While I Was Out of Town

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Equatorial Guinea (“EG”) has the advantage of having a small population, some 1.3 million.  It has a crazy geography, with the capital on the island of Bioko (formerly Fernando Po) and a good chunk of its people and commerce on the mainland a couple of hundred miles away.  I remember standing on the back patio of the Bahia in 2006, looking at Cameroon across the water, not far away.  I thought, “Why is this even a country?”  And yes, it has the dumb luck of having oil and natural gas, with the advantages of huge revenues years ago (never distributed to the people, to be fair.)  But the decline in oil and gas market prices has left the country vulnerable, and yet the buildings and private company headquarters continue to pour in.  Venezuela has been unable to deal with these fluctuations, and even Saudi Arabia and Russia have had their tumults, where EG is making its way.

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Our Moment in Cuba?

Last month I had the privilege of joining a study tour to Cuba with former members of Congress — sponsored by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC). We met with government and Communist Party officials, members of the National Assembly and Foreign Ministry, artists, scholars, academics, economists, entrepreneurs, even cigar workers. Cubans feel genuine optimism that the recent normalization of relations with the United States may usher in a new era of cooperation. Continue reading Our Moment in Cuba?