Alfredo Fernandez Rodriguez

Keep the door closed.
Keep the door closed.

At midnight on December 31, the world will enter the second decade of the 21st century – but we Cubans will enter the third.  And it’s not that Cuba opted for a calendar different from the Gregorian one; other pressures forced us to change two for three.

What happened was that Cuba’s 21st century began in 1990, the year that marked the collapse of socialism throughout all of Eastern Europe.  As a consequence, we witnessed our country become embroiled in the deepest economic crisis ever experienced by the Revolution, and perhaps by the Republic.

Taking measures that were more palliations than solutions, and with promises of improvements that never came, the Revolution has been able to consume two decades of our lives.  Over that period we have awaited basic economic remedies that might allow the average citizen to paint their house or buy a pair of shoes with their wages.

During the first decade of the 21st “Cuban” century -more specifically in 1994- national desperation was exacerbated to the point that the alternative of emigration emerged as a personal solution to the crisis.

Endured daily in the search for a means to exist, this curse separates people from their families and friends.  Individuals venture to any place on the planet by taking advantage of faked romance and marriages, masters and doctorates from foreign universities, work and business trips that end up being one-way, or the desperation of charging into the sea on a raft.

When 2010 begins the 21st century and the world begins its second decade after three years of financial crisis, Cubans will be well ahead: we’ve already experienced 20 years of economic crisis.  What’s worse, this will mark our beginning of a third decade of despair.


Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

4 thoughts on “Two Decades That Are Three

  • A cooperative republic is the best road for Cuba precisely because it can liberate and utilize entrepreneurial leadership without “unleashing its greedy and selfish aspects.” Yes, the entrepreneur can work for financial success, but not achieve that success by leaving his or her fellow workers behind.

    I can’t agree with your sanguine view of the Chinese method for relieving the Marxist constipation, Michael. I am afraid that Cuba will try to copy that method, instead of advancing to a cooperative republic. If she does, it’s the end of socialism in Cuba.

    Cuba would do a lot better by looking at the positive experiences of Mondragon, Spain, as well as the Chinese Gung Ho cooperatives of 1938-49, than at the Chinese vault to capitalism of recent years.

  • I doubt there is only one road to the New Jerusalem, Grady. I can only hope that Cubans will find their own way, or ways, towards it. I do hope, however, that they will encourage the dynamic and creative aspects of entrepreneural activity without unleashing its greedy and selfish aspects. I think that democraticly run coops are just one ingredient in the recipe. Despite some major problems, China’s mix of state capitalism and private enterprise, orchestrated by the Communist Party of China through a planned economy, is managing to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty while also, at the same time, sustaining the world’s highest rate of growth. It is time for the Cuban to stop blaming the embargo, or the collapse of the Socialist Camp, for their economic problems, and time for the Revolutionary Government to start facilitating, rather than fettering, the natural talents and energies of their people.

  • Well, I’ve been hammering English-speaking Cubans with the same basic ideas for months. No one seems to “get it”–at least, not enough to do what needs to be done to reform and save the Cuban Revolution. Let me try once more.

    Engels & Marx came into the socialist movement in its formative stage–in the 1840s. Engels was a capitalist from a capitalist family; Marx a bourgeois intellectual from a rich family. Marx was a direct employee of wealthy Germans, who funded the League of the Just (later, Communist League), and his two liberal newspapers.

    The mission of these two interlopers was to infiltrate the socialist movement, take it over from within, and change it from a cooperative, pro-private property movement to a statist, anti-private property movement.

    With the assistance of many co-infiltrators, they were successful. They made the workable, threatening cooperative movement into a dysfunctional, non-threatening, communistic cult of personality.

    Get it?

  • Don’t despair. You are living in a virtual paradise, if you will only do the correct thing. That thing is turning Cuba into a socialist Cooperative Republic.

    The main obstacle to workable, prosperous socialism in your country is the same for the transition to socialism worldwide: Marxism. Cuba (and socialists in all countries) must jettison the self-destructive economic monster foisted onto the socialist movement by Engels and Marx in the Communist Manifesto.

    This would not mean jettisoning socialism, but making it superbly workable.

    Real, workable socialism is what P-J Proudhon was working toward theoretically when he died in 1865. We must take the institutions of private property and the trading market and use them as the basis of real, workable, beautiful socialism.

    The state cannot own and control a modern economy–not in any country. Only direct, cooperative ownership of the means of production will work.

    Don’t despair. Form a coop socialist movement.

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