Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Cuba: Economic Deja Vu?

Posted By Janine Mendes-Franco On 7 June 2012 @ 19:39 pm

A few Cuban bloggers have been voicing their economic concerns – and

wondering whether the island's recent reforms, some of which include a

more open approach to self-employment – could translate into political

change as well.

Diaspora blogger Uncommon Sense [1] didn't think much had really changed

on the economic front, noting that:

The average salary in Cuba climbs to $19 a month.

Yes, in 2012 [2].

Generation Y [3] admitted to "hav[ing] the impression of being trapped

in a permanent deja vu":

Today at noon I heard on the street words identical to those of

last week; the neighborhood brooding over problems very similar to those

of two decades ago, and at the butcher's a long line seemed modeled on

another of 1994 or 2002. It's hard to shake the feeling that we have

already lived this…One of the recurring scenes is the pursuit of food

and other basic products chronically in short supply in our markets.

Going after a little oil, a package of sausage, or a piece of soap to

wash clothes.

Sanchez went on to explain [3] how "the long-awaited reform that allowed

the rebirth of self-employment has generated some problems that are

barely talked about":

Lacking a wholesale market where they can buy supplies and raw

materials for their small businesses, private workers have turned to the

already weak retail network. They line up at dawn outside the bakeries

and certain shops to acquire large quantities of merchandise that end up

in restaurant and snack bar kitchens. Without any special discounts for

buying in quantity, maintaining a supply of vegetables, grains and meats

becomes a harrowing task, difficult and extremely expensive. In

addition, they significantly decrease the availability of products for

the non-industrial consumer, the individual shopper who needs are only

for home use. The retail majority.

The feeble State commerce is not prepared for the demand of recent

months…If this contradiction isn't resolved, the time will come when

pork, peppers and potatoes can only be found on the plates of paladares

— private restaurants. And the neighbor who complains today, for the

umpteenth time, about the absence of toilet paper, will have to visit

the bathrooms of the new restaurants to remember what those rolls were

like, so white, so soft.

Bad Handwriting [4] shared an interesting perspective, having attended a

meeting organised by the journal Temas (Topics), about issues of

self-employment:

I expanded my horizons as a housewife. I learned that artists and

religious priests are also "self-employed" workers, and that this

category will soon become 20% of the workforce. I also found a display

on 600 employed persons, which showed that they earn on average six

times more than in their former state job.

There were those who came to the defense of the reviled

carretilleros, walking vendors with their carts, who have received a ton

of abuse, as if they were responsible for the lack of variety and the

high price of vegetables.

Although the panel members still used archaic language (especially

the one 'self-employed' panel), they generally spoke of the positive

impact of this emerging sector in the recovery of the value of working

and the need to change social attitudes that see this work as

reprehensible — a form of mild forgetfulness that it is a natural

reaction to a half century of government stigma associated with private

and personal enrichment.

To her though, "the best part [of the meeting] came with the comments":

There was a call for a clear regulatory framework and public

statistics about this new line of work…

The writer Yoss posed a theoretical problem: If all economic power

generates political power, is the state resigned to the possibility of

losing their power? The self-employed comrade on the panel made clear

that, contrary to what we were taught in the manual of political

economy, economic changes will not bring political change, and the party

will remain solely and exclusively in charge.

The young people, as always, shone a bright light. One talked about

eliminating the fear of the reality of the changes, another asked if it

they import and export, if State services such as SEPSA (security) can

be used, if credit cards work. Another said that the union's role is to

defend the worker, not tell the bad news through a press organ of the

Party. Another young professor explained his experience being

self-employed and advocated that the measures to be regularized before

implementation and not vice versa.

I left there in a better mood. We are neither brutish nor dull.

What we lack is freedom.

The thumbnail image used in this post [5] is by cheeses, used under an

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Creative Commons license [6]. Visit cheeses' flickr photostream [7].

Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org

URL to article:

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/06/07/cuba-economic-deja-vu/

URLs in this post:

[1] Uncommon Sense:

http://marcmasferrer.typepad.com/uncommon_sense/2012/06/the-average-salary-in-cuba-climbs-to-19-a-month.html

[2] in 2012:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/3/12/43876/Business/Economy/Cuban-salaries-rise-to–a-month-.aspx

[3] Generation Y: http://www.desdecuba.com/generationy/?p=3005

[4] Bad Handwriting:

http://lamalaletraen.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/topics-meeting-on-self-employment/

[5] thumbnail image used in this post:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mollybreslin/6785240523/

[6] an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA

2.0) Creative Commons license:

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en

[7] cheeses' flickr photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mollybreslin/

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/06/07/cuba-economic-deja-vu/print/


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