Shocking New IMF Report: The U.S. Dollar Needs To Be Replaced As The World Reserve Currency And SDRs "Could Constitute An Embryo Of Global Currency"
The IMF is trying to move the world away from the U.S. dollar and towards a global currency once again. In a new report entitled "Enhancing International Monetary Stability—A Role for the SDR", the IMF details the "problems" with having the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of the globe and the IMF discusses the potential for a larger role for SDRs (Special Drawing Rights). But the IMF certainly does not view SDRs as the "final solution" to global currency problems. Rather, the IMF considers SDRs to be a transitional phase between what we have now and a new world currency. In this newly published report, the IMF makes this point very clearly: "In the even longer run, if there were political willingness to do so, these securities could constitute an embryo of global currency." Yes, you read that correctly. The SDR is supposed to be "an embryo" from which a global currency will one day develop. So what about the U.S. dollar and other national currencies? Well, they would just end up fading away.
CNN clearly understands what the IMF is trying to accomplish with this new report. The following is how CNN's recent story about the new IMF report begins....
"The International Monetary Fund issued a report Thursday on a possible replacement for the dollar as the world's reserve currency."
That is exactly what the IMF intends to do.
They intend to have SDRs replace the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency.
So exactly what are SDRs?
Well, "SDR" is short for Special Drawing Rights. It is a synthetic currency unit that is made up of a basket of currencies. SDRs have actually been around for many years, but now they are being heavily promoted as an alternative to the dollar.
The following is how Wikipedia defines SDRs....
Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) are international foreign exchange reserve assets. Allocated to nations by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a SDR represents a claim to foreign currencies for which it may be exchanged in times of need.
The SDR is a hybrid. SDRs are part U.S. dollar, part euro, part yen and part British pound. In particular, the following is how each SDR currently breaks down....
U.S. Dollar: 41.9%
British Pound: 11.3%
Now there are calls for other national currencies to be included in the basket.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has publicly called for the national currencies of Brazil, Russia, India and China to be included in the SDR.
In January, the Obama administration said that it fully supports the eventual inclusion of the yuan in the SDR.
So yes, it looks like we are definitely moving in the direction of the SDR becoming a true global currency.
But is this a good idea?
Globalist organizations such as the IMF say that having a true global currency would facilitate world trade, it would make currency wars less likely, it would stabilize the global economy and it would make the rest of the globe less reliant on what is going on in the United States.
In fact, there is a lot of discussion in international financial circles that oil should be traded in SDRs rather than in U.S. dollars.
In a recent interview, IMF Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara even suggested that the IMF may actually consider issuing bonds that are denominated in SDRs. Apparently the goal would be to promote the use of the new "currency".
But once again, it is important to remember that the IMF does not see SDRs lasting forever either. Rather, the IMF considers the SDR to be an "embryo" from which a true global currency could emerge.
An IMF paper entitled "Reserve Accumulation and International Monetary Stability" that was published last year even proposed that a future global currency be called the "Bancor" and that a future global central bank could be put in charge of issuing it....
"A global currency, bancor, issued by a global central bank (see Supplement 1, section V) would be designed as a stable store of value that is not tied exclusively to the conditions of any particular economy. As trade and finance continue to grow rapidly and global integration increases, the importance of this broader perspective is expected to continue growing."
In fact, at one point the IMF report from last year specifically compares the proposed global central bank to the Federal Reserve....
"The global central bank could serve as a lender of last resort, providing needed systemic liquidity in the event of adverse shocks and more automatically than at present. Such liquidity was provided in the most recent crisis mainly by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which however may not always provide such liquidity."
Yes, unfortunately this is what the IMF really has in mind for all of us. A one-world economic system with a one-world currency and a one-world central bank.
Is that what we really need?
A "global Federal Reserve" that dominates the currency and the economy of the entire planet?
At least with the U.S. Federal Reserve there is hope that someday the American people can convince Congress to shut it down.
A "global Federal Reserve" would not answer to anyone. Individual nations could attempt to pull out, but then they would potentially be isolated from the rest of the globe and potentially cut off from world trade.
That may sound very far-fetched now, but that is the direction we are headed.
And shifting away from the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of the world would be disastrous for the U.S. economy.
Right now the fact that the U.S. dollar is the primary reserve currency of the world is one of the only things holding it up. If you took that support away the U.S. dollar could end up collapsing quite quickly.
Let us hope that the American people wake up and start insisting that we want no part in a global currency. If we ever allow a world currency to start replacing the U.S. dollar to a large extent, we will lose a great deal of our economic sovereignty. Not that we haven't lost most of it already, but at least if we are still using our own national currency there is a greater chance that we can reclaim it.
What the IMF is proposing right now may seem very innocent, but the long-term consequences of going down the road they want to put us on could potentially be absolutely catastrophic.
The American people need to send a very clear message to their representatives in Washington D.C.....
#1 We do not want a one-world economy.
#2 We do not want a one-world currency.
#3 We do not want a one-world central bank.
Shocking Video Of Howard Dean Declaring That It Is The Job Of The Government To Redistribute Our Wealth
In the shocking video you are about to watch, Howard Dean declares that it is the job of the government to redistribute our wealth. Not only that, he says it in such a way that indicates that he believes that such a notion should be obvious to anyone with half a brain. Well, while it is true that the United States has become a highly socialized nation, the reality is that this is not what the founding fathers intended. The founders intended for us to live in a land where we would have enough freedom and enough liberty to be able to work hard and enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They did not intend for a gigantic federal government to take huge amounts of money from one group of people and give it to another group of people. In any nation where a large scale redistribution of wealth is happening, the incentive to work goes right out the window. Pretty soon you end up with an entire class of people that have learned how to "make a living" by being a parasite of the government, and that is not good for any economy.
If our founding fathers were alive today, they would be horrified by what we have turned into. In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote the following....
“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
The sad truth is that democracy starts to break down once people start realizing that they can vote themselves money out of the national treasury. In fact, that is a very large part of what politics in America is all about today. Politicians are constantly promising what they are "going to do" for various groups of people.
Benjamin Franklin once stated the following....
“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
Not that our founding fathers were against charity. In fact, they believed in it very much. It is just that they did not believe in repressive taxation by a huge national government and they did not believe in large scale redistributions of wealth.
With all of that in mind, watch this shocking video of Howard Dean declaring that it is the job of the government to redistribute our wealth....
Obviously Howard Dean envisions an "America" that is very different from the one that our founding fathers intended.
But does that mean that all government welfare programs are bad?
Of course not.
In fact, if we were to cut them all off today we would have millions of people starving in the streets.
A very large percentage of Americans today don't even know how to take care of themselves. If we pulled away all government support all of a sudden there would be chaos and anarchy in the streets.
The sad reality is that we have tens of millions of Americans that are now deeply dependent on the socialist system that we have established.
Unfortunately, this is what socialism does - it turns people into pets of the government. Our society should be teaching people to be self-sufficient, but instead we are teaching people to allow the government to take care of them from the cradle to the grave.
So does that mean that our founding fathers would be in favor of the rampant corporate greed that we are witnessing today?
Of course not.
As I have written about previously, the founding fathers were against all large concentrations of power. During the Boston Tea Party, it was the tea of perhaps the most powerful corporation in the entire world at the time (the East India Trading Company) that our founders dumped into the harbor.
If you study early American history, you soon come to realize that corporations were generally very limited in scope and size for many, many years. The era of the giant corporation is relatively new, and our founding fathers never intended for our society to be dominated by gigantic international corporations.
So when the Democrats argue that we should give more power to the federal government and the Republicans argue that we should give more power to the big corporations they are both wrong.
Our founding fathers did not intend for our federal government to have nearly so much power and they did not intend for big, wealthy corporations to have so much power either.
Fortunately, many Americans today are getting back in touch with those principles. There is a growing dissatisfaction with the size of government, and according to Gallup two-thirds of Americans are now dissatisfied with the size and influence of major corporations in America today.
However, it is one thing to discuss the finer points of political and economic philosophy, but it is another thing altogether to deal with the reality of tens of millions of people that cannot feed themselves.
As I have mentioned many times before, there are over 43 million Americans on food stamps today.
So what are we going to do with all of them?
Allow them to starve?
Almost 53 million Americans receive Social Security payments.
What are we going to do - cut off Social Security and watch millions of elderly and disabled people freeze to death in their own homes?
Of course not.
But we have got to start swinging the pendulum back in the other direction. Right now one out of every six Americans is enrolled in some kind of anti-poverty program run by the federal government.
How many Americans being taken care of by the federal government will be too much?
One out of five?
One out of four?
One out of three?
Eventually the entire system crumbles when there are too few people still willing to work hard.
If you ever get the chance to visit a communist country you should. You will notice that nobody really works very hard. That is because there is no incentive to work hard. Very little real wealth gets produced and everyone suffers for it.
So does that mean the U.S. system works?
Of course not.
What we have in the United States today is not real capitalism. It is more aptly called "corporatism". The big corporations and the big financial institutions have accumulated an absolutely stunning amount of economic power and over the decades they have gotten the government to tilt all of the rules of the game in their favor.
In America today, it is really hard for the average person to start a successful business. The big, powerful international corporations that dominate our economy are everywhere.
So most Americans today have to rely on working for an employer. Unfortunately, the big employers have started to realize that they can make much larger profits by shipping our jobs overseas. That is really bad news for the U.S. middle class.
Well, can't we just tax all of these big corporations like crazy and even everything out?
Unfortunately it just does not work that way in today's global society.
As I have written about previously, the ultra-wealthy and many of the biggest corporations have figured out how to "minimize" their tax burdens. While you and I are being taxed into oblivion, the global elite have figured out how to move their money around to escape taxation as much as possible. In fact, it is estimated that today approximately a third of all the wealth in the world is held in "offshore" tax havens.
Ultra-wealthy individuals and mega-powerful corporations can call just about anywhere "home" in today's global economy. That is just the way the world works now.
In order to "tax the rich", you first must get legal jurisdiction over their money.
Our tax system has become entirely unfair and it simply does not work. The whole thing needs to be scrapped.
But as we discuss tax policy, there are tens of millions of Americans that are living in poverty.
So what are we going to do about the growing number of Americans that cannot even feed themselves without government help?
Well, the truth is that what they really need is not more handouts.
If you give people handouts, they will just need more handouts tomorrow.
No, what all of these Americans really need are good jobs.
Unfortunately, there are a whole lot less good jobs in America today than there were ten years ago.
Our politicians have stood by as the giant corporations have moved thousands of facilities over to places such as China and India where they can legally pay people slave labor wages.
Since 2001, over 42,000 U.S. factories have closed down for good, and that number is going to continue to increase unless someone stops it.
But nobody is.
Virtually all of our politicians are just standing off to the side with their hands in their pockets.
So now we have 19.3 percent of the workforce that is either unemployed or underemployed.
Our entire economic system is breaking down. Millions of Americans families are scrambling to find some way to survive. Over the past two years, U.S. consumers have withdrawn $311 billion more from savings and investment accounts than they have put into them.
Other Americans are going very deep into debt because they don't have any other options. When they finally can't keep up with all the debt, many of these families are losing their cars and their homes.
We are in the middle of an economic nightmare that is absolutely unprecedented. "Redistributing the wealth" would just be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic at this point. It would not fix a darn thing.
When our politicians promise that a little "change" here or a little "tweak" there will get our economy back to normal they are lying to you and most of them know it.
What we need is a comprehensive overhaul of our entire economy. Basically what we need to do is to go back to the blueprint (the U.S. Constitution) and essentially start over.
But most Americans are not ready for that. Most Americans are still enjoying the tremendous prosperity that the biggest debt binge in the history of the world has purchased for us. Most Americans still do not believe that an economic collapse is really coming.
But a massive economic collapse is coming. This whole thing is going to come crashing down and it is not going to be pretty.
When We Gonna Wake Up ...
Americans are Oppressed, Too
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Police in the US now rival criminals, and exceed terrorists, as the greatest threat to the American public. Rogelio Serrato is the latest case to be in the news of an innocent person murdered by the police. Serrato was the wrong man, but the Monterey County, California, SWAT team killed the 31-year old father of four and left the family home a charred ruin.
The fact that SWAT teams often go to the wrong door shows the carelessness with which excessive force is used. In one instance the police even confused the town's mayor with a drug dealer, broke into his home, shot dead the family's pet dogs, and held the mayor and his wife and children at gun point. But most cases of police brutality never make the news.
Most who suffer abuse from the police don't bother to complain. They know that to make an enemy of the police brings a lifetime of troubles. Those who do file complaints find that police departments tend to be self-protective and that the naive and gullible public tends to side with the police.
However, you can find plenty of examples of police brutality on youtube, more than you can watch in a lifetime. I have just searched google for "youtube police brutality" and the result is: "497,000 results." There's everything from police shooting a guy in a wheelchair to body slamming a befuddled 89-year old great grandmother to tasering kids and mothers with small children. The fat goon cops love to beat up on women, kids, and old people.
The 497,000 google results may contain duplicates as more than one person might have posted a video of the same event, and the incidents occurred over more than one year. However, probably only a small percentage of incidents are captured on video by onlookers, and many incidents of police brutality have no witnesses. What the videos reveal is that a large percentage of police move with alacrity to assault the public. The number of incidences could be very high. One million annually would not be an exaggeration.
In contrast, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2009 (the most recent year for which data is compiled), there were 806,000 aggravated assaults (not including assaults by police against the public) by criminals against the public, of which 216,814 were committed by hands and feet and not by weapons. (In the U.S. if you merely push a person or grab his arm, you have committed assault. "Freedom and democracy" America uses any excuse to multiply the number of felons.)
Considering the data, one might conclude that the police are a greater danger to the public than are criminals.
Indeed, the trauma from police assault can be worse than from assault by criminals. The public thinks the police are there to protect them. Thus, the emotional and psychological shock from assault by police is greater than the trauma from being mugged because you stupidly wandered into the wrong part of town.
Why are the police so aggressive toward the public?
In part because their ranks attract bullies, sociopaths and psychopaths. Even normal cops are proud of their authority and expect deference. Even cops who are not primed to be set off can turn nasty in a heartbeat.
In part because police are not accountable. The effort decades ago to have civilian police review boards was beat back by "law and order" conservatives.
In part because the police have been militarized by the federal government, equipped with military weapons, and trained to view the public as the enemy.
In part because the Bush/Cheney/Obama regimes have made every American a suspect. The only civil liberty that has any force in the U.S. today is the law against racial discrimination. This law requires that every American citizen be treated as if he were a Muslim terrorist. The Transportation Security Administration rigorously enforces the refusal to discriminate between terrorist and citizen at airports and is now taking its gestapo violations of privacy into every form of travel and congregation: trucking, bus and train travel, sports events, and, without doubt, shopping centers and automobile traffic.
This despite the fact that there have been no terrorist incidents that could be used to justify such an expansive intrusion into privacy and freedom of movement.
The TSA has not caught a single terrorist. However, it has abused and inconvenienced several hundred thousand innocent American citizens.
The abuse happens, because people with authority are dying to use the authority. The absence of terrorists means that the TSA turns innocent Americans into terrorists. There have been so many absurd cases. One woman traveling with her ill and dying mother, who required special food, had contacted the TSA prior to the flight, explained the situation, and was given permission to take the special food onboard. But when she went through "security," the food was taken away, and when she protested she was arrested and hauled off, leaving the elderly mother in a wheelchair deserted.
Others have been arrested because a member of the household used a suitcase or carry bag to take guns and ammunition to the gun club or on a hunting trip and forgot to remove all the ammo, or the explosives test detected gunpowder residuals. Boy Scouts forgot to remove pocket knives from backpacks that they took on camping trips. Lactating mothers forced to give up breast milk. And so on.
These are the "great dangers" that the TSA protect the american sheeple from, and the sheeple submit, even servilely thanking their oppressors for protecting them.
Submission is what the government and the police want. Anyone who argues with TSA or the police will be abused. An American who stands up for his rights is likely to be beaten to a pulp. TSA has announced that such Americans are "suspects" and will be held in indefinite detention.
And "our" government assures us that we have "freedom and democracy." We have a police state, and everyone who forgets it is in deep trouble.
The Amerikan police state is closely allied with police states all over the world--Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel in the Middle East and former constituent parts of the Soviet Empire in Central Asia. The U.S. government never lifts a finger in behalf of democracy anywhere. In fact, the U.S. government quickly moves to overthrow democracy wherever it rears its head, as the U.S. recently did in Honduras. Before Honduras it was Palestine where the U.S. overturned the election that brought Hamas to power. Now Washington is targeting Lebanon where Hisbollah has gained.
Everywhere on earth the U.S.government prefers an autocracy that it can purchase to free elections that bring to power candidates unwilling to serve as American puppets.
The U.S. government is the most determined foe of democracy in the world. Yet, Washington lectures China, which has more civil liberties than Bush/Cheney/Obama permit Americans.
If Americans ever find the emotional strength to acknowledge the oppression under which they live, they, too, will be in the streets.
Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com
An Undying Obsession
Cuba in the Wikileaks Mirror
By ISRAEL SHAMIR
Hundreds of thousands of US State Department documents, in the form of cables from hundreds of embassies and consulates around the world, give us an in-depth picture of American interests and activities such as never before seen. Yet as we peruse cables that chronicle the changing faces of US diplomacy, there is one constant: Cuba.
Everywhere, from Dushanbe in the mountains of Tajikistan to Paris, from Kiev in the Ukraine to Sydney in Australia, American diplomats are busy watching over a small island in the Caribbean Sea with an obsessive malice. Like a professional womanizer who was once rebuffed by a small-town beauty, Uncle Sam can’t seem to get over it. The diplomats monitor all Cuban activities, make note of every Cuban utterance, and report every sighting of a migratory Cuban with the enthusiasm of a birdwatcher. It seems that the US has lost none of its Cold War passion for Cuba.
In far-away Uzbekistan, the US Ambassador is promoting the US case against Cuba and duly reports to Mme Clinton:
“UNCLAS TASHKENT 000524 SIPDIS DEPT FOR WHA/CCA E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PHUM, KDEM, PREL, UZ SUBJECT: UZBEKISTAN/DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH CUBAN PEOPLE REF: SECSTATE 46997 (U) on the margins of a May 5 meeting with Foreign Minister Norov, the Ambassador informed the Uzbek government of U.S. plans to mark solidarity with the Cuban people on May 21. In addition, the Embassy has placed a box in the Embassy newsletter 'Dostlik' marking the date and has added a brief statement about it on its web site. NORLAND”
In a few days, the US diplomats “celebrate a day of solidarity with the Cuban people”.“Embassy Tashkent continues to promote and prepare for solidarity with the Cuban people on May 21. We have raised points with appropriate high-level Uzbek officials and have placed information on our website and in our quarterly English and Uzbek languages publication, 'Dostlik'.”
Now that takes me back to the 1970’s! In Brezhnev’s day, the Soviets were regularly mustered to express their solidarity with “the people of Cuba”, “the people of Vietnam”, “the people of Korea”, etc, and eventually it began to bore us all to tears. The Soviet Union was abandoned largely due to this boredom, and now the Uzbeks (and all the rest) are being offered the same boring dish again, only this time “the people of Cuba” represents little more than the catchphrase of CIA operatives in Miami.
When Uzbekistan established diplomatic relations with Cuba, the US ambassador vented his hurt feelings in a confidential cable. The Ambassador comments: “Uzbekistan has only a minimal diplomatic relationship with Cuba, but we thought it important to make this demarche so our Uzbek interlocutors will see that the US government raises human rights issues around the world, not just with the GOU.”
When a Cuban delegation visited Uzbekistan, US embassy staff snooped like jilted lovers. When the Uzbeks told them to mind their own business, the spurned Ambassador cabled home: “The Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s refusal to discuss this event with the Embassy is particularly laughable. Only a handful of employees work at the America’s Desk, and the same officials who were "unable" to give us any information were likely involved with the Cuban delegation's visit.” Some guys just don’t understand that “No” sometimes means “No”!
Frozen in time, Cold War ideology and language is still de rigueur in the State Department, as one sees in this cable from Ukraine:
“Ukraine's Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights (known as the Human Rights Ombudsman), Nina Karpachova was in rare form during the Regions party congress in December. During a feisty speech, she declared that her lowest professional moment had come during the 2005 session of U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, where Ukraine's Orange government had instructed her to vote "against Cuba, a small island nation that has helped us." Pressed to explain that comment at a January 16 meeting with Ambassador, during which he passed her information about Cuba's dismal human rights record, Karpachova launched into a lengthy defense of the Castro regime, praising the dictator for, among other things, curbing illiteracy and running summer camps for Ukrainian children affected by the 1989 Chornobyl disaster. Karpachova even blamed Cuba's poor economic record on the U.S. embargo, which she advocated lifting.”
The sulky Ambassador still insisted on having the last word. He: “expressed surprise that a representative of a party that purportedly believes in business would ignore the fact that the socialist policies of the Castro regime were the primary cause of Cuba's economic problems.”
Caught recruiting spies in Bolivia, the US embassy cables Washington: “Fulbright student Alex van Schaick reported to the Bolivian Foreign Ministry February 7 that he had been asked by Post's Assistant Regional Security Officer to report contacts with Venezuelan and Cuban nationals to the Embassy.” Eventually the Americans apologized and the US diplomat was sent home.
The US continues to exert pressure on the UN to expand the decades-old US embargo of Cuba, but all efforts have been in vain. Every cable dealing with the UN includes these telling words: “On embargo of Cuba we remain isolated.” The US record of brokering UN resolutions against Cuba is even more dismal than their Middle Eastern efforts. Cuba is the one issue Americans cannot get traction on; they are always met with resolutions against their policy.
In Baku, Azerbaijan, the US ambassador coaxed the Azerbaijani foreign minister to support the US embargo, but received this strong response: “On the Cuba Embargo resolution, Mammadyarov said that Azerbaijan had been "with the 184 countries." Mammadyarov said that over 1,000 Cubans had been educated in Azerbaijan during the Soviet period, primarily at the oil academy and international law department, and that there is a large Azerbaijan diaspora in Cuba. Mammadyarov also said that Azerbaijan could not have many embassies in South America because it had so few fluent Spanish speakers, so Cuba was an important element along with Mexico and Brazil. Responding to the Ambassador's question about what interest Cuba would have in having an embassy in Baku, Mammadyarov said that this would be the first Cuban embassy in the Caucasus, with Cuba having over 145 embassies, mainly smaller one to two person posts.”
In contrast, Armenia, after much prevarication, agreed to support the US, and it was “a grand gesture”, the Ambassador writes.
Diplomatic exchanges with Cuba are routinely met with American sabotage. The US Ambassador in Vilnius proudly reported: “Last year, we succeeded in blunting an effort by some in Lithuania to recognize Cuba.”
Despite continuous American efforts, the cables show that the winds of change are blowing in Cuba’s favor. A secret cable from Brasilia details the US Ambassador’s meeting with a Presidential adviser: “The Ambassador asked what Garcia thought would come of the EU decision to lift its sanctions. Garcia said he did not see Raul Castro giving any type of concession to foreign pressure, and that the EU move was a sign that there is a perception Cuba is changing. He noted that in Brazil, both businesses and the press that had been critical of Brazil's Cuba policy have changed their tune. Businesses are now interested in investing, and there is less criticism in the press.”
We are working on Spain
After Spanish Minister Dezcallar visited Cuba, he was immediately interrogated by the US ambassador. The cables show that the Spaniard attempted to mollify the Americans by claiming that the trip to Cuba “hadn't immediately accomplished much for Spain, but said that through its new engagement, Spain would be able to exert influence and push for "Western values" as the Cuban transition advanced.”
Dezcallar urged the American to take the long view, and called for ongoing, and discreet, coordination between the US and Spain. But the ambassador is not placated. In the cables, he “emphasized Washington's deep disappointment with the trip, which was not only a surprise but even a bit of a spectacle as world power Spain's FM went to Cuba and came away with nothing. He noted that Moratinos didn't meet with dissidents, and didn't even try to correct the record when Cuban FM Perez Roque called the dissidents "mercenaries" in the pay of the US. So much for Spain’s independence!” Their foreign minister is being told off like a schoolboy!
A cable from Poland shows that the US policy of Cuban isolation is quickly eroding: “Szlajfer said there was a serious problem within the EU on Cuba policy. The Spanish had been attempting since 2004 to revise EU policy towards Cuba, saying that the EU's hard line had brought no results and that therefore there should be a shift towards engagement with both the government and the opposition.”
The Polish government still officially opposes engagement with “the Castro regime” and toes the hard line according to US dictat, but in the cables Szlajfer noted that times are a’changing: “not only Spain, but also France and Great Britain might be playing a different game.” Szlajfer added that their tough line on Cuba had diminished Poland’s influence with these countries and was affecting Poland's commercial opportunities in the region. Ending the cable on a positive note, Ambassador Fried of the State Department cheered the Poles by assuring them: "We are working on Spain".
The Czech Republic continues to cooperate with US orders. Like other pro-US outposts in Eastern Europe, they do all they can to isolate Cuba. The US ambassador reports: “The Czechs continue to look for ways to raise support within the EU for a Cuba common position with teeth.” The Czech NGO initiated an anti-Cuban conference and gained a pat on the head in US State Department cables.
Estonia is another obedient client state, and Estonian leaders are always ready to oblige their masters. A confidential cable from Tallinn relays an Estonian condemnation against Spain for being too soft on Cuba: “Kahn [an Estonian diplomat] called Spain's position, as the new EU President, both "strange and difficult to understand." Spain is trying to encourage EU states to improve relations with Cuba at the expense of ties with the opposition, according to Kahn. In contrast, Kahn emphasized that the GOE supports engaging the Cuban Government, but only as a means to influence Cuba towards democracy. Estonia cannot accept any policy that forgets about the Cuban opposition. Kahn laid out three elements of Estonia's Cuba policy: all meetings with the GOC have to be balanced by meetings with the democratic opposition; Cuba must free its political prisoners; and Cuba should be encouraged to undertake reforms providing democracy, free speech and freedom of assembly.
“Khan noted, however, that because the GOE is so far removed from Cuba, and receives the majority of its information about Cuba from the press, that Estonia cannot be as staunch and active a supporter of democratic change as is, for example, the Czech Republic.”
In another cable, the Ambassador of Estonia is interrogated over Cuba:
“5. (C) Did the host country offer or deliver humanitarian or other assistance to the Cuban people in the wake of the major damage caused by Hurricanes Gustav (August 30) and Ike(September 8)? -- No.
“6. (C) What is the nature of investments (and names, if known) that host country businesses have in Cuba? What host country businesses participated in the Havana Trade Fair (November 3)? – There is no foreign direct investment in either direction between Estonia and Cuba. No Estonian businesses participated in the Havana Trade Fair.
“7. (C) Are there any bilateral trade agreements between host country and Cuba? –
There are no bilateral trade agreements between the countries.
“8. (C) Are there any exchange programs between host country and Cuba, including but not limited to: scholarships for host country nationals to study in Cuba; Cuban-paid medical travel for host country nationals; and Cuban doctors working in host country? -- There are no official exchange programs between Estonia and Cuba and Estonia.”
Estonians are eager to support US interests and will always side with the US, even against fellow EU members. In a cable, the US representative in Tallinn, Goldstein, “expressed our concern over Spanish FM Moratinos' visit to Havana in April”. He received a very satisfactory reply: “Estonia fully understands and agrees with U.S. concerns, and has quietly supported the Czech Republic, Poland, and other like-minded EU member states in EU fora. Juhasoo-Lawrence added that Estonia understands dictators such as Castro and what they can do to their people, and does not see any reason to ease up on him now. The EU, she said, is divided on this issue between new and old member states.”
In contrast, Belarus has been much too independent for US tastes. The ambassador in Minsk reports with chagrin: “A delegation from Cuba led by Minister of Government Ricardo Cabrisas visited Belarus and during the visit, the Cuban representative signed an agreement to purchase 100 buses manufactured by the Minsk Automobile Factory (MAZ) and discussed possible purchases of Belarusian farm machinery and trucks.”
The cables note further: “In a July 2007 greeting sent to Fidel Castro on the occasion of Cuba's "Rebellion Day," Aleksandr Lukashenko called Cuba ‘Belarus' main strategic partner in Latin America’. They acknowledge that ‘thousands of Belarusian children from Chernobyl-affected zones who have traveled to Cuba for rest and recuperation since 1991.’”
The ties are political as well. A Minsk cable acknowledges that: “Belarus is actively working to reinvigorate the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and set up Lukashenko as the eventual successor to Cuban leader Fidel Castro as the next ‘Papa’ of the anti-West block. Lukashenko is the ideal anti-globalist leader -- he is young (51 years old), energetic, bold, and he sits at the helm of a growing, stable (for now) economy in the heart of Europe.”
Could it be the reason for the US vehement attitude to Belarus? In a fit of green-eyed pique, the US refused to allow Lukashenko to refuel in Iceland as he returned from the 2006 meeting of Non-Aligned States. The American ambassador cabled that he had checked whether Iceland “had received a landing clearance request from Belarusian President Lukashenko, who had reportedly intended to refuel in Iceland on his way to the NAM summit. Gudjonson said Iceland had not, and gave assurances that any such requests would be denied.”
The cable goes on to reveal that “The U.S. and EU imposed visa bans and froze the assets of the most odious GOB officials. When the USG and Canada refused to grant a refueling request to a Belarus delegation returning from Cuba, Lukashenko announced Belarus would respond by refusing overflight clearances to aircraft carrying USG and Canadian official delegations. More recently, the GOB announced it would freeze the assets of President Bush and Secretary Rice in Belarusian banks. These announcements remain ambiguous and even comical” …as they were certainly intended to be.
The Ukraine no longer complies with US demands. A cable from Kiev says that despite the US demarche, a Ukrainian diplomat told the ambassador that “Cuba continues to provide substantial assistance for the "Chornobyl children" [belonging to families affected by the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear disaster] “and that Ukraine's position is to oppose the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. Ukraine would support the EU statement on the annual UNGA resolution introduced by Cuba condemning the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.” In another cable, the Embassy states: “The Ukrainian parliament passed a resolution a few days earlier condemning embargoes on Cuba. Ukraine remains grateful for ongoing Cuban medical assistance for victims of Chornobyl.”
Cuba is renowned worldwide for its extraordinary commitment to help all countries in need, regardless of politics. After an earthquake in Peru, the US ambassador in Peru was forced to admit in a cable: “Cuban assistance has reportedly been targeted and effective, if not directly coordinated with the GOP. Cuba has sent at least two field hospital teams that have offered high-impact quality service, according to observers. At one camp where a U.S. Medrete team had been sent to provide services, a Cuban team had already been set up.”
Cuba is no longer alone. The cables also document that when Bolivian President Evo Morales visited Peru, he “criticized U.S.-Latin American FTAs and called for continued struggle against colonialism, imperialism, and neoliberalism. He also praised Fidel Castro as a ‘father’ and welcomed the presence of Hugo Chavez's ALBA in Peru.”
Relations with Russia: more profitable business
Russia has not yet succeeded in mending fences with Cuba, but the effort is there:
“Prime Minister Putin called for Russia to rebuild (its) positions in Cuba. The US Ambassador in Moscow reports on several upcoming events between the GOR and Cuba in 2010:
“-- Russia will host a preparatory meeting for the April 2010 Russian-Cuban Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Commercial, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation.
“Foreign Minister Lavrov will participate in the 9th Annual Havana Book Exhibition as a special invited guest. Lavrov will lead a delegation that includes heads of the Russian Ministry of Culture and the Russian Press Agency
“Cuba will host a meeting of the Russian-Cuban Intergovernmental Commission. Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin would likely lead the Russian delegation. Sechin's last visit to Cuba was in July 2009 and resulted in several agreements, including a $150 million loan for Cuba to purchase Russian agricultural machinery.
“Russia was currently providing humanitarian aid to Cuba in the form of grain shipments, with plans to send 100,000 tons of grain to Cuba this year. Also, the GOR plans to increase the number of scholarships granted to Cubans; 100 Cuban students received scholarships in 2009 to study in Russian universities.”
In a secret/not-for-foreigners (NOFORN) cable, the US Ambassador informs the State Department that: “Russia did not have a preference for working with Raul or Fidel Castro. As a general trend, Cuba-Russia ties were becoming stronger, but that the relationship had not changed significantly since Raul Castro came to power in 2008.”
The cable continued with a report from a Russian academician:
“Cuban President Raul Castro visited Moscow January 28 to February 4, 2009. Raul Castro and Medvedev signed a number of agreements … Russia also pledged two shipments of grain, of 25,000 and 100,000 metric tons, worth USD 37 million. Cuba has agreed to purchase or lease seven Russian-made aircraft. In addition, Kamaz, Russia's largest truck manufacturer, has agreed to sell its trucks in Cuba and to establish a Cuban assembly plant with Cuba's Tradex. Russia's principal exports to Cuba are aircraft, heavy machines, and equipment. Cuba's principal exports to Russia are sugar, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and cigars.
“Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin negotiated a series of economic cooperation deals with Cuban government officials in Moscow. A Gazprom-led consortium created in 2008 to develop Venezuela's gas and oil fields signed a cooperation agreement with Cuba Petroleo to jointly work on exploration, production, and refining. Norilsk Nickel agreed to fund exploration of ore reserves in Cuba, with the prospect of mining them in the future. Carmaker AvtoVAZ signed a deal to service its cars in Cuba. Sechin's extensive role in mid-wifing the Russian-Cuban relationship likely reflects PM Putin's personal interest in reasserting a Russian presence in the Western Hemisphere.”
Cables also discuss the possibility of: “enhanced military cooperation of Russia with Cuba. Deputy Chairman of the State Duma's Committee on International Affairs Andrei Klimov told RIA-Novosti that ‘If America installs antiballistic missile (ABM) systems next to the Russian border, Russia too may deploy its systems in those states that will agree to take them.’ Leonid Ivashov, head of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, told RIA-Novosti that the West was creating a "buffer zone" around Russia and that in response, Russia might expand its military presence in Cuba or other places.”
The cables show that the need for support of Cuba is far from over. Americans will do well if they will ask their government to cease squandering their resources in this yesterday’s fight against a small island in the Caribbean.