A Look at Cuba Before Normalization Takes Hold

HAVANA, CUBA: In light of the historic thaw in US Cuban relations announced on December 17th, three items stand out from a four-day visit to Havana:  1/ Cuba’s economy is a disaster in desperate need of reform. 2/ The communist party retains its tight grip and political change is a long way off. 3/It is likely to be months before normalized bi-lateral relations produce real … Continue reading A Look at Cuba Before Normalization Takes Hold

Missing from the Celebration of Freedom—Two Leaders Who Died Too Soon

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA:  As the world marked the 25thanniversary of freedom returning to Eastern Europe, it is sad that two of the wisest post-communisleaders are no longer with us. In the extraordinary events that followed the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Poland was the inspiration. It had elected a non-communist government months before the wall came down. Lech Walesa, Pope John Paul II are true heroes … Continue reading Missing from the Celebration of Freedom—Two Leaders Who Died Too Soon

Poland’s Extraordinary Transformation

WASHINGTON:  Twenty-five years ago this autumn two remarkable events took place in Washington. On September 27th, 1989 in the musty embassy ballroom of the Polish People’s Republic on upper 16th Street, Leszek Balcerowicz, finance minister in the new non-communist government, outlined a plan to transform Poland’s economy from communism to capitalism. Shock therapy would be launched in three months. Balcerowicz’s message was breathtaking.  Prices would … Continue reading Poland’s Extraordinary Transformation