I was interviewed today by Radio France International about the 'no' result in the referendum on the peace accords in Colombia, October 2016.
I was interviewed today by Radio France International about the 'no' result in the referendum on the peace accords in Colombia, October 2016.
This is an article I wrote in 2010 for Resurgence Magazine (http://www.resurgence.org/) about Cuba's sustainable development model. I just found it reprinted on the website of Green Left Weekly:
Cuba's successful models of sustainable development — in areas of food, housing and health — are now being widely replicated throughout Latin America.
Cuba marked the 50th anniversary of its revolution in 2009. The Cuban people have withstood five decades of hostility from the United States and its international allies.
However, Cuba's best form of resistance has been not just the assertion of national sovereignty, but the creation of an alternative model of development that places ecology and humanity at its core.
Applying the yardsticks of conventional economics to assess Cuban society (for example focusing on disposable income, gross domestic product or levels of consumption) commentators often conclude that the revolution has failed to pull the Cuban people out of poverty.
But such criticism omits the facts that: the Cuban state guarantees every citizen a basic food supply; most incomes are not taxed; most people own their own homes or pay very little rent; utility bills, transport and medicine costs are symbolic; and the opera, cinema and ballet are cheap for all.
High-quality education and healthcare are free.
These provisions are part of the material wealth of Cuba and cannot be dismissed — as if individual consumption of DVDs and digital cameras were the only measure of economic growth.
Against great odds, Cuba has transformed itself from an underdeveloped "neo-colony" into an independent state, boasting world-leading human development indicators, internationalist education, healthcare programs and sustainable development.
It is no mere coincidence that Cuba is the only country in the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund's 2006 Living Planet report, to have achieved sustainable development (measured as the improvement of the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of its ecosystem).
The collapse of the former Soviet bloc between 1989 and 1991 led to a collapse in Cuba's foreign trade in a context of the crippling economic blockade maintained on Cuba by the US since 1960.
GDP plummeted 35% by 1993 and there were critical scarcities of hydrocarbon energy resources, fertilisers, food imports, medicines, cement, equipment and resources in every sector.
Cuba was forced to search for domestic solutions.
In agriculture, organic fertilisers and pesticides, crop-rotation techniques and organic urban gardens were developed. Tractors were replaced with human and animal labour.
Bikes were imported from China and car-pooling was established. As the economy improved, Cuba extended environmentally sustainable measures, introducing ecotourism and solar energy.
Economic reforms were introduced, including concessions to the "free market". But free universal welfare provision, state planning and the predominance of state property were maintained.
Incredibly, given the severity of the crisis, between 1990 and 2003, the number of Cuban doctors increased by 76%, dentists by 46% and nurses by 16%. The number of maternity homes rose by 86%, day-care centres for older people by 107% and homes for people with disabilities by 47%.
Infant mortality fell and life expectancy rose. Internationalist links also increased, as thousands of Cuban specialists, including healthcare professionals and educators, volunteered to work in poor communities around the world. By November 2008, Cuba had nearly 30,000 doctors and other health professionals working in 75 countries, providing healthcare and training locals.
Its literacy programme has taught more than 3,600,000 people from 23 countries to read and write.
2006 dawned as the Year of the Energy Revolution in Cuba, a major state initiative to save and rationalise the use of energy resources: install efficient new power generators, experiment with renewable energy and replace old durable goods (refrigerators, televisions and cookers) with new energy-saving equipment.
Ten million energy-saving light bulbs and over six million electric rice cookers and pressure cookers were distributed free of charge. The aim was to raise the island's capacity for electricity generation and save the government millions of pesos formerly spent on subsidised fuel.
State subsidies mean energy consumption is not rationed through the market, so energy efficiency, not price hikes, is the principal means of reducing consumption.
Building on the campaign for energy efficiency, in 2008 Cuba launched a campaign to increase food production. Following the closure of many sugar mills, in 2007 up to 50% of Cuba's arable land lay fallow, while over 80% of the food ration was imported. The international rise in food and fuel prices meant the cost of Cuba's imports rose by $1 billion from 2007 to 2008.
Now, idle land is being distributed in through rent-free loans to those who want to produce organic food.
Already organic urban farms in Havana supply 100% of the city's consumption needs in fruit and vegetables. They are supplemented by urban patios, of which there are over 60,000 in Havana alone.
Sinan Koont of the Department of Latin American Studies at Dickinson College, Pennsylvania, said in a January 2009 Monthly Review article: "It is not just about economics, producing food and creating employment. It is also about community development and preserving and improving the environment, bringing a healthier way of life to the cities."
Central to understanding these achievements is the role of the state in Cuba.
State ownership and central planning allow a rational allocation of resources, balancing environmental concerns and human welfare alongside economic objectives.
Critics who point to the absence of multi-party elections and "civil society" in Cuba fail to appreciate how the island's alternative grassroots system of participative democracy ensures the state is representative of its population and acts in their collective interests.
Under capitalism, private businesses regard the Earth's natural resources as a "free gift" to capital. The need for sustainable development creates an irreconcilable contradiction under capitalism because it implies obstruction of the profit motive that drives capitalist production.
In December 2004, Cuba and Venezuela formalised their alliance with the formation of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA). Between 2006 and 2009, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Honduras (under Zelaya), Ecuador, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda joined ALBA, turning it into a political and trading bloc of significance.
Members are engaged in projects of humanitarian, economic and social cooperation through non-market, non-profit-based exchanges.
The Bank of ALBA was launched in December 2008 with US$2 billion capital, operating without loan conditions and functioning on the basis of members' consensus. It contributes to freeing countries from the dictates of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
In January 2010, a new currency for exchanges within ALBA (the "sucre") will be introduced, undermining the leverage of the US dollar.
ALBA is the fruit of Cuba's internationalist, welfare-based development model. It is also the expression of pan-Latin American integrationist movements and the ascendancy of social movements representing the interests of the indigenous and poor communities.
These sectors demand rational development strategies that respect their traditions and environment.
The April 2009 ALBA declaration "Capitalism Threatens Life on the Planet" said: "The global economic crisis, climate change, the food crisis and the energy crisis are the result of the decay of capitalism, which threatens to end life and the planet.
"To avert this outcome, it is necessary to develop and model an alternative to the capitalist system. A system based on solidarity not competition; a system in harmony with Mother Earth and not plundering of human resources."
The Cuban Revolution is a living example, with increasing relevance, showing it is possible to live with dignity and sustainably outside of the capitalist profit motive, with human welfare and the environment at the centre of development.
It is a lesson we must learn urgently because, in the words of former Cuban president Fidel Castro at his speech at the 1992 Earth Summit, "Tomorrow will be too late".
[Helen Yaffe is the author of Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2009, and is a Latin American history teaching fellow at University College London and the London School of Economics. This article is reprinted from the British Resurgence Magazine.]
I was interviewed for this Guardian article and endeavoured to introduce a bit of context/balance to a piece which I suspected would caricature Cuban ‘socialism’ by focusing on this real but specific weakness – public services in Havana. I am pleased it included my points about the US blockade and about the government planning investments to improve Cubans’ living environments. Street waste is a big problem in urban settlements – but in Cuba I have never seen the heart-breaking sight of children living in a hut on a mountain of rubbish, surviving off its putrid pickings, as I have seen in Latin America. Perhaps Guardian journalists have written about that – perhaps it’s just too normal to be news.
Dr Helen Yaffe is a specialist in Cuban economic history. She spoke to Canadian Television (CTV) News Channel to discuss the significance of commercial flights from the US to Cuba which began on 1 September 2016.
Since diplomatic relations were re-established with the United States, Havana has become the place to be for pop stars, politicians, film makers and the fashion industry. President Obama visited Cuba, followed swiftly by British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, and French President François Hollande. The US blockade is being chipped away, with the first licence granted for a US company – a small tractor manufacturer – to set up in Cuba. Major developments are underway: the Mariel Special Development Zone and the new Investment Law are channelling foreign capital into Cuba; tens of thousands of workers have transferred from state to private or co-operative sector employment; Cubans are permitted to sell their homes and cars on an open market; and the economic and social Guidelines approved in 2011 and updated in 2016 have reduced state control of the economy. In this dynamic context, in April 2016, the Cuban Communist Party (CCP) held its 7th Congress. Its focus was to consolidate the process of changes formalised by the ‘Guidelines for Economic and Social Policy’ approved in the CCP’s 6th Party Congress in 2011. Helen Yaffe reports.
Guidelines for ‘updating the economy’
In the months preceding the 6th Party Congress, nearly nine million Cubans participated in grassroots debates about the draft Guidelines. This formidable democratic process legitimised the Guidelines, which serve as the template for ‘updating the Cuban model’; to improve economic efficiency and productive capacity within a socialist framework. Numerous measures have been introduced in the last five years. These include: 2012 New Labour Code (debated in 7,000 workplace meetings by two million workers); establishing non-agricultural co-operatives (now around 400 with 20,000 workers); permitting market exchanges of privately-owned houses and cars (for Cuban citizens only); permitting direct commercial relations between the non-state sector and state sector entities; opening the Mariel ‘super port’ and Special Development Zone (FRFI 238); 2014 New Investment Law to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) (FRFI 240).
Policy changes and economic results 2011-2015
Of 313 Guidelines agreed in 2011, 21% have been fully applied, and 77% are in the implementation phase. 130 new policies and 344 new legal regulations have been approved. The Guidelines have now been updated for the 2016-2021 period.
Despite (restricted) openings to market forces, these reforms do not represent a rupture with the socialist revolution and Fidel Castro. They are necessary to deal with economic and financial crises rooted, first, in the Special Period of the 1990s when the disintegration of the Soviet bloc saw Cuban GDP plummet by 35%, and second, in the impact of the global capitalist crisis of 2007/8. The crisis affected Cuba through a 200-300% rise in food and fuel prices; it disrupted access to external financing, income from tourism and export earnings. Oil prices increased substantially. Also in 2008, two hurricanes caused $10bn worth of damage and led to emergency imports and expenditure on repairs. This was followed by a severe drought. The results were unsustainable fiscal and trade deficits. In 2008 Cuban banks froze the accounts of foreign suppliers and investors. Debt repayments were not met. All this was compounded by the US blockade, which by 2015 was estimated to have cost the Cuban economy $1.2 trillion.
Following the introduction of the Guidelines in 2011, Cuba’s macroeconomic situation has improved, rebalancing external finances, particularly through the renegotiation of foreign debt, as well as boosting FDI, reducing imports and cutting government spending without damaging health, education or social welfare. Cubans estimate that a minimum annual growth rate of 5% is required to see significant socio-economic improvements and the kind of infrastructural developments necessary to raise the standard of living for the entire population. However, in the 2011-2015 period, GDP growth averaged half that, at 2.7%. To achieve the 5% goal, an investment rate of 20% of GDP is required. But given that the Cuban rate of savings is half that, the government cannot find the capital it needs for investment internally. It needs FDI and is striving for $2 to $2.5 billion investments annually.
However, Cuba is unlikely to increase FDI flows without first settling old debts. Between 2013 and 2015, major advances were made in deals with: Russia – 90% of USSR-era debt ($35 billion) cancelled with 10 years to pay the rest on favourable terms; Mexico – 70% of 1980s-era debt ($487 million) cancelled, the rest to be paid over ten years; and the Paris Club – 70% (of $11.1 billion) cancelled, the rest to be paid over 18 years. Similar negotiations are underway with France, Spain and the London Club.
Other economic results from the 2011-2015 period include: Cuba’s international reserves increased 65.7%; success in reducing imports and increasing and diversifying exports; the average salary increased 43% (although this was not evenly spread and pensions lag behind). In 2015 GDP growth reached 4%, but it is predicted to be half that in 2016, partly reflecting the political turmoil in Venezuela. In 2010, before changes to the employment structure were announced (see FRFI 217), 16% of Cuban workers were in the non-state sector; that is, agricultural co-operatives, family farms or self-employment. Today 29% of Cuba’s workforce is in the non-state sector, which now also includes small businesses and non-agricultural co-operatives. Their contribution to GDP is 12%, so they can be considered as a solution to employment and incomes for those involved, but not as drivers of economic growth. They are in non-strategic, labour intensive areas, particularly catering, while strategic industries and social welfare remain firmly in state hands. Efficiency improvements are being made in the state sector. Of 3,900 state enterprises, only 70 did not produce a surplus in 2015 (in some cases this was planned), down from 900 in 2013. There has also been success in transferring revenue from the private to the state sector through the collection of taxes. For example, three billion pesos collected through private construction sales was used to subsidise home construction for poor families.
Cuban communists in Congress
The 7th Congress of the Cuban Com munist Party (CCP) took place on 16-18 April 2016. It was attended by 1,000 delegates representing over 670,000 Party members. In the run-up to the Congress, four documents were discussed by these delegates and some 3,500 invited guests representing different sectors of Cuban society. These documents were: 1) An evaluation of the national economy 2011 to 2015 and the updated Guidelines for 2016-2021; 2) The ‘fundamental elements’ for a national economic and social development plan through to 2030; 3) The ‘conceptualisation’ of Cuba’s socialist socio-economic model of development; and 4) a report on progress made towards objectives agreed on by the First CCP Conference.
The documents were discussed in work commissions during the Congress and the ‘conceptualisation’ document will now be circulated more broadly: ‘to continue discussion in municipalities, and with the democratic participation of the entire Party, youth, representatives of mass organisations, etc, in order to complete its elaboration…it will be presented to the National Assembly, the supreme organ of state power, responsible for providing it with it legal validity’ (Raul Castro).
The Congress also agreed that key positions in the state and political organisations would be subject to term limits (two terms of five years) and age restrictions. No-one aged over 60 can join the CCP’s Central Committee. No-one over 70 can assume a leadership position in the Party. The newly-elected Central Committee (142 members) now has an average age of 54. 44% are women and 36% are black and mixed-race Cubans. Raul reflected: ‘Higher than those of the previous Congress, but we are not satisfied’. Three of the five new members on the 17-member Political Bureau are women. All are ‘from humble backgrounds, [who] worked in the grassroots’. Raul insisted: ‘there can be no preconceived leaders, everyone who graduates must work five years at least at the basic level in the specialty which they studied at university’. The Cuban Constitution will be changed to reflect these new rules, and ‘the important transformations associated with the updating of our economic and social model, and its conceptualisation.’ Raul stated ‘Everything we have been doing must be reflected in the Constitution… [once the modifications] have been discussed by the population.’ Raul will step down in 2018, and he is clearly focused on strengthening the institutional basis of the socialist revolution to help safeguard its future when Cuba is no longer led by the ‘historic generation’ who carried out the Revolution.
The limited openings to the market in Cuba, along with rapprochement with the US, leads some commentators to assert that the Cuban government is re-introducing capitalism. But the question is whether these measures fundamentally change social relations in Cuba. In 1995, during the Special Period, when similar reforms were introduced, Fidel Castro stated: ‘The key to everything is the matter of power. Who has power [in Cuba]? The large landowners, the bourgeoisie, the rich?...Is power in the hands of the capitalists, for the capitalists and on their behalf? No! The key issue is who has power’. The power structure remains unchanged today.
In 2016, under circumstances complicated by rapprochement with the US, Raul addressed this concern in his Central Report to the Congress:
‘One of the novel aspects that has attracted the most attention and even some controversy, is the question of property relations, and logically so, as depending on the predominance of one form of ownership over another, a country’s social system is determined. In socialist and sovereign Cuba, the ownership of the basic means of production by all the people is and will continue to be the main form of the national economy and the socio-economic system and therefore constitutes the basis of the actual power of workers. The recognition of the existence of private property has generated more than a few honest concerns from participants in the discussions prior to the Congress, who expressed concerns that on doing so we would be taking the first steps towards the restoration of capitalism in Cuba…I have the duty to assert that this is not, in the least, the purpose of this conceptual idea.
‘The increase in self-employment and the authorisation to contract a workforce has led in practice to the existence of medium, small and micro private enterprises which today operate without proper legal status and are regulated under the law by a regulatory framework designed for individuals engaged in small business conducted by the worker and his/her family.
‘Guideline number 3 approved by the 6th Congress and which we intend to maintain and strengthen in the updated draft categorically specifies that “In the forms of non-state management, the concentration of property shall not be allowed” and it is added “nor of wealth”; therefore, the private company will operate within well-defined limits and will constitute a complementary element in the economic framework of the country, all of which should be regulated by law. We are not naive nor do we ignore the aspirations of powerful external forces that are committed to what they call the “empowerment” of non-state forms of management, in order to create agents of change in the hope of putting an end to the Revolution and socialism in Cuba by other means.
‘Co-operatives, self-employment and medium, small and micro private enterprise are not in their essence anti-socialist or counter-revolutionary and the en ormous majority of those who work in them are revolutionaries and patriots who defend the principles and benefit from the achievements of this Revolution.’
The US blockade remains the principal obstacle to development, but there are many internal challenges: the inadequacy of Cuba’s productive infrastructure and low efficiency in economic management; increasing labour productivity through technology; preventing speculation by private producers to hike prices; halving Cuba’s food imports which cost $2 billion a year; compensating poorer sections of society as income inequality grows; and the complex issue of unifying the national and convertible pesos.
It is clear that Raul and the CCP are acutely aware of these challenges and have set out to tackle them ‘without haste, but without pause’ and within the framework of the socialist system.
Published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 251 June/July 2016
Article published in Counterpunch, 12 May 2016.
In late April 2016, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond became the highest-ranking British government minister to visit revolutionary Cuba. He signed four memorandums of understanding for cooperation in higher education, energy, culture and in the financial and professional services sector, including an agreement to restructure Cuba’s debt to Britain. Hammond affirmed that Britain, and the European Union, are in favour of lifting the 55-year old United States blockade of island.
As a sign of just how punitive the blockade remains, earlier that month a group of Cuban musicians based in Britain had their money withheld by Eventbrite, a US website-based company. Cuban pianist Eralys Fernandez, who lives in London, had used the ticket sales website for a classical music concert held in an East London church in mid-March.
The concert, supported by a group called Cubans in the UK was a fundraiser for a project to ‘send a piano to Cuba’, which aims to raise £10,000 to buy a second hand concert piano to send to the Conservatory Amadeo Roldan in Havana. Despite being one of the most prestigious institutions in Cuba, its existing grand pianos are in a poor condition. The Conservatory has struggled to get access to new pianos, largely because of the US blockade, and there are no piano producers or retailers in Cuba. The project has been endorsed by Sting and now has Cuban musicians throughout Europe signed up to support.
After the concert, Eventbrite informed the organisers that ‘we were contacted by our bank to let us know that the payout we initiated on 17 March 2016 for £360 has been temporarily held’. They wanted to know of ‘any direct or indirect benefit to Cuba or a Cuban in this transaction’. The organisers, who have dual British and Cuban citizenship, answered in the affirmative; it was obvious from the name and description of the event that it was fundraising to send a piano to Cuba. A month later, Eventbrite confirmed that the ticket money was withheld ‘pursuant to US Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) regulations and sanctions program’ – in other words the US blockade. ‘In order to have the funds released’, advised Eventbrite, ‘you will need to obtain a license from the US Treasury Department’.
Director of Cubans in the UK, Daniesky Acosta, said they had no intention of applying for an OFAC licence. ‘It would mean legitimising the 55-year old US blockade, which has cost our country over (US) $1 billion and which almost every country in the world opposes in the annual UN General Assembly vote on it.’ They were already seeking legal advice on the matter.
It is extraordinarily intrusive for OFAC to regulate how or where British, Cuban or any other citizens can spend their money. The concert tickets were sold to the British public in pounds sterling, not in US dollars. The organisers did not event know they were using a US company, as the website appeared to be based in Britain. However, under EU regulations, Eventbrite should be mandated to abide by British rules, which include no such sanctions against Cuba. The fact that they are not shows the extraterritorial impact of the US blockade and the weakness of Hammond’s assertion that Britain wants improved relations with Cuba.
Acosta said: ‘We do not need a license to send money to Cuba from the United Kingdom, We do not have one and we are not going to apply for one in order help our own people. In fact, we are not sending money to Cuba; we are raising money to buy a piano from a UK retailer.’ For these British-based Cuban artists it seems that the US blockade has been tightened for non-US citizens and companies since diplomatic relations were restored between Cuba and the US. They are not alone. The Cuba Solidarity Campaign recently has its Cooperative Bank account closed and the group Rock around the Blockade had its Paypal account shut down, both under OFAC regulations, even while the head of Paypal joined Obama’s 1,200-strong delegation to Havana. Is this part of a US soft-power strategy; to strengthen US engagement with Cuba, while constricting trade and exchange from third countries?
In December 2015, Lord Hutton, chairman of Cuba Initiative, an independent, bi-lateral, non-governmental organisation to promote British-Cuban relations, put a formal question to the British Treasury: ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice has been given to UK banks regarding business and personal financial transactions between UK individuals or UK-registered companies and Cuban counterparties based in Cuba.’ The answer he received is cited in full below.
Cuba has previously been subject to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s on-going Global AML/CFT Compliance Process due to concerns over strategic deficiencies in its systems for anti-money laundering (AML) and combatting terrorist financing (CTF). HM Government notifies the financial sector of FATF’s decision to list countries and the risks associated with transactions with identified countries. In October 2014, the UK welcomed Cuba’s significant progress in improving its controls and noted that Cuba was no longer subject to the FATF’s monitoring process. This was also communicated to industry.
There are no UK, EU or UN sanctions regimes restricting transactions between the UK and Cuba. The US has economic sanctions against Cuba. EU legislation (Council Regulation (EC) No 2271/96) provides protection against and counteracts the effects of the extra-territorial application of US Cuba sanctions within the EU. The Government does not provide advice on sanctions regimes outside UK jurisdiction and does not intervene in the decisions of banks or other financial firms when made on the basis of their internal risk assessments.
Three months later, on 15 March 2016, OFAC announced amendments to controls on financial transactions, including permitting US banks to process Cuba related US dollar denominated transactions where neither the sender not the beneficiary of the transactions are subject to US jurisdiction. Nonetheless, the frequently asked questions related to Cuba section of their website, states clearly that ‘sanctions’ are still imposed on Cuba, despite the restoration of diplomatic relations between the countries.
‘Most transactions between the United States, or persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and Cuba continue to be prohibited, and OFAC continues to enforce the prohibitions of the CACR [Cuban Assets Control Regulations]. The regulatory changes, effective in January, June, and September 2015, as well as in January and March 2016, respectively, are targeted to further engage and empower the Cuban people by facilitating authorized travel to Cuba by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction; certain authorized commerce and financial transactions; and the flow of information to, from, and within Cuba.’
There are signs that authorities in Europe are starting to hit back against the extraterritorial character of the US blockade. In April 2016, it was reported that a district court in Dortmund, Germany, issued an order against PayPal for applying US laws in the country. Just like the situation with Eventbrite and the piano project in Britain, the German case involved ticket sales through a website-based company PROticket for a musical comedy ‘Soy de Cuba’ (I am from Cuba) and a concert by Cuban signer Addys Mercedes in late 2015. In November, PayPal blockade the PROticket account, citing OFAC regulations. In this case, however, PROticket complained to the German court, which ordered PayPal’s European subsidiary, located in Luxenbourg, to unfreeze the account with immediate effect or pay out 250,000 euros to PROticket if they fail to so. The judges also prohibited PayPal from freezing their clients’ accounts because they use the words ‘Cuba’ or ‘Cuban’.
News about this ruling has not appeared in the British press despite its relevance to similar cases in Britain. The question remains: what will Eventbrite do with the money it has confiscated from Eralys Fernandez, who just wants to help out the music school from which she had the privilege of graduating for free? The next fundraising concert takes place on July 2nd in London. How can the organisers avoid confiscation of their ticket sales money? Let’s hope Philip Hammond honours his declarations in Havana and takes up the case. Only when European authorities take retaliatory action against OFAC regulations will the expropriation of billions of dollars in frozen funds and punitive fines meted out to individuals, groups and businesses around the world for interacting with Cuba be halted. This is, after all, what US President Obama himself has called for.
On 28 April, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond became the highest ranking British government minister to visit revolutionary Cuba. He signed four memorandums of understanding for cooperation in higher education, energy, culture and in the financial and professional services sector, including an agreement to restructure Cuba’s debt to Britain. Helen Yaffe discusses the significance of his visit on Sky News.
Live commentary on BBC World News as Obama pays tribute to Cuba's national independence hero Jose Marti in Revolution Square, overlooked by the profile of revolutionary Che Guevara mounted on the old Ministry of Industries building.
Interviewed on BBC World News during US President Obama's historic visit to Cuba, 21 March 2016
Interviewed on 21 March during President Obama's historic visit to Cuba