Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Some Uncertainties / Fernando Damaso
Posted on August 31, 2013

Though it has no leading role in socialism as it is practiced in this
country, the self-described “new Cuban left” is trying to find its place
in the current economic, political and social debate, one in which no
one is participating. Perhaps it is inertia that leads it to simply
repeat certain well-worn arguments put forth by the government, which
are far removed from historical reality.

When referring to the Cuban Republic, the “new left” accepts as fact
that it was a neo-colonial and subjugated pseudo-state, constrained by
the Platt Amendment and subject to foreign interference. It assumes that
only a tiny minority lived well while the rest of the population
suffered in misery without education, health services or employment
opportunities. It also believes that discrimination against racial
minorities and women was rampant. The current authorities have been
incessant in their demonization of past eras, facts and historical
figures, while some have accepted these claims as absolute truths and go
on repeating them.

The reality is that the situation was not quite so gloomy. Cuba was one
of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of agricultural and
industrial production, health services, education, salary levels and
labor rights. Its gross domestic product was also one of the highest in
the region, making it an attractive destination for immigrants from
other countries. It had an established and thriving middle class, and
both its population and cities were continually growing, both from an
economic and urban standpoint as well as in terms of infrastructure.

In fact, most of what we still have of value we owe to the republican
era. To ignore this truth — even keeping in mind the political situation
as well as other shortcomings and problems that existed at the time, and
that still have not been resolved — is like listening to only half the

When referring to the disastrous years of socialism, however, the new
Cuban left characterizes it as true, authoritarian, statist and
Stalinist. It focuses attention only on its distorted features, blaming
them for all its failures, as though it were not the system itself —
independent of its atrocities and its leaders — which has failed
wherever it has been tried.

When discussing the future, the “new left” rejects a return to the past,
presuming it might lead to something as ridiculous as a return to
pre-1959 capitalism. It accuses those who propose abandoning Raul
Castro’s model of being responsible for a possible loss of independence
and sovereignty (language which daily falls further out of use in a
globalized world) or for subjugation by the neighbor to the north. It is
a perhaps unintentional reprise of an official rhetorical phrase: “You
are either with me or against me.”

The only thing that Cuban socialism has distributed equally throughout
the population — which does not include of the tiny elite which hangs
onto wealth and power — is poverty. This is the equality that its
domestic and foreign supporters applaud. Cuban socialism has enjoyed
fifty-four years of missed opportunities, which makes it highly unlikely
that the population will be inclined to give it further opportunities
either in the present or in the future.

As the popular saying goes, the Castro model’s “last fifteen minutes are
up.” Therefore, new opportunities present themselves to other political,
economic and social initiatives which can and must include all citizens
who care about Cuba. They cannot, however, impose narrow concepts,
whether or not they are what we call socialists, democrats,
participatives, critics, conservatives, liberals, capitalists,
anarchists, rationalists, centrists, decentralists, pluralists,
reformers, etc.
It is only natural that this political opening would occur after years
of living under a single economic, political and social ideological
mindset. The wide variety of new ingredients should produce a dish
capable of satisfying the palates of most of our citizens. But this dish
cannot be prepared by one single chef. It has to take into account the
opinions and participation of those who will consume it, and must
include economic development, freedom and social justice.

The goal is to enter the current global jet stream and advance along
with it in ways to be determined by citizens exercising their full
democratic rights, with participation by everyone but without new and
ridiculous political, economic and social experiments or the kind of
one-party nationalism that has left us light years behind the world’s

29 August 2013

Source: “Some Uncertainties / Fernando Damaso | Translating Cuba” –

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