Cuba’s Solution to the Crisis: Create New Political Posts

For starters, the government’s weak solution of resurrecting the figure of prime minister isn’t enough to tackle Cuba’s economic problems, neither is blaming Trump.

Foto: Idiolkis Arguelles

By Alejandro Armengol  (Cubaencuentro)

HAVANA TIMES – You’re buried in debt. Your credit cards have been canceled. The landlord or bank are threatening to evict you. Your car is already in the process of being repossessed. And you (crazily or stupidly?) only think about changing the furniture in your place. This is exactly what will happen in Cuba on October 10th.

On this Thursday a special session of the National Assembly of People’s Power will appoint the leading positions of a new government. In another pirouette, which is devoid of any real elections, the position of prime minister will be resurrected, whom the President will appoint, as well as provincial governors, while the State Council will be cut in size, from 31 to 21 members.

This alleged change in government will be a change (if that) which is not only unable to raise the population’s hopes and expectations, but also useless (even before its creation) in the face of the serious problems Cuba is facing today.

Facts and figures cast a shadow on any hope.

We only have to quote officials from this very government.

Cuban Ambassador, Bruno Rodriguez, stated that “dozens of foreign banks have restricted or interrupted their financial ties” with Cuba, including Panamanian Multibank, which closed its branch in Havana and accounts of companies working with the island in Panama, according to an article written by AFP.

This bank panic is terrible news for Cuba, as it depends on foreign investment to drive its growth. The Cuban government estimates that it has lost 725.8 million USD as a result of problems it has had with 140 banks in the past year.

The island is returning back to colonial times. While the practice of using oxen in sugar harvesting was never completely wiped out, it is now a crucial factor.

“We have adopted measures such as including some 4,000 yokes of oxen in sugar cane harvesting and food production,” Julio Garcia Perez pointed out, president of the state-led sugar monopoly AZCUBA, reported Reuters news agency.

Problems with fuel shortages have begun to affect products such as hand soap, detergent and cigarrettes, admitted minister of Domestic Trade, Betsy Diaz Velazquez, and reported by AFP.

Garbage collection services are even less frequent on Havana’s streets, a situation which has made the fight against dengue fever even harder, according to the Public Health Ministry, AFP reports.

Some cement factories have reduced production, the minister of Construction has announced. A steel company in Havana has stopped manufacturing for the time being, one of its employees confirmed to Reuters news agency.

Supervisors of two large hotel construction projects in the capital, said that workers living outside of the city were ordered to stay at home because there wasn’t any fuel for transport, Reuters also reports.

In addition to the People’s Republic of China, which celebrated its 70th anniversary on October 1st, there are only four other Communist countries left in the world: Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and Laos. Their economic development and its citizens’ chances of living a better life go hand-in-hand with how much they have opened their markets to the global market. While political control is iron-clad, there isn’t a democracy and personal freedoms are limited to a greater or lesser extent in all of them, they differ in their consumer choices and the quality of life of their inhabitants. China is in the lead and North Korea and Cuba are trailing far behind.

For starters, the weak solution of resurrecting the figure of prime minister or provincial governors isn’t enough to tackle Cuba’s economic problems, neither is blaming Trump and the Venezuelan crisis. Cuba needs to open its doors to the global market and to private enterprise. If it doesn’t, the country will carry on heading (without stopping or rest) towards complete paralysis.



10 thoughts on “Cuba’s Solution to the Crisis: Create New Political Posts

  • I live in the United States and read Havana Times regularly. I appreciate your publication because I enjoy learning about life in your country, written by the people who live there. I wish the relationship between our countries could improve. I believe I would enjoy visiting Cuba and meeting some of its wonderful people. I wish you all the best.

    Reply
  • I am deeply sympathetic with the Cuban people and the crisis they now face. I am totally opposed to my governments blockade of Cuba. But Mr. Armengol thinks that open and free elections in Cuba along with openings for foreign investment will change their relations with the US. It won’t.

    My government does not really care about free and open elections. The people of Honduras discovered that when the US supported the overthrow of President Zaleya. His crime? Advocation land reform.

    When Chavez was elected in Venezuela in international supervised elections my government immediately began funding the opposition and fomenting the coup that almost toppled his government. His crime? nationalizing the state oil company and spending the profits on social services for the people.

    The aim of my government is to wipe out all remnants of socialism in Cuba to serve as an example to the rest of Latin America. Some, like Obama decided to pursue this gradually with market penetration. Others, like Trump are practicing a brutal form of financial imperialism and using the dollar as the primary vehicle for international exchange as a weapon.

    If Cuba negotiated with the US they would discover that my government wants to impose the same economic doctrine on Cuba that they did with Russia in 1990. They will require Cuba to sell off all its state owned assets, including hospitals and clinics, beach fronts and hotels and anything that seems potentially profitable. They will then leave the state with the responsibility for social services, but without a sufficient tax base to pay for them. How will they be paid for? By the Cuban people.

    Everything will cost. Health care, education, sanitation services, everything. This is how neoliberalism works. Some Cubans will stay on as managers, some even as owners, but the vast majority of the working class will see plenty of goods in the stores but have little cash to purchase them. The other key feature of neoliberalism is the destruction of unions and suppression of wages.

    The only way out is for those of us in the US who stand in solidarity with the Cuban people to elect a new president who might at least return conditions to those initiated by Obama. Until then, we can only hope that you can hold on.

    Reply
    • Looking at all the historical precedents The Cuban People will indeed hold on. 60 years is a long time but not in the historical sense. As it is say ‘ the taller they stand, the harder they fall. And wasn’t Napoleon Bonaparte of France that said, ” There are no small enemies.”

      Reply
    • Dr. Spock, your comment seems to absolve the Castro dictatorship of any responsibility for their failed economy. US opposition to Latin American socialism is justified. Whenever socialism in this hemisphere has appeared it has been accompanied by totalitarianism. Advocating for free and open elections is the only way, although imperfect, to resist the kinds of governments that we witnessed in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and especially in Cuba.

      Reply
  • Anything to keep the monarchy in power. And it goes like this: Blame the imperialist USA, ask people for more sacrifices, keep a eye open and repress any discontent, tell the people the USA is preparing a war against Cuba, lie about the future, tell the ppl of Cuba that they are better off now then before the Castro, send to jail the opposition. Repite, then Blame the imperialism again.

    Reply
  • Gee! That sounds like being lay off or fired from your job without any savings or other income to live by. I don’t know about how ‘ los jerarcas’ do it. I ‘d never being in that social class.

    Reply
  • Communist Cuba is going down the tubes, situation seemingly getting worse by the day.

    Morale level must be terrible.

    Reply
    • Being forced upon by the reprehensible embargo by the world’s policemen, the U.S.A. Because of a grudge against a small communist country that is over 50 years old. All this is doing is making the wonderful people of Cuba suffer. I wish that as a Canadian I could do more to rally the international community to stop the brutality of the sanctions and let Cuba prosper again, and live in peace.

      Reply
  • My sense if things, in reading personal testimonies and published news articles is that foreign investors are very vulnerable. If the State deems your enterprise could be nationalized it often launches attacks on high level executives. The typical charge is that what was common practice in business dealings will be characterized as corruption. An executive is jailed pending a hearing and the consequence is the company must negotiate his release. Often, the investor engages in rescuing their employee and simply abandons assets, thus allowing the Cuban government to assume control of the business. Who would want to invest in a country where arbitrary and unwarranted detention are tools of the state apparatus in wresting control away from legitimate businesses? Something has to change.

    Reply
  • Swindling & Shuffling There Stacked Deck of Corrupt Sic Communist Political Games, Nothing More & The People Follow Suit as to The Hand they are Dealt. Foreign Investors Have Found This Game is Getting Old & with So Many other Country,s that are More than willing to except Investors Fairly & at a Equal Playing Field.

    Reply

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