The blockade has had and continues to have a strong impact on the education, culture and sports sectors.
The US government’s so-called relaxation of regulations on travel to Cuba from the US for some groups of US citizens, such as students, academics, journalists or members of religious organizations, is not really aimed at promoting friendship between the two peoples, but rather at promoting its political and ideological objectives regarding Cuba.
Despite efforts by the Cuban government to guarantee education for everybody, the effects of the blockade translate into daily shortages that affect the learning process, research and scientific work of students and teachers in general.
As a result of this policy, Cuba still has no access to the US market to buy school supplies and materials essential to repair and maintain school infrastructure. Therefore, it is forced to buy these products in far-off markets spending an additional 881,400 dollars.
With this money, Cuba could buy a variety of educational tools to teach natural sciences, and home economics and shop in all primary, special and secondary schools. It could also buy more than 15,000 globes needed in primary schools and cover the cost of PVC sheets used to produce a year’s worth of word formers used in primary and special schools for teaching reading and writing.
Special education is very important for the Cuban population. In 2008, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) approved the program “Expanding classroom inclusion in the Cuban school model in Santiago de Cuba” at a cost of 100,000 Euros. This program was specifically aimed at improving educational inclusion for primary and secondary school students with special needs (physical, visual, hearing and mental disabilities), directly benefiting 310 children and young people with disabilities.
However, the blockade has made it extremely difficult to acquire tactile screens, interactive whiteboards, intelligent keyboards, printers, typewriters and tape recorders, among other means indispensable to impart top quality and successful special education.
From April 2010 to March 2011, the Higher Education sector has suffered losses of 5,703,443 dollars, including adverse effects in production and services, lack of access to US technology, and higher import prices for market relocation.
In the University of Ciego de Avila, the work of bio-plant labs has been seriously affected due to the refusal of the LKB-Pharmacy or BioRad firm to provide maintenance to a protein purification chromatograph and a refrigerated centrifuge, among other pieces of equipment, resulting in damages of 94,716 dollars.
During the period being analyzed, the impact on the cultural sector represents 14,913,300 dollars, the majority of which represents lost revenue from the exportation of goods and services, relocation to other markets, additional transportation and insurance costs, and adverse monetary-financial effects.
The following are only some examples:
On November 3, 2010, the US Department of the Treasury informed the Center for Cuban Studies in New York that it would not renew its license to carry out cultural exchange programs with Cuban institutions.
The ARTEX S.A. Company which sells records and copyrights, and offers recording services has been adversely affected and is prohibited from selling albums during concerts by Cuban artists in the United States, representing a conservative estimated loss of 150,000 dollars.
The National Council of Cultural Heritage cannot access software related to new mapping and digital information technologies such as Google Earth, Mapinfo and Arcview; nor can it purchase didactic, audiovisual and bibliographic material, or accessories to setup specialized art workshops and labs.
The Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Arts and Industry (ICAIC) has been negatively impacted due to the impossibility of working with US companies dedicated to advertising in airlines, and the tourism, art, culture and sports sectors. The impact is estimated at 220,000 dollars.
As a result of the blockade, the Cuban cinematographic industry has not been able to buy materials, spare parts and pieces of equipment, such as film stock and chemical products for the ICAIC Cinematographic Lab from the United States; as well as accessories for cinematographic equipment, licenses, patents and brands, such as THX, Dolby, MAC, Avid, Toons and Scenarist, for audiovisual postproduction processes.
The Cuban sports sector has not escaped the effects of the blockade. Its impact is conservatively estimated at some 1,546,565 dollars.
Nearly 300 US runners could not participate in the MARABANA/MARACUBA 2010 project because they were denied visas to travel to Cuba, resulting in losses of nearly 102,000 dollars.
On February 17, 2011, the US Department of the Treasury refused to issue a license to the Sarasota Yacht Club to organize the Sarasota-Havana Yacht Race in Cuba.
Cuba cannot buy Louisville, Wilson, Xbat and Rawlings brand sports equipment because they are produced by US companies. The use of many of these articles is compulsory in accordance with Official Regulations of International Federations; therefore, Cuba has had to purchase them from third countries for an additional cost of 450,000 dollars.
For the fourth consecutive year, Cuba is unable to purchase high-pressure Liquid Chromatography equipment, which is indispensable for anti-doping control. Despite efforts made by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the US government prohibits the Agilent Technologies Company from selling this equipment to Cuba.
3.1 Adverse effects on foreign trade
Cuba is a small developing country with an economy that depends greatly on foreign trade, technology, capital, credits and investments, and international cooperation for its development.
The greatest impact continues to stem from the lack of access to the US market both to acquire merchandise and to commercialize Cuban traditional export products such as sugar, rum, cigars and nickel. However the greatest impact comes from the impossibility of exporting services, given the numerous restrictions imposed by the blockade, including those related to travel by US citizens to Cuba, communications, and air and maritime transportation.
The impact on the tobacco industry is estimated at 79,900,000 dollars. In terms of cigars and raw tobacco, estimates are calculated assuming that Cuba still had a quota in the US market. On this basis, the sector lost 65,600,000 dollars in cigar exports and 5,500,000 dollars in raw tobacco exports to the US market.
Before the blockade was implemented, Cuba did not export machine-made tobacco products. Currently, it has made incursions into this market with the MINIS, CLUB and PURITOS brands, which have obtained promising results. The US market has a demand of nearly 5.5 billion units. If Cuba had had access to 1% of this market, it would have made 7.1 million dollars.
Taking into account Cuba’s current sugar production and export capacities for the world market and the differential between the invoiced price and the price of Contract No. 16 of New York, applicable to US imports under the preferential scheme, the CUBAZUCAR company lost more than 37,000,000 dollars over this period.
The prohibition on selling Cuban sugar on the New York Stock Market is an argument used by traders to lower the value of Cuban sugar compared to that produced in other countries in our region. They argue that if there were a lack of final purchasers, they would not be able to use the stock market as an additional or emergency exit; therefore, they would have to offer Cuban sugar at discount prices to incentivize final purchasers.
The entities belonging to the Grupo de Administracion Empresarial (GAE) reported total losses of 264,640,000 dollars, with the highest losses experienced by entities working in tourism, given the absence of US tourists.
The TECNOIMPORT company lost a total of 42,000,000 dollars, which can be broken-down as follows: 3,060,000 dollars to transport more than 3,000 containers from Asian and European ports because it cannot access the US market; more than 23,000,000 dollars in additional expenses for not being able to use dollars in its transactions; and 14,500,000 dollars for having to use intermediaries.
The CIMEX S.A. Corporation lost 63,976,200 dollars. The CIMEX Corporation’s Department of Purchases, Storage and Distribution made great expenditures mainly associated with the additional costs of purchasing goods from intermediaries representing 22,700,000 dollars, and the increase of inventory volumes, currency exchange, transportation and storage costs for a total of 9,730,000 dollars.