Martin Guevara

There will be winners and losers. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — Now that Cuba has decided to definitively (though slyly) change its social model and the structure and foundations of its economy, I am positive we will soon see the novel figure of the Cuban entrepreneur blossom across the island.

These businesspeople will, as we can easily predict, come from the ranks of today’s political hierarchies, given their proximity to those in power and the corporate parameters that they will gradually develop over time.

Thus it would be good idea to begin to reflect on the characteristics of this new type of rich person soon to be among us, whose precursors can be found in the Soviet Union’s metamorphosis into the Russian Federation and in the transition processes that took place in Eastern Europe, Vietnam and, paradigmatically, in the vast, millenarian China.

The new entrepreneurs that emerge in post-communist societies are characterized by a series of common features. These entrepreneurs:

– Are more fond of merciless competition than those educated in market economies, though they may be less prepared to actually take on such competition.

– Are unbelieving types who have renounced all ideologies, religions or philosophies that proclaim modes of conduct based on moral principles.

– Are atheists and agnostics who suspect even their own indoctrination.

– Feel that, since they have paid for their food, they must eat until they are about to burst.

At one point in their lives, entrepreneurs trained in market societies may experience a longing for something spiritual in their lives. They may go as far as rethinking what they have done at different points, in those moments of reflection that characterize the life of a human being.

The new entrepreneurs, educated under the obliged slogans of social equality, on the contrary, tend to reflect upon and review their actions in the opposite direction, reproach themselves for futile expenditures of energy and conclude that it is time to use them for their own benefit, that they ought not waste another minute considering the old, deceitful slogans or sterile utopias.

These businesspeople consider the everyday hypocrisy of the traditional rich, deployed to balance out their guilt, a simple waste of time.

They do not ask for permission or forgiveness, nor do they show gratitude. They simply pay.

For this new class, boasting of one’s wealth is a healthy sign of good taste. They do not understand philanthropy or the patronage of the arts. They detest art but spend large sums of money on products that can be resold at a higher price.

They are direct, sincere, uncomplicated, rough and devoid of any depth. They make the manufacturers of all distinctive items of bad taste that characterizes the nouveux riches’ wealth.

Their clothes show an astonishing lack of taste and, sitting in their urban yachts, made and painted exclusively for them, they are simply incapable of understanding why other wealthy people could consider a Rolls Royce or a bluish-gray Bentley signs of distinction.


One thought on “Preparing for Cuba’s Nouveux Riche

  • Martin Guevera has obviously been to Miami and seen Havana’s future. I can only hope the Castros live long enough to see this ‘New Man’ in full bloom. There could be no higher justice.

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