Again, I came across an article on CNNLatinAmerica that sparked my interest and here is why…..
“Cuba libre: Could port herald new economic age for communist island?”
You can go ahead and read the full article, but in short, Cuba is in the process of implementing a “Free Trade Zone” (FTZ) and container port facility in the town of Mariel, in northwest Cuba. The project has one main goal: to woo International business. What amazes me the most, lies in the details….
Who is funding? – “Partial funding from Brazil”
Who is building the facility? – Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction firm
Who will operate the facility once it is complete? Singapore’s PSA
Throughout my recent involvement with transnational issues, I’ve always been curious as to why “Developing” countries never cross, or seldom do, into the realm of being “developed.” As many of my colleagues have mentioned in other posts, the Neoliberal era, where decentralization and free market rules overall, is negatively affecting the livelihood of thousands around the world. We are all too familiar with the trajectory of neoliberalism in a developing nation; the market opens up to international companies, those companies build camp in your country, exploit your resources and your people, and eventually the actual citizens of said country are forgotten. Further down the line, the privatization of services, such as in the case of Bolivia, is soon to come.
I know my thoughts may be all over the place at this point but bear with me. What does this particular project mean for Cuba and its people? What are the implications that arise from a “Free Trade Zone?” In an already disadvantaged country, how much more oppression and poverty will the Cuban people have to endure? How further away is the focus on the people of Cuba going to go?
Of course proponents of the project are saying that this will increase exports and reduce imports. Of course they are saying that the project will bring a plethora of jobs to the Cuban people. But time and time again, aren’t these projects of economic stimulus the same projects that ruin the lives of the locals?
What does this mean transnationally?
Andrea O’Reilly Herrera, in “Cuba; Idea of a nation displaced,” discusses the turmoils that Cubans have gone through, historically, in a communist society (poverty, rationing of food, and so forth). As a result, she states “We are here, we are there, we are everywhere,” in explaining why so many Cubans want out. She delves into outlining the pressures that the Cuban people are under, so much so that many leave their country; Not being able to call their own country home any longer due to the rise of the communist regime. So, I then think….. if neoliberalism takes its course, like it has taken in other parts of the world, the pressures of neglect on the Cuban people will surely increase. The project already, by that of investment, construction, and operation, is internationally focused, which leads me to believe – how will this truly benefit the Cuban people? Will it benefit the Cuban people?
Herrera, Andrea O’Reilly. Cuba: Idea of a Nation Displaced. Albany: State University of New York, 2007. Print.
On Singapore’s PSA- https://www.singaporepsa.com/
- $900M port signal of new capitalism? (edition.cnn.com)
- Cuba builds communism-free zone to woo capitalist businesses (worldnews.nbcnews.com)