President Obama, Cuba, and BRICS

By Arelya J. Mitchell, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway

Finally! Someone has used common sense and brought down the ‘wall’ between the United States and Cuba. That someone is President Barack Obama who deserves the same credit with the same verve as President Ronald Reagan who boldly prompted, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” And the wall between East Germany and West Germany eventually fell.

Obama did what should have been done 20 or 30 years ago, though I highly suspect this giant move was made to checkmate Putin and BRICS more so than from an antiquated American foreign policy regarding Cuba. Needless to say but I’ll say it anyway: This policy has made America look stupid. If this nation can recognize Russia and China–the biggest purveyors of Cold War communism– and not recognize Cuba was not only making the U.S. look stupid but bullying—and that was long before Obama took office. This was a policy of cutting off one’s nose in spite of one’s face which demonstrated that this country was making a mockery of its own Monroe Doctrine—you know, the vestibule of that ‘sphere of influence’ concept. Last July, Vladimir Putin figuratively mooned Obama and the U.S. when he came to this tiny island nation to wine and dine the Castro boys and maybe—just maybe—finish what Khrushchev started by making Cuba a platform for Russia’s strategic arms.

BRICS is an economic organization consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. BRICS was founded roughly in 2009 (with a bunch of meetings leading up to its official founding) on the premise that the U.S.A. and its traditional Euro-allies did not give a damn about nations of color and emerging nations. Russia considers itself an emerging or rather a re-emerging nation as it comes off a collapsed Communist economy. It doesn’t take an accountant to see that two of Earth’s most populous nations—China and India—are already members of BRICS. South Africa, its newest member added the ‘S’ to what was then BRIC. South Africa is a nation of color and a prototype of what is to come to a 21st Century Black Africa: Capitalism and the ample supply of Black consumers.

Continent Africa offers new markets for both neo-capitalists and neo-communists who may morph into neo-colonialists if Africans don’t watch their backs and remember their history of Euro-colonialism. China has already begun laying out its wares in Continent Africa and building an economic infrastructure there to benefit itself. And please don’t think the U.S. called its first U.S.-Africa Summit because it has seen the light of historically violating its own Constitution in reference to the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments which beget segregation birthed by Jim Crow.
By the same token, it is no coincidence that America elected its first ‘African’ American president more so out of economic pragmatism than out of moral ‘naturalism’ (that all men are created equal or with those ‘inalienable rights’). Most of those billionaires and zillionaires who initially jumped on Obama’s presidential bandwagon were looking 10 and 20 years down the road—that’s why they’re billionaires and zillionaires. So to those few Black American entrepreneurs and business persons who were invited to the first White House U.S.-Africa summit, you served no more than a welcome doormat for white Corporate America and an equally white Corporate Silicon Valley to come in to personally wine and dine leaders of African nations while leaving your black butts on the doorstep– if you don’t find a way to get a piece of the action. Hate to break it to you: You’re not part of this economic equation called Africa. This is a subject matter upon which I shall visit but I have neither the space nor the inclination to do so now.

Dare I say that Czar Putin was looking forward to adding another alphabet to BRICS? Yes, I dare and I dare say that this latest downfall of the ruble has to do with BRICS’ attempts to create its own central bank that would afford loans and access to capital to nations of color and a monetary unit equivalent to the Euro.

BRICS also has been eyeing Nigeria, one of the world’s leading oil producing nations. The president made the historic and welcomed announcement on Cuba on December 17, 2014. The next day I participated in a press conference call on the upswing of the American economy. That, too, was good news, but what I found interesting was a reporter bringing up why the United States was not buying more oil from Nigeria? The answer was murky at best from the White House participants of Jeff Zients, National Economic Council Director; Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council and Secretary Thomas Pérez, U.S. Department of Labor. (And if one were to be really a tad sarcastic, one sees there were certainly no Black economists involved from the White House— oh, but (a ‘sarcasm’ alert here!) how could I forget? There are no Black economists…but I digress). But, of course, in light of the slaughter of towns and the kidnapping of young girls, it’s understandable why the Nigeria question was murky.

To reiterate, BRICS has already added that ‘S’ as in South Africa and there is a profound reason why South Africa joined BRICS, and that is because the United Nations and its IMF draw a dark broad color line between Euro/Western nations and nations of color. Underneath hugging Cuba, there is an economic war between BRICS and the UN; between BRICS and NATO. And underneath this is yet another chess move of the U.S. being forced to play nice with its Latin American and South American neighbors. Yes, the U.S. has to look at forming better cross-national relations with its ‘sphere of influence’ neighbors because one day it may have to lead the dollar in creating a new monetary unit with these neighbors to offset and/or compete with the Euro—oh, but wait! BRICS has already begun to dance down that yellow ‘brick’ road because these ‘sphere of influence’ nations are not enamored of the Euro, seeing it as a symbol of discriminating against emerging nations and nations of color.

One indicator being when Putin made his summer tour to court other Latin American and South American nations, throwing in Russia’s $30-plus billion forgiveness of Cuban debt to Russia. Another chess move was for the U.S. to undermine the ruble because if it is to weaken BRICS then it needs to damage the lead player, which is Putin. So, if the ruble is diminished the dollar will rise and should at least (for the time being) put a stop to whatever BRICS monetary unit being created as I write this. But if the U.S. leads in creating one monetary unit that can be used throughout the Americas then that’s a game changer.

You see, not only is there the classic scale to balance in nuclear arms, there is a 21st Century scale to balance in currency invoking yet another warfront. Money has yet to fail in being utilized as a weapon of mass destruction in its own right.
Now having said all this, let me do add that I was jumping with joy when Jay-Z and Beyonce—two African American entrepreneurs– made their special tour of Cuba. This should serve as a model that Black American entrepreneurs and Black business owners had best get in the game of this new Cuban market opening. The Black American business community should not do as it has done too many times which is to stand back and wait for the cows to come home, because too many times the cows come back as packaged beef ready to be consumed by Blacks with no capitalistic benefit to them. Yes, it’s time to get those passports ready, Black ‘American’ business folks, to do business in a nation that was once your brethren Black slave-holding nation, too.

Again, President Obama should be applauded for having the guts to make this decision on December 17, 2014. And he really shouldn’t worry about those Republicans who are threatening to stop this move. I mean I am willing to go to the casino and bet my bottom dollar that these particular Republicans’ lobbyists and BFFs in Corporate America and Silicon Valley have already called them up and simply said: “Shut the ‘Duck’ up! There’s gold in them thar Cuban hills!


*The above is on the Editorial and Op/Ed lanes on The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway at . Welcome, Travelers!

About blackinformationhighway

Arelya J. Mitchell is an award winning journalist, editor-in-chief, publisher of The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway. She holds degrees in journalism and political science (specializing in international relations, comparative politics, and political analysis)
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