"The Castro family is a crime syndicate" & Brazil's political class may be the same. Mary Anastasia O'Grady, @wsjopinion.



(Photo: Speech by Cuban President Raul Castro on re-establishing U.S.-Cuba relations - The Washington Post )




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"The Castro family is a crime syndicate" & Brazil's political class may be the same. Mary Anastasia O'Grady, @wsjopinion.

"...The Castro family is a crime syndicate and many American businesses want a piece of the action. Sheraton Four Points now runs a hotel owned by the military regime. The luggage company Tumi spent the winter promoting Cuba travel on its website. (Note to self: Buy that new suitcase from someone who isn’t blind to tyranny.) The upshot is that more U.S. dollars flow to Cuba’s military coffers than ever before.

Mr. Obama argued that more contact with outsiders would empower Cubans. The regime agrees. It has been open to foreign tourism and investment since the end of Soviet subsidies in the early 1990s, and millions of Europeans, Latin Americans and Asians have flooded the country. But its secret police keep a tight leash on visitors.

British real-estate developer Stephen Purvis, Canadian businessmen Cy Tokmakjian and Sarkis Yacoubian and U.S. Agency for International Development contractor Alan Gross all did time in Cuban jails for being too independent of the mob boss.

Last month Castro took the audacious step of refusing visas to three prominent Latin American politicians who could hardly be regarded as enemies of Cuba...."



"...In 2014 Brazilian prosecutors began to probe a money-laundering racket at a car wash in Brasilia. The Petrobras corruption uncovered by “Operation Car Wash” turned out to be like pulling on the loose thread of a king-size blanket. It unraveled the Lula narrative that Petrobras is a carefully guarded national treasure, operated for the benefit of Brazilians. It also led investigators to the web of corruption run by Odebrecht and Braskem, two companies that benefit from BNDES project financing.

What is more, as the Journal’s Samantha Pearson reported last week, the “ ‘Car Wash’ case has encouraged local prosecutors to dig into hundreds of bribery scandals, paralyzing cities around the country.”

During the 1995-2003 presidency of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, economically liberal technocrats made an effort to pry political fingers off Petrobras by offering minority shares to private capital and professionalizing its board and management. Lula, who succeeded President Cardoso, framed that as surrendering the patrimony of the people to evil capitalists. To push back, he and his Workers’ Party packed the executive level of the company with political appointees and gained influence on the board...."


Mar 18, 04:28 AM
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