Communist Tax Lawyer

A news, research and discussion platform for monitoring the evolution of Communist and ex-Communist countries to market economies



Cuba and Costa Rica to Restore Diplomatic Relations

March 20th, 2009

Costa Rica’s President Oscar Arias has vowed to reopen diplomatic relations with Cuba which have been closed for since 1961 – two years after Fidel Castro’s communist revolution.

“It doesn’t make sense today to maintain an official distance, when we have open channels of cooperation in various areas, when we have consular and commercial relations with Havana,” said President Oscar Arias after signing a decree to reopen formal relations.

Oscar Arias, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987, went on to explain that he did not want Costa Rica to partake in the antagonizing or excluding of any people.

“Times change and Costa Rica must change with them. It is a step that gives coherence to our exterior policy,” Arias told a news conference.

El Salvador’s President-elect Mauricio Funes said he would follow suit and reopen ties with Cuba after he takes office at the beginning of June.

Raúl Castro Shakes Things Up in Cuba

March 4th, 2009

Despite President Raúl Castro’s promise to reform the stale bureaucracy in Cuba his first year in office passed with little happenstance outside the ‘business as usual’ politics that were practiced by the former president, Mr. Castro’s older brother Fidel.

After a year of deflated expectations, however, President Castro decided to shake up Cuba’s government on Monday by replacing some of the country’s most familiar political leaders.

Among those ousted was current Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque and several others who were reportedly very close to Fidel Castro during his tenure as Cuba’s president.

“Raúl promised more than he delivered in his first year, and you can view these cabinet changes as an explicit acknowledgment of that by Raúl himself,” said Daniel Erikson, who is the director of Caribbean programs at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.

After 46 Years, America May Lift Ban on Travel to Cuba

February 16th, 2009

Introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 4, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act may lift America’s current ban on travel to Cuba – a measure which has been in effect since 1963.

The current ban, firmly supported by former U.S. President George W. Bush, makes few allowances for Americans to travel to Cuba. Aside from journalists and researchers, exceptions are currently made for Cuban-Americans who may only return home to visit direct relatives once every three years. Those who don’t have direct relatives must obtain special authorization from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Current U.S. President Barrack Obama has a more receptive stance regarding Cuba.

“We’ve been engaged in a failed policy with Cuba for the last 50 years,” Obama said to a crowd in Miami during his presidential campaign this past year. He also expressed a willingness to meet with Cuba’s president, Raúl Castro, to discuss the future directions of the two countries.

The result of bi-partisan efforts between democrats and republicans, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act would allow all Americans to travel freely to Cuba and may signify a step in the right direction between two countries that have been at odds for almost 50 years.

Castro To Obama: Change Cuba Policy

February 5th, 2009

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro is again using the Internet to let the White House know just what concerns Havana.In a blog posting Wednesday evening, Castro raised a laundry list of Havana’s grievances with Washington going back five decades.

Castro asked President Obama whether he is familiar with the damage caused by U.S. policy of germ and bacteriological warfare against the island’s people, animals and plants among many other aggressions dating back decades. But the former Cuban leader was also quick to point out that he does not blame Obama for the crimes of his predecessors, many of them carried out either before Obama was born or when he was a child in Hawaii.

Cuban leader to visit Russia late January

January 24th, 2009

Cuban leader Raul Castro is scheduled to visit Moscow later this month. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin callled the Cuban leader’s upcoming visit as “historic” and said the exact details of the schedule were still being worked out.Russia and Cuba are considering joint projects in fields like fishing and transportation, Sechin said, adding that the two countries “have a serious basis for stepping up their cooperation.”

Cuba’s Castro says he probably won’t be around in 4 years

January 23rd, 2009

Fidel Castro said he doubts he’ll make it to the end of Barack Obama’s four-year term and told Cuban officials to start making their decisions without taking him into account reported China Daily. In an online column titled “Reflections of Comrade Fidel,” the 82-year-old Cuban leader suggested his days are numbered, saying Cuban officials “shouldn’t feel bound by my occasional Reflections, my state of health or my death.”

Cuba struggles with recovery after three hurricanes

January 20th, 2009

The Cuban government has put the cost of the damage at $5 billion — an overwhelming amount for such a small country, equivalent to more than one-tenth of its annual economic output.More than 530,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, reports USA Today. More than 30% of the island’s crops were wiped out, forcing a country that already imports about $2 billion a year in food to bring in even more to keep people from going hungry.

Chavez Hints at Fidel Castro’s Demise

January 13th, 2009

On his weekly radio show “Alo Presidente,” Hugo Chavez speculated that Castro would never appear in public again, and implied that he didn’t expect Castro to live much longer.

“He escorted me to the aeroplane door. We hugged. How was I to know, my God, it would be the last time!”

Cuba’s tourism revenues up 13%

January 12th, 2009

According to a government report, some 2.35 million foreigners visited Cuba last year, 9.3 percent more than in 2007, according to a National Office of Statistics report posted online last week. The visitor surge helped the industry earn about $326 million more than it did in 2007.

That figure could double in 2009 if the United States lifts or significantly changes its embargo on the island nation.

Cubans Mark Half-Century of Revolution

January 6th, 2009

new year’s celebrations in cuba as reported by the washington post:

President Raúl Castro and the Cuban government celebrated the 50th anniversary of their revolution Thursday night in a nostalgic but low-key event that was far removed from the triumphant displays and mass rallies of their socialist glory days, as ordinary Cubans continue to struggle daily through hard times brought on by a sputtering state-run economy and a decades-long trade and travel embargo by the United States.