Daydreaming / Fernando Damaso
Fernando Damaso, Translator: Unstated
In Cuba, unlike other countries where a minister is able and authorized
to expose governmental policy, this is only the responsibility of the
president. Due to that, if one wants really to know its contents and
projections, one must go to him, through his speeches and public
appearances. Some time ago, in an interview with the foreign press, the
Minister of Foreign Affairs proposed that in order to invest in Cuba,
one had to come with three or five hundred million dollars and, as the
Cuban exiles did not have that, they were dismissed. It seems this
character is not well versed in economics and his statement is quite
messed up. If he was only trying to make a joke, it fell flat. The
misguided approach, so absurd, does not deserve to be analyzed, but can
serve as a starting point for some reasoning.
Currently Cuba, undercapitalized, in order to be able to undertake the
road to solve its economic problems, should try to attract capital from
outside — among the Cubans within, it does not exist — from both Cubans
and from citizens of other nationalities, prioritizing the first,
because of a basic sense of belonging.
This capital doesn't have to be small-time nor that exaggerated, as the
minister said. To invest in Cuba today is not easy and also constitutes
a risk to anyone, because the laws and transparent regulations which
would provide minimum and reliable assurances to investors don't exist.
As a result, as long as these are not enacted, investments — if any —
will be on a small scale, but given no investment of any kind, even this
could represent an injection of resuscitation to an economy in a
Nor is it possible to aspire to the big enterprise — State of private —
but rather to the development of small and medium enterprises, which
have shown internationally to be the main generators of jobs and wealth,
and which are also more prepared to succeed in times of crisis, because
given their size they are more adaptable to changes, react faster and
are more efficient in the introduction of the achievements of science,
and in their systems of production and service. We are not reinventing
the wheel, simply suggesting easily verified realities.
If Cuba doesn't want to become a rentier state — dependent on foreign
exploitation of some agricultural product, nickel, or the hypothetical
oil in the gulf waters — it needs to take this path, which is consistent
with real possibilities. Everything else is still a dream like soap
bubbles, and to try to continue to live on external grants, is more of a
political than an economic strategy.
Our country possesses fertile lands that are unproductive — the majority
covered with the marabou weed — and other natural riches, as well as a
skilled workforce, badly paid, which given the incentive of fair
salaries and the possibility to develop their creative initiative,
without absurd regulations that strengthen poverty, could produce the
much-needed economic liftoff.
To intelligently combine State and private property on an equal
competitive conditions, without economic missteps by political and
ideological interests, would advance our country. To this end, the State
must finally shed its false paternalistic attitude, that is just
covering up its totalitarian nature, and exercise its role as regulator
of social forces and nothing else, leaving aside impositions and command
and control, which have both done so much damage. Only a democratic Cuba
will be able to overcome the current crisis and insert itself into the
overall world economy, as in the days when it occupied the place of the
29th most developed country in the world.
November 8 2012