I would like to propose this question to the Havana Journal readers. First of all, let’s leave out any opinions about how Fidel and/or Raul squandered their opportunity to make Cuba a great economic powerhouse.
Let’s discuss the potential in a democratically controlled Cuba with an open capitalist system. We can make comments about how Cuba will be ruined by capitalism but the primary comments I would like to see are regarding the question “Can Cuba be an economic powerhouse in a post-Castro era?
I’ll start off by saying YES and I will try to make my point that I think Cuba could be the most powerful economic force in the Caribbean, central AND south America.
Cuba has many natural resources including copper, nickel, oil, cobalt and chromium. If oil reserves are found to be plentiful, Cuba can not only sustain herself with that oil but may be able to export oil along with other commodities thus adding to her potential economic status in the region.
Cuba has a very high literacy rate and many skilled doctors, engineers and other skilled labor. It is my understanding that the Cuban people are very hard working, resourceful and loyal. When this labor force is able to work in a free market economy in Cuba, the laborers would be well paid for their work. Also, if Cubans offer services to an international market (call centers, web design, coding, etc) they would compete for international service jobs and thus adding to her potential economic status in the region.
Cuba has thousands of acres of farmland for growing tobacco, citrus, sugar, coffee and raising livestock. Imagine if Cuba grows sugar for ethanol and ramps up growing of citrus. The cattle industry could be huge too. All these commodities can be exported as well thus adding to her potential economic status in the region.
Cuba’s central location between the US, Mexico, central America, south America, Jamaica, Bahamas, Hispaniola etc makes is a central shipping location and the ports of Mariel, Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Nipe and others can be developed to accommodate international trade thus adding to her potential economic status in the region.
Cuba is a very beautiful country with a rich history, beaches, unspoiled land and waters so the potential for tourism is so many more times greater than what it is today. When Cuba can handle the tourists, I think it will draw visitors away from the Bahamas, Cancun and even Florida thus adding to her potential economic status in the region.
Cuba may have a “fresh start” after the Castro brothers and may want to emulate the favorable business environment like that of the Cayman Islands. Imagine if large corporations set up businesses in Cuba bringing in millions of dollars in foreign money thus adding to her potential economic status in the region.
Cuba has the potential to be completely self sufficient on solar power and wind energy. If this technology is developed, Cuba could be a model for the world and maybe even an exporter of electricity thus adding to her potential economic status in the region.
Cuba can tax tourism, real estate sales, exports, imports, services etc that can be invested for the greater good of the people and I think all this can be achieved without exploiting the Cuban people or raping the land and resources.
In one way or another, Cuba has been exploited and/or oppressed for all of the 1900s. Can the Cuba of the 2000s evolve to be a vibrant economic powerhouse that’s bigger than Mexico, central America, south America, the Bahamas, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Jamaica combined?