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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Felipe Perez Roque says Cuba will have more socialism after Fidel Castro dies

Posted October 31, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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Reuters

Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, dispelling expectations of change in a post-Castro Cuba, promised “more revolution and more socialism” when the ailing Cuban leader is no longer around.

“What I can predict is more revolution and more socialism in Cuba,” Perez Roque told CNN in an interview on Tuesday at the United Nations, where Cuba won a victory against the United States with a 184-4 nonbinding vote urging the lifting of U.S. sanctions against it.

Nevertheless, Perez Roque said the 81-year-old Fidel Castro, who has not appeared in public since intestinal surgery forced him to hand over power to his brother 15 months ago, remains engaged.

“Fidel Castro is entirely dedicated to the process of recovery of his health, which advances satisfactorily,” he said.

The man who has led Cuba since a leftist revolution in 1959 is going through a “fertile” period of his life dedicated to reading and writing, said Perez Roque, a protegee and former personal secretary of the Cuban leader.

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Member Comments

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On October 31, 2007, publisher wrote:

Just what Cuba needs right now, more socialism. Sounds like George Bush and how the US needs more Embargo to make things better in Cuba.

How about LESS socialism and LESS Embargo? That would be my plan.

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On October 31, 2007, J. Perez wrote:

Socialism is fine, just let the Cuban people put their initiative and hard work to improve the economy and their standard of living without so many restrictions by the government. Socialism does not have to exist at the expense of people’s aspirations, economic reforms have to be put in place to take advantage of a work force which is well educated and hard working. The sooner Perez-Roque & co. come to that conclusion, the better.

As far as Mr. Bush, we all know what to expect, more of the same, not smart enough to change.

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On November 01, 2007, Yeyo wrote:

Felipe Perez Roque is just a puppet of the regime. He has no word or vote in the real decisions. He was given the job because like a good dog he always agrees with master. I guess he is like a microphone or a recorder only saying what was told to say.
The government in Cuba would try at all cost to keep the false socialism idea alive after Castro’s death because otherwise the bunch of morons that are now running most of the institutions there would be out of work. That’s a real danger to the high and medium level bureaucrats that are use to the benefits of their positions having much better live than the average Cubans.
I say false socialism because in Cuba there is no socialism or communism. In those two social systems the people is supposed to own the production tools and have the last say in the government. However we obviously know who pull the strings in Cuba.
Socialism and Communism are proven utopias but Castro in a perfect Machiavelli fashion has used the name to his advantage to keep everybody under his grip.
The Cuban System is simply a left leaning dictatorship, and you would be surprise how many times not so left leaning. They would side with any body left or right if there is any gain in continue oppressing the Cuban people.

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On November 02, 2007, MiamiCuban wrote:

I have no doubt that Socialism in Cuba can and will improve over the years, but it will come through the new generation of Cubans who are well educated and know about the pitfalls of capitalism.  They know the dangers of ending up like other Latin American countries (i.e. El Salvador, Guatemala, etc) who’ve fallen under the grip of the IMF under the pretext of having a “free market.”  Socialism is about concentrating power in the hands of the people, and I think this is what Perez-Roque is referring to, and all he’s doing is making it clear that Cuba won’t be following the example of the U.S. and handing over power to the corporations.  People still mistake Socialism for Communist-Stalinism when the two are nothing alike.

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On November 02, 2007, publisher wrote:

“pitfalls of capitalism”

Funny.

Like there are no pitfalls to socialism.

I think you need to live in Canada or France so you can enjoy all the wonderful benefits of socialism.

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On November 02, 2007, MiamiCuban wrote:

There is no perfection in anything; that much is true.  But I don’t see too many French or Canadians leaving their socialist countries.  Furthermore, socialism does in fact address the needs of the vast majority of the people.

When it’s a known fact that there are more billionnaires than ever in the U.S. (thanks to Bush) at the same time that the average citizen (constituting the vast majority of American citizens) is having a harder time than ever because food, gas and everything else keeps going up, as well as homelessness and foreclosures…..you can’t help but come to the conclusion that something is very, very wrong with the picture.

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On November 02, 2007, publisher wrote:

I’m no fan of George Bush but when someone says that Socialism is better than Capitalism, you’re going to find me squarely against that position.

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On November 02, 2007, MiamiCuban wrote:

“Better” is much too relative a term.  I’m sure you’ll find millions of others who share the exact opposite of your opinion.

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On November 02, 2007, Yeyo wrote:

Sorry but since when there is Socialism in Canada or France?
I don’t remember any real Socialist country. As I indicated before Socialism is an utopia and Canada and France are more examples of capitalism.

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On November 06, 2007, cubanpete wrote:

Cuba needs more socialism like California needs more fire.

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On November 06, 2007, anders wrote:

Socialist political programs have existed since the French revolution and there has been no concensus yet on what it means and requires. Dogmatics always lose in the end. So it is a bit pointless to say “socialism this or that”. I agree with both J.Perez and MiamiCuban on this matter.

The only movements that have been reasonably succesful are those that find their own ways according to national needs. The Cuban Revolution has for most of the time used their own minds except for about a decade around the 70s that even Fidel outspokenly regrets.
Most cubans seem quite pragmatic to me. That´s why it is so easy for a scandinavian to like them. They realize what it takes for a cow to give milk. I am very much looking forward to next spring when the National Assembly elections are done and it is time for them to launch new policys. They have what economists call “the take off towards industrialism” within reach.

I say, good luck and be careful !

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On November 06, 2007, publisher wrote:

You see change in Cuba? I know Raul has talked about change but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Won’t this “industrialism” let the capitalist genie out of the bottle?

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On November 06, 2007, anders wrote:

Well, you know, if they are going to fullfill all social obligations they are commited too they have to secure economic growth. There are no two ways about that.

In order to be able to invest in all kinds of things they must be able to accumulate kapital at a higher rate than population growth and increase of salaries. At their present stage any growth rate lower than 4% a year will create problems. They know this, I´m sure.
So far they have been able to accomplish this thru agrarian reforms, establishment of small family businesses in the service sector and substantial foreign investment but these changes will lose their “pushing power” eventually.

They are, so to speak, doomed to make agriculture a surplus affair at a higher level than today. So both yields, salaries, prices and width of produce must increase and that is hard to accomplish without market mechanisms. They began such reforms in the 90s already but much more needs to be done.

A diversified industrialisation requires market mechanisms, I´m sure, but that is not the same thing as capitalism where only profits count. The evil genie only arises if society loses grip of development and is unable to secure equality. The cubans talk about those contradictions all the time to my experience.

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On November 06, 2007, publisher wrote:

It’s always entertaining to read your pro-Castro arguments like the Cuban government is such a legitimate operation legally and economically.

The ONLY reason that Castro’s economic system has survived all these years is 1. because of Russian subsidies, 2. Venezuelan oil and 3. Chinese freebies.

Please don’t talk about economic growth and any real economics in Cuba. The system has never worked and can’t work unless foreign countries give them money.

Reference the Special Period. That was true Castro economics.

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On November 06, 2007, J. Perez wrote:

Tell me Publisher, how do you think Canada or Mexico would fare after 46 years of an economic blockade by the U.S.? It is kind of difficult to breathe when you have an 800 lbs. gorilla standing on your chest.

There is no doubt that the Cuban government has made many wrong decisions regarding economic reforms, the most significate being, pulling back from the opening they allowed in the early nineties, however, a humane and intelligent policy from the U.S. towards Cuba would go a long way to eliminate many of the problems they face.

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On November 06, 2007, anders wrote:

What is your problem, Rob ?  Seriously ? What I wrote wasn´t much of my own opinions. Should you accuse me of anything on this issue it would be strutting in borrowed plumes.

You can read all of it in just about any scientific report or essay on cuban economics. I was practically quoting FAO and dussins of seminars on Cuban development issues !
Every bloody word is standard economics.

Of course there were Soviet subsidies since Cuba was severely underdeveloped. But not only Soviet subsidies. The scandinavian countrys poured houndreds of millions of dollars into Cuba during the 60:s and 70:s. Cuba was one of our main recievers of foreign aid in those days. We stopped because they didn´t need us as much anymore. Which was a pity beacuse they became more dependent on Soviet financing and their idiotic development strategies. The cubans still tell us how disappointed we made them.
They had practically nothing in -59. There were something like 47 cows in the entire country since the landlords slaughtered everything before they left ! And so on, and so on…..

You are wrong about Venezuela and China simply because they are too recent. It was rather Canadian, Spanish and Italian capital that brought them out of the Special Period !

You seem to be in a state of severe denial when it comes to Cuban realities. When I wrote the last piece I had a hope you had eventually decided to have a sencible discussion. “Please don´t talk about economic growth and any real economics in Cuba”....... Jesus, you are afraid arn´t you ?

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On November 06, 2007, publisher wrote:

I am against the Embargo. I regularly call it the failed Plan A but Cuba can certainly at least make a couple steps in the right direction like releasing prisoners of conscience.

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On November 06, 2007, Yeyo wrote:

Dear Mr. Anders,
I recommend you to continue reading the FAO and other UN reports. Most of them filled with information provided by the Cuban government.
It seems amazing to me that still today people are being misled by the propaganda machinery of the Castro regime.

Yes there were few cows slaughtered in 1959 by their landlords before leaving Cuba, but not thousand as you say, and the proof of that is that Cuba was exporting meat to UK and France until the 70’s. You can find that information on the Economist reports from that period.

It is clear that things were not right in Cuba before 1959 but the Economy was not one of them. Cuba was a booming country in 1959 and foreigners were immigrating from all sorts of countries including US, Europe, Japan, etc.

After the mid 60’s when the Economy went into bankrupt because the system did not work the whole country was subsidized by the Soviet Union.
Cuba was receiving every single thing from the Soviet Union and the old CAME (Council of Economic Mutual Assistance / Ex Socialist countries of Europe) at a reduced price in theory but in the reality almost nothing was paid. According the oil trade agreement with the Soviet Union, Cuba was even allowed to export any amount of oil above the needs of the country, and there was Cuba selling oil in the Caribbean. Amazing!! A country that have to import all their oil not only got it for free but also was allowed to sell the surplus to get some extra dollars.

The growth rate in Cuba now days is not a big deal because the government compounded it as they like and they never allow independent audits. The economy in Cuba is simply in free fall.

In regard to earlier comments regarding the Embargo/Blockade, while on an earlier post I mentioned my complete opposition to it, I have to say that there is no such 800 Lbs Gorilla. Cuba can and had purchased all their needs in second countries and sometimes cheaper than in the States. I do not recall any time that Coca Cola had not been available in Cuban Hotels, most computers on the Cuban ministries were IBM and most high tech equipment on the hospitals were from American firms or subsidiaries,  purchased in Mexico, Canada or where ever.

I do presume that without the embargo things may had been a little bit easier for the Cuban Government but that’s about it. I’m completely sure that with or without embargo the Cuban people would have been oppressed because the only interest of Fidel Castro is power.

Cuba was not allowed to trade directly with the US before but was trading with all the rest of the world and obviously with the Soviet Union and the other European Socialist Countries.

At the same time since few years ago Cuba is buying aprox USD 500 Millions a year in American products directly from the US. 

The Embargo is a failed policy but the Cuban economy is in bankrupt not because of the embargo but because the way the government had been run over those last 40 years.

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On November 06, 2007, anders wrote:

Publisher,
Sometimes it seems you believe being against the criminal embargo makes you ” a little radical” or something. In the US it might be so but your country is such a divergent entity on this planet you become totally misled if you define normality out of “the american way”.

Last week the Cuban call in the UN General Assembly for a proclamation against the US embargo was supported by 184 states.  Only the “Entity for Ethnic Cleansing”, the Marshall Islands and Palau supported the US. 
The only nations on earth supporting the US today are payed off desert vigilantees and a couple of southern Pacific corall reefs of smugglers and drunkards.  Not even the CIA regime in Bogota, the genocidal murderers of Guatemala, the “whatevers” of Panama-St:a Lucia, the medieval conservatives of Honduras or the human organ traders of the Phillipines supports the US any more. That is how lonely you are !

The United States is an incredibly divergent political actor in the world today so claiming to be against the embargo is remarkable…...... “only in America”  !

When you argue the cubans should start conseeding by releasing “prisoners of consciense”  you actually are saying it is Cuba that has created the conflict and the fault of the US is being to stern !  This is what some people believe in Florida, Langeley and First Baptist Church of Dallas. But nowhere else on this planet. Get that, eventually !

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On November 07, 2007, publisher wrote:

Yeyo,

GREAT POST. Thank you. We need people with your CORRECT knowledge of history around here.

Anders,

I am anti Embargo and have no problem with your analysis of the UN vote.

However, as to the Cubans creating the conflict…ah, yes. Castro nationalizing American companies and then maybe you have heard about the Cuban Missile Crisis?

There is nothing you can do to convince me that the Cuban government is legit politically, economically or morally so give it up.

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On November 07, 2007, Yeyo wrote:

I am anti Embargo too but at the same time would like to mention that in this world we live in today nothing is perfectly white or perfectly black.
The anti embargo vote in the UN was not a sign of support to the Cuban government. It was a sign of support to end the embargo.
Firstly the vote had been lobbied by Cuban representatives during many years giving freebies to buy the vote of some of the countries (i.e. Hospitals to Guatemala) that voted in favor and secondly as you seem to be very well informed you should know that the vote is a priority for the government and all the Cuban foreign ministry personnel including all the embassies overseas expend much of their time trying to convince or bribe for that vote instead of working for the real interest of the Cuban people.
Again I am truly against the Embargo but the real problem in Cuba is not the embargo, the real problem is Fidel Castro and his cronies.

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On November 07, 2007, publisher wrote:

Agree completely but Anders will see it differently.

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On November 07, 2007, MiamiCuban wrote:

Publisher, the reason that Castro nationalized the oil companies was because the companies refused to refine oil imported from Russia…so when they made things difficult at a crucial time, he seized their companies.  The problem didn’t start with Castro, he only reacted to an emergency situation.  One action causes another reaction and so on and so on, so let’s not point any fingers.  The best thing for everyone to do at this point, since the past is so muddied, is to start on a clean slate.  Lift the embargo.  Let Cubans decide their own future, WHETHER WE AGREE WITH THEIR CHOICES OR NOT.  If they decide on Socialism or some derivation of it, so be it.  As for demanding the release of political prisoners…that’s always the excuse in Miami for the constant rallying against Cuba.  And who is always trying to stir trouble on the island?  How about Radio Marti?  But it’s best if we leave the issue alone because our hands are certainly not clean.  (What happens to Iraqis if they fight against those who are occupying their country?  They end up in Guantanamo, without charges, and without a right to trial.)  Let’s try to fix first what’s wrong with OUR democracy before pointing our finger at others.  In addition, doesn’t every country on the planet have “dissidents” jailed for one reason or the other?  I’m not condoning the jailing of “dissidents” (if that’s what they truly are) but let’s stop picking on Cuba.

As for Anders, he’s only stating historical facts and the facts speak for themselves.  And one of the facts is that, yes, Cuba was left devastated when all the teachers, doctors, engineers, etc., left, and since then they’ve been struggling to get on their feet…in spite of the embargo.  True…they’ve been able to import many of the things they need, but it would have been much easier and much more cost effective had they been able to import from the U.S.  For a country the size of Cuba, that leaves a huge impact.  Many a business has gone under when it was unable to contain overhead costs, and it’s no different for a country the size of Cuba.  Rather than pick on what they’ve done wrong, applaud what they’ve done right and give them the “freedom” to forge ahead with their own ideals.

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On November 07, 2007, Jorge Vazquez wrote:

MiamiCuban, why do I get the feeling you are not really a Cuban?

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On November 07, 2007, anders wrote:

Yes Yeyo,
the vote against the embargo in the UN General Assembly is a vote against the embargo and not in favor of Cubas government. This was outspoken by some EU representative and the Australian ambassador , for instance.  This is how things are done in the UN and most other international organisations. We/they stick to the issues.
The main reason why some ambassadors “clearify” their voting is because the US are trying to pressurize governments and make it a matter of pro and con towards Cuban government. The US are trying to confuse things. This “Freedom Fund” the other week is a sad exemple. The present US regime are so dumb they actually think we are that dumb we would go for something like that. Even when they try to be clever they insult us.
The US also has a long record of threatning and bribing nations on this and bundles of other issues. In the old days they succeeded with many countries. Not any more !

If you do a bit of soul searching I expect you to recognize Cuba doesn´t bribe nations for support. They have little to bribe with and whatever they have the US has a 100 times of. A bribery contest Cuba can never win. The Cuban ambassador in Sweden has a hard time even arranging meetings with our Foreign Service and in our part of the world a six-pack of havannas would ruin any political career. They don´t even try when we visit them in their country. I do believe they are too proud also. Which is quality to me !

Nations vote as they do because the embargo is unjust and the US is arrogant. Thats why the Australian ambassador clearified his vote.

You say Cuba has lobbied for the vote for many years. Well the vote has been repeated since the 60s for some reason !!!! these overwhelming figures have been for about 15 years.

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On November 07, 2007, anders wrote:

Dear mr Yeyo,

thank you for a substantial reply !
this contribution was denied by this site yesterday.
I will answer through things we somewhat agree on.

Yes, Cuban economic records indicate growth for 1957-59. But not before that. It has to do with actual investments in a number of smaller factories outside the sugar sector and some in the tourism industry, if I remember correctely. Little of this was outside Havanna.

The foremost source of knowledge on Cuban economics up to 1950 is “Report on Cuba”, Truslow commission, WorldBank. Until 1950 there was no economic growth at all since 1920 and very little since US annexation in 1898.
In between 1950 and 57 there was an obvious decline which has been hard to analyse in detail since the Cuban state apparatus degenarated completely in the 1950s. For that period statistics are incomplete and often fraudulent. Analyses is very much reconstruction.
One of the few things we know for sure is that the gold reserve and currency reserve increased considerably from 1945-58 due to activities of US criminals and tax dodgers but they were not invested in productive affairs. We are talking Las Vegas and New york trading here.

Developments of migrations to/from Cuba I know very little about, especially before -59. I do know there was a continous immigration of Europeans from 1918 to around 45-50 somewhere. Actually several thousand scandinavians moved there and there is still a small community of a few houndred that recognizes this heritage. Our foremost troubadour, Evert Taube, wrote several songs from Cuba from the days he was a sailor, the best known is perhaps “The girl from Havanna”.

Yes, one way of subsidicing Cuban economy was to make them small scale oil traders. The purchasers varied. It seems to have been close to daytrading and the byuers often were ones with various problems with the US or at least its oil corporations. I have also gotten the impression the Cubans payed for various commodities this way.
A substantial part of swedish assistence to Cuba in the 60s and 70s was cash funding, with no obligations. The Soviets rather delivered commodities.

I agree the embargo is not a simplistic issue or was at least. Over the years I imagine Cuba has lost more on exports than lack of imports. More through the delay in completion of trade - everything takes more time - than the absolute lack of partners, more because of fear of problems from the US by partners than actual persecution.
For many years now important european corporations want to invest on Cuba but restrain themselves because of the embargo.

Embargo has become more severe since the US actually started implementing the criminalisation of trading with Cuba. For a few years the US has tried to enforce its legislation on other countries. Trading through middle men has become more difficult for them. But earlier there were more ways around it. I would guess during next recession in US economy more european investments on Cuba will take place and there is also a growing sentiment all over the world not to give a shit about US threats. The CIA can´t send anthrax letters to everyone !

Some months ago a Hilton hotel in Oslo denied Cubans to stay there. The political and cultural establishment in the city reacted within half an hour and some cabinet members just after that. It caused some turbulence for a few hours but eventually management made a public apology and declared obidience to Norwegian laws. The only practical effect was more anti-american sentiments.

And this is the way things go on year after year after year…...

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On November 08, 2007, publisher wrote:

The UN vote against the Embargo was a vote against US policy, NOT a vote in favor of Cuba.