Paris Club defers Cuba’s debt repayment
Cuba has told the Paris Club or the group of creditor nations that currently, it is not in a position to repay the debt it owes to them. With it, the 22 nations club has allowed Cuba to defer its debt repayments though not till the end of 2022 as demanded by Havanna.
In the recent past, Cuba’s foreign debt has grown at an alarming rate. The situation was no different even before the pandemic. Cuba has not made the latest figures available about its debt which is another major concern for its creditors. However, as per an estimate, it stood at $30.06 billion as of 31 December 2017.
Overall, under the decades of single-party rule of the Communist Party of Cuba, the nation is facing massive inflation, a heavy shortage of food and daily necessities. At the same time, the economy has fallen by 11%.
To counter this situation, Cuba has started implementing some dire measures. For the first time since 1950, Cuba is devaluing its currency and is deregulating medium and small businesses. It appears that Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel may have to take drastic steps or face 9% late interest on arrears if it fails to repay the debt within 3 months to the creditor nations.
China uproots pillars at Nepal border
Nepal’s Home Ministry has sounded an alarm after it found that China has uprooted border pillars in the Vigu village of Daulkha district. The concerns of the Ministry are not unfound as in the past China has regularly used such tactics to grab the land of its neighbours. These tactics are referred to as ‘Salami Slicing’.
It is noteworthy that after this incident, Nepalese Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli has said that misunderstandings with India, which led to the border crisis in 2020, have been resolved. At the same time, however, Nepal has opened its fifth diplomatic office in China’s Chengdu.
Last year, as per a survey, Nepal’s Ministry of Agriculture had reported about China having illegally encroached upon several border districts, including Humla, Gorkha, Dolakha, Darchula, Sindhupalchowk, Rasuwa and Sankhuwasabha. Like Daulkha, in Humla, China had uprooted the border pillar and constructed 11 buildings there. Then, the incident had fuelled protests in Kathmandu against Chinese hegemony and disregard for the sovereignty of Nepal. Moreover, Nepal’s attempts to negotiate with the Chinese border guards were met with hostility as they came armed and asked the Nepalese officials to go back.
From all this, it appears that unclear and changing foreign policy favouring China will harm Nepal as it has in the case of Sri Lanka.