While the old commie versus capitalism battles pretend to be about the rights of peoples to express their political beliefs, the truth is it's all about the dollar and getting rich. Consider the latest Chinese Party concerns about the Obama visit to Cuba. The Chinese Party-controlled press weighed in with rather less enthusiasm. Though they took note of the “strategic vision” and “goodwill” on display in Havana, party-linked media took the chance to call attention to American "arrogance" and "interventionism" in Latin America — and warned the island about U.S. motives.
"U.S. President Barack Obama's trip to Cuba is seen widely as a historic move of Uncle Sam, but ultimate rapprochement with Cuba requires the United States to refrain from imposing its ideology on others and to treat others as equals," warned an opinion piece published by Xinhua, a Communist Party newswire.
"U.S. President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to Cuba, though a historic move, cannot reverse the fact that the United States has not yet dropped its ideology of interventionism in Latin America."
"China and Cuba, as fellow socialist countries, are closely linked by the same visions, ideals and goals," Xi said at the time. Yes, they are.....Money.
The bottom line: China is Cuba's second-largest trading partner, after Venezuela, and a key source of credit to the island's embargo-choked economy. But the total volume of trade remains, particularly by Chinese standards.
Both sides seem keen to change that. Trade between the two countries rose 57 percent in the first three months of 2015, according the Chinese embassy in Havana.
In December of that year, Air China launched a thrice-weekly direct flight to Havana — an effort they hope will see ever-more Chinese tourists strolling along the Malecón. There are already more than a dozen Chinese-linked resort projects in the works, according to Xinhua, representing about $460 million in Chinese investment.
Of course, the United States also wants in on the action. Obama was accompanied on Air Force One by the CEO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Starwood this weekend became the first U.S. hotel chain in decades to sign a deal in Cuba.
That, clearly did not please Beijing. The editorials published Monday urge Cuba to stick with the socialist set rather than side with the capitalist newcomers.
"Yes, Obama's visit is commendable for indicating the possibility of communication and collaboration between countries with divergent ideologies," said one of the Xinhua editorials. "But Washington needs to offer substantive and sufficient compensation to the island country to pay for its past wrongdoings."
As if to underscore the potential economic rivalries, Starwood signed a deal on Saturday to manage three hotels in Cuba, and on Monday picked a sweetened buyout offer from Marriott over a pitch by a major Chinese-led insurance group.
Of course, there's only so much money made off commie tourism.
As the US and Cuba work to restore diplomatic relations, keeping in mind that we are doubtful the US trade embargo on Cuba will be lifted until after the 2016 presidential elections, Cuba is flaunting what it says are billions of barrels of oil in its offshore Gulf of Mexico territory.
So far, there isn’t a great amount of excitement over Cuba’s announcement. In 2012, three exploration wells came up dry and, at present, most are eyeing new opportunities in Mexico since it opened up its oil and gas to foreign companies and ended state-run Pemex’s monopoly on the industry. Depressed oil prices will also keep interest in Cuba to a minimum.
Still, a recent study does claim to confirm what Cuba has long said was a potential oil and gas bonanza—20 billion barrels of undiscovered crude, more specifically. The most recent US Geological Survey data estimates around 7 billion barrels.
With tensions mounting over maritime disputes in the South China Sea, the cause of the problem, at least in part, is believed to lie at the bottom of the water. But it is still unclear exactly how much oil and natural gas lurk beneath the surface.
Along with fishing and lucrative shipping routes, oil and gas reserves are often cited as a major reason for the disagreements over which country owns which patch of water, including China, which claims nearly all of the South China Sea.
But how much oil and gas really exist is still a question mark, according to Carl Thayer, a Professor Emeritas at Australia’s National Defense Academy.
“No one has done the really hard work scientifically. These are estimates, because there has been an interruption to oil exploration efforts in the past, the cable cutting incidents in the past, ships have been forced out of water by the Philippines that have been contested by China,” he said.
China has said that the sea holds 130 billion barrels of oil. U.S. estimates are more conservative. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the sea likely holds just 11 billion barrels of oil, and 190 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.