May 28, 2008

Crash course for Colorado businessmen

An article published by The Rocky Mountain News got me in overtime thinking and writing mode since Monday.

"Colorado courting Cuba". You see, the title says it all. It goes over the chances of the state government supporting doing business directly with castro's totalitarian regimen.

And it got me ranting because, you know, Cubans over here somos cuatro gatos. Most Coloradoans, based on my own experience, are the clueless of the clueless regarding Cuba.

That's why I could not resist the urge to clarify quite a few points.

I will start with the reference of the comment posted at the article, the one that reads that food should not be used as political weapon. I agree that food is not a political weapon.

And it’s very nice and looks cute coming out the mouth (or keyboard) of someone wrapped in the coziness of his/her nice house in colorful Colorado.

Unfortunately, this is a two-way game and I have some bad news: castros’ regimen DOES use food as political weapon.

They have devoted 50 years to starve an entire nation in order to hold onto power. It’s a given that you won’t think in human rights, freedom of speech or religion when your stomach is grueling and when your sole goal every single day is to work wonders to put some food in your family table. Believe me, I’ve seen it up close and personal.

Now, going to the center of the issue, if Colorado businessmen want to conduct (dirty) business as usual, and make money under the premises that the US trades with every communist country in the world, then go ahead. This is a free society after all.

But do not try to sugar coat it. Be straightforward and go for the money. And say it.
Do not come to tell me that you are “going to kill policies with kindness”; that’s naïve, not to say plainly stupid. It's even more, it's insulting.

Let’s start with Mr. Miller. He have said it: there were Cuban officials the ones being feted, sipping the wines and munching the cheeses that most of the average Cuban has never seen in his life. In the Havana Libre hotel, formerly known as Havana Hilton, the same that was expropriated from its legal owners by Castro, without the due restitution.

Ham and cheese sandwiches the common bar fare? Yeah, sure, but there is a catch; you can access those bars only if you have dollars. And until a few months ago, a regular Cuban wouldn’t be even allowed to enter the premises.

On top of that, the average Cuban salary, when converted into dollars, it’s like 15-20 dollars a month. A Cuban sandwich, with those staples ham and cheese, cost around 6 dollars. You do the math. But, what the heck, we are talking business, not politics, right?

To follow the rhythm, I have to take into the idea of Gov. Bill Ritter supporting to do business with Cuba, I guess under the same premises of siding with Colorado businessmen and killing with kindness.

Whether you agree with me or not –Oh, the wonders of living in a democracy!—one thing I can tell you for sure is that I don’t want my taxpayer money funding the tropical vacations of any Colorado official at castro’s gulag.

Now, if my thoughts fall on deaf ears and the tropical vacation becomes a reality, I wonder if Gov. Ritter or any other Colorado official would spare a few minutes to ask about the political prisoners, the abuses against peaceful dissidents like the Ladies in White, the lack of human rights and freedom of speech, the “doors that need to be opened” and a list that could go on forever? Between mojitos and suntans, I guess a couple of questions wouldn’t hurt anyone, right?

There I go again, confusing money, I mean, food, with politics…See, it’s really hard not to get confused when you’ve seen with own eyes how powdered milk sent as donation by religious charities was being sold in the castro’s-owned stores where you have to pay with dollars, even when your salary it is not paid (by the government, the sole employer of the island) in dollars.

Or you see the rice, chicken and other food that was bought from the United States producers being sold only in these stores; never in the ones where you get the scarce food allowed under the rationing card.

And, what about the “Cuba’s socialist government and militant face-off with America” remark? Oh my, castro’s 50 year experienced PR machine has been so effective!

It’s so effective that things are not being called by its name anymore: there is no nice way to call a communist dictatorship that has destroyed an entire country and several generations of Cubans, thanks to castro’s delusional and obsessive idea to destroy the United States and hold on to power no matter what.

This takes me directly to a warning: Colorado businessmen, be aware of the partner you choose to court. It could backfire in a way that you –used to live protected under the rights crafted by America’s Founding Fathers, wouldn’t even dare to imagine.

Only those who follow the regimen’s script are the ones closing their deals with castro’s inc, but most of the time they do that amid the hidden camera videos and bugged conversations the state security always take, from every foreigner in courtship with them. I encourage you to ask the Spaniards, Italians and other Europeans who pioneered the ventures with castro for some references.

On the other hand, I can’t help to wonder if there is any chance the medical exports from Colorado could end up in the hospitals for Cubans that are falling down in pieces (those that Michael Moore forgot to film while doing Sicko).

And, all of the sudden, I can’t either help to remember that I was never given instant ramen noodles in the rationing card, nor my family, that still lives there, has received any.

Last but not least, Mr. Miller complained that Cubans –the Cuban government, he should have said, have to pay up front for the goods, which eliminates options such as buying on credit.

I wonder when was the last time that Mr. Miller checked castro’s inc credit history or Cuba’s credit history –which is the same because they own and operate the whole country like their best kept animal farm.

Not being enough, he said “They seemed to like chardonnay”. Unbelievable.

Now, what you do can take for granted is that no hard-worked earned money from this Cuban American’s pocket will, from now on, end in anything even remotely associated with Millers Farms.

Posting at the article, email to reporter and letter to Congress Representatives to come. Sorry, but now that I've met freedom of speech and the power of my vote, I just can't keep my mouth shut.

H/T to Penúltimos Días . Thanks to Alberto de la Cruz.

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