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Daily Archives: April 24, 2014

As unfair decisions go, that a meritorious law school graduate who aced the Florida Bar cannot practice law because he's not a U.S. citizen was at least delivered with dignity and empathy. It's not everyday Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Portugal’s minister of foreign affairs visited is beginning a two-day visit to Cuba today, Cuba’s foreign ministry reported. Luis Campos Ferreira will meet with Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez and Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca, as well as the ministers of industry and energy. Portugal is seeking to “create space for a deepening [...] Continue reading
The Oklahoma House has overwhelmingly defeated a measure that would change how attorneys are appointed to a commission that nominates members of the state Supreme Court and appellate courts. The Florida Continue reading
By: Kendra Karr & Owen Liu A team of scientists from Cuba and EDF set sail on an expedition to assess the status and health of marine ecosystems of the Gulf of Ana Maria and the Gardens of the Queen Continue reading
Gabriel García Márquez was a gifted writer but no hero
By Charles Lane, Thursday, April 24, 2:03 AM

Statesmen eulogized Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel García Márquez,
who died at age 87 on April 17. "The world has lost one of its greatest
visionary writers — and one of my favorites from the time I was young,"
President Obama said; he called the author of "One Hundred Years of
Solitude" "a representative and voice for the people of the Americas."
Juan Manuel Santos, president of García Márquez's native country, hailed
him as "the greatest Colombian of all time."

The obituary of García Márquez that I would most like to read will never
be written. That is because its author would have been the Cuban poet
Heberto Padilla — who passed away 14 years ago. No one was better
qualified to assess the weird blend of literary brilliance and political
rottenness that characterized García Márquez's long career.

In 1968, just as "One Hundred Years of Solitude" was propelling García
Márquez to fame, Padilla published a collection of poems titled "Out of
the Game." Cuba's cultural authorities initially permitted and even
praised Padilla's book, despite its between-the-lines protest against
the official thought control that was already suffocating Cuba less than
a decade after Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution.

Then instructions changed: The Castro regime began a campaign against
Padilla and like-minded intellectuals that culminated in March 1971,
when state security agents arrested Padilla, seized his manuscripts and
subjected him to a month of brutal interrogation.

The poet emerged to denounce himself before fellow writers for having
"been unfair and ungrateful to Fidel, for which I will never tire of
repenting." He implicated colleagues and even his wife as

Intellectuals around the world, led by García Márquez's fellow star of
the Latin American literary "boom," Mario Vargas Llosa, condemned this
Stalinesque spectacle. Many cultural figures who had backed the Cuban
revolution soured on it because of the Padilla affair.

For García Márquez, however, it was a different kind of turning point.
When asked to sign his fellow writers' open letter to Castro expressing
"shame and anger" about the treatment of Padilla, García Márquez refused.

Thereafter, the Colombian gradually rose in Havana's estimation,
ultimately emerging as a de facto member of Castro's inner circle.

Fidel would shower "Gabo" with perks, including a mansion, and
established a film institute in Cuba under García Márquez's personal

The novelist, in turn, lent his celebrity and eloquence to the regime's
propaganda mill, describing the Cuban dictator in 1990 as a "man of
austere habits and insatiable dreams, with an old-fashioned formal
education, careful words and fine manners, and incapable of conceiving
any idea that isn't extraordinary."

To rationalize this cozy relationship, García Márquez offered himself as
an ostensible go-between when Castro occasionally released dissidents to
appease the West.

What Gabo never did was raise his voice, or lift a finger, on behalf of
Cubans' right to express themselves freely in the first place.

Far from being "a representative and voice for the people of the
Americas," he served as a de facto spokesman for one of their oppressors.

García Márquez went so far as to defend death sentences Castro handed
out to politically heterodox Cuban officials — one of whom had been
personally close to the writer — after a 1989 show trial.

One can imagine many motivations for this shabby behavior, some more
comprehensible than others. A youthful dabbler in Communist Party
activity in the 1950s, García Márquez belonged to a generation of Latin
American intellectuals for whom anti-imperialism was an ideological
given, as well as a badge of sophistication; perhaps he never outgrew that.

"Friendship" with men like Fidel Castro is hard to escape — though,
given the benefits he reaped from that relationship, tangible and
otherwise, it's doubtful García Márquez ever contemplated a break with
Fidel, even secretly.

Whatever their causes, García Márquez's Cuba apologetics will forever
mar his legacy. True literary greatness is a function of not only
narrative skill and linguistic creativity, which García Márquez
possessed in abundance, but also moral courage, which he lacked. Against
the multiple evils, social and political, that plagued his native
region, he bore witness too selectively.

Castro finally let Heberto Padilla leave Cuba for the United States in
1980. In his 1989 memoir, "Self-Portrait of the Other," the poet noted
that he sought García Márquez's aid for an exit visa but that the writer
tried to dissuade him from going, saying that Cuba's enemies might use
his departure for propaganda purposes.

Apart from that book, Padilla produced little. He bounced from one
college job to another before dying, a broken man, in Auburn, Ala. He
was 68.

In truth, Heberto Padilla did not have half the talent Gabriel García
Márquez had. Still, some of us admire him more.

Source: Charles Lane: Gabriel García Márquez was a gifted writer but no
hero - The Washington Post -
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-lane-gabriel-garcia-marquez-was-a-gifted-writer-but-no-hero/2014/04/23/eca7b436-ca49-11e3-a75e-463587891b57_story.html Continue reading

El cardenal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, junto a los obispos auxiliares de La Habana Alfredo Petit y Juan de Dios Hernández, viajaron a Roma para asistir a la ceremonia de canonización de los papas Juan XXIII y Juan Pablo II.

Juan XXIII, que reinó entre 1958 y 1963 y convocó al modernizador Concilio Vaticano Segundo, y Juan Pablo II, que lideró la Iglesia Católica por 27 años, serán declarados santos por el papa Francisco el domingo 27 en una multitudinaria ceremonia.

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El gobierno cubano bloqueó intempestivamente la llegada de cubanos del exterior cuyos pasaportes no tengan la revalidación requerida, causando molestia a docenas de viajeros que no pudieron abordar sus aviones en el Aeropuerto Internacional de Miami y otros que fueron detenidos a su llegada a La Habana. Continue reading
Vladimir Putin señaló que "habrá consecuencias" si las fuerzas ucranianas atacan a la población pro rusa. Por el momento, la ofensiva ha costado la vida de "cinco terroristas", según la definición del gobierno de Kiev. La situación se complica con las bases de la OTAN en la zona Continue reading
HAVANA, Cuba – I recently participated in a course on Criminal Procedure taught by Dr. Wilfredo Vallin, an independent lawyer, to members of civil society. We learned what the law requires and how police are supposed to act when making … Continue reading Continue reading
"Venezuela se ha empeñado en estos últimos 15 años en retroceder cada vez más y acercarse a los ejemplos más patéticos de fracasos económicos, políticos y sociales como son Cuba y Corea del Norte.", dijo el Nobel de Literatura en Caracas. Continue reading

Los Castro llevan décadas reeligiéndose con un obsceno 98% de apoyo, lo que solo demuestra la enorme violencia que se ejerce contra esa indefensa población. Rafael Correa casi seguramente intente reelegirse como presidente de Ecuador. Sostiene la supersticiosa fantasía de que es imprescindible. Es uno de los síntomas del narcisismo. Mientras más tiempo pase en Carondelet más sufrirá su imagen. Es inevitable. Ésa es una mala idea.

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24 de abril de 2014, 16:06 Santiago, Chile,Apr 24 (Prensa Latina) Some 60 writers and over 30 artists are attending the Fourth International Book Fair Zicosur, in Chile, with Cuba as guest of honor. Continue reading
Los últimos arrestos en Santa Clara y La Habana buscan impedir que reporteros ciudadanos divulguen imágenes de la represión policial. Continue reading
Some could call him a magician, a conjurer of worlds that blended our harshest realities with our wildest imaginings. Gabriel García Márquez, the beloved Colombian novelist and Nobel Prize winner, defined Continue reading
the secret "Cuban Twitter" network from inside the Central American nation's borders despite warnings in 2009 that the plan could jeopardize the two countries' diplomatic ... Continue reading
Blind U.S. athlete Peter Crowley will attempt on Friday to cross the Florida Straits in a kayak from Cuba to the United States. Crowley will depart at noon from the marina located west of the capital Continue reading
Havana, Apr 24 (Prensa Latina) FAO representative in Cuba, Theodor Friedrich, stressed this country''s potentialities in food production. The FAO official also said that protecting more ... Continue reading

Estados Unidos "debería negociar directamente" con el régimen de La Habana la liberación del subcontratista norteamericano Alan Gross y tratar la situación de los tres espías cubanos detenidos en cárceles estadounidenses, dijo la influyente organización no gubernamental Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).

WOLA pidió que Washington "dé todos los pasos disponibles para asegurar la liberación de Gross", incluyendo "el nombramiento de un enviado de alto nivel con poderes para iniciar discusiones con el gobierno de Cuba", reporta AFP.

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Another one bites the dust: Sara Kapfer has filed for separation from actor Cuba Gooding Jr. after 20 years of marriage. Kapfer is citing "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for the split and Continue reading
Will investors be able to save the conquests of the olive green caste by soaking their hard currency in the Castros’ holy water? HAVANA, Cuba: In recent weeks, the new Investment law–the latest magic formula to overcome the endemic crisis … Continue reading Continue reading
24 de abril de 2014, 15:30 Havana, Apr 24 (Prensa Latina) The ashes of Cuban pitcher Conrado Marrero will be laid here at the Cuban professional Baseball Players'' Pantheon at the Colon Cemetery, the Continue reading
24 de abril de 2014, 15:36 Havana, Apr 24 (Prensa Latina) The issue of housing in Cuba needs a more integral approach, because it is an essential element to create values and increase labor force, an Continue reading
By CARACAS (Reuters) - Peruvian author and Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa vowed on Thursday to honor until death a pact with his late Colombian counterpart Gabriel Garcia Marquez not to reveal the Continue reading
Varadero, Cuba, Apr 24 (Prensa Latina) Cubans are professionally well trained in the tourism and gastronomy sector, said the President of the Federation of Culinary Associations of the Republic of ... Continue reading
Buenos Aires, Apr 24 (Prensa Latina) The Latin Americanist, humanist and solidarity spirit sustained Fidel Castro''s work, panelists attending a forum dedicated to the historic leader of ... Continue reading
Estados Unidos debería negociar directamente con Cuba la liberación del subcontratista norteamericano Alan Gross y tratar la situación de los tres agentes cubanos detenidos en cárceles estadounidenses, dijo la influyente organización no gubernamental Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). Continue reading
24 de abril de 2014, 14:44 Havana, Apr 24 (Prensa Latina) Pierre Niney, French actor who recently played the role of fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent (1936-2008), stands out among the guests to the Continue reading
- El Chicago Council on Global Affairs homenajeará a la bloguera cubana Yoani Sánchez por sus esfuerzos para “enfrentar la censura y promover la libertad de expresión”, se informó el jueves. Continue reading

El pastor cristiano Manuel Morejón Soler, en huelga de hambre desde el 7 de abril en La Habana, exige la promulgación de una Ley de Cultos y Asociaciones que ponga fin al hostigamiento contra los religiosos que difieren de la política oficial y a la discriminación contra los hijos de cristianos en las escuelas.

"Tomé la decisión para llamar la atención de las autoridades", dijo Morejón, líder de la Alianza Cristiana, una organización religiosa que ha denunciado presiones por parte del aparato represivo, reporta Martinoticias.

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Un editorialista del Washington Post recuerda que el caso Padilla marcó para muchos intelectuales un distanciamiento de la revolución cubana. A García Márquez, en cambio, lo elevó al círculo íntimo de Castro. Continue reading
Dear Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of Reporters without Borders, “Honor to those who deserve it,” said our José Martí, anticipating my mother, who inculcated in my education the culture of gratitude. Many at the start of my imprisonment have stayed … Continue reading Continue reading

El Gobierno habría levantado la medida cautelar que pesaba sobre el opositor Manuel Cuesta Morúa desde enero pasado, aunque el activista asegura que no ha recibido una notificación oficial al respecto.

En declaraciones a la emisora Radio Martí, Cuesta Morúa dijo que desde hace tres semanas no tiene que ir a firmar a una estación de la Policía en Miramar, como exigía la medida.

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Connie Marrero was known for his unorthodox style and coached until his nineties He was known for his short stature, unorthodox style and love for cigars. Making a name for himself in the major Continue reading
CNN - When Alan Gross reaches his 65th birthday next month, he will tell himself that it will be the last one he spends in a Cuban prison cell, Gross' attorney said Wednesday. "His hunger strike took Continue reading
Tras casi veinte días de ayuno, el Pastor Manuel Morejón Soler exige de las autoridades: promulgación de una Ley de Cultos y de Asociaciones, cese del hostigamiento a pastores y la discriminación a los hijos de los cristianos en las escuelas. Continue reading
Balkan countries During the conflict in the Balkans, the UN Security Council adopted a number of resolutions imposing sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro. First of all, the possibility of buying Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Havana April 20 to prepare with Cuban officials for a visit by President Xi Jinping, as part of a planned Latin America tour by the Chinese president. Cuba was Wang’s first stop of a Latin America tour that takes him to Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina. The last visit [...] Continue reading
La firma francesa Truffle Capital, una entidad financiera con un capital de riesgo de 20 millones de euros (unos $27 millones de dólares) y el Centro de Ingeniería Genética y Biotecnología (CIGB) de Cuba, se han unido para crear ABIVAX. Continue reading

La importancia que ha cobrado una "nodriza cubana" en la historia del prócer Simón Bolívar que se enseña en las escuelas venezolanas, ha levantado polémica y alarma entre padres y analistas, que la consideran otro intento de adoctrinamiento y de mitificar la estrecha relación Caracas-La Habana.

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How Do We Make A Good Newspaper? / Yoani Sanchez
Posted on April 23, 2014

In these times, when the great media of the press barely seem to survive
the crisis, many are wondering, how can we make a good newspaper? The
question includes not only choosing content, but also how to make it
profitable and the dilemma between digital or paper formats. There are
no clear formulas. Small websites become–in a short time–information
reference points, while some of the news giants fall into the red and
lose readers. No one knows for sure where the press of the future is headed.

We are used to technological advances and leapfrogging; Cubans will very
like jump from an official press under the monopoly of a single party,
to a multitude of media pushing to gain prominence. The day when
non-government media is legalized, numerous publications–now
underground–will be able to be read openly and even sold at the corner
newsstand. Although that time is still to come, it's worth it to begin

If I could highlight at least one indispensable feature of the press, I
would choose interaction with readers. The close relationship between
the writer of the information and its recipient is vital for a newspaper
to meet the demands of modernity and objectivity. Right now in Havana,
we are putting the final touches on a new digital media that will
greatly help us to listen to your opinions. Without you, it would be
only a medium talking to itself, ephemeral and inconsequential.

So back to the main question: How do we make a good newspaper? What are
the topics that we should address in its pages? What sections are worth
incorporating on the site? How can we involve you in developing the
content? Which are the indispensable bylines we should include? What
model or example should we follow? And the big question: Can we exercise
quality journalism amid the current conditions in Cuba?

You can leave answers in the comments on this blog, on the Dontknow
debate page, or on the CONTACT page. Thanks in advance for helping to
give shape to the baby before its birth.

23 April 2014

Source: How Do We Make A Good Newspaper? / Yoani Sanchez | Translating
Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/how-do-we-make-a-good-newspaper-yoani-sanchez/ Continue reading
Según los datos, "se calcula que más del 50% de los nuevos negocios abiertos en Cuba cuentan con participación de una u otra manera de capital de familiares o amigos residentes en Estados Unidos". Continue reading
El reconocido periodista franco-español Ignacio Ramonet lamentó en Cuba la muerte del premio nobel de literatura Gabriel García Márquez durante la presentación de su libro Mi primera vida, biografía de la niñez, adolescencia y juventud del Líder de la Revolución Bolivariana, Hugo Chávez. Continue reading
El libro del periodista español Ignacio Ramonet, con más de 700 cuartillas, fue presentado la noche del miércoles en La Habana (Cuba) y narra la formación del líder de la Revolución Bolivariana, Hugo Chávez, desde su nacimiento hasta que asume la presidencia en 1998. Continue reading
At Repression's Ground Zero / Lilianne Ruiz
Posted on April 23, 2014

The first time I set foot in that scary place called Villa Marista,
similar to Lubyanka Prison in the now fortunately disappeared Soviet
Union, it was by my own will. I accompanied Manuel Cuesta Morúa to see
Investigator Yurisan Almenares, in charge of Case No. 5, 2014, against
Cuesta Morúa, after he was arbitrarily arrested on 26 January of this
year to keep him from participating as an organizer of the 2nd
Alternative Forum to the CELAC (Community of Latin American and
Caribbean States) Forum, held in Havana.

His detention ended 4 days later with the notification of a
precautionary measure that was never delivered, but that obliged him to
go to a Police Station every Tuesday and sign the document, for the
supposed crime of Diffusion of False News Against International Peace.

But the precautionary measure was only shown to the eyes of the person
it concerned once: on 30 January when he was released. In practice,
Cuesta Morua was signing an unofficial paper. Imprecision characterized
the situation from the beginning. The reasons for the arrest and the
case they sought to bring against him had no direct relationship, which
shows that the old school mafia of the Castro regime still rules in
Cuba: studying the penal code in order to destroy their adversaries,
manipulating the law until the punishment proves your guilt.

In Villa Marista I wanted to see the face of someone working there
inflicting pain on other human beings. Punishing them, not for violating
universal law, which could not exceed the measure of punishment, but for
not expressing loyalty to the Castro regime.

For some reason I connected with the mother of Pedro Luis Boitel, who I
saw in a documentary titled "No One Listens." She said that her son,
having been persecuted in the Batista era, always found a door to knock
on, an opportunity to save himself from death. But in the times of Fidel
Castro is wasn't like that, and Boitel died after a hunger strike,
imprisoned in the cruelest and most degrading conditions, in La Cabaña

Those were the times when the International Left granted the Cuban
government impunity so that it could improvise a vast record of human
rights violations. And Cuban society, terrorized, also looked the other
way: escaping to the United States, while "going crazy" to step foot on
the land of liberty. It's not very different today.

Villa Marista is a closed facility. It can't be visited by an inspector
from the Human Rights Council, nor from representatives of civil society
organizations–dissident and persecuted–to ensure that they are not
practicing any kind of torture against the prisoners and are respecting
all their rights. The government has signed some protocols and declares
itself against torture, but we don't believe in the government and those
who have passed through Villa Marista's cells bear witness that they do
torture them there to the point of madness in order to destroy the
internal dissidence.

And if someone accuses me of not having evidence, I tell them that's the
point, that it is precisely for this that the Cuban government opens its
jails to the press, not controlled by them, and to the international
inspectors and Independent Civil Society, because what the Castros
present is fabricated by the regime itself.

Not only the dissidents are tortured. Nor do we know if it's only with
"soft torture" which is still torture. Also there are workers who make a
mistake and are accused of sabotage, without being able to demand their
inalienable rights or defend themselves against such accusations.

It made me want to open doors, to be very strong and kick them all down.
To find a legal resource for the Cuban people to investigate–and the
right to presumption of innocence–all those who work there. Even the
cooks, responsible for having served cabbage with pieces of cockroach to
a friend's relative, a simple worker, who was kept there for long
unforgettable days, who was interrogated like in the inquisition to
extract a false confession from him. They didn't even let him sleep.

But I have gone only into the reception area: polished floors, plastic
flowers, kitsch expression to hide the sordidness of the jailers
instructed by the Interior Ministry; the misery reaching into the bones
of the prisoners down those shiny floors. Villa Marista is one thing
outside and another inside, as the common refrain says.

Investigator Yurisan Almenares didn't show his face. Perhaps he wasn't
ready for the persecuted to find him. He had no answers because those
guys can't improvise. They have to consult their superiors, not the law
or their own conscience.

A smiling captain took us into a little room and explained, almost
embarrassed, that the Investigator wasn't there and she would make a
note of what Manuel was demanding. So I watched as she carefully traced
the words he was pronouncing.

We wanted to get notification of the dismissal of the case. There was no
precautionary measure; ergo there should be no case pending. This not to
say that the presumed case was unsustainable without the precautionary
measure. Living in Cuba it's impossible to escape the reality of power,
however absurd and Kafkaesque it may be, like kicking the locked cell
doors of Villa Marista.

Remember, the crime has a name as bizarre as Diffusion of False News
Against International Peace. And the supposed false news deals with the
issue of racism in Cuba, where the government teaches discrimination for
political reasons in the schools, and talks about the issue of racial
rights, not inborn rights, but as a concession emanating from the State
dictatorship; and administered so that it can later be used for
revolutionary propaganda.

But racism is still here, rooted in society like a database error that
manifests itself in daily phenomena that shock the whole world. Growing,
along with other forms of discrimination and masked under the cynical
grin of power.

Manuel Cuesta Morua knows this because he has dedicated his life to
record this phenomenon in Cuba, historically and in the present. Thus,
he has written about it on countless occasions and takes responsibility
for every one of his words.

We went there without getting answers. My mind filled with the memory of
these people I don't know who are imprisoned there, half forgotten by
the whole world, their own attorneys in a panic.

One thing we can promise Villa Marista's gendarmes and its top leaders,
wherever they hide themselves: some day we will open all those doors,
and after judging, with guarantees of due process, those who oppress us,
the place will become a part of the popular proverbs turning Cuba into a
nation jealous of the freedom of its citizens.

22 April 2014

Source: At Repression's Ground Zero / Lilianne Ruiz | Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/at-repressions-ground-zero-lilianne-ruiz/ Continue reading
APRIL 23, 2014 10:43AM

Liberalizing Investment in Cuba

I'm no Cuba expert, but I have followed the events of recent years with
interest. It seems that there have been tentative steps towards
liberalizing the Cuban economy, as well as slightly better economic
relations between the United States and Cuba. I'm hopeful the long-term
trend is towards Cuba becoming a free market democracy, with normal
relations with the United States.

In the short-term, though, I'm frustrated by how the "liberalization" of
foreign investment is being carried out there. Here's the Economist:

But on March 29th Cuba's parliament approved a new foreign-investment
law that for the first time allows Cubans living abroad to invest in
some enterprises (provided, according to Rodrigo Malmierca, the
foreign-trade minister, they are not part of the "Miami terrorist
mafia"). The aim is to raise foreign investment in Cuba to about $2.5
billion a year; currently Cuban economists say the stock is $5 billion
at most.

The law, which updates a faulty 1995 one, is still patchy, says Pavel
Vidal, a Cuban economist living in Colombia. It offers generous tax
breaks of eight years for new investments. However, it requires
employers to hire workers via state employment agencies that charge (and
keep) hard currency, vastly inflating the cost of labour.
Welcoming new foreign investment is great. Here's the problem, though:
In order to liberalize investment, a government really doesn't need to
do anything fancy. It can just say, "foreign investment is permitted,
and will be treated like domestic investment." Very simple. Furthermore,
lower tax rates and reduced regulatory burdens can help encourage such
investment. Again, very simple.

In practice, though, governments make this process difficult and less
liberalizing. Here, what Cuba seems to have done is offered special tax
breaks for new foreign investments, and then subjected receipt of these
tax advantages to certain hiring conditions. In effect, it introduces
two distortions as part of the liberalization process: favoring new
foreign investors over other investors through the tax code and then
subjecting the favored investors to additional regulation.

To be clear, Cuba is not the only country who does this; this is what
many countries do. But there's just no reason to approach it this way.
The simpler way, with low tax rates for all investors, is the more
economically beneficial way. Unfortunately, it seems as though
"liberalization" is often just a catchword, and governments insist on
using their power to intervene in private economic transactions, even
when ostensibly moving away from interventionist policies.

Source: Liberalizing Investment in Cuba | Cato @ Liberty -
http://www.cato.org/blog/liberalizing-cuban-economy Continue reading