Rob Sequin | Havana Journal
Even the casual Cuba watcher knows “this time it’s different” in Cuba.
For several months now Raul Castro has been leading the charge for MAJOR economic reforms in Cuba. And, so far, Fidel Castro has not tried to sabotage Raul’s efforts. Fidel is making speeches to University of Havana students who couldn’t care less about the old man other than to show him respect as the Father of the Revolution.
They certainly are not looking to him for their future.
So, this time it is different because Fidel is out of the way and Raul HAS to make major economic changes or everything in Cuba will collapse. Those are not just my words but Raul is saying this openly for all in Cuba and to people around the world. Cuba HAS to change and change VERY soon.
Can Cuba accomplish economic change without social unrest or political dissent?
IF he keeps strict military control over the entire island then I suppose there is a chance that Cuba can limp along as a failed economy as it has for five decades so one could safely assume that all this talk turns out to be “same shit, different day” but I think it’s going to be impossible to rule the island with an iron fist while letting small businesses and entrepreneurs have the freedom to operate a profitable business.
This is not a Chinese model of free markets under Communism
Let’s not forget that the new taxes on small business art set to to ENSURE that small businesses are not too successful. For example, paladares and casas particulares have to pay taxes whether or not they have customers and payroll taxes will be structured in such a way that the more employees a business owner hires, the higher the payroll tax will be on new hires. So, the new system has a built in cap on the success of new business and that’s a recipe for failure.
Cuba is broken and Raul is a MANAGER not a LEADER. Cuba needs a leader and Raul is not the person to oversee this major restructuring of the Cuban economy.
A broken system cannot be fixed by someone who has been benefiting from a broken system for fifty years. So, Raul nor Fidel can fix Cuba. I think both will either say they are allowing economic change but in reality blocking major reform or they have allowed the genie out of the bottle and the only fix is for both of them to get out of the way entirely.
So, who can oversee this new Cuba? I think we might find out in April at the Communist Party Congress.
I have given up trying to make predictions about the future of Cuba so I can only say that I am comfortable being on record to assume that 2011 will be a historic year in Cuba.
Cuba’s draconian plan to lay off 10 percent of its workforce is running into a slew of problems — not the least of which are the growing fights over who will wind up on the street.
Cuban and foreign economists say it’s too much, too fast.
Radical leftists are branding Raúl Castro as a capitalist exploiter of workers and – in an odd alignment with Cuban dissidents – are urging workers to fight the job cuts…
Others say the country is awash in fear, especially among the bureaucrats, administrators, elderly, academics and recent university graduates seen as most likely to be left jobless.
Cuba’s proposed economic reforms have attracted much attention, the focus falling on plans to redeploy up to one million employees from state sector to self-employment and small business. The comments mostly reflect a particular ideological perspective or interpret the policy changes through the lens of neoliberal adjustment programs of the kind familiar to us in the Caricom Caribbean. The proposals, which are contained in 291 points in the Draft Economic and Social Policy Guidelines released in November, need to be considered in their totality and set in context.
During a frank, four-day exchange with deputies of the national parliament about economic reform projects, Raúl Castro and Marino Murillo, Cuba’s point man of the reform, said that loss-making state companies are running out of time and will be gradually stripped of subsidies.
“We have companies in Cuba that have had 10 years of losses,” Murillo told the deputies. “Either they get out of their losses or we shut them down. It’s not possible to have four or five consecutive years of a company making losses and the state subsidizing the losses. This makes no sense.”