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Mrs. Blanco goes to Havana, gets snookered

Question: Gov. Kathleen Blanco signs a trade agreement with Cuba. Louisiana producers are promised $15 million in business, Cuba gets the goods. Who loses?
Answer: Kathleen Blanco.

And maybe the Louisiana people and AnPro Trading LLC and Louisiana Rice Mill. This is because the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls declared last month that all purchases from Cuba must be cash in advance, which was not promised by the Cubans. As the department has clarified, this payment policy conforms to common understandings of international trade finance, and that it strikes a balance between administering sanctions against Cuba and ensuring that the island can continue to receive food and medicine shipments. The exception for food and medicine was granted in 2000.

In other words, this agreement may be worthless, unless Cuba changes its practice and supplies cash up front (if it even has the cash, debatable given its wretched economy – the typical Cuban makes $12 a month). On the other hand, Blanco has earned the undying enmity of ethnic Cubans in Louisiana for striking a deal that they believe will perpetuate the totalitarian dictatorship of Fidel Castro.

In other words, not only can’t Blanco (and maybe not Louisiana) win out of this deal, Blanco may well have gotten played for propaganda purposes. She barely avoided the embarrassment of having Castro accost her publicly while there, only because his speech about government-made rice cookers ran long.

The fact that Castro was trying to discourage free enterprise, and the economic, political, and religious freedom that comes along with it, seemed lost on Blanco. Her understanding of the situation was “[t]hese are people who are dependent on imports because they do not produce enough food as an island nation,” she said. “They are largely dependent on food products that come from Europe.” Uh, do you know why they’re so dependent? Because their socialist/communist economic system has turned a decent economy into a basket case.

Even after over 20 years in public life, Blanco seemed like a rookie on this issue. She allowed her use for the benefit of the Cuban government, without any definitive or real economic benefits for the state and/or political capital being accrued for her. To boot, she then gets taken to the woodshed by the federal government’s interests there while avoiding meeting with a leading Cuban dissident which will really endear her to many Louisianans of Cuban descent (New Orleans having the second-largest population of ethnic Cubans and their descendants, most anti-Castro, in the U.S.).

In all, it turns into a nice junket for Blanco, along with state Sens. Ken Hollis, R-Metairie, Robert Barham, R-Oak Grove, and Noble Ellington, D-Winnsboro, and state Rep. Gil Pinac, D-Crowley. But whether it turns into anything substantive is another matter entirely.

1 comment:

PJ said...

I am embarrassed that any politician would allow themselves to be used by this thug that has destroyed Cuba.Dealing with Castro is a slap in the face of every freedom loving Cuban that has escaped or died trying escape this prison called Cuba.Why would any American want to do anything that would prolong the ability of this evil regime to stay in power.