Cuba Changes: A Deliberate Approach to Reform


HAVANA TIMES — The government of Cuba says it will continue on a gradual process of “updating” it’s socialist model with market reforms, keeping the State as the main force in the country’s economy. At the same time it opens to large foreign investment and offers some opportunities for private initiative for small businesses and the practice of some trades.

To describe the pace of introducing reforms while maintaining the existing system and powers, President Raul Castro has responded to his critics by saying the process will continue “without haste but without pause.”

On the topic, today we bring you an illustration by Yasser Castellanos entitled: “The Rush and the Delay.”

11 thoughts on “Cuba Changes: A Deliberate Approach to Reform

  • The change in Cuba will come from those citizens living in Cuba. I’m an Irish citizen, family from Ireland and raised in the US. When I visit Ireland I’m respected but as far as those I interact with
    who remained in Ireland, I’m a Yank and not Irish. That is made quite clear and make no mistake about that. We did send money to family when Ireland was a third world country but that’s no longer necessary. If I have an opinion on the various political factions fighting for power it’s fine and
    good but basically shut up since you left and we’re dealing with it. I spent ten years in a remote
    part of Hawaii and had it not been for a melanoma, I’d probably still be living there. I love islands,
    and Ireland is an island, and through marriage our family is blessed with three who are half
    Cuban one hell of a beautiful island. The potential that Cuba has is off the charts and so everyday I read what’s happening with news events from Cuba. My point is that Cuba will be fine, the information age will awaken and rid Cuba of whatever is needed to make life better for all its peoples. So I do read posts on this blog from both sides of the spectrum because these are the people who will have to deal with what is needed and make the transition to the next level.

  • As the author correctly says Cuba claims to be intent on updating its socialist economic model, with Marino Murillo as Head Honcho directing activities.
    Of course the regime would like to have large foreign investment from the countries that pursue capitalism – where else can they obtain hard currency?
    The economic failure of Socialismo is evident in every sector of the Cuban economy. Decreasing production of food in general and of sugar in particular. An almost non-existent construction sector with buildings falling down almost as fast as new ones are constructed. Although blessed with wonderful timber a non-existent lumber sector, a chaotic transportation sector and a crumbling infrastructure – from hospitals, to roads, to water and electricity supplies. The only sector that is unaffected is the military where a country with less than a third of the population of Canada, has a similarly sized military operated by a plethora of octogenarian generals.
    As a very well educated Cuban – as a professional earning less than $400 per annum, said to me this year:
    “Cuba needs capitalism.”
    Over 95% of the civil population exist on some $10 per month (33 CENTS PER DAY) – in short they are abjectly poor.
    The current plight of Cubans cannot be resolved by absentee academics spouting book based theories lacking comprehension of reality and usually stemming from the garbled minds of Marx and Lenin.
    Cuba needs an end to the Socialismo of the Castro family regime and its lackeys in the Communist Party of Cuba. Cubans have experienced enough of the reality of Fidel and Raul Castro’s administration. They need freedom!
    Cuba needs a multi-party system providing the people rather than socialist dictators with the control of their own destinies. True democracy!

  • The Chinese are governed under a one party rule model. The party says it is the Communist party. The Cuba Communist party likewise is the only legal party. I take them at their worth. Their brand of communism involves a level of repression that thought leaders in the late 1800’s had not contemplated. In Cuba’s case they justify the repression as part of resistance of the empire to the north. Other than obese beach goers, no invasion is planned. They can relax.

  • Dude. This isn’t social science 101 ….no one is going to give you an essay respinse, and no one defines communism the way you do anyway. We, the rational, accept the real world interpretation of Communism.

  • Ive never really had this conversation with you but I’m curious. …Why do you think businesses are created? Why do you think Steve Jobs, Gates or Zuckerberg started their companies? Would they have started otherwise?

  • Could you please define “Cuban communism.”
    and how it differs from “Chinese communism” in your view?
    How does socialism differ from communism in your view?
    Which countries were socialist and which were communist in your view?
    How does “academic socialism ” differ from the socialist and communist examples you have in mind ?
    I’d like this info so I can have some idea of how you define terms and can then know better what you are trying to say.
    I know people have differing definitions so I’d like yours just for the record- ( I am beginning a study) and NOT to debate with you or criticize you. .

  • Once free enterprise capitalism gets a start , you wind up with larger and larger companies as bigger ones swallow smaller ones and inevitably you wind up with an oligarchy: rule by the rich when they can control the electoral processes with money.
    As soon as someone, solely by virtue of having money, controls the means of production for the purposes of maximizing his/her profits and it is not an equal -share , democratically run operation , you get totalitarianism in the workplace which cross-contaminates all other democratic processes in the society.
    Such is the power of money in a capitalist society. .
    It’s like wanting to be only a little pregnant.
    I thoroughly agree with you that individuals must have control of their economic lives and that would be entrepreneurial endeavors as individuals or cooperatives .
    Once someone is “the boss” and has unequal power over another , it’s just not as good as a democratically-run workplace.
    There is an economic system devised by Michael Albert of ZCommunications called Parecon ( Participatory Economics)
    in which people are rewarded for their labor based on length , difficulty and onerousness /(unpleasantness) of the job.
    These pay scales directly tied to democratically set levels.
    You can read all about it in detail at ZNet.
    But, just to say it is just one of many alternatives out there to totalitarian economic systems like Cuba’s state capitalism and the Empire’s mandatory free-enterprise capitalism.
    I think we agree on a great many things .
    It’s a time for you to worry.

  • “The Cubans are not Chinese – Correct!
    Cuban communism is different from Chinese communism – about which Fidel Castro Ruz expressed amazement. But then that is true of both socialism and communism. No two versions are the same – except for the love of dictatorship.
    Within the reality of Cuba there is little discernible change. There is at the moment a lot of external media hype representing hopeful thinking.
    It can be interesting to read theoretical ponderings about Cuba – but that is what it is. The reality is entirely different from the academic socialist thinking.

  • I don’t know how you can have a truly Democratic state without a free market system. If you mean that crony capitalism and monopoly enterprises needed to be prevented, I can see your point. To be free, individuals need to control their means of production. Effort should be rewarded in kind while preventing what economist call rent seekers that live off other people’s efforts.

  • The Cubans have a strict state capitalist economic structure that they are starting to open to entrepreneurial individuals as independent of state control.
    This is a process that must be done slowly so as to not undermine the social safety net provided by the ( benevolent as compared to free-enterprise capitalist [FEC]economies ) autochthonous Cuban state capitalist system .
    It’s a very slippery slope once the power of money takes hold in any major segment of a society because it means the beginning of the end of caring for the poorer people .
    Of course , the anarchist view of this is that it’s better than an outright dictatorship of money and for money such as exists in most of the FEC world where , to be boring and repeat, half the world barely exists and millions die yearly on less than $2.00 a day and without the health, education , housing guarantees, adequate nutrition guarantees and being able to live in a country where it’s safe for your family , that are found in Cuba .
    Cuba, for us democrats, has systems that amount to the lesser of the two evil ( undemocratic , top-down ) capitalist economic systems.
    The answer is democracy and that necessarily excludes FEC because it is totalitarian and it corrupts all the other democratic systems in a given society.
    The Cubans would be very wise to tread slowly and carefully.

  • The pace is determined by the controls that can be put in place as the economy transforms from a primarily barter system to a monetized socialist system. In a system where the Government directly controls access to goods and services less sophistication is needed. A regulatory frame work, tax system and things of such nature need to be brought on line and tuned in order to not lose control. Similar slow progress is seen on opening the Internet. It will open at a pace that can be controlled.

    China is the best case for them to follow on how to exercise control in a modernized economy. The Cuban’s are not Chinese, so it won’t be a carbon copy. However the routers and security walls are well known. How to control banking sector and joint investment is also well modeled.

    The Cuban’s learn fast. Once the state gets comfortable, market activity will accelerate. That time is not too far in the distance. They also know that they have a window of opportunity that will close. Some risk needs to be taken.

    The other window that is closing is one of legacy. At average age of 85, the leadership has 5 to 10 years at most at the helm. Retirement calls for them.

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