Reflections by Comrade Fidel





The baseball and football classics fill the stadiums and amuse the masses all over the world.  Obviously we all consider ourselves experts on the subject –myself included- and get involved in heated arguments with anybody.


However, when it comes to the economy, where there are certain events that are crucial for the world, those who get interested on the topic can be counted on the fingers of one hand.  I browsed our press looking for news about a particular event and I could not find a single word about the G-20 meeting to begin in London within two days.


Yesterday, the evening television news referred to the meeting to emphasize on the spectacular security measures adopted by the British authorities.  Reportedly, Obama will travel accompanied by 200 security service agents who are experts in protection.  Incidentally we also heard news about the sophisticated four-engine Boeing that will take them there, which is equipped with 80 TV channels, almost 100 telephone lines and an equipment  that contains the codes required to order the shooting of nuclear missiles, which are always ready to take off.  We also learned about the helicopter specially designed to carry him by air to the meeting room as well as the invulnerable perforation-proof tank-like automobile on which he will move while on the ground.  Those are the state-of-the-art military science and technology devices placed at his disposal.


Not a single word has been said about the significance of the Summit.  This is not a criticism of our media; it is simply the way we react to the international economic issue.  The same occurs in all other countries.  However, the near future of billions of modest people who live on their work will depend on the agreements adopted in that Summit by the big economic powers.


Through the information published by the international cable news agencies and specialized magazines, or contained in the speeches and interviews of heads of State and leaders of UN agencies, I will try to follow the evolution of the meeting, which will witness the sharp economic and ideological contradictions that characterize today’s complex world that has plunged into a profound crisis.


In a statement made to a BBC International program, Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia, who belongs to the Labor Party, said that the heads of State and Government of the G-20 countries will not approve a fiscal stimulus plan at the London Summit.  He pointed out that during the former Summit they had already approved 1.5 trillion Euros, and now it will be up to the IMF to decide what kind of additional support the economy would need.


The UK government disproved the content of a draft communiqué that will supposedly be issued by the G-20 leaders, that was leaked to the German magazine “Der Spiegel”.


A spokesperson for Gordon Brown said that it was an old document from the previous G-20 meeting.


The Bank of England stated that the British economy is not in the position of becoming even more indebted.


According to another cable news, the G-20 leaders hope that the support to the financial sector, the increased public expenditures and the extra financing to the IMF will bail the world economy out of a recession by the end of 2010, as was pointed out in the draft communiqué published by the Financial Times on Sunday.


“We are determined to ensure that this crisis is not repeated.”


President Dimitri Medvedev told the BBC that Russia, one of the most strongly export-oriented countries, has suffered enough as a result of the present financial crisis.  He added that the G-20 leaders should reach an agreement at the Summit “because the future of our countries and our peoples depend on our agreement and our determination to introduce fundamental changes into the world financial architecture.”


The heads of State and Government of the 20 biggest economies of the world issued a draft declaration previous to the Summit whereby they commit themselves to shun protectionism and conclude negotiations for international trade.


Official sources have declared to the Financial Times that the text of the communiqué should not change before the Summit.  “A global crisis requires a global solution”, the draft reads.  The G-20 leaders are determined to ensure that this crisis is not repeated and look for “an open world economy, based on market principles, effective regulation and strong global institutions.”


The head of the British chancellery said that London and Washington will not push the G-20 leaders into the announcement of promises of specific expenditures.  He minimized the importance of the estrangement that exists between the countries that support higher stimulus, like Great Britain and the United States; and those recommending prudence, like France and Germany.


President Obama, for his part, stated yesterday, March 30, to the same British press agency, that he had called for unity within the G-20.  He ensured that the world leaders know that they should send a “strong message of unity” for the sake of the global economy.  He played down the importance of the split that exists between the United States and continental Europe countries, particularly the objection by Germany and France to the introduction of higher fiscal stimuli.  He conceded, though, that some in his own country have turned their backs on him towards increasing expenditures as a way to reactivate the world economy, which will make it difficult to offer more economic stimulus at this moment.


He added that in all countries there is a certain tension between the steps that need to be taken to reactivate the economy and the fact that some of these steps cost lots of money and taxpayers feel skeptical about spending more.


He said that if voters realize this is a one-way street and that they are only giving more money to institutions to avoid a catastrophe, it would be very difficult to convince them to do more.


More than 180 countries of the world will not be present at the London gathering.  No wonder it is said that the meeting will only be attended by the representatives of the 20 biggest economies in the world.  However, there are profound contradictions among them, both between the western countries and between them and the emerging countries, which are waging a battle against the financial crisis in favor of their right to development.


A summary is not an analysis.  This is simply about conveying to my fellow countrymen the essence of the G-20 debates in London, always being afraid of having been boring or having expanded too much on the subject.



Fidel Castro Ruz

March 31, 2009

1:29 p.m.