Castro Accelerates Growth of Military Oligarchy

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
These are the military monopolies whom some want to see U.S. companies do business with in Cuba.

As an aside, note who processes remittances from abroad.

Excerpt from today's New York Times story, "Cuba’s Reward for the Dutiful: Gated Housing":

Raúl Castro, 82, has accelerated the growth of what some scholars have described as a military oligarchy. The chairman of the Economic Policy Commission, Marino Murillo, is a former officer. Cuba’s largest state conglomerate, Cimex, which processes remittances from Cubans abroad, among other tasks, is run by Col. Héctor Oroza Busutin. Raúl Castro’s son-in-law, Gen. Luis Alberto Rodríguez, is the top executive at the military’s holding company, known as Gaesa, which is estimated to control 20 percent to 40 percent of the Cuban economy.

And its role is expanding. In 2011, a financial arm of the company bought out Telecom Italia’s 27 percent stake in Cuba’s telecommunications company for $706 million. Gaesa also has a network of hundreds of retail stores selling everything from food to appliances. It is a growing force in tourism, too, controlling fleets of luxury buses, a small airline and an expanding list of hotels. And one of its subsidiaries is overseeing the free-trade zone built alongside Cuba’s largest infrastructure project in decades — the new container port in Mariel.

The military’s interests bestow the privileges of business on a chosen few, especially senior military officials.