Why Socialism for Cuba?

Armando Chaguaceda

On the way home. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — A few days ago I shared an evening with a young couple of compatriots to discuss the ideological colors of the island’s future. Though these were sensitive and well-educated people, children of the fine educational legacy of the Cuban Revolution, these friends were pessimistic about the chances of a socialist alternative being a solution to the problems in Cuba.

“No way,” they told me. “Though it will take its toll, it seems that the solution will be to hit bottom and then accelerate the capitalist reforms to resolve the accumulated clutter and backwardness.”

Such a reflection by people who I admire and respect for their values ??and social commitment — shown in inspiring everyday pursuits ranging from ecology to free-software — got me thinking about the discrediting of the socialist idea among many Cubans.

Living (and suffering) the rigors of a state centralized model that has lasted half a century, it’s understandable that some residents in neighborhoods like Marianao or Placetas would be horrified with the thought of giving this “ism” another chance.

On the other hand, a non-negligible sector of the population (aging, resigned) is making the decision to continue living under the current model out of their fear of change. Frightened by the East European experience, their concern is that here too, a new direction would certainly be traumatic. Neo-liberalism or neo-Stalinism: this seems to be the restricted menu of options for our island.

However, given the problems of the present (ranging from the accumulated material shortages to undermined freedoms and human rights) and those approaching (increasing inequalities of all types) I believe that — far from giving up — our task is to battle for the future of the socialist alternative.

This is certainly difficult to sustain under the expansive capitalist hegemony to which the island is subjected, hegemony that weighs on cultural consumption, the devaluation of self-organized solidarity and the visible leadership role of economists and technocrats from Cuban academia and politics.

But if we want Cuba not to become a “market without a republic” (as predicted in the dismal prophecy of one prestigious Cuban intellectual), it seems to me we’ll have to fight.

To do so implies abandoning abstract utopianisms, far from what some proclaim. It’s about defending viable proposals for managing social services, regulating fundamental businesses and bringing up for discussion state spending at all levels. It’s about promoting cooperatives, participatory budgeting and independent unions.

Cuban workers. Photo: Caridad

It means demonstrating with examples — which exist like islands of self-determination within this capitalist world — that what’s collective isn’t the same at what’s state-owned and run. What’s truly participatory is not a mere guise for what’s actually authoritarian, and “socialist” inefficiency can’t be remedied by privatization.

We need to look to real and virtuous experiences, like the Nordic social protection systems, the social economy networks in Uruguay and the public policy of the current government of Ecuador.

In the specifically political realm, it’s about building a substantive (representative, participatory, deliberative) democracy, where there are no exclusions for ideological reasons, and hegemony is achieved with reason and debate not through force nor accompanied by irreversible bouts of institutional sclerosis.

This would mean trans-institutional democracy in which the citizenry rules through political and social organizations, and the arrogance of bureaucrats is not merely replaced by new and refurbished self-referencing party and business elites. This would be where battles of ideas were not supplanted by marketing campaigns.

The history of pre-revolutionary Cuba was a long sequence of authoritarian governments that began with our colonial status and included two ironhanded anti-communist dictatorships supported by Washington.

Notwithstanding, today there’s no shortage of Cuban liberals, democrats and patriots — an unavoidable part of the nation — who are reintroducing the legacy of the pluralistic press (such as the Republican press) and progressive constitutionalism (like the one of 1940) to continue striving towards the establishment of a state of rights with the tri-partition of powers and multi-partyism, akin to the classical canons of representative democracy.

Therefore, if others have all the energy and right to dream a different future, why should we on the left refuse to aim for a different form of socialism as an alternative to the current regime and to any neoliberal substitutes?

In a few weeks we’ll be marking five years since that Mayday march when, despite threats of repression, a small group of comrades went out to Revolution Square to march in the Labor Day parade carrying a banner reading: “Down with bureaucracy! Long live the workers! More socialism!”

In light of this, I can only recognize the relevance of that action, where we overcame our fears to defend national and popular sovereignty.

I remember how we began to detect — in the joy, surprise and warm acceptance of other marchers — for the possibility of a socialist future.

If there’s something (I think) should distinguish a socialist, it’s not seeking a pure and unreal world, but the reasoned, free and collective construction of better ways and places for living, here and now, as human beings.

This is a search in which we will need to accompany (and join) the struggles and contributions of all movements – pro-democracy, environmentalist, feminist and anti-imperialist.

Anything that threatens the happy advent of this emancipatory plurality — be they the holy words of a messiah or the preaching of merchants — is, in the crudest sense, profoundly reactionary.

Armando Chaguaceda

Armando Chaguaceda: My curriculum vitae presents me as a historian and political scientist. I'm from an unclassifiable generation who collected the achievements, frustrations and promises of the Cuban Revolution and now resists on the island or contributes through numerous websites, trying to remain human without dying in the attempt.


30 thoughts on “Why Socialism for Cuba?

  • April 14, 2013 at 2:02 pm
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    Hi Grady,

    One of my favorite insights about socialism is of Rosa Luxemburg’s who said that ‘socialism cannot be decreed’. Because the material conditions are not only different from place to place, but they vary in time.

    See the first Russian soviets of 1905. They were Marxists? Yes. They followed the cooperative workflow and organization that you propose? Yes again.

    The true liberation of mankind must follow a schizoid process, struggling at multiple aims at the same time, not a paranoid process such as the formulation of a maximum program stipulating what is to be done in the very first place. Lenin made such mistake. Later on, after the Civil War, he reconsidered his own programmatic proposals. And – from my point of view – you are repeating this same mistake.

    Cheers.

  • April 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm
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    Ac: great job, contundent answers.Very interesting.Thanks.

  • April 13, 2013 at 5:38 pm
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    Good to see i agree with moses to once, i think his assestment is correct. Just because the cuban government has had success in implementing certain policies doesnt mean we can overlook its dysfunctionality, cuba’s political system is exhausted it needs fresh air and ideas, and access to more resouces

  • April 12, 2013 at 11:46 am
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    De acuerdo con sus aspiraciones. No deseo perdir los valores sociales de Cuba y la Revolución.

  • April 12, 2013 at 5:55 am
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    You are wrong in one thing. Cuba professional military forces are small. Like REALLY small. Sure, they have a large amount of conscripts every year, but as I mentioned before, those cannot be used against their own population. Take a look at the wikipedia page for the specifics:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Revolutionary_Armed_Forces

    They work under the pretense of total war in case of foreign invasion, so their role of the military is mostly to train their citizens (compulsory for all males) and once discharged from the military service, all go to the Territorial Troop Militia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_Troops_Militia

  • April 11, 2013 at 10:48 pm
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    Another thought to consider: Cuba’s military and police forces together are estimated to be three times the size of the comparable military and police forces in similar-sized countries. Without the resources to engage these forces full-time in training activities or a convenient war or two (like the US) to justify these force levels, Raul has chosen to put them to work in tourism and commerce. Combat readiness is a unspoken joke in that Soviet-era tanks, airplanes and anti-missile batteries are antequated and poorly supplied. Apologists would argue that what Cuba lacks in bullets, bombs and F-22s, they make up for with national pride. Saddam Hussein said the same thing once. Anyway, in addition to Raul’s trust in his old cronies and his paranoid attempt to keep those most likely to rise up against him busy counting Cuban pesos, the use of the military in non-military functions is simply a way to keep these half-baked warriors busy.

  • April 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm
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    Hey Luis, good to hear from you.

    The thing is, you are just the sort of person with whom I wish, and need to talk. So, let’s pour ourselves a cup of coffee and do it. Please try to take what I say seriously, and really think about it.

    The Marxian formula for socialist economy proposes to take the far-in-the-future goal of socialist construction–i.e., absence of private property–out of the distant, goal future, and force it onto society immediately, right after capitalist state power has been smashed. This would be done by concentrating all instruments of production in the hands of the state.

    Well, Luis, this sort of sneaking in of the Utopian immediate-communism ideal has not worked in any country that has tried it. So, I make a statement that this is why 20th Century socialism has failed, and you respond that, “No, it’s because of blah, blah, blah.”

    Look, comrade, if we can’t stick to the subject, how are we ever going to formulate a charismatic and workable maximum program for our own countries, Brazil and the US?

    Please go to the next-to-last page of the second chapter of the Communist Manifesto and zero in on the sentence in which Engels and Marx stipulate the state-monopoly formula that has caused so much trouble and failure for more than a century, and let’s talk about the real issue. Cheers.

  • April 11, 2013 at 5:55 pm
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    No. That started long time ago and is NOT a Raul-specific issue. You see it that way only because recently the military enterprises have been growing steadily and became a major economic player.

    As for sidelining Fidel old cronies, good riddance. They were ideologues, not specialists in their field and with good intention or not and with more or less autonomy they did a lot of damage to the economy (i.e. Lage).

    As for my trust in the military, you are reading stuff I never said. I don’t believe in the incorruptibility and never said such thing, I explained why they have a better incentive in remaining honest (at least less corrupt than the general population) and in most cases they do keep themselves honest enough.

    You are allowing your surrounding influence to pollute your thoughts on this matter. Common sense is worthless with Cuba, Cuba has never been about who earns more money (when regular Cubans earn too much they are scared to use it, so you get bizarre histories like a guy repairing for free the entire neighborhood so nobody would get the lip to the authorities and make him lost everything) but who can do better with the money they have and thats unquestionably the elite (political, military, cultural or whatever). And they know that all they have is borrowed under the pretense that they will remain loyal and useful, the moment they betray the expectations they lost everything.

    You have fear of a military junta taking over Cuba, and I can understand that fear, What you don’t understand is that the Cuban military cannot take that role because in practice they are powerless.

    Regardless of what you heard, Cuba does NOT have a professional army. They have a conscripted army with professional officers that for the most part have management roles (mostly logistics) and CANNOT be used against their own population because they’ll simply will insubordinate. Yes, they have some special units that are really both professional and battle-worthy, but those are small in numbers and insufficient to forcefully take control of any middle sized town, forget about a big city or the whole country.

    The same can be said of the police, most of their forces are the ubiquitous low profile cop we all know and love, some not so special troops and a few specialized units that can’t even contain a decent protest.

  • April 11, 2013 at 8:30 am
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    Since Raul became acting president he has been slowly putting his people into the top positions, retiring or side-lining some of Fidel’s old cronies. The militarization of the upper echelons of the Cuban regime continues.

    You are correct that the ruling clique has figured out they have only a few years left to fix the economy before the whole mess comes crashing down. Your belief in the incorruptibility of the officer class endearing, and you may call me a cynic, but the rich & powerful will always work at extending their wealth and power, no matter the system they live under. The suggestion that they won’t bother going corrupt because they already have lots of perks is laughable. Since when has wealth and privilege ever stopped graft and corruption? Given the lack of transparency and the complete politicalization of the police & judiciary, the military dominated ruling clique will be as corrupt as any other group would be in their fine Italian shoes.

    So who cares? Any Cuban’s who hope for a transition from the old socialist model to a liberal democratic model care. Any idealistic Cuban, such as Armando, who still dream of a rectified socialist Cuba should care as well.

    The path that Raul has set the country on will lead to a system based on an alliance between the military and the large state owned corporations with political power strictly controlled through the Party. But the party won’t be in the driver’s seat, and certainly not the people, the FAR will be in charge. They won’t risk their growing wealth and power with any stupid ideas about democracy or freedom.

  • April 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm
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    Who cares? They had some nice resorts for use of their own personal and a LOT of unused land, they invested and opened the resorts to international tourism, and with the profit expanded and allocated the extra funds whenever they needed instead of keeping sucking resources from the central government. They diverted personnel from the military service to the EJT and increased significantly their small scale productions to the point they became self sufficient and started distributing the surplus in the internal market (at the beginning in vulnerable sectors, later to the general population). And is not like they were taking advantage of the kids, they were paying the same wages as they would receive in elsewhere.

    I never said that Raul was the one trusting his officers for key economy positions, as a matter of fact the trust comes from party echelons and they were appointed by the council of state leaded by Fidel (who technically have control over the military as president but was NOT actively in the military).

    The point is, Cuban economy is not going anywhere, as it is is barely surviving. They know that their main issue is the revalorization of the wages as the main source of income, and that can’t happen until either Cuba magically finds a new source of resources (aka, big deposits of oil) or rectify the economy issues (aka remove the dual currency and restructure the economy from scratch). They had hopes on the first, but no luck whatsoever, so they have no choice but to tackle the second point in the next couple of years or perish.

    Until things gets to normalcy somewhere far in the future, those military guys are going to be around in key positions, simply because other options have an implicit risk of putting corrupted crooks in charge and they can’t afford it and they already proved that they can do it rather well.

  • April 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm
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    I refuse to be a termite in a collective.

  • April 10, 2013 at 2:08 pm
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    Both parties can take the blame for the financial mess, but you are mistaken on spending. The figures are as follows:

    2005: $2.472 T (Bush)
    2006 $2.564 T (Bush)
    2007 $2.564 T (Bush)
    2008 $2.704 T (Bush)
    2009: $3.173 trillion (Obama)
    2010: $3.081 trillion (Obama)
    2011: $3.126 trillion (Obama)
    2012: $3.213 trillion (Obama)

    The numbers for Bush’s first term and both of Clinton’s terms were even lower. In fact, spending during his first term was 67% higher under Obama than Clinton.

    It must be pointed out that Congress and Obama have not passed a budget sine 2009, which the Constitution requires them to do each year.

    http://augmentedtrader.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/plot1-2005.png

  • April 10, 2013 at 10:42 am
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    Hi Grady I’m in a hurry but I think where 20th Century socialism failed was on the handling of desire – where capitalism achieves the social control of human desires with alienation and materialistic fetishism and so on – it’s not about ‘want to be able’ but ‘to be able to want’ (roughly, it doesn’t translates well into English…) but anyway *all* propriety is private. I don’t reckon the ‘public’ vs ‘private’ dichotomy anymore. A country is nothing less than the private propriety of the State (!). We must push towards the Negri described as the ‘common’, a huge termite network of sorts.

    See ya!

  • April 10, 2013 at 9:44 am
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    Do you think tourism is a normal business the military would be involved in?

    Whether for the honourable reasons you claim, or for the sheer control of power as I assert, the fact is the Cuban military controls the largest proportion of the Cuban economy, including business activities well outside the normal range of military activities. Key government posts are held by senior military officers, generals and colonels, not just people who once did a stint as a corporal. You say this is because General Raul Castro trusts them & I’m sure he does. That’s the point when the military are in control.

    The point of concern is where is this leading to? Certainly not towards greater democracy, of either the liberal or socialist variety.

  • April 10, 2013 at 8:55 am
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    No Griffin. The current U.S. President has spent much less than at least his last 4 predecessors.

    When an economy goes into recession history teaches us that government stimulus spending provides the impetus for recovery. But the conservative nut jobs in Congress have not allowed this, yet amazingly the President has still managed to bring the economy back from the abyss where the conservative nut jobs put it and are trying to keep it for their selfish political reasons. Traitorious politics at its worst!

  • April 10, 2013 at 8:47 am
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    Very well expressed, though I would mention that the professional experience of the bureaucrats should not be disdained. Their familiarity with the circumstances under which they work should not be misinterpreted for “arrogance”. As an analogy, many cities and townships across the United States employ a City Manager who actually runs the city based on his or her professional experience instead of being beholding to the frequently self-serving unprofessional whims of politicians. The City Manager can be fired when he loses the confidence of the municipality’s elected representatives. This type of approach, not unlike a business owned by the workers, I believe has the greatest potential. A professional bureaucracy is necessary. One of the failings of many democracies is appointing unqualified people to positions they should never hold. The key to any successful democracy is an educated electorate as well as qualified professionals in the sector of public administration.

  • April 10, 2013 at 5:49 am
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    Again, the government is NOT controlled by the military. As a matter of fact, the officers are usually better by NOT getting involved in civilian activities, They have their own alternate reality and nothing to gain from that interaction. Nothing whatsoever.

    Also notice that I say “officers” not just “senior officers”. Of course the benefits are directly proportional to the rank, but they have to be kept both honest enough and completely loyal. A simple cost benefit analysis tells you that compared to the general population they have more risks (military justice is HARSH) and less benefits if they link themselves to corruption.

    And again, you are mistaken about something very important. The widespread corruption in Cuba is directly linked to the plummet in the value of the salary. People earn barely 140-150% of what they did in 1990, while inflation grew around 1000% (with a peak of 18000% in 1994). An that in the CUP currency, convert it to the CUC that is directly linked to the dollar (whose value has been steadily devaluating), divide by 25 (from a multiplying factor of 7 before the special period) and you will see that Cubans work for almost nothing. Almost nothing that is not nearly enough to live comfortable. And driven initially by desperation and social complicity they fell into thievery and other forms of corruption. And once they realized it was so widespread that they were virtually impune, by pure greed. Mostly from management, because little people stashed this here and there, while management steal in industrial quantities.

    Comparatively speaking, the military were spared from all this hardship, their salaries increased 200-300% while their money played in an isolated market shielded from the harshness the rest of the country experienced, If they tainted themselves they are going to be kicked from their nice piece of paradise (that include things counted as “medios basicos” that are always property of the employer, like his car -chauffer included- and his house -that is not technically his-), not to count the prospect of losing their ranks and spending several years in prison.

    The list you provided has no value whatsoever, but I’m not blaming you for it. You are basically complaining that the military is in control of military assets (Gaviota, GAESA and DIG are all military enterprises from the beginning), and pointing out that the current president, the ministry of communications and ex-ministers of sugar and aviation are all ex-military officers.

    I hear you, but thats not an argument. Only women and cripples (oops, physically challenged) are except from the Military service and even after ending it, they become members of the national militia. Point to a random male Cuban citizen and there is an overwhelming chance of they having some kind of dealing with the military.

    That doesn’t mean that ALL Cuban males are active military personnel or members of some kind of secret society with nefarious goals. If instead of your list, you would focus on the members of the state council for instance, you will quickly realize that only 4 of their members are active military officers (from 31 members).

    In the end, their success is a matter of trust. Military officers with a career of achievements and a track of loyalty are sought to lead and sort things out in the civilian when the corruption goes out of control simply because they are trusted and lots of times they assume the responsibility because of a sense of duty more than anything else. Thats certainly the case of Raul. He certainly hates the chaos of civilian life, hates speeches, hates speaking to the press and is very conscientious of his own shortcomings, so he delegates responsibility and demands results. Not exactly what you call a politician.

  • April 9, 2013 at 8:17 pm
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    When you Americans say “Swedish-style socialist” system, perhaps you mean the Scandinavian version of European social democracy. OK, fine. But for the record, the current government of Sweden is a centre-right coalition. The people got fed up with the high spending socialists and elected some sensible folk to balance the government cheque book.

    Meanwhile, the American electorate chose to re-elect a man who has never balanced a cheque book in his life and who intends to spend the country into ruin. They really could learn something from the Swedish example.

  • April 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm
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    Oh that is a good one: the military is not corrupt because the government, which is controlled by the military, sees to it that senior officers get everything they could possibly want!

    The list I provided is a few years old and several people have shuffled around, but the point remains the same. The senior ranks of the government, the party and the state enterprises are all senior military officers, retired or active. Officially speaking.

    The information you have that the enterprises seized by the military were corrupt comes from the official media, which is controlled by… can you guess? The military.

    But you are correct about two things: the rise of the military-corporate dictatorship is due to Raul’s “pragmatism”, or opportunism, if you will. And that these enterprises feed off the dirt cheap labour of the Cuban worker. Yes, so very true.

  • April 9, 2013 at 7:11 pm
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    Yes, I know for a fact that the military is far less corrupt that the general population and I even mentioned before the reason for it. The “periodo especial” never happened for the officers, they live in an alternate reality where the crisis never never hit (or more accurately the impact was minimal) and they still have access to market at the prices of 1985 even when their own salaries tripled.

    That means that as a group, their standard of life rose when the same of the rest of the population plummeted, it was a strategical decision to keep the military happy and avoid a coup and the side effect is that they didn’t had to steal and divert resources in order to survive.

    Also, thanks to the Raul’s pragmatism (as opposed to Fidel’s ideology) they grow their tiny factories to the point of cover their own necessities and with the creation of the EJT (Youth Army of Work), roughly 1/3 if the conscripts became cheap labor and made their enterprises flourish.

    As for your list, is quite cute but painfully incomplete. You missed an important fact: in Cuba, most civilian sectors are subordinated to the military in times of crisis. They have alternate chains of command in place and work in cooperation with the military, even in peace times.

    Also you missed another little fact: most of the members of that list are not longer active in the military, including Raul, Ramiro Valdez, while Rogelio Acevedo was dethroned last year (if I recall correctly) after a major scandal and not surprisingly, Julio Casas that well, is not active anywhere since he died in 2011.

    You conveniently forgot to mention that the enterprises seized recently were dismantled because they were corrupted to the core and had colorful high level scandals involving embezzlement, bribery and more. They were given to the military not for some nefarious military conspiracy, as I mentioned before they are simply the less corrupt of the bunch.

  • April 9, 2013 at 7:02 pm
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    Good point, Moses. But, if such a free plebiscite were to be held in the US, and if all the adults were to participate, I believe that the Swedish-style socialist capitalism would win, hands down.

  • April 9, 2013 at 6:56 pm
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    If I may repeat what Luis says: Clap, clap, clap, Armando.

    What depresses me about Armando’s line of reasoning however is that he does not go to the essence the “new form” of socialism he desires. That is, he does not grapple with the question of private productive property rights and a conditioned market under socialist state power. In not doing so, his sincere article falls disappointingly short.

    Why has the state monopoly form of socialism failed, in the long term? It is because it mistook the goal of socialism–elimination of class distinctions–for the immediate program of nationalization.

    It mistook what was supposed to lie on the other side of the socialist bridge–absence of private property–for what could and should be forced onto society in the present. This was–and is–self-destruction of the social transformation.

    That is, by nationalizing “all” the instruments of production in 1968, private property rights were abolished, and this meant that the default manner of keeping things going was, and still is, massive, choking bureaucracy and political/social absolutism.

    But Armando does not have a clue about this sort of thing. He blames it all on individuals and superficial causes.

    Cuba is just like the US in this regard: she needs a form of socialism that revokes state monopoly as the only form of socialist property, and sees authentic socialism as closer to “social-capitalism” than bureaucratic state monopoly.

  • April 9, 2013 at 12:58 pm
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    You do not know for a fact the FAR run enterprises are less corrupt because the military does not allow civilian oversight and policing. They control the policing. Any snoopy reporters who look too closely end up in prison, like what happened to Calixto Martinez. Government officials are not held accountable to the law, except when a higher up official want to clean house of a rival faction.

    In fact, several civilian and foreign enterprises have been seized in recent months and handed over to FAR owned corporations. These corporations are growing, not because they are efficient and well managed organizations, but because the same people who run these operations also run the government ministries. Government contracts and regulations favour these corporations. For example, the small self-employed sector are obliged to buy supplies from wholesalers who are part of the FAR corporations, which control all imports and exports. This is not an example of free-market liberal economics, it’s a monopoly.

    The vast majority of senior government officials are also active or retired senior military officers, from General Raul Castro on down the list. The same circle of people populate the top ranks of government, the military and the state-run corporations. They are not merely “interfering in politics”, they ARE the political power of the country. This is why the Cuban system is sometimes called an oligarchy. This is what makes Cuba a military dictatorship.

    MAJOR MILITARY MANAGED ENTERPRISES AND INDUSTRIES

    · Gaviota S.A. [Hotels]
    · Aerogaviota S.A. [Domestic tourist airline]
    · TRD Caribe S.A. [Retail chain store]
    · Union de la Industria Militar [Defense industries]
    · Grupo de la Electronica [Electronics and IT hardware/services]
    · Habanos S.A. [Cigars]
    · Sugar Ministry [Sugar industry]
    · Cuban Civil Aviation Corp. [Cubana and Aerocaribbean airlines, airport services]

    MANAGERIAL ELITE IN UNIFORM

    · Gen. Raul Castro [Defense Minister and successor to Fidel Castro]
    · Gen. Julio Casas Regueiro [Deputy Defense Minister and Chairman, GAESA]
    · Maj. Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas [CEO, GAESA]
    · Col. Armando Perez Betancourt [Head, Enterprise Management Improvement Commission]
    · Gen. Luis Perez Rospide [CEO, Gaviota S.A.]
    · Comandante Ramiro Valdes Menendez [CEO, Electronics Group]
    · Gen. Ulises Rosales del Toro [Minister, Sugar Industry]
    · Col. Luis Bernal Leon [CEO, Defense Industries Group]
    · Col. Oscar Basulto Torres [Co-President, Habanos S.A.]
    · Gen. Rogelio Acevedo Gonzalez [President, Cuban Civil Aviation Corp.]

    http://ctp.iccas.miami.edu/FOCUS_Web/Issue46.htm

  • April 9, 2013 at 11:16 am
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    You are forgetting past discussions we had. The FAR manages a lot of assets because they are the less corrupt workforce they have to the date. Is not like they took over civilian enterprises, all the ones you mention always were operated by the military and their success simply expanded to the point of eclipsing civilian managed ones.

    If anything, their success is proof of the widespread corruption in the civilian sector. Is simply astonishing that with retail prices above 200% of import prices, most civilian chains are facing severe financial loses, but thats reality.

    To put it simply, if bureaucratic military management is better than civilian management, they will succeed where the others will fail. Isn’t that how the market is supposed to work? What exactly is your complaint? As far as I can tell they are not interfering in politics, using force or intimidation nor dictating anything. They are just demanding all their workers (including civilians) to remain honest and being harsh with corruption and theft.

    Isn’t that how everything should be? How exactly is that a military dictatorship?

  • April 9, 2013 at 8:43 am
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    The problem is that the Cuban national wealth, along with dirt cheap Cuban labour, are already being sold to foreign corporations in partnerships with large local corporations owned by the Cuban army. The ruling clique has seen the writing on the wall. They have positioned themselves to benefit from the ongoing transition and that means holding onto political as well as economic power.

    “As of today, the FAR manages important
    and powerful corporations such as GAESA,
    Gaviota S.A., Copextel, S.A. and Cubanacán S.A., all
    of which have a specific area of interest in the Cuban
    economy. GAESA S.A. has become the main coordinator
    of all the FAR assets and interest within the civilian
    sector and it has out shadowed the UIM of the
    1980s, which involved FAR management of industries
    that produced specifically for military consumption
    (Klepak 2005). Gaviota S.A. is one of the most
    prominent FAR corporations as it manages the all important
    tourist sector. Copextel S.A. focuses on
    producing electronic services and products for the
    Cuban population. Cubanacán S.A is a commercial
    company representing hotels and restaurants in the
    tourist sector. Other corporations such as Cimex S.A
    and ETECSA S.A work with foreign investors, giving
    the FAR an emerging international reputation.”

    http://www.ascecuba.org/publications/proceedings/volume20/pdfs/aranda.pdf

    Cuba has already changed from the socialist model to a corporate/military/bureaucratic dictatorship. In the offices and mansions of the ruling clique, they must be enjoying a good chuckle when naive idealists like Armando march in mayday parades calling for “More Socialism!” Those days are long gone, comrade.

  • April 9, 2013 at 7:07 am
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    Moses: so where do you get your ideas from? Did you hold a poll in Cuba? Already reading spcialist- capitalism makes me lough. Never herd about social-democracy? Agree completely on Mr. Goodrich. And even countries with high social responsibility, above all in Western Europe, such as mentioned Sweden, or less Austria, which came out of the crisis better than others,, could not escape the world wide crisis of capitalism. But arèn´t you aware that you cannot implant a system just like that on another country. Different conditions in every way. And even if Cuba would adopt social-democrat politic, this wouln`d be a guarantee for economocal success ( not to talk about that the US wouldn`t even accept a social- democrat model because of ther socialismphoby.

  • April 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm
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    Equating Cuba with the richest capitalist countries rather than with countries of similar resources and populations is self-serving and dishonest.

    Alone, the fact that Cuba is the only Latin American county to have no child malnutrition is sufficient reason to stay the course and make the necessary reforms towards democracy within the constraints of the U.S. war on the people of Cuba.

    Cuba’s high (U.N.) Human Development Index rating would plummet and bring the living standards of the great many down to that of poor capitalist countries were they to revert to what was before the revolution.

    Better a benevolent dictatorship than a malevolent dictatorship of money under a capitalist and oligarchic system as you would like. .

  • April 8, 2013 at 6:01 pm
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    Yeah, right, because any poor country can implement either Swedish style or US style economy. If Cuba government fails, the ONLY alternative is going to be banana-style capitalism, where all national wealth is going to be sold for cheap to foreign corporations and make a few bastards filthy rich while the vast majority of the people are going to be like now, except without a safe network to reduce economic hardships.

    Voting on the issue is silly, you ask them if they want to live in a poor country or in a rich one and +95% will vote rich. The hard thing is going to be to make their country rich using as start point what they have now, and so far I’m not seeing any viable alternative. Not from the government, not from the opposition. Not even from Miami.

  • April 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm
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    If open and free elections were held today in Cuba the options were US-style relatively wide-open economic system, Swedish-style socialist capitalism, or the status quo, I believe the vote would be 60% Swedish-style, 30% US, and unbelievably high 20% for the current failed system.

  • April 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm
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    Clap, clap, clap, Armando.

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