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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

China and Cuba sign trade deals

Dena sent me the AP story about the meeting yesterday between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Fidel Castro in Havana, where they agreed to a big Chinese investment deal in Cuba's nickel industry, and made other trade deals as well. Surprisingly, I could only find the AP story on the Miami Herald web site; the story was also covered by the BBC, AFP, and UPI. Hu also visited Argentina, Brazil and Chile on his swing through Latin America.

While the U.S. media apparently thinks this is a non-story, I'd guess that some of the Bushies are practically apoplectic over this. Like the previous seven administrations (and like a Kerry administration would have), they have been doing everything possible to undermine Castro and maintain U.S. economic hegemony over Latin America. Now, along comes the number one economic rival to the U.S.--the country that could send ours into a deep depression overnight, our chief opponent in the battle for control of the world's remaining mineral resources--and gives Castro a big lease on life while courting other Latin American countries. I would guess that a subtext for China is that further attempts by the US to overthrow Chavez in Venezuela and turn that country into our own private fuel pump will be met by complete strangulation of the US economy.

PS: I'm reminded of the great "Hu's on first?" joke from a couple of years ago.
President George W. Bush: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?

National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice: Sir, I have the report here
about the new leader of China.

Bush: Great. Lay it on me.

Rice: Hu is the new leader of China.

Bush: That's what I want to know.

Rice: That's what I'm telling you.

Bush: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China ?

Rice: Yes.
It goes on!