Cuban videos warn communists off corruption

Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:52pm EST
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By Marc Frank

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban President Raul Castro's full-court press on corruption has gone the local equivalent of viral, as videos with bribery confessions by foreign and Cuban businessmen make the rounds of the communist-run island's state companies.

The videos shown to senior staff and party members are the latest addition to an ongoing campaign to root out corrupt practices that have landed a handful of foreign businessmen and hundreds of government officials behind bars.

Security is tight at the screenings, where all personal belongings are left at the door in hopes of keeping the footage off YouTube and Miami television.

One video traces a network of farmers, state distributors and officials as they fleece the government out of millions of pesos through the sale of fictitious onions and garlic.

Another video, called "Metastasis," follows a Canadian trading company's payoffs "spreading like cancer" into high levels of government.

Castro established a comptroller general's office in 2008, with a seat on the Council of State, even as Cuba began implementing market-oriented reforms.

The measure marked the start of the campaign to tamp down corruption and reflected concern over graft that followed similar reforms in other communist countries, foreign and local experts said.

Over the last few years, high-level corruption has been uncovered in one sector of the economy after another, from the cigar and communications industries, to food processing and civil aviation.   Continued...