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Opportunity knocks in Cuba, but Bob Menendez refuses to hear it

December 2nd, 2012 | Posted by William Vidal in Cuban entrepreneurs | US Politics | WTF?

This great piece from yesterday’s New York Times highlights just how disconnected Senator Bob Menendez is from reality in Cuba:

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“Every place in the world that has had real change, it has changed because the regime itself has allowed some significant openings and the door has been pushed wide open,” says Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey. “That’s not what’s happening here.”

And yet…

…there is no longer any denying that pockets of controlled capitalism are emerging in Cuba. In Havana, in particular, small businesses are everywhere. Entire urban industries, including taxis and restaurants, are being transformed through a rush of new entrants, who are increasing competition for customers, labor and materials. Even the most elemental tasks that used to be managed by the state — such as buying food — are increasingly in the hands of a private system that sets its own prices based on supply and demand.

If a private sector were sprouting in any other authoritarian country, the U.S. would be first in line to support it. Lucky for Castro, our policy toward Cuba is controlled by Senator Menendez and his inexplicably dense Cuban-American friends in Congress – people who prefer to hold on to their “pressure cooker” pipe-dream, than seize a glaring opportunity to kick the proverbial door of “change” wide open by helping Cuban entrepreneurs increase their independence from the state.

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