Profits Ahead of Human Rights

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

I guess I cannot be surprised that an American company is establishing a tractor making plant in the Cuban port of Mariel. The two-man company, Horace Clemmons and Saul Berenthal, headquartered in Alabama, received approval from the U.S. Treasury for the plant to be constructed in Cuba and for the tractors built there to be sold to Cuba’s growing private sector. Whether sold to Cuba’s private or public sector, the benefits, not to mention the profits, still find their way to the Cuban government and the Communist Party of Cuba. It is a story that is already too familiar—American companies going to those Communist states that still exist and profiting from them despite the way the workers are treated, the Communist government’s wholesale violation of human rights, the use of prison slave labor, and the fact that the Cuban government has so far NOT compensated American companies or U.S. citizens for all of the property and assets the Cuban government seized in the early 1960’s following the Communist takeover of Cuba.

To this day, the Communist Party of Cuba has not given one penny of all the private property, factories, and American corporate facilities that it had confiscated in the early 1960’s and now are using for the government’s own benefit or for the benefit of the Russians. We have to keep in mind that the Cuban government has allowed the Russian military to use the former Soviet military base in Lourdes to spy on the United States. I find it unreal that not only is the U.S. government allowing American companies to do business in Cuba without any resolution on American property seized by the Cuban government in 1960, but that the Cuban government continues to hold its own citizens under surveillance and imprison, torture and execute them. On top of that, the Cuban government is allowing an adversary, Russia, to re-occupy a military base used by the former Soviet Union against the United States.

I wonder where the exchange between the United States and Cuba is somehow benefiting the United States? Well, it is benefiting those companies that are now going into Cuba to make huge profits. Human rights seems to have no meaning just like with China, Vietnam and Laos. When the United States recognized these countries diplomatically, human rights and any past issues were trumped by profits. So it seems this is going the same way with Cuba. Just as equally a dilemma, American jobs may be lost when companies re-locate their businesses to Cuba just like they were lost when American jobs and capital were relocated to China, Vietnam and Laos. I guess there is no gain in investing in democracy these days.

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