Cuba: The Exodus and Those Responsible

By Pedro Campos

How many of these senior high school students will still be in Cuba come five years from now?
How many of these senior high school students will still be in Cuba come five or six years from now?  Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — The number of young Cubans leaving for the United States through any means possible has been rising dramatically of late. Thousands of Cuban families experience the anxiety of waiting to receive information about their children, who took to the sea or the jungles and borders of Central and South America. The phenomenon stems from both current and long-lasting circumstances.

The more circumstantial reasons may include recent declarations by several US congress people and analysts of Cuban-American issues, dealing with the need to re-evaluate or eliminate the Cuban Adjustment Act in view of the US government’s new policy towards Cuba.

Another factor that may have contributed to this situation is that, almost a year after the re-establishment of relations between Cuba and the United States was announced (on December 17, 2014), the expectations regarding improvements in the quality of life of Cubans haven’t been satisfied anywhere.

The governing elite accuses the United States of refusing to lift the blockade/embargo, while the Obama administration has issued a series of decrees aimed at modifying restrictions which, if taken advantage of by Cuba, could benefit broad sectors of the private and cooperative economy – sectors which the island’s bureaucratic state-command philosophy, against history and all economic and social sense, considers “enemies and Trojan horses of imperialism.”

The only true Trojan horse that has destroyed Cuba’s economy and has brought the people countless problems and privations is the centralized, bureaucratic economic and political model Cuba maintains, devoid of any democratic spaces.

This is the most enduring and significant reason for the endless exodus of Cubans, which saw its most dramatic moments during the mass migrations of Camarioca, Mariel and the rafters crisis of the early 90s. Young people are quite simply leaving the country because they have no prospects in their own country, owing to the obsolete, marginalizing, discouraging and monopolistic State wage system that hoards the wealth produced by all Cubans and lays it in the hands of a bureaucratic and military elite, to the detriment of economic and social development in general.

A number of analysts have also pointed out the drop in oil prices, the reduction in Venezuelan crude imports, the payment of the foreign debt and decreasing nickel prices have also had an impact on the Cuban economy.

One factor very few people discuss, even though we are already nearing the 7th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, is the failure of Raul Castro’s government in terms of implementing the Guidelines approved by the Party in 2011, a document which generated positive expectations among many Cubans, who then believed self-employment would be developed broadly and people would be permitted to prosper, open up their own businesses and practice their professions privately – that cooperatives independent of the State would be opened, as they are elsewhere in the world, where they can freely produce, sell, purchase and secure credits.

There was also hope that an increase in foreign investment would generate new, well-paid jobs and that the autonomy promised companies (as well as the linking of wages to their performance) would improve the standard of living of workers – as these awaited the elimination of Cuba’s two-currency monetary system.

None of that ever materialized, however. No new legislation was ever drawn up to impel these proposals and it all ended up as a series of incomplete measures which, rather than push the Guidelines forward, ended up castrating them.

In short, Cuba’s economic situation has continued to worsen and the only solution people continue to find is to leave the country.

There appears to be no other solution to this problem other than to change the State-centered political and economic system, a system that has failed throughout the planet, imposed in the name of socialism in Cuba – the one true cause of all the ills we’ve endured.

33 thoughts on “Cuba: The Exodus and Those Responsible

  • November 19, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Yeah true but even at the low level of free markets currently, don’t people see the better standard of living enjoyed by the micro- entropenures? (Spell checks not working). I would think Cuba will follow the Eastern Europe model of transition. Cuba has limited resources and nickle just is not in an upward trajectory. They’re pretty much looking at tourism and agriculture. Why not model out on a upscale resorts and organic produce? Higher return on investment all though both are fickle in cash flow. I believe Raul is more pragmatic than Fidel and neither are going to be around in 10 year (no harm meant my Dad just died and he’s two month older than Fidel) I would think they must have transition plans because based on my western propaganda news, all hells gonna break out between their successors when they’re gone if things are not carefully planned. I don’t see a plan and I think that is why no one will invest there. Hell no one will invest real money anywhere in the captives including the more stable places. I enjoyed the conversation Moses it don’t necessarily agree-wish we could meet over a drink someday. Maybe in Havana??

  • November 19, 2015 at 9:17 am

    To “partner” with the small guy would empower that small guy. Power-sharing with the people is LAST thing the Castros want to do.

  • November 19, 2015 at 9:14 am

    “Republic” is the type of democracy. We have a representative democracy. But DEMOCRACY just the same.

  • November 19, 2015 at 9:02 am

    It is at best, difficult, to defend US actions that took place more than 60 years ago. That’s one of the things that makes the US ‘exceptional’. As a country, we make mistakes but more than any other place on the planet, we are self-critical. We are willing to make changes where necessary in order “to form a more perfect union”. These changes are for the most part, brought about peacefully. The annual UN show vote condemning US/Cuban policy is hardly a reflection of “shame”. But I do agree with you that it is readily dismissed.

  • November 18, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Except, Moses, when it comes to Cuba the U. S. doesn’t act like a democracy, does it? In 1952 the U. S. should have supported the majority peasants on the island but instead supported Batista, Luciano, Lansky, Trafficante, etc. In 1959 when an amazing revolution chased those criminals off the island, neither they nor their offspring should have been allowed to dictate Cuban policy on U. S. soil. Yes, the U. S. is a democracy. But even America’s best friends around the world, as evidenced by the UN vote each October, are ashamed of the U. S. when it comes to Cuba. Of course, Moses, ignoring the UN world opinion vote is readily dismissed if it doesn’t comport with your propaganda.

  • November 18, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Moses, the US is a Republic.

  • November 18, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    I would strongly agree with your closing sentence “Until agricultural and manufacturing production increases, Cuba will remain dependent on foreign handouts.” Contrary to the idea of mega corporations running the US economy, most jobs and wealth is created by small business owners, sole proprietors to business with 10 or less employees. To be a successful entrepreneur, one must be willing to work twice the hours, risk one’s current wealth (no matter how meager) and understand that all might be lost at anytime. Almost all successful business, started in humble means. But the basis of capitalism is risk/reward. The Cuban government seems more interested in partnering with multi-nationals rather than the small guy who will bring his blood, sweat and dreams.

  • November 18, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I vote far more frequently than every 4 years. Capitalism is apolitical. My Christian faith likewise is above political designation. Socialist and capitalist alike are welcome to worship God. Finally, I am not ashamed to be Head-of-Household in my home. I make all the decisions that my wife tells me to make.

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