Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 26, 2016
Cuban President Raoul Castro – Fidel Castro’s younger brother – announced on Cuban television late last night (Friday, 25 November 2016) that Fidel had recently died, aged 90.
There are powerful lessons in Cuba for America.
• When Corporations rule government, corruption inevitably ensues.
• American Foreign Policy has almost always favored Corporate Business Interests, especially in modern history.
• For well over 60 years, American Foreign Policy has largely been a disastrous failure.
The United States had dominated Cuba ever since the island nation became independent from Spain following the Spanish-American War in 1898, and Castro deeply distrusted America for that reason. Shortly after he assumed power in Cuba, at the invitation the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Fidel Castro made his only trip to the United States, and later met with then-Vice President Richard Nixon April 15, 1959 shortly before returning to Cuba. Eisenhower purposely avoided Castro, and specifically played golf that day to avoid any possible opportunity of meeting with him. Within four months of Castro’s trip to Washington D.C., the Eisenhower administration had drawn up a plan to overthrow him.
“In a manner certain to antagonize the Cuban people, we used the influence of our Government to advance the interests of and increase the profits of the private American companies, which dominated the island’s economy. At the beginning of 1959 U.S. companies owned about 40% of the Cuban sugar lands – almost all the cattle ranches – 90% of the mines and mineral concessions – 80% of the utilities – and practically all the oil industry – and supplied two-thirds of Cuba’s imports.”
Remarks of then-Senator John F. Kennedy at a Democratic Dinner, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 6, 1960, from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library
Acknowledging that it was a “glaring failure of American foreign policy… that our own shortsighted policies helped make,” then-Senator John F. Kennedy, remarked at a Democratic Dinner, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 6, 1960 that Cuban regime change under Castro “ended in the overthrow of the brutal, bloody, and despotic dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.”
Ironically, under Batista, the twice-president tyrannical military dictator of Cuba, the idyllic island nation was Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 7, 2014
The SEC could help tackle corruption in resource-rich countries around the world — but the oil industry is getting in the way.
Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, is regarded as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. And American oil lobbyists are only making the situation worse: They are exploiting Angola by seeking to delay and weaken the implementation of a crucial U.S. transparency law.
That law, Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, also known as the Cardin-Lugar amendment, promises a breakthrough in preventing dirty deals and illicit payments being made for natural resources around the world, similar to the shady transaction recently uncovered by Foreign Policy. If implemented fully, the law would make U.S. oil and mining companies disclose the payments they make to governments across the world, including in Angola. However, oil lobbyists have been making misguided arguments that laws in Angola and three other countries prevent the required disclosures.
Off Shore Oil Drilling Rig – MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images
Angolan officials secretly profiting from the country’s oil riches is not a surprise. It is only the latest episode in a sad history that goes back for decades. Global Witness, where we work, began exposing the complicity of the international oil and banking industries in the plundering of state assets during Angola’s 40-year civil war in our 1999 report A Crude Awakening. This was followed by our 2002 report All the Presidents’ Men, which called on the oil companies operating in Angola to “Publish What You Pay” (PWYP). Under this rallying call, Global Witness co-launched the PWYP campaign, which is now an international coalition of more than 790 civil society organizations in over 60 countries, including Angola, advocating for transparency laws such as Section 1504.
These efforts are intended to prevent scandals similar to the Trafigura deal covered in Foreign Policy, which provide a glimpse of the endemic corruption in Angola‘s oil industry. Only a few days before Foreign Policy published its story, media reports about leaked documents relating to other corruption claims caused the share price of SBM Offshore, a Dutch oil services company operating in Angola, to plummet 17.9 percent when markets opened. SBM released a statement challenging the validity of the leaked documents, saying that they are partial, taken out of context, contain outdated information, and are not representative of the facts. SBM had also already disclosed to its investors that it was conducting an internal investigation into questionable payments in Angola. However, the dramatic stock drop suggests that SBM investors had not anticipated the scale of the corruption risk exposure.
Another oil services company active in Angola, Weatherford International, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and headquartered in Switzerland, has recently pleaded guilty to violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), including bribery of the executives of Sonangol, Angola’s state oil company. It has agreed to pay fines of $253 million to settle the case, one of the largest FCPA settlements ever.
These cases illustrate the urgent need for transparency in Angola’s oil sector. The successful implementation of Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Romney Speech Offers Few Differences With Obama Policies
Mitt Romney’s speech on foreign policy did more to highlight his similarities with President Barack Obama than to draw sharp distinctions over handling global affairs.
In an address yesterday at the Virginia Military Institute, the Republican presidential nominee accused Obama of lacking a strategy for the Middle East, saying the region faces a higher risk of conflict now than it did when the president took office.
“I know the President hopes for a safer, freer, and a more prosperous Middle East allied with the United States. I share this hope. But hope is not a strategy,” Romney told cadets and military officials in Lexington, Virginia, during his fifth visit in four weeks to the politically competitive state.
Still, Romney offered few details of his own approach, and in his attempt to appeal to a broader base of American voters, he echoed several policies already being pursued by Obama, said Charles Kupchan, a U.S. foreign policy specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“The speech struck me as more moderate than previous ones, with less bluster and less neoconservative rhetoric,” Kupchan said in a phone interview, referring to a school of political thinking that emphasizes unilateral American leadership and military power. “The problem for Romney is when you take out the neocon rhetoric, he starts looking a lot like Obama.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: Barack Obama, Bashar al-Assad, Council on Foreign Relations, Foreign Policy, George W. Bush, governance, government, Libya, Middle East, Mitt Romney, Obama, policy, Romney, United States | Leave a Comment »