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The Politics of Unequal Exchange:The Buying of "Democracy" Agents in Cuba

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-11-10 01:56 PM
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The Politics of Unequal Exchange:The Buying of "Democracy" Agents in Cuba
Missed this when it was first published, just found it, recognize it's important:
May 24 / 25, 2008
The Politics of Unequal Exchange

The Buying of "Democracy" Agents in Cuba
By NELSON P. VALDS
"The populace may hiss me, but when I go home and think of my money, I applaud myself. "

Horace (c. 25 BC)

"Unequal exchange, as practiced by the conquerors with the natives purchasing gold with mirrors, marbles and European trinkets, must cease."

Fidel Castro, 1998
In fiscal year 2008-2009 the United States government has budgeted $45,000,000 to finance the opposition against the revolutionary government in Cuba. The money is used to fund rightwing exile organizations, eastern European rightwing politicians involved with Cuba and money oriented "civil society" promoters. Some of the money ends up in Cuba. The details of such counterrevolutionary program is little known by the world. The Cubans within the island who receive the so-called "assistance" claim to be involved in promoting "civil society" and "democracy." They maintain that what they are doing is not subversive. The official line from the United States government is that the money it supplies has a humanitarian intent. The recipients, however, are agents of a foreign power if we follow US law definitions. <1> It is unknown how much money the United States government is really spending to bring an end to the revolutionary government in Havana. <2>

The videos, photos, documents and phone conversation logs transmitted over the Mesa Redonda TV program in Havana during three consecutive days (May 19, 20, 21) disclosed some of the mechanisms used to provide money payments to dissidents via Marta Beatriz Roque, a sort of dissident paymaster/accountant in Havana. She describes herself in her emails to rightwing exiles and US officials, as Tia McPato (as in the Disney character - Aunt Scrooge McDuck. )

The money provided to the "dissidents" seem to be mere peanuts, when compared to the total amount of money appropriated by the US Congress. Indeed, it is obvious, that the "dissidents" provide the "cover" for the real entrepreneurs in Florida to enrich themselves. One can very well assume that if the US AID grants a lump sum of, say, $5 million to a Miami "democracy promotion organization" and then the organization puts the money in a bank to get yearly earnings - the earnings might be sufficient to finance the "dissidents". Miami, of course, will keep the lion's share of the grant. And the "grant" will be renewed the following years. Both Republicans and Democrats in the Congress approve of a "foreign aid" that ends up in Coral Gables and the Florida keys.

In a sense, the "dissidents" in the island face all the political and economic costs but receive very little of the financial benefits - when compared to exile donors. Granted, a monthly payment of $200-1,500 US dollars is certainly 100 times what the average Cuban earns. Yet, the island "dissidents" thank the exile "donors" abroad when in fact; the exile entrepreneurs should be thanking the "dissidents." Or, to put it differently, the "dissidents" are the proletarians while the Miami hustlers are the bourgeois employers.

The logic of such political opposition is NOT to be too successful in the REAL recruiting of thousands of political opponents inside Cuba. To do so would be a major logistical and financial conundrum - for that success would imply much more financial accounting. Rather, the best strategy is to CLAIM a lot of political proselytizing in order to obtain as much funding from abroad as possible.

The Miami promoters/handlers need the "dissidents" but do not want them to get too much of a claim over the capital available. This is accomplished by obtaining invoices for all services rendered. In a sense, this whole enterprise moves millions of dollars in Florida and elsewhere, but it comes to "penny capitalism" in Havana.

Marta Beatriz Roque distributes an average of $200 per "dissident". Thus, if 10 "dissidents"= $200x10=$2000; 100 "dissidents", $20,000 and so forth. By playing such a role Marta Beatriz Roque is not a political "leader" but rather a financial "accountant." She knows so and calls herself Tia MacPato. How much money she receives determines how many people she could, potentially recruit. Of course, she could increase the monthly payments of those who are already recruited. On the other hand, that some of the "dissidents" do not seem to get any money payment, perhaps behaving on the basis of moral incentives or not realizing that everyone gets a fee for services rendered.

Interestingly, the money is supplied on a monthly basis rather than as a lump sum. Tia McPato would like to get lump sums - that would provide her with discretionary power. But it will reduce the political influence that Miami would have over Havana. The one with the money commands. Thus, payments are done on a monthly basis - although this is a cumbersome logistical mechanism. But it is revealing what the method accomplishes:
Continued:
http://www.counterpunch.org/valdes05242008.html



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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-11-10 06:17 PM
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1. The US can't seem to get itself on the right side of things.
It's always on the look-out for opportunity to create illegitimate governments.

And at $45MM, right-wing expats and their off-spring have a built-in incentive.

Nice.

k&r
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