raul Castro.
I had written earlier, in the blog post, ¿Can We Be Amigos?, that there will be no meaningful change in Cuba’s attitude towards the U.S. until real democratic progress is made in that country. President Obama extended the olive branch at the Summit of the Americas, and more recently the Organization of American States voted to lift Cuba’s 47-year suspension from the regional bloc, with the U.S. requiring Democratic reform. The economist article stated that,
Fidel Castro, reiterated his country’s long-held line that it did not want to be in what it calls an imperialist grouping.
This confirms that the Castro brothers are not interested in promoting Cuba in the Latin American community, but instead their own ideology. I would like to think that the Cuban people would want to participate in the OAS meetings and discussing, making progress, and promoting causes for all of Latin America. Until the Cuban government allows its people’s voices to be heard each summer and each economic downturn they will unfortunately have these same shortages.