Cuba's Plantocracy: Cuban American business and terrorism
Major Cuban American businesses have long funded terrorism against Cuba. The important players here include the Bacardí family, who sell half the rum in the US, and the Fanjul brothers, whose Domino Sugar controls the majority of sugar production in Florida and in parts of the Caribbean. Both their operations go back to the middle of the 19th century and they owe their fortunes to slavery and the plantation system. In Spanish, we call this the sacarocracia, the sucrocracy.
The Diaz-Balarts count two members of congress from Florida in their family. Their fortunes are more recent and center on their association with United Fruit, who ran their own kind of slave operations in Cuba with the help of the highly corrupt Batista, a family friend.
We also have an even more recent player, Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen, a lackey for the major rum and sugar interests who fund her.
Altogether, they assure the historical continuity with Cuba's 19th century Plantocracy. They support the Cuban American National Foundation and assorted terrorists such as their darlings, the mass murderers and serial killers Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carilles.
See 'Relaxing' the blockade, Granma, 10/12/00, for a good discussion of how the Cuban American lobby bribes Congress.
The Fanjul brothers can be especially singled out for the massive destruction they have caused to Florida's ecosystems -- stealing water, drying up the Everglades, and sending their fertilizer laced run-off to kill coral and other ocean life many miles off shore. In this they resemble the New Plantocracy, the agribiz interests that are helping to wreck humanity's only home by maintaining palm oil plantations in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
The Plantocracy's support for AfroCuban dissidents:
The Cuban Plantocracy, which benefited so much from slavery, has succeeded in re-inventing itself as the patron of black liberation in Cuba, so long as its new found lackeys toe the proper dissident line. For their success, they have benefited from the hitherto well adhered to taboo in Cuba on even discussing issues of race and identity, a taboo which is now ending.
The exiled plantocracy and race, 2001-2013
A Worldwide Battle of Life and Death. Part I, 12/25/09 Alberto Jones
Una Batalla Mundial de Vida o Muerte. Primera Parte, 25/12/09 Alberto Jones
ACTING ON OUR CONSCIENCE - A DECLARATION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN SUPPORT FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS STRUGGLE IN CUBA 12/1/2009 A letter organized by Carlos Moore, signed by a number of prominent African Americans who for the first time are allying themselves with the plantocracy in Miami.
Acting on Our Conscience Briefing Sheet: roadmap for Diaspora support of Miami-backed Plantocracy dissidents, Claude Betancourt, 1/6/2010
The bell tolls for the taboo on discussing race in Cuba:
The birth and death of a fake man-made feud, 6/20/11 Alberto Jones on the end of racial tensions fomented by the US.
Cuba y los pueblos afrodescendientes en América Seminario - 13 - 17/6/ 2011 Instituto Cubano de Investigación Cultural Juan Marinello (ICIC), la Habana. Veinte articulos en la prensa mas una lista de participantes en ese evento histórico dan una idea de los grandes cambios que pasan en Cuba.
|October 12, 2000
BY GABRIEL MOLINA
THE distortion perpetrated by certain members of the U.S. House of Representatives to the bill to "relax" the blockade of Cuba, in terms of food and medicine sales, has created a crisis of credibility regarding the very system they wish to impose on the people of Cuba.
On Thursday, October 5, congressional negotiators agreed on the bill's new version. This maneuver had begun on the evening of Monday, June 26, when they met with George Nethercutt and other Republican sponsors of the bill, in order to modify the agreement already reached in both houses. It was awaiting the drafting of a single document reflecting the interests of U.S. farmers.
In June, Ricardo Alarcón, president of the Cuban National Assembly, charged that that meeting was really a trap: they could either accept the terms proposed or—like the previous year—the bill would simply not reach the Conference Committee (where the final version of the bill is drawn up).
In a statement published in this edition, the Cuban Foreign Ministry noted that the bill finally approved perverts its original intention. As it stands now, it prevents Cuba from obtaining credits for the purchase of medicines and food, from exchanging one product for another, from exporting anything to the United States; it bans U.S. tourism to the island and prohibits Cuba from trading with dollars. It also maintains the existing stipulation that ships touching Cuban ports are banned from docking in U.S. territory for the subsequent six months.
Republicans in Congress, particularly those of Cuban origin like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Díaz-Balart, with the help of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms and House Speaker Dennis Harter, imposed the prohibitions detailed above and are proclaiming victory over the result. They say that the status quo has been maintained. However, it is even worse, given that both the Cuban Foreign Ministry and Representative Jo Ann Emerson, who drafted the original bill for liberalizing trade with Cuba along with Representative George Nethercutt and Senator John Ashcroft, have stated that the new version would give legal backing to regulations currently restricting U.S. travel to Cuba.
Many Democrats and Clinton himself have affirmed their opposition to the initiative, since approval of that formula would mean that the U.S. president would lose his prerogative to decide on U.S. citizens' freedom to travel, at least as far as Cuba is concerned. The authority over this matter would pass to Congress.
Moreover, on Friday, October 6, Clinton stated that without the possibility of utilizing private and federal funding for sales to Cuba, the plan has no hope of success.
The growing dispute over the measures against Cuba has delayed the agricultural budget for fiscal year 2001 and has provoked anger among U.S. farmers who want to sell their produce to Cuba and who are the principal sponsors of the evidently frustrated measure.
Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque stated that the good intentions of the legislators representing the agricultural sector "have once again been hijacked [for the third time] by a small group of U.S. politicians allied to the Cuban and U.S. extreme right in the United States."
The sale of medicines, foodstuffs and agricultural produce to Cuba could signify a market of $7 billion USD for U.S. exporters, with net profits of $1 billion USD for rural communities, according to U.S. calculations.
A LUCRATIVE BUSINESS
For a long time now, the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), founded by the late Jorge Mas Canosa, together with the Bacardí company and the enterprises owned by the Fanjul brothers—also known as the Sultans of Sugar—have been the principal promoters of the blockade of Cuba, largely through "political campaign donations."
In early 1997, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) ran a series of programs on what moderator Hendrick Smith defined as the public deception and cynicism felt toward Washington in the wake of the vast sums of money spent in the 1996 elections: more than $2 billion USD, a record.
Former Senator Bill Bradley declared in March '97 that the system of financing campaigns is a disaster that is distorting democracy. Smith presented the Congress amendment on sugar as an example, revealing that concealed in that federal program is the fact that consumers pay eight cents more per pound than they should. According to the General Accounting Office, that signifies that $1.4 billion USD changes hands annually, to the benefit of the magnates.
Critics argue that this program survives year after year because of political money, Smith explained.
He added that in 1995, the 49 members of the House Agriculture Committee received an average of $16,000 USD from the sugar producers, mainly the two largest ones. Moreover, the Fanjul brothers invest money in hundreds of local election campaigns and thus have become, in association with the CANF, an influential factor in U.S. politics over the last 30 years.
The cultivators of sugarcane and its main derivative, alcohol, which is the raw material for rum (thus including Bacardí), are heavy contributors and allies of the Mas Canosa family in financing a wide-ranging group of legislators.
Like the Sultans, the CANF receives several million dollars per year from the U.S. government, part of which is used precisely to finance those who, previously or subsequently, facilitate those funds.
The main source of funds is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a Reagan-created program which hands over money to 39 Democratic and 17 Republican members of Congress, in particular Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Dante Fascell, Robert Torricelli, Lincoln Díaz-Balart, Larry Smith, Ernest Hollings, Robert Graham, Joseph Lieberman, Connie Mack, Orrin G. Hatch, Claude Pepper and others. The Sultans of Sugar are among the principal entrepreneurs to finance politicians from both parties, confirmed US News & World Report in its July 17, 1995 issue.
The magazine reveals that by dividing up the funding for electoral campaigns in the United States between the Republican and Democratic Parties, at the state and national levels, the Fanjul brothers are assured of receiving profits estimated at $64 million USD per year, thanks to the controversial federal government cane sugar program.
The subsidy program has to be approved every five years by Congress. To gain that approval, the Fanjul brothers contribute to the election of Congress members and officials in Florida and a large area of the country with approximately $2 million USD, as far as we know. It is a lucrative business; with that capital, they fund officials and members of Congress and the latter pay them back, not only by protecting the privileged subsidy, but by backing bills that bring them more profits even when, as in the case of the Helms-Burton Act, such legislation goes against U.S. interests.
One good example, similar to the bill currently under discussion in the House, occurred when Congressmen Dan Miller (Republican) and Charles Schumer (Democrat) co-sponsored legislation to eliminate the administration's sugar program in 1995.
The Fanjul brothers mobilized the members Congress also financed by Mas Canosa, such as Cuban-Americans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Díaz-Balart. When Miller was preparing to present his amendment, he received a telephone call from José Fanjul. Miller had received $13,000 USD in political donations over the two previous years, but in spite of Dole and Fanjul he went ahead.
However, when the bill was discussed in the House in February 1996, it was defeated by 217 votes to 209 and the cane sugar program was maintained with some modest changes. Five of the bill's co-sponsors changed their position and voted in favor of the sugar producers. That day they received over $11,000 USD for their electoral campaigns, Hendrick Smith charged, noting that Congressman Robert Torricelli of New Jersey voted with the Fanjul clan. He affirmed that the records reveal that he received $33,000 USD in contributions to his Senate campaign.
The Fanjul and Bacardí families were involved with Mas Canosa in drafting the Helms-Burton Act, which intensified the economic war against Cuba. This collusion with a long list of legislators is not an isolated case. It is all part of the extreme right's grand strategy against Cuba's social accomplishments, succinctly expressed by one of its theoreticians, William Kristol, director of the Project for a Republican Future. He stated that President Roosevelt's New Deal was dead and that its corpse had to be picked up and buried before the stink became unbearable.
However, the situation created by the kidnapping of Cuban child Elián González exposed the excessive power gained by the Miami groups and their allies. The arrogance of the CANF, Miami's mayors and legislators of Cuban origin has backfired, giving others the impression that they are drunk with that power. So much so that The New York Times of April 1 observed that many people in Miami perceived their actions as an act of independence, a nation apart congratulating itself by saying: "Welcome to the Independent Republic of Miami."
The "independent" republic has once again demonstrated that in terms of power, the powerful gentleman is Mr. Money. But this oh-so-eloquent confrontation could serve to further open the eyes of those who are still attempting to serve the interests of the United States, given that they are endangering the very system they want to protect.
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