From our Bureau of Twenty-First Century Empire Building
Like everything else in Cuba, the island’s railway system is a total disaster.
The lack of reliable rail traffic affects passenger travel, naturally, but its most damaging impact is on the transportation of goods.
Cuba is a a very long island (1,250 km / 780 mi), exactly as long as the distance between New York City and Chicago.
Transporting goods across this vast distance –especially agricultural products — is not only dangerous, but inefficient and expensive.
So, to improve the situation, Russia is stepping in, just as Spain did in the 19th century, hoping to cash in on a revival of Cuba’s economy at some point. The Spanish did it for sugar. God only knows what the Russians and Castro, Inc. have in mind, exactly.
Little known fact: Cuba had a railway system BEFORE Spain, even though it was a Spanish colony. Its first steam-locomotive rail line, opened in 1837 was the first in all of Latin America. Spain didn’t build its first railway line until eleven years later, in 1848.
After independence in 1902, as the sugar industry blossomed, railways helped make Cuba one of the wealthiest countries in the Western hemisphere.
Castro, Inc. ruined it all. Now Russia is footing the bill to repair what Castro, Inc. destroyed.
What can we expect from this, other than a default on that billion dollar loan?
Fortunately, this investment doesn’t involve re-starting the construction of a nuclear plant in Cuba.
From The Mother of All Granmas (TASS)
ST. PETERSBURG, June 7. Russia has concluded an inter-governmental agreement with Cuba to upgrade Cuba’s railways. The signing took place at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told the Rossiya-24 round-the-clock television news channel in an interview.
“I have such data that this intergovernmental agreement was signed today. The project price is slightly less than $1 bln,” the official said.
The Cuban railway network upgrade should increase the goods traffic on the island by three times and will significantly influence on the national economy, Borisov added.
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