And if He Breaks His Other Arm….

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In a move that will likely prove economically disastrous, a cast-wearing Fidel Castro this week abruptly pulled the plug on his island's decade-old dollar economy by prohibiting the greenback from being accepted at state-run stores. The move was likely a desperation heave to pay for the skyrocketing price of oil. Miami Cubans are being advised to convert their remittances to Euros. Damien Cave wrote about the Havana hustle for dollars last August.

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  1. Isn’t it just as likely to be a reaction to the new laws Bush is for, banning remittances to family members in Cuba?

  2. BTW, did anyone catch Dan Bartlett’s comments on Castro’s injury?

    Reporter: Does the White House wish him a speedy recovery?

    Bartlett: No.

    Got to hand it to him on that one. He didn’t say yes, and he didn’t launch into a self-defeating political rant. Just, “No.”

  3. Isn’t it just as likely to be a reaction to the new laws Bush is for, banning remittances to family members in Cuba?

    So you’re saying Castro’s playing chicken with his already fragile economy simply to thumb his nose at the Administration?

  4. joe,

    Yeah, I’m wondering if when you say “reaction” you mean a tit-for-tat retribution against the US for this policy or a change based on a changed situation caused by the policy?

  5. More like, at America in general.

  6. More like, at America in general.

    That’s kind of like cutting off your face (and the body its attached to) to spite some nose hair. I suspect it has more to do, as the article stated, with the Cuban gov’t need for hard currency than anything else (regardless of how Castro sells it to his countrymen / the world at large).

    Then again, this is Castro we’re talking about. Its not like he’s Greenspan or anything.

  7. Nathan, I didn’t say it was a good idea.

    fyodor, I’m leaning towards Column B. Banning the evil Yanqui dollar and giving the administration the finger are great commie PR moves, but up till now, suicidal ones.

    With the number of dollars in circulation about to plummet regardless of what Fidel does, the downside has just become a lot less significant.

  8. but this is yet another way of making good ol fidel more popular with the euros. in their socio-political union, getting political clout for their currency is a goal.

    and since he’s the longest-tenured leader, fidel gets to sit with the head of country’s table at international conferences. i wonder if he discussed his cigar with queen marge of denmark…:)

    still, arafat and casto potentially kicking off at the same time? not bad. not bad at all.

    drf

  9. Come on, what’s wrong with you? We’re about to have a new President who respects European opinion. All the Europeans think we’re assholes to shun Castro, so maybe it’s time we reconsider.

    Besides, Castro’s got lots of great opinions. Lately they include “Owwww!” and “Shitttt!” and “What Yanqui imperialist capitalist swine greased this stage?”

  10. Very, very few U.S. citizens are visiting Cuba, and U.S. businesses, for stupid reasons, have lost the Cuban market. Most foreign trade is with Mexico or Europe. It’s not going to hurt the tourist industry to use Euros, nor the other sectors of the economy. If anything, it’ll help… since the biggest complaint I hear right now from Cubans is the problem importing goods (like vitamins) that cost much more when priced in U.S. dollars but purchased in Spain.

    I get the feeling a lot of U.S. citizens, and not just the old gangsters in Miami, honestly believe that when Castro is hauled off to the big gulag in the sky, the island is going back to becoming a semi-colony of the U.S. Nope. It’ll still be a fucked-up place, but, like now, it’ll be a fucked up place with Spanish hotels, Mexican cement works, and Italian factories.

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