Raul Castro Says Deeper Reforms Coming

HAVANA TIMES (dpa) — Cuban President Raul Castro said on Friday that economic reforms on the island are proceeding “steadily” and that these will begin to “delve into issues of broader scope, complexity and depth.”

In his closing speech before the Cuban Parliament, 81-year-old Raul Castro gave a positive assessment of the progress that has been made in applying the new economic reform “guidelines.”

In recent years Raul Castro’s government has carried out a gradual reform process to “update” the island’s economic system by including market elements.

In recent years, measures have included the partial liberalization of sales of real estate and automobiles, after decades of restrictions, and the authorizations of several types of private businesses.

“We value the fact that the updating the Cuban economic model — after the initial steps of removing restrictions and other obstacles to the development of productive forces — is marching steadily forward and is beginning to delve into issues of broader scope, complexity and depth,” cited Cuba’s Prensa Latina news agency during Castro’s speech.

The president also announced that next year there will be experiments applying “modern management techniques” at government-owned enterprises. In addition to the authorization of some private enterprises, the younger Castro has called for more efficient management of the Cuban state economy since he took power.

He also assured that his government was “continuing its analysis” of mechanisms to end the island’s dual currency, a system that has been in existence since the 1990s.

Along with the devalued Cuban “national peso,” there exists the “convertible peso” (CUC), which is the official currency and roughly equivalent to the US dollar. Government sector wages are paid in Cuban pesos, which are of 24 times less value when exchanged for convertible pesos.

In his speech, the Cuban leader mentioned publically for the first time that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is being treated on the island for cancer and that the Colombian peace process is taking place in Havana.

“In this crucial hour for Venezuela and for ‘Our America’, we will — as always— stand by President Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution,” Castro said.

On Tuesday in Havana, Chavez underwent his fourth cancer operation in 18 months amid growing fears about the severity of his disease.

At the same time, the Cuban president said his country will continue to support the peace talks taking place between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

“In a prudent and discreet manner, we will continue to provide full support for the peace process in Colombia,” said Castro. This past October 19, the peace delegations of the Juan Manuel Santos government and FARC permanently moved their negotiating table to Havana.

Speaking before his country’s parliament, the Cuban leader also reiterated his willingness to sit down with the Barack Obama administration “without preconditions or prerequisite gestures.”

Cuba and the United States broke off diplomatic relations shortly after the triumph of Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959. Washington refuses to talk to Havana as long as there is no change in the system of one-party rule that has governed the island since then.

20 thoughts on “Raul Castro Says Deeper Reforms Coming

  • Tell that to Huber Matos. He disagreed with Castro’s embrace of the Communists and landed in prison for it.

    In May 1961 Fidel Castro said, “”The revolution has no time for elections.” He also said, “we didn’t fight a revolution only to lose power in an election.”

  • Yes, it is a “good one,” and when the Left understands the objective truth about Marxism, the main obstacle to socialist transformation will have been removed.

  • This is a gross falsification of history. You are fooling no one but yourself and possibly a few naive individuals who might believe anything negative about Fidel and the revolutionary leadership of the 26th of July Movement. The scenario you portray is so silly, such a made-up fairy tale that it hardly deserves to be addressed.

  • John,

    You are quite right. I’m no fan of Fidel Castro, but there is no denying he was extremely charismatic and a brilliant leader of men. He was an excellent judge of the people around him and knew who to assign to what task. He had a genius for strategy and conspiracy, so much so he was able to figure out who was conspiring against him. Was he lucky? Fortune favours the prepared mind. He was a mixture of good and bad qualities, but it is my opinion the bad eventually tipped the balance. That has been Cuba’s tragedy.

  • During the fight against Batista, several different opposition groups joined together to overthrow the dictator. They made an agreement to hold free democratic elections after they triumphed. Alas, when Batista fled, Castro knew it was crucial to act swiftly. He ordered Che to enter Havana as soon as possible to claim victory for Fidel. In short order Fidel cancelled the promised elections and arrested several of his former comrades in arms when they objected. That is how he stole the revolution. One dictator was exchanged for another.

  • Oh Grady, you really do know how to crack a good joke: the capitalists tricked the Marxists into thinking they should ban private property!

    Hahahaha… that’s a good one.

  • john, i don’t know what you’re arguing. no one is denying the important role of “great men” in history. no one is denying the critical role of fidel’s leadership. my comment was directed against the imperialist line that fidel is a dictator. you seem to have imbibed the seething hatred of the great man fidel castro, who led his people and kicked imperialism in the throat. please shake yourself and return to your senses. and no, i may not be “much of a historian,” but am a sincere transformationary socialist, and before i die i hope to see the people put a final stake of the heart of the vampire of monopoly capitalism.

  • Griffin, you fail to understand how your conclusion is utterly shallow and completely off the mark. Marxist governments expropriate private property because their bourgeois strategic program of doing so was foisted on the working people’s socialist movement for purposes of sabotage, and to discredit it in the pubic eye. When the Left finally realized the truth about Marxism, capitalism will last but a short time. 335A

  • No, Griffin, Fidel did not steal it “for his own.” That’s the US gov’t line that seeks to undermine Cuban independence by portraying Fidel as a dictator. What you are saying is precisely the thing my comment was directed against.

    The Cuban Revolution was and is a people’s revolution. The fact that the counter-transformationary strategic program of Marxism doomed it to almost destroy itself merely illustrates the fact that Marxism is the ideology of the monopoly bourgeoisie, injection into the workers’ socialist movement to undermine if from within.

  • although raul castro has not resigned his commission his usual title is president.

  • for once i agree with moses. raul was not a charismatic leader. che was more of a follower who had responsiblity thrust on him by fidel and circumstances. he rose to the occasion. it is the same with the others. fidel made the revolution. i don´t think much of marxist ecomonics but fidel was a great self taught soldier. but i am not a fan of soldiers, OR POLITICIANS WHATEVER THEIR IDEOLOGY MAY BE. science is more to my taste.

  • grady, you are not much of an historian. there is the great man theory of history. what would world history have been if hitler had been shot during the beer hall putsch? he was known as the rear area pig during the great war and he proved it in 1923. fidel came close to being shot without trial after his first failed uprising and all the rebels were very lucky to survive after they were ambushed after they moved inland from the granma. there is no way to know for sure but i believe that fidel made the revolution because he was a charismatic leader, but a charismatic leader who was lucky. like germany and hitler, fidel was a man for the times. cuba was ripe for revolution and had had a long history of coups and wars. you don´t have to be a fan, a fidelista, to recognise the truth of this. you can hate the man if you like but he was still charismatic to those who wanted an end to the bautista regime. every social animal has leaders. without leaders nothing happens. certainly, leaders are nothing without followers. “massen und macht.” “crowds and power.” elias canetti. canetti was a jew who was fascinated by hitler´s control over the masses. this book starts with the behaviour of pack animals, dogs in a pack. crowds in confined spaces. crowds in situations like the 4 million who rose up against president marcos when leadership was shown.

  • Grady, you fail to understand why Marxist dictatorships such as Cuba, the USSR, China and all the rest expropriate private property. It is not due to some theoretical error on their part. They do it in order to obtain absolute power and total control over the people. Power. That’s what it’s about.

  • You make a fair point, Grady. The Revolution of 1959 belonged to all Cubans who stood against the dictator Batista. The tragedy is that one man stole it for his own.

  • Grady, can you name even one other person whom history will blame (or from your perspective give credit) for the failure (or success) of the Cuban revolution? Hence, Fidel Castro’s revolution.

  • Opps! Strike the above! My last comment was missing, at first, and I thought it had been deleted. Please forgive me.

  • The real, deep reform that needs “to come” is within the minds of Raul (and his colleagues). He needs to understand that private productive property rights are necessary during the several-generations socialist bridge period.

    The absence of private property is the long-term goal, not the immediate economic formula–regardless of what it says in the Communist Manifesto.

    Both the cooperative proletariat and the independent small bourgeoisie must be valued parts of the socialist project. They can do most of the “heavy lifting” of socialist production, and allow the socialist state to concentrate on the tasks that only it can do. But all of this is prevented by the premature abolition of private property rights by the erroneous program of state monopoly.

  • I believe it would have been more accurate to have the first sentence of the last paragraph of this article to read: Cuba and the United States broke off diplomatic relations shortly after the triumph of the revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1959.

    Inferring that the people’s revolution was a private affair of its leader seems to smack of right-wing spin.

  • While the economic and migration reforms put in place by the Castro dictatorship have largely been positive steps in the right direction, they have on the whole fallen short of the immense needs of the Cuban people. At the same time, the Castros have stepped up the repressive detentions and moved to more vigorously silence dissident voices. Meanwhile, despite General Castro’s attempt to put a positive spin on the effects of his reforms, there is a saying in the US that compares his comments to “putting lipstick on a pig”. Anything short of a miracle regarding the health of Chavez would spell certain doom for the Cuban economy, regardless of the progress of Castros tepid reforms.

  • Call me a sceptic, but I don’t believe the economic reforms will go far enough to make any real change. They have already ruled out any political reforms and the repression of dissidents has increased greatly.

    That said, it is encouraging to hear the gov’t is at least thinking about how to do away with the ruinous dual currency system.

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