Latin America

Fidel Castro, Free Trader

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Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro questioned U.S. President Barack Obama's plans to seek energy independence and to impose "protectionist" trade policies, saying those measures would further weaken developing nations….

Obama's decision to support the slogan "Buy U.S. Products," is "extremely protectionist" and goes against the fundamentals of the World Trade Organization, the former Cuban leader wrote.

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  1. ZAFTA

  2. Isn’t it great that for weeks we were constantly seeing in the news that Fidel castro is dieing he is about to die, etc etc. And now, that he is actually doing better, we completely forgot.

    We really do just hate people that are different.

  3. But I thought that… but Fidel is… and Obama doesn’t think that…

    Never mind.

    Isn’t it great that for weeks we were constantly seeing in the news that Fidel castro is dieing he is about to die, etc etc

    Yo, we’re all dying…

  4. “‘When Mr. Obama promises to invest considerable amounts of money to achieve oil independence, what will those countries do whose main income is from the export of that energy — many of them without another important source of revenue?’ Castro wrote.”

    Um… probably the same thing that will happen when we ultimately run out of oil? They’ll (hopefully) liberalise their societies and allow private industry to naturally diversify their economies after, drum roll please, their governments collapse, which is legitimately one of the selling points of our nation’s oil independence.

  5. Other than that one comment, though, he strangely makes sense to me. Free trade is good for everyone (except Democratic politicians trying to appease bloated U.S. Labor, I suppose).

  6. Ooooo Look at THAT! I’ve never seen a flock of sheep flying against a chartreuse sky before. It’s the third moon that really makes it.

  7. saying those measures would further weaken developing nations….

    Yeah, yeah. Hey, you know what else weakens developing nations?

    COMMUNISM!!!

    Asshole.

  8. Yeah, yeah. Hey, you know what else weakens developing nations?

    COMMUNISM!!!

    No, no. I saw this documentary by this really funny guy this one time. Cuba is, like, practically a medical utopia. Communism is awesome.

  9. See a neat summary of Cuba’s record on tariffs at the WTO:

    http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tariffs_e/tariff_profiles_e/cub_e.pdf

    Looks like they have tariffs on most things, but especially agricultural products (except cotton) and clothing.

    Aww, I think Cuba’s trying to implement Import Substitution Industrialization for textile manufacture! Isn’t that adorable?

  10. Just in case, FP also features this separately translated section

    To please the unions that supported them in the campaign, the U.S. House of Representatives, dominated by the Democrats, launched the extremely protectionist slogan ‘buy American products’, which throws aside a fundamental principle of the World Trade Organization: that all nations of the world, large and small, base their dreams of development on the exchange of goods and services, for which, however only the largest and those of natural wealth have the privilege to survive.

  11. “‘When Mr. Obama promises to invest considerable amounts of money to achieve oil independence, what will those countries do whose main income is from the export of that energy — many of them without another important source of revenue?’ Castro wrote.”

    hmmm, he wouldn’t be talking about Venezuela and his pal Chavez? But Chavez constantly threatens to cut off oil supply to the Empire… so I don’t get what Castro is bitchin’ about… unless… unless, Castro understood all along that trade benefits economies and he just felt like fu**ing the Cubans for shits and giggles.

  12. Thanks EJM!

    That’s sounds a lot like Lenin’s Imperialism, which got fleshed out into Dependency Theory later. Castro makes much more sense in context. It’s the textbook Marxist critique of contemporary free (and not-so-free) trade policy.

  13. Aww, I think Cuba’s trying to implement Import Substitution Industrialization for textile manufacture! Isn’t that adorable?

    How quaint!
    Maybe it will work now that the Right People are in charge.

  14. Maybe it will work now that the Right People are in charge.

    The Right People in charge in Cuba?

  15. Castro must be turning over in his grave–His ghost writer is for free Trade???

  16. Fidel’s not dead yet?

    This is the maximum leader of a minimal country that’s never paid its bills talking ’bout free trade?

    Beam me up.

  17. Fidel’s obviously a racist.

  18. When I criticize Castro or Che, a friend of mine on the hard left says things like, “well, the truth has more than one side, the truth is multidimensional…” When I criticize Bush or Cheney, the same friend says, “yeah, those dudes are baaaaaddddd.”

  19. Maybee Fidel finally got around to reading a bit of Marx

    “the protectionist system is nothing but a means of establishing large-scale industry in any given country, that is to say, of making it dependent upon the world market, and from the moment that dependence upon the world market is established, there is already more or less dependence upon free trade. Besides this, the protective system helps to develop free trade competition within a country. Hence we see that in countries where the bourgeoisie is beginning to make itself felt as a class, in Germany for example, it makes great efforts to obtain protective duties. They serve the bourgeoisie as weapons against feudalism and absolute government, as a means for the concentration of its own powers and for the realization of free trade within the same country.

    But, in general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favor of free trade”

    Marx On the Question of Free Trade 1948

  20. From what i’ve read of Marx, I?ve always thought that to be a real Marxist you should be further to the right than Von Mises.

    Essentially you should think that capitalism is eventially destined to fail, therefore you should accelerate it to its natural conclusion by avoiding all the Keynesian/social democratic nicities that are supposed to maintain it.

    The text the quote is from

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/01/09ft.htm

    discusses Marx’s praise for the repeal of the corn laws (old skool agricultural protectionism)

    “Ricardo, the apostle of the English free-traders, the most eminent economist of our century, entirely agrees with the workers upon this point. In his celebrated work on political economy, he says:

    “If instead of growing our own corn… we discover a new market from which we can supply ourselves… at a cheaper price, wages will fall and profits rise. The fall in the price of agricultural produce reduces the wages, not only of the laborer employed in cultivating the soil, but also of all those employed in commerce or manufacture.”

    Its quite funny how far we’ve regressed in terms of argicultural protectionism. It has to be said that its quite ironic that the modern left are supposed to be the people that give a shit about the global poor but essentially support an economic system (agricultural protectionism) that literally kills the global poor and is so conservative that it actually harks back to feudalism.

    Shame on you lefties out there

  21. Material Monkey:

    A few errors. If Ricardo is the best economist of your centruy you must be about 200. What is the secret of your long life?

    Marx might be further to the Right of Obama but not Mises because Mises recognized that Marx was against individual rights. Capitalism gave lie to Marx as time has demonstrated. Those who lived under Marx are revolted by him. Those who worship him engage in fantasies and play D&D.

  22. “History will absolve me.”

    ~ Fidel Castro

  23. Hey Curious George

    “A few errors. If Ricardo is the best economist of your centruy you must be about 200. What is the secret of your long life?”

    It was Marx who described Ricardo as the best economist of the century that was a quotation from on the question of free trade by Marx

    “Marx might be further to the Right of Obama”

    That?s not too bright now is it

    The point about Von Mises was that as the quotation from Marx illustrates

    Marx believed that capitalism was destined to fail. When capitalism failed there would be a revolution. Marx supported capitalism because he believed that it would accentuate the differences between the upper classes and working classes leading to revolution *.

    So I was saying that a true Marxist should support very right wing capitalism as a true Marxist would believe that this would lead to capitalist downfall then revolution.

    “Those who lived under Marx are revolted by him”

    Marx believed that capitalism must be allowed to run its course before any revolution it was Lenin and co who disagreed. So actually they didn?t really live under Marx as they lived under Leninism.

    “Those who worship him engage in fantasies and play D&D”

    I?m not a Marxist but I would say that you need to be well aquanted with a philosophy to critize it.

    *one of his bigger mistakes here was misunderestimating the importance of “the petit beugourse”
    poor people who own their own means of production (I can?t be arsed to write some huge critique of Marx but that was a big one fr me)

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