[Marxism] Marxism] The Scramble for Cuba » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

michael yates mikedjyates at msn.com
Wed Feb 5 10:55:58 MST 2014

The counterpunch article Louis linked to discusses the Fanjul family, sugar capitalists par excellence. Here is something from Cheap Motels and a Hot Plate about these swine:

Hatred of Castro has also allowed the exiles who have prospered to paper over the considerable inequality and poverty within the Cuban-American community.  When brothers Pepe and Alfonso Fanjul, who own one of the world’s three largest sugar-growing and refining operations (an enterprise that pollutes Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, exploits workers, and receives enormous government subsidies), complained that the Cuban government had sold some of the paintings confiscated when they left the country, the talk was all about Castro’s perfidy rather than the kinds of activities that had allowed the brothers’ family to accumulate the paintings in the first place.  The Fanjul family was one of the richest on the island, and its fortune was founded upon sugar, which means that it was founded upon slave and near-slave labor.  In 1959, here is what they owned:

     *The Fanjul family of Cuba made their fortunes by raising sugar cane, refining sugar, and controlling that staple in the world market. By the late 19th century, they were reckoned as one of the top three sugar producers in the world. The immediate family, as the midpoint of the 20th century approached, consisted of Lillian and Alfonso Fanjul and their five children. 

     *They owned, besides property abroad, an impressive amount in Cuba: four sugar mills, a cattle farm, a rice mill, four apartment buildings (with up to 27 apartments in some), and entire blocks and rows of houses and shops in downtown Havana. They also held stocks and shares and had large quantities of antiques that included period French furniture, Aubusson tapestries, Chinese export porcelains, and some paintings. 

     *Their art collection included works by Hoppner, Goya, Murillo, Michelangelo, and at least 19 sketches and paintings by Spanish Impressionist artist Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. One of the minor Sorolla paintings in the Fanjul collection was an oil on canvas view of the port of Málaga. That painting doesn't have a huge monetary value, but it would prove to be the key item in the Fanjul collection, as later events would establish. 

     *In 1959 the elder Fanjuls and the children owned at least 200 works of art, with a worth presently estimated to be between $20 and $60 million, enough material, when combined with their other art objects, to fully stock two museums in Havana.

When the Fanjuls left, they sold some New York properties and settled in Florida, where they reestablished their sugar business.  They receive some $65 million annually in federal government subsidies for their sugar operations. 		 	   		  

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