Minister Says State Can’t Do It All

Havana barber shop.  Photo:Caridad
Havana barber shop. Photo:Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 28 – The Cuban population should no longer “expect the government is going to solve all of its problems,” according to Communications Minister Ramiro Valdes, quoted by IPS.

Valdes spoke during a tour of the eastern Cuban city of Santiago de Cuba.  He called on people to contribute ideas and solutions to overcome deficiencies in the economy.

The Cuban population is currently being asked to participate in a round of brainstorming at workplaces and neighborhood gatherings to discuss ways to address the island’s serious problems.  Recent speeches by President Raul Castro are being used as a study material to stimulate the sessions.

Since most Cubans receive low salaries they are highly dependent on the State resolving problems from larger ones like housing and maintenance, to the most simple, such as buying what’s need for a child’s birthday party.

6 thoughts on “Minister Says State Can’t Do It All

  • I wish to thank Grady Ross for agreeeing with my views. Raising living standards, increasing productivity, improving the citizen happiness index and satisfying the population material needs, is not against socialism basic premises. The opposite is true. If we were to poll our ever expanding migrant community, the economical factor, the inability to satisfy their basic needs,their unfulfilled dreams, are the root cause of their heartwrenching decision. For skeptics, doubtful or fearful of creating small business cooperatives because it would mean the death of socialism, why not do a 1-2 years experimental test in an isolated area of Cuba (Island of Youth, Yara, San Antonio del Sur in Guantanamo), evaluate its operation, rate positive and negative effects and implement results, whatever they may be. One thing we are already sure of, is that cooperative members will not allow any worker to steal from their workplace, pretend to work, cheat , ill-treat customers or fake results

  • Why is it that, when Cuba does a joint venture (oil, nickel, tourism, etc.) with foreign capitalists, this is “real” socialism; but when we suggest that the Cuban state should go into joint ventures with Cuban workers–through cooperative corporations–no one will speak up?

    Modern cooperative socialism is simple. Instead of the state owning every enterprise 100%, let workers/employees own an appropriate share of the common (controlling) stock, and the state own the remainder. This way, the state will shift the managerial burdens over to the workers/employees.

    The state’s share of preferred (non-controlling) stock will be paid dividends every quarter (every 3 months), just like the employees.

    In this form the state will be relieved of the cares of running tens-of-thousands of enterprises; massive state bureaucracy in the economy will be ended; and political and social democracy will flow naturally from this economic democracy.

    This is the true route to real socialism.

  • Regarding the discussion re Cuba’s serious problems, plz consider a sympathetic contribution from our modern cooperative socialist movement in the U.S. I mean, a good idea is a good idea, regardless of where it comes from.

    Also, if you can make socialism workable in Cuba, the example will have a tremendous radicalizing effect on people all over the world, esp. in the U.S.

    Idea 1: Look at the famous, successful, worker-owned industrial cooperatives around Mondragon, Spain, and see if their methods can be used in Cuba. (If you don’t know about the half-century of what’s been happening in the Basque country, you’re missing critical information.)

    Idea 2: Take another look at the Marxist mis-theory that the state must own 100% of everything productive. It doesn’t. The socialist state can co-own most industries with the employees. This way, workers will manage industry democratically and profitably, and also love their jobs. Bureaucracy will be greatly lessened.

    Good luck.

  • Doing the same and hoping for different results, have been Cuba’s achiles tendon. Changing party leaders, renaming ministries and consolidating others, are just part of the big picture. The creation of huge joint ventures in oil, nickel, tourism in the 90’s proved valid and profitable. Fear of doing the same with a corner store or barbershop, have compounded the lack of quality goods and services across the nation, encouraged corruption, deprived local governments of large sums in taxes, rent, utilities, insurance etc., needed to provide services to their communities. The huge give away season in the 70’s, in which literally everything including burials was free, suggested the financial quagmire the country was heading into. Many leaders unwilling to stick out their necks or fearing to get “burnt” said or did nothing about it. Now more than ever, courage is needed to Change everything that MUST be Changed!! The future of Cuba cannot depend on fear or capricious…

  • Hundreds of thousands of Cubans living abroad, are equally concerned with a clear stagnation of our country’s socio-economic development, loss of patriotism, risks to its sovereingty, widespread corruption, erosion of society moral fiber, crumbling services, increased apathy among students, professionals and ordinary workers, loss of prestige in edu/sports/cult, chronic insatisfaction with poor housing, transportation, food & water, excessive regulation, unsurmountable bureaucracy and a basic lack of creativity by government agencies.

    If Participatory Democracy and empowerment of local government/people institutions, is what the Cuban people are demanding, concerned Cubans abroad should be afforded a way to express themselves through our diplomatic channels. The huge challenges facing our nation can no longer depend on a handful of “wise men” or only on those who have expressed their unconditional alliance to our government. Some of those, have already shown their real colors.

  • I have said it before, and still do not know the answer, but surely there must be a way for decent, civil people around the world to contribute money or food or medical supplies either directly to the people of Cuba or through some sort of agency. It is up to all of us to find answers to supersede the embargo, not just the people of Cuba.

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