Please Don’t Sell Us Any More Promises

By Pedro Pablo Morejon

Cuba’s Minister of the Economy, Alejandro Gil.  Photo: Demetrio Villaurrutia /

HAVANA TIMES – I recently watched a show on Cuban TV. It was an interview that Mr. Alejandro Gil, the Cuban Minister of Economy, gave to the RT (Russia Today) channel. In this interview, he spoke about the Cuban economy, projects and prospects for the future.

I have to admit, I was left quite surprised. In spite of so many decades of promises and upbeat speeches, I still haven’t lost the ability to be amazed. Paraphrasing the minister, and with the absolute safeguard of keeping to the spirit of his statements, I will summarize for you what he said during the interview.

For starters, it turns out that we have great sources of development.

What did he use to give basis to this argument and be sure? Let’s take a look at his arguments.

1 – Foreign investment is a fundamental pillar of the economy. Foreign investors have the assurance that Cuba is a safe country with a serious State, which is responsible and upholds its commitments. The Mariel development zone has already completed the phase of building infrastructure and roads. He says that there are around fifty businesses there, right now.

2 – The Socialist State Companies. They have great potential, according to him. In his own words, the State Enterprises can still further improve and reach higher volumes of production and efficiency, developing national production so as to replace imports. He said that bureaucratic red tape, which still exists, needs to be resolved in order for this to happen.

3 – The private and cooperative sector. It’s a new player in the national economic landscape. It hasn’t been around long enough to be considered a socio-economic development project for the country. It has made progress and had setbacks, and it has been subject to revisions, just like any innovative model is. An appeal has been made to this sector to complement the State-Led Sector in developing our economy.

Near the end, he underlined the connection between the historic and next generations, in terms of national plans and actions towards making progress. He spoke about the work and guidance of men such as Raul Castro, Machado Ventura and Ramiro Valdes.

His emphatic statements were the most interesting. He believes that we can trust that the US blockade, or even the international crisis today as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, aren’t determining obstacles that will hinder our economic progress. That we can hope for progress in spite of, and with, these.

I won’t give you an economic analysis. I’m not an economist, I accept that. I also won’t try and refute the points this distinguished minister has argued. I believe doing so would be to underestimate my dear reader.

It is definitely the same disastrous model in essence, which has been given a lick of polish over and over again. Anyone who knows a little about these six decades under totalitarian rule here in Cuba, will remember perfectly the cycles of statements/promises, crises, those who are held to blame, statements/promises, crises, those who are held to blame… In short, a vicious cycle that is never-ending.

We’ve seen this movie a thousand times before. Enough of false promises. 

4 thoughts on “Please Don’t Sell Us Any More Promises

  • The mere premise that the Castro dictatorship has a leadership position named Economy Minister is laughable. At best, this job is an overrated accounting position. In Cuba that job is largely done by the Comptroller. So, instead of Minister of Economy, the job held by Alejandro Gil is better titled…Head Cheerleader.

  • In a dictatorship, those with grandiose titles, Prime Minister, Minister, Vice this and that, are all but pawns. All decisions of significance in Cuba are made by Raul Castro Ruz. Diaz-Canel Bermudez merely conveys them for the Party puppets to enact.

  • This is what happens when you are caught between a rock-current US policy towards Cuba- and a hard place, The Covid 19 pandemic which remains elusive.

  • It is the role of any Cuban Minister of Economy to go on national media – Cuban TV – and spout proudful propaganda to try and appease the dire condition of the country’s economy. To do otherwise, would make a Cuban Minister of Economy an ex-Minister of Cuban Economy very rapidly. You can’t fault him; he also has to feed his family. As long as his masters perceive he is playing a role in the party line, everything will be O.K. for him and his employer – the Cuban state.

    Obviously in a any totalitarian regime any pronouncements coming from the state, especially “new” optimistic economic projections are to be taken with a grain of salt, and even “surprise” as you state.

    Two points to consider. One, the COVID-19 pandemic will send almost every progressive country’s economy into recession this year and perhaps for years to come. Canada is an example. One does not need to be an economist to see this occurring. The unprecedented pandemic has shut down almost every business worldwide for months with major financial losses piling up and many businesses about to go bankrupt and/or need to restructure or need government generous bailouts once the pandemic subsides somewhat. Is Cuba’s economy immune to this predicament now and into the foreseeable future?

    Cuba’s economy has been stagnant if not depressed for many, many years prior to the pandemic so how can the Cuban Minister of Economy boldly boast COVID -19 isn’t an obstacle that will hinder Cuba’s economic progress. Really? Of course, political propaganda, especially when being interviewed on Russia Today (RT) channel, knows no boundaries.

    Secondly, let’s face it, the U.S. Helms-Burton Act, particularly if Trump remains President, will continue to depress the Cuban economy because any country willing to help their Cuban friends will face the wrath of the United States economic strangle hold. We wish this wasn’t so but it is reality.

    Cuba’s one time savior, Russia in a pandemic crisis of its own, even though it may want to provide sustenance to its Cuban comrade does not now have the resource capability of bailing out a friend. China provides aid to countries in need on the condition that the Chinese government then becomes the majority stakeholder in their overseas investment, if not the sole owners. Will Cuba want to go down that precarious economic master-servant relationship again – I don’t know.

    I am sure you, Pedro, were not the only one surprised at the economic future prospects and projects pronouncement when this scenario has been repeated over and over and over . . . ad nauseam to no one’s surprise.

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