Saturday, May 17, 2014

Charlie Crist will go to Cuba … by gimleteye

When former Governor Charlie Crist visited Big Sugar billionaire Alfie Fanjul ("Cuba: here comes Miami, ready or not!), we knew it was more than a courtesy call.

Our crystal ball is clear when it comes to Cuba, the Fanjuls and Charlie Crist. On a first visit to Havana two years ago, we commented on a Fanjul sighting.

If Charlie goes to Cuba, he will have accomplished a singular feat: a political life after angering the Fanjuls.

In 2008, then Governor Crist announced a deal to buy more than 130,000 acres of lands belonging to US Sugar, the Fanjul's cartel competitor. The billionaire Fanjuls were apoplectic. They had been kept out of the deal.

The notion that a politician independently could breach their lockdown of land use on some 700,000 acres formerly called the Everglades -- sugar is the most potent source of campaign contributions in the state -- was more than they could bear. The reasons are complex but mostly factor from Big Sugar's determination to extract every last cent from the soil of their exhausted lands south of Lake Okeechobee.

The Crist plan would do something intolerable: open a path where the Fanjuls had successfully blocked environmentalists.

In response to Charlie's chutzpah the Fanjuls rallied millions of dollars and other big donors to support Crist's opponent for US Senate, Marco Rubio. Yes, that Marco Rubio, climate change denier. (Marco owes his political life to Big Sugar.)

By 2012, the Fanfuls' European and Brazilian competitors had been laying tracks for major investment in Cuba. In other words, the Fanfuls were falling behind.

It made sense for the top dogs in Miami to continue to support Lincoln, Ileana, and the hard line anti-Castro voices while behind the stage props, they send out feelers to the elite in Havana. Everyone in the baggage checking line at MIA is doing it: hating Castro and sending millions of dollars to Havana.

Charlie Crist met Alfie Fanjul, and the two see eye-to-eye despite past differences. On both sides of the Florida Straits, the embargo props up Potemkin villages. Why wouldn't Charlie Crist go to Cuba?

Here is a good reason he will. At  recent fundraiser for Crist on Normandy Isle just north of Miami Beach, Crist raised more than $400,000. The room was packed with donors: Hispanic Republicans ready to make money in Cuba.


Malagodi said...

All of the above may be true, and given your reputation it probably is.

Nevertheless, none of these big cats can or will actually change their spots - their very nature - even if Charlie says he can.

Back in the natural world - the real one - the party's over, no matter what kind of dance these drunkards do.

Is that what we need, another governor who sees eye-to-eye with big sugar?

Anonymous said...

My Cuban friend is voting for Charlie because he wants to lift the embargo

Anonymous said...

I'd like for someone to explain to me (ignorant gringo that I am) how anyone expects to make money by trading with Cuba. Cuba is bankrupt. Cuba has defaulted on payments it owed to practically every country with which it has done business. I'm no economist, but it doesn't make sense.

Diggy said...

Charlie went from Republican to Independent to Democrat to Communist in four short years. That is fucking amazing.

Anonymous said...

Big Sugar i.e. the Fanjuls, want access to Cuba so they can expand their sugar business. They want to buy Cuban land and they want to cut out their competitors. Crist will pander to whoever gives him money.

Anonymous said...

Natural resources ready to appropriate.

Anonymous said...

The Fanjuls won't buy their own land back. It is theirs.

Anonymous said...

Charlie has no backbone. I agree with Marco and I hate this blog.

Anonymous said...

Charlie Crist is a clown. How anyone can support him is beyond me. But then again, the voters in Washington DC elected Marion Berry after seeing him with prostitutes in a crack house.

Anonymous said...

Pretty fascinating analysis - can't believe I am supporting someone who gets along with Big Sugar - haven't we learned no politician is perfect - so go Charlie and get rid of Scott

Anonymous said...

Carl Hiaasen wrote about Charlie Crist today:

"’ll get whiplash trying to keep track of all his flip-flopping."

Anonymous said...

Hiaasen's recommendation to Crist on his ridiculous idea to travel to Cuba:

"Earth to Charlie: Don’t even think about it."

Anonymous said...

“There is too much human suffering involved for Crist to use Cuba in his search for attention. His most recent comments about Cuba reveal a shallowness which is truly shocking. His nonchalant attitude on Cuba is callous and embarrassing.”

Truer words were never spoken!