Our Problems Now Come First

Dariela Aquique

VI Communist Party Congress. Photo: Jorge Luis Baños

Recently there were great expectations among Cubans.  The Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba met in Havana, where its delegates defined in their addresses the social and economic future of the country.

This meant that the road ahead for our citizens was defined by a group of activists who — like in a meeting of old Druids — decided on what is best for the hordes.

This congress had a distinguishing characteristic relative to those of the past, and it comes from the political strategy of the current head of government.  Since he assumed power, Raul Castro has demonstrated on several occasions his great concern for turning around (or at least trying to) the precarious conditions of the island’s economy.

It is remarkable that our president doesn’t stop with international politics in his analyzing, questioning and suggesting (or any other gerund).  He is clearly focused on making national policies and his main approach is to prioritize the country’s economy and its changing circumstances.

This is something unparalleled in the history of the Cuban Revolution.  This leader is assuming the full and absolute responsibility for the government’s role in the decline of our economic base, pointing to its tactical mistakes and poor decisions made.  Here the economic blockade (which certainly exists) was another factor among so many others – but not the sole cause of all our problems.

Economists presentations throughout the country.

I add this parenthesis regarding the US economic embargo because a habit was acquired in the past of explaining everything that was doing poorly in the country as having its origin in the damned blockade.  It didn’t matter what the nature of the problem was; it could have been social, cultural or whatever.  The fact is that the blame was always put in the same place, and to the point that this had become an object of mockery on the part of the public.

The current leader is sparing in his speeches (which people thank him for infinitely).  Moreover, he is always centered on the pressing problems of Cuban society.  He is calling on everyone — the leaders and the people — to work toward establishing a new economic policy, to turn the economy into something different from what, paradoxically, we have been experiencing all these years.

An interesting phenomenon has been occurring in the recent period.  A group of academics and specialists in macroeconomics have been organizing conferences with countless numbers of companies, firms and universities to report the real and quite sad state of the Cuban economy.  In these they give details and share figures — explicit ones — and this is something I think is worth highlighting.

What will be our uncertain future?  I don’t know.  Reshaping our economy will be a monumental effort and will require years.  What counts is the intent at trying, of drafting new guidelines and making unrestrained searches for alternatives.  These are the actions of those who are betting on the new direction taken by the government.

The aim is commendable and now with the Congress concluded, it depends on us to cooperate with this task.  At least we are feeling one change: our problems now come first.

2 thoughts on “Our Problems Now Come First

  • Micheal, with all due respect, I don’t think the issue is what things “seem, but what they in fact are.

    Admittedly they did a better job of orchestrating the Congress. But, for example, the “representatives” to that assembly still had to be approved AFTER they’ were elected. And who did the the approving? Exactly — the same old group of octogenarians on high (despite the talk about openings to the youthful, under 75 crowd).

    I too am still HOPEFUL that the rank-and-file/grassroots will one day be able to play their full and active role.

    However this performance wasn’t so convincing.

  • During this past week I have been reading your accounts , and also those of others (Juventud Rebelde, U.K. Guardian, Al Jazeera, U.K. Independent, etc.) as well as viewing the many videos available on YouTube and elsewhere of the VI Party Congress. Perhaps I am naive, but I can’t help but feeling hopeful. The representatives know what are the problems confronting Cuba, and are determined to do something about them, rather than allowing inertia to continue. For once, policies don’t seem to be handed down from on high, to be implimented without questions, but instead are being openly discussed and debated and, after 50+ years of the Revolution, this is as it should be!

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