March 15, 2005

A Capitalist Cuba

My XM radio is almost always tuned to Channel 73, "Luna." They play Latin Jazz and some traditional music from Latin nations.

It is commercial free, but they have brief station IDs, all delivered by a young lady with a hot-voice and a trace of an accent. Today I heard "From New York, Miami, Havana, and beyond -- Luna!"

I wondered how many of El Jefe's subjects had Satellite Radio. And got to daydreaming about how prosperous a free Cuba could be today with tourism, joint-ventures, cultural exchange and the like.

Then at work, I encounter this gem from the WSJ Ed Page: - Fidel's Fortune

He didn't make it into the billionaire category, but Fidel Castro nonetheless earned an honorable mention on Forbes magazine's annual list of the World's Richest People out this month. And why not? With a net worth of $550 million, this is one bit of media recognition that El Jefe actually deserves.

According to Forbes, the Cuban leader committed to "socialism or death" has made a killing from a "web of state-owned businesses" -- all of which have no competition in the worker's paradise. Castro's most profitable operations include a convention center, a retail conglomerate and a company called Medicuba that sells pharmaceuticals made on the island, reports the magazine. Not mentioned are Cuba's biggest exports -- seafood, tobacco, sugar and nickel -- which, as El Maximo Lider of the communist regime, Fidel naturally benefits from too.
Meanwhile, the rest of Cuba is so poor that food is rationed; as of 2003 each person was limited to a pound of chicken a month, according to the Cuba Transition Project at the University of Miami. But at least Cubans aren't being exploited by wealthy capitalists.

Cuba -- the next Iraq? El Cuba Libre!

Posted by John Kranz at March 15, 2005 11:13 AM