Crisis, Criticism & Doubts a Year into Cuba’s Reforms

ATM machine in Cuba

The Cuban Government has admitted that “design problems” with the Reforms Process and “problems” implementing it, have led to “deviations”, “mistakes” and “unwanted results”, as well as “multiple complaints among the population”.

By Cubaencuentro

HAVANA TIMES – The Reforms Process, the greatest economic reforms undertaken in Cuba in recent years, reaches its first anniversary amid a severe crisis, which these changes have only made worse, and doubts about what 2022, EFE news agency reports.

The wide-ranging series of reforms – which included the devaluation of the Cuban peso, the end of the dual-currency system, a general increase in state wages and pensions and subsidy cuts – was set in motion amid a harsh landscape: with the economy nose-diving because of the pandemic and stricter US sanctions.

The Government has itself admitted that “design problems” with the Reforms Process and “problems” implementing it, because of the national and global economic situation, have led to “deviations”, “mistakes” and “unwanted results”, as well as “multiple complaints among the population”.

This is what Cuban prime minister, Manuel Marrero, wrote in his accountability report, which was submitted to the National Assembly (Parliament). He admitted that “things needed fixing and new decisions had to be made”, because the Reforms haven’t “completely met” their objective.

For the ordinary Cuban, the implementation of these measures coincided with food and medicine shortages, long lines to buy basic essentials, often at the stores only selling in foreign currency (MLC), when the majority of Cubans only earn in pesos.

But above all, the year that just came to an end, saw high inflation rates that hadn’t been seen in decades. Official statistics talk about over 70% in the retail market, although some experts estimate that real inflation (including the illicit market) stands at approximately 500%.

Cuban economist Pavel Vidal, an associate professor at the Pontificia Javeriana University in Cali (Colombia), explained to EFE that the currency reform “has sped up inflation” and hasn’t resolved “key issues that remained pending” such as the Cuban peso’s exchange rate, dollarization and differences between official and informal exchange rates.

He believes that “the economic authorities have been pushing for partial dollarization using bank dollars (MLC), which is a counter-productive sign that shows that the Government doesn’t have a lot of faith in the Cuban peso and its own currency reform.”

According to Cuban economist, Pedro Monreal, the Reforms Process “went wrong”. According to one of his Tweets, the price of the basic food products increased 7.9 times, while average wages only went up 4.4 times. Summarizing, he said that this adjustment “hiked up living costs.”

The economy is a priority for the Cuban Government in 2022. The minister of Finances and Prices, Meisi Bolaños Weiss, said that “fixing the problem of high inflation is the economy’s main challenge.”

When presenting the Economic Plan for this year, the minister of Economy and Planning, Alejamdro Gil, stressed that other priorities are macro-economic stability and recovering the role of the Cuban peso as the heart of Cuba’s financial system.

Cuban economist Mauricio De Miranda, based in Madrid, advocates for “realistic” reforms, in an article he wrote for Columbia Law School (US).

He advocates getting rid of stores selling with USD prices, embracing flexible exchange rates, opening up the financial system to foreign commercial banks and liberalizing foreign trade, “necessary” measures which will only be the first step in moving towards sustainable growth.

However, Vidal sees reason for optimism. Recovering the tourism sector and three vaccines developed to fight COVID-19 “can boost economic growth and help to control inflation.”

Furthermore, the reform that allows private micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in more economic sectors, could contribute to improving the economic situation, he notes.

Nevertheless, Vidal points out that the main obstacle to controlling inflation is “high fiscal deficit”, which has mainly financed by issuing money. “This means making decisions about subsidies and support for public companies that are financially unviable.”

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

6 thoughts on “Crisis, Criticism & Doubts a Year into Cuba’s Reforms

  • Truther,

    “…using narratives that a realist or non-imperialist who doesnt fit in the status of quo of western society would be totally repulsed by.”

    In plain English, what exactly are you trying to say? Are you suggesting that I having visited and spent many years interacting and engaged with Cubans on Cuban soil am or am not, according to your assertion, a “realist” or “non-imperialist” (whatever you mean by that political term)?

    And, moreover, again according to your convoluted assertion “… who doesnt (sic) fit in the status of quo (sic) of western society . . .” if your English expression is correct: I do not fit in “…the status of quo (sic) of western society”? Duh!!

    I stopped reading after this initial exposure to your inability to express yourself in plain English so that readers can understand what the point of your submission really is. Try to express rather impress.

    I await a more clear, coherent premise to substantiate your subsequent points. Thereafter, we can partake in a discourse.

  • Stephen,
    I think you and Joshua do have equally valid point, though diametrically opposed points. That said, I think it is unwise, to be dismissive of him just because of your assertion of where he stayed. More pointedly, I think you run into real dangerous footing when you attempt to label him false, using narratives that a realist or non-imperialist who doesnt fit in the status of quo of western society would be totally repulsed by. I’ve gone to the trouble of listing some of the glaring ones you state:
    1) “Cuba, a totalitarian communist country ruled by a few elites” Besides your obvious hangup with the label communist (are you CIA?), both US,Canada DO have few elites who are self-serving. This mirrors Joshua’s claim. Please tell me you are not being serious here. Do NOT confuse freedom of protest to freedom of power. PROTEST is not POWER. Gives a good illusion though.
    2) “by droves, particularly young Cubans, are leaving the country” You fail to mention the history,imperialism, state capture by foreign capital etc. and conveniently hide that unlike other Haiti places, Cubans are enticed by US structural policies & law to migrate there. Its being going on for last 60 years. Thats why you only see cubans migrating to US. Oh wait, there are immigrants frm mexico,to Brazil every year trying to get out. Infact africans,syrians,asians – all continents have migrants.Ironically created by the policies of these few elites Joshua talked

    3)”there are now two classes of Cubans in Cuba today” and “wages are sufficient to keep Westerners’ stomach full”. Buddy, take a good, long hard look at the canadian or US system. The real divider is the haves and have nots. Dont drink that mainstream media owned by the corrupt elites’ messaging. This is exactly what Joshua was warning you of. Doubt the indians in your lands have full bellies. Theres massive corruption,cleverly veiled…leads me to the last point

    4)”federal government is now allowing foreign nurses..” ahaa. BINGO. From my point above, the media has you focusing on the overwhelmed system, yet their masters are raking in the dough big time, as you yourself focused on the hiring of foreigners (to also help them n pfizer make a boatload of money). There are closed door deals being made too that we will only find out about 2 years from now from the unlucky barron who gets caught.

    If the above doesnt click, please re-read it, take a break and consult “diverse” sources, till you may slowly get it. You may find somewhere exactly what Joshua was talking about. Its very subtle to the average joe public. You will find you wont go around criticizing other nations who at least know why they are suffering and choose to do so in defiance of imperialism, unlike the gullible elsewhere who dont really have a clue.

  • “Crisis, Criticism & Doubts a Year into Cuba’s Reforms”

    Cuba is still a couple notches ahead of North Korea. Whoopee

    “Manuel Marrero, wrote in his accountability report” He admitted that “things needed fixing.

    The understatement of the year. You bunglers are completely incompetent.
    Absolute disaster is being too kind. Manuel

  • “Latin America has the same problems that we do.” That statement is completely false.

    Joshua, you state you visited Cuba prior to the corona virus pandemic. You stated you visited Varadero and Havana. I can understand why you may have a very distorted view of Cuba if you only spent time in sheltered Varadero in a resort hotel.

    In your statement suggesting Latin America, and I assume you include Cuba in that category, has the same problems as say, Canada, is to not fully understand Cuba.

    Cuba, a totalitarian communist country ruled by a few elites, in no way can be compared to a democratic, quasi socialist, country like Canada. Canadians can march on the streets freely and shout opposition to corona virus decrees postulated by provincial and/or the federal government. In Cuba any protest on the streets no matter what the cause is punished severely with jail time – guilty or not. That is the reality of living in a totalitarian regime. Anti-government descent of any kind is not tolerated.

    After some 60 plus years of communist rule, ordinary Cubans have reached the limit of their tolerance and are voting with their feet. Cubans by droves, particularly young Cubans, are leaving the country because they see no hope, no future, and project more of the same miserable life they, their parents and grandparents have had to endure. Canadians, and other “Westerners”, are not likely to flee their country unless of course they are major corporations situated in Canada seeking a tax haven.

    The majority of ordinary Cubans worry about being able to feed and clothe their families on a daily basis. The majority of ordinary Cubans work in jobs that do not pay a sufficient living wage. There are now two classes of Cubans in Cuba today. Those who receive financial remittances from abroad and have access to MLC (American dollar stores) and those who do not. Those Cubans with foreign currency arriving on their plastic cards can shop at well stocked stores. Those without (majority) must rely on their wits and tribulations to be able to scrape by with meager wages too inadequate to keep up with inflationary prices.

    Canadians have none of those day to day problems Cubans must content with. Yes, there is inflationary pressures on the Canadian consumer but adequate wages are sufficient to keep Westerners’ stomach full.

    With regard to the corona virus Cuba has gone its own way. It has produced its own vaccinations within the country and together with its compulsory masking policy the virus seems to be under control.

    In Canada, the situation is one complete mess. Canada with its immense resources has had to go out and purchase from multi national corporations Pfizer and Moderna vaccines because Canada – under a Conservative government – decided investing and producing vaccines in Canada was not a “wise” financial investment and too costly to maintain.

    Now, the Canadian health care system in every Canadian province is so overwhelmed with COVID patients it is at a breaking point. The federal government is now allowing foreign nurses to practice nursing in Canadian hospitals because all hospitals are simply overwhelmed.

    Latin America, particularly Cuba, cannot be categorized as having the same problems as, certainly, Canada whatever the subject.

  • Cuba is a “country” where absolutely nothing works except the police repression. The government priority are more hotels for the foreign tourism and technology to increase the repression against the people to keep the elite in power. The 656 Cubans that are still in jail for only go out on the street to demand the end of this nightmare are been tried in summary trials receiving 15,20,and even 30 years of deprivation of freedom.. it’s time to put an end to this horrible dictatorship.

  • I am a Westerner who visited Cuba before the coronavirus and I was pleasantly surprised at not just how beautiful the country was but how beautiful the souls were of the many Cubans I had met during my time in Varadero/Havana.

    Once in awhile, I look up news on what is happening in Cuba, and this article is concerning.

    There is deep corruption taking place at this moment in our history. We are MAD if we have to invent reasons to justify the tyranny and loss of basic human rights. There is a REASON why the Nuremberg trials took place. There were terrible atrocities allowed to take place back in Nazi Germany that people found horrific enough to prevent it from happening again.

    And yet, it appears that we are in the same situation as the Germans were. Faced with a choice. Do we call for the death and economic destruction and social exclusion of the unvaccinated? Or do we recognize them to be human like we are? That bleed the same color blood that we have?

    I may not agree with the religious beliefs of Islam but I do not advocate for the isolation of all Muslims and that they be punished for not converting to my beliefs.

    Because that is what this is about. Tolerance of divergent beliefs. If you cannot show compassion or respect towards another human being why should you then be expecting any from them in return?

    And this is why I felt compelled to leave my long opinion on this matter. Westerners are being lied to by their government and the media. There is ample evidence of corruption in our institutions that we cannot possibly find truth about Latin America or within our own country on networks like CBC in Canada or CNN in the United States. Latin America MUST know that the truth is not being told. This is not about conspiracy “theorists” who believe the earth is flat. This is about whether or not you surrender the right to decide what to put inside of your bodies. Because once you take away that choice, you and your children and their children, will no longer be free and the human race will serve the masters known as “government” which happens to be controlled and infested lobbyists and deals with multinational corporations giving preferential deals to them in exchange for money and favors.

    Companies like Pfizer are not Latin America’s friends. The vaccine passport is the most dangerous threat to personal freedom that humanity has ever faced. The choices we make today will impact the future of the human race profoundly. We must take great care and consideration to find out what is REALLY going on and whether or not we have an accurate understanding of the situation.

    Over 99% of infections and cases of covid experience a successful recovery. That is a percentage of risk we must all be comfortable with taking. There comes a point where we must accept that life can produce dangerous situations but that it is our OWN responsibility to ensure that we are safe. We should not be giving power to people we’ve never met face to face in order for us to feel safe. We cannot hope to be both “free” and “safe” here in the West. The choice is neither one or the other, it is both.

    Please inform yourselves on what is called “Mass Formation Psychosis” and do NOT use Google to search for it. It WILL be censored. We must understand and accept that corporations and governments do not have our best interests at heart. They do not care about the health and welfare of Canadians, Americans, Mexicans or Latin Americans at all.

    They care about profit. And with the stock markets on the verge of collapse due to the federal reserve printing dollars out from thin air, who are the people or companies making the most money right now?

    Where is all the money going?

    Follow the money and you will have your answers. I suggest visiting the website run by Robert F Kennedy. It is a good source for truthful facts and reports about what is really going on in American and Canadian news. We cannot trust our media. We are being attacked by propaganda and lies.

    I trust that Latin America and Cuba will come to their senses and understand that the world is not dealing with a physical virus, it is dealing with a sickness of the MIND. A mind that wants to stifle, oppress, coerce, demand, enforce and destroy anyone who resists vaccine mandates, masks, lockdowns and the vaccine itself.

    The reaction to the coronavirus is much more dangerous than the virus itself.

    We are better people than this. Latin, Canadian, American. We must come together and show honesty and compassion to one another. Until we loosen the grips on each other’s throats, we will never be able to agree on who is ultimately responsible for all this.

    Latin America has the same problems that we do. We are being attacked. This is a war on humanity and the enemy is using money as a tool of destruction. There is much evidence out there for those that have eyes to see and ears to hear.

    We must not be afraid to reason and use logic among ourselves. Coercion is dangerous no matter what reasons are given. We must never force anyone to do anything that they did not agree towards.

    We must respect human sovereignty.

    No matter what. Human beings are meant to be free to live their lives. When we restrict others from doing so, we commit an act of evil. Even if it is done for so-called reasons of “safety”.

    Latin America has much to be proud about but we must not forget that this is a war on the human spirit itself. This is Truth versus lies.

    There can only be one path forward.

    Get rid of masks and mandates and Cuba’s economy will recover. Tourism will increase and life will return to normal.

    Look at Texas and Florida. Their economies are booming and they do not mandate masks or force vaccines into people.

    Latin America MUST declare that this pandemic is OVER before it can begin to rebuild. This is crucial and important.

    Latin America has the best chance at prospering in the years to come if it can successfully resist imperialism and the influence of multinational corporations and NGOs.

    The West is falling and until Latin America is brave enough to end the pandemic with all of its restrictions, it will fall next.

    Cubans must remember that the Central Intelligence Agency initially blamed Fidel for the death of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The coronavirus is yet another type of distraction away from those who are truly responsible for the crisis the world is in.

    The sanctions placed upon your country are evil and heartless. No one should have to live hungry and poor without hope for the future.

    Do not expect the American government to help or assist Latin America in any meaningful way.

    Latin America must establish its sovereignty and resist globalism at all costs by asserting itself.

    NO more vaccines. NO more masks. NO MORE RESTRICTIONS.

    Do this and life will return to normal. I would be very excited to return to Cuba and not have to worry about masks and vaccine passports.

    Many people all around the world are feeling the same.

    Wishing you all the best and I hope to visit your beautiful country again soon.

    Viva la revolución!

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