End Of a 45 Year Old Romance: Mexico breaks with Castro

Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 11:18 am
I would really like to know what A2K members think about this:

Mexico and Peru Withdraw Ambassadors From Cuba

Published: May 3, 2004 - NYT

PANAMA, May 2 - Mexico withdrew its ambassador from Cuba on Sunday after a weeklong exchange of angry diplomatic dispatches that have pushed the relationship between former allies to its lowest point in recent years.

In a televised address, Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez accused the Cuban government of words and actions that infringe on Mexican sovereignty.

Interior Minister Santiago Creel said two Cuban government officials in Mexico had been found "carrying out activities incompatible with their status," an expression widely understood to denote spying.

"Mexico does not want to change its friendly relationship with a nation of people that historically has been its brother," Mr. Derbez said. "But let it be clear that an act of the magnitude of the one by President Castro and of his officials in Mexico cannot be ignored."

The Mexican officials were referring, among other things, to a May Day speech delivered Saturday by President Fidel Castro of Cuba. In the speech, Mr. Castro attacked Mexico for voting in favor of a United Nations resolution that criticized Cuba's record on human rights.

"It hurts profoundly that the prestige and influence gained" by Mexico "in Latin America and the world for their impeccable foreign policy, born from a true and profound revolution, has been turned to ashes," he said.

Late Sunday, Peru also withdrew its ambassador from Cuba, citing similar remarks by Mr. Castro about Peru's vote in the same speech.

Mexico's withdrawal of its ambassador is only the latest in a series of incidents that have strained relations between Cuba and Mexico since Vicente Fox became Mexico's first opposition president four years ago.

In March 2002, Mr. Castro stormed out of a meeting of world leaders, attended by President Bush, in Monterrey, Mexico. Several weeks later, Mr. Castro played a tape on national television of a private telephone conversation in which President Fox had urged him to avoid contact with Mr. Bush.

New trouble between Cuba and Mexico began brewing last week, when Mr. Castro deported a businessman wanted in Mexico for his connections to a scandal that has exposed corruption in the government of Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico City.

Mayor Lopez has accused the federal government of staging the scandal to tarnish his image. On deporting Carlos Ahumada, Mr. Castro issued a statement that supported the mayor's conspiracy theories against the Fox government.

On Sunday night, leaders of the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party urged the government to avoid deepening the dispute.

"This is a delicate moment in which diplomacy and good will ought to prevail," said Francisco Mora Ciprés, a member of Congress.
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Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 11:51 am
Maybe other changes are coming in Cuba? And what's going on in Mexico right now - Elections?
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Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 11:59 am
From where I'm located it is difficult to tell whether this is a serious diplomatic crises or simply a snit between conservative governments and a more liberal one.
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Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 12:44 pm
It's the lowest point of the Mexico-Cuba relationship since Cuban independence.

Mexico had always been the most loyal ally of Cuba in Latin America (the only Latin American nation not to severe ties when Cuba went Communist).

The arrival of Fox meant a change in Mexican foreign policy, from the Estrada Doctrine: no invertention in sovereign affairs of other countries, which also means: "we don't mess with no one, so dont mess with us", to a new one: active support of democracy, multilateralism and human rights (and you can check us any time).

Castro ows a lot to Mexico: from cheap oil (which they seldom pay), to all kinds of diplomatic favors. And he tampered more than usual with Mexican internal politics (no elections coming soon, husker: but Castro sided with one of the 2006 wannabes).

The relationship between Cuba and Peru has never been as close as the one with Mexico.

Acquiunk: I agree that Castro's government is on the left. But the word "liberal" has other meaning to me.
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Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 12:53 pm
Does mexico get the same price for oil as OPEC? or is it the same quality of oil?
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Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 01:06 pm
Crude oil comes in all qualities.
We are one the world's top exporters.
Both Mexican mixtures, "Maya" and "Istmo", most be below par, since their price is below Brent and West Texas.

Oil is both a blessing and a damnation.
Since it is nationalized, the national petroleum company, Pemex, plays the role of a mother-provider in the country.
Pemex pays taxes equivalent to 8% of the GNP.
If the price of oil is high, incentives for tax and expenditure reform are low.

Cuba gets the main benefits from the Pact of San José, by which Mexico and Venezuela sell crude oil little above costs to countries in Central America and the Caribbean.
Before that, in older times, Mexico agreed to send to Cuba the oil it sold to Spain, while the Soviet Union sent to Spain, the oil it sold, at subsisy prices, to Cuba.
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Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 01:34 pm
Poor choice of words, I ment leftist.
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Rick d Israeli
Reply Wed 5 May, 2004 01:31 pm
Question: how long will the Communists still have power in Cuba? Till Castro dies? Or longer? Are there people capable to replace Castro? And how long will the Cuban people be quiet? Just some questions (personal views necessary; I find it hard to imagine if someone comes up with "facts" here :wink: )
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Reply Wed 5 May, 2004 08:36 pm
A few educated guesstimations:

Fidel Castro will die in power.
According to health charts, the probable year of his death is 2010. We can add or substract a few.

Several disputes will follow.
Within the PCC, two blocks exist today: one supports Raúl Castro, Fidel's smaller brother and Minister of Defense; the other supports Carlos Lage, one generation younger and Minister of Economics (or Development, or something like that).
None of them have the charisma of Fidel.
Raúl, in particular, has never been popular, not even when a mojarity of Cubans supported the revolution.
But we don't know who'll be who in 2010.

We don't know, either, how will the Cuban people react.
Most of them dislike the system, but most of them have lived in a police State all of their lives.

The US reaction will be important. If it is too eager to intervene, the fall of Communism in Cuba will take longer.
If democratic nations are smart, there can either be a "chinesification" of Cuba (Communist only by the name) or, more probable, a democratic transition.
If they are not, civil war is quite possible.
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Rick d Israeli
Reply Thu 6 May, 2004 02:04 pm
Thanks for the information fbaezer!
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