Cuba: A Capitalist State?
Posted by Guest Voice in Economy, International.
Oct 6th, 2009 | Comments
Guest Post By Leonidas
Leonidas is a frequent, right of center commenter on The Moderate Voice
and has been invited as a Guest Voice.
The Washington Post reports:
Faced with the smothering inefficiencies of a state-run economy and
unable to feed his people without massive imports of food, Cuban leader
Raúl Castro has put his faith in compatriots like Esther Fuentes and his
little farm out in the sticks. If Cuba is searching for its New New Man,
then Fuentes might be him. The Cuban government, in its most dramatic
reform since Castro took over for his ailing older brother Fidel three
years ago, is offering private farmers such as Fuentes the use of fallow
state lands to grow crops — for a profit.
Quite a change for the island nation. Of course the rhetoric must be
applied to justify this:
Raúl Castro prefers to call it "a new socialist model."
The "new socialist model" can be summed up in two words…… profit motive.
What brought this on?
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of subsidies
from Moscow and Eastern Europe, Cuba abandoned its huge farms devoted to
sugar cane — and that land was quickly taken over by marabu, a
tenacious, thorny weed that now covers vast tracts of Cuba the way kudzu
blankets the American South.
Guess they decided that its actually better to allow some capitalism
than let the land sit useless under their previous policies. But what do
the people of Cuba think:
Fuentes pointed to his new fields of sweet potatoes, corn,
tomatoes, cassava and beans. He's also growing flowers to sell. Chickens
were running around, and trees bore monster avocados. The future looks
better. "This is big change," he said. "Everyone wants in."
How far will it go? Who knows but one academic has an idea for them:
"If they really wanted to solve their problem, they could solve it
in a minute, with the stroke of a pen," by allowing private ownership
and free markets, said José Alvarez, a professor emeritus and authority
on Cuban agriculture at the University of Florida.
Is Cuba likely to turn into a capitalist state? Not likely, but they are
beginning to face at least the reality that the profit motive will help
them to feed their people.
Cuba: A Capitalist State? | The Moderate Voice (6 October 2009)