Magic Formula to Revive Socialism / Miriam Celaya
Posted on April 24, 2014
Will investors be able to save the conquests of the olive green caste by
soaking their hard currency in the Castros’ holy water?
HAVANA, Cuba: In recent weeks, the new Investment law–the latest magic
formula to overcome the endemic crisis of “the model”–has been
preeminently occupying space in the official Cuban press.
Commentaries, interviews with officials and experts on the subject, and
reviews that look at the advantages and benefits of assimilating foreign
capital as the most expeditious way to finally give birth to the
socialism that spent over 50 years in the gestation phase, emerge from
the pages from government pamphlets and television news announcing that
the good “new” capital is the philosopher’s stone for development. So
let’s forget all the ideological catechism defended until now, because
our rulers have discovered that soaking hard currencies in the Castros’
holy water will safeguard the “conquests” …of the olive green caste.
And it is precisely about the conquests of the elderly druids and their
acolytes that the foreign investment law was born with congenital
deformities that require deep reconstructive surgery if they really
intend for it to work.
The most important flaw that is obvious from the outset is the legal
aberration of expressly excluding the rights of Cubans on the island to
participate as investors in their own country, an issue that is
unparalleled in any civilized nation, and that alone disqualifies the
best intentions beforehand. Another issue, no less twisted, is the
exclusion of free contract (that is, allowing foreign investors to hire
Cuban workers directly). Both elements are unsustainable since they are
not justified or serve any function other than to maintain absolute
control over the population to prevent the weakening of political power.
Therefore, the Castros’ hired applauders are saddled with the thankless
task of challenging independent journalists’ criticism of the law, since
new technologies allow other opinions to circumvent the official
information blockade and reach the population. Fundamentalists will now
take to the trenches to fight another battle against freedom of opinion.
So an obviously poorly trained journalist did take to the trenches when
he approached the subject from an article in the Juventud Rebelde (Rebel
Youth) newspaper (“Good investments and ‘skeptical’ versions”, Yoerky
Sánchez Cuéllar, Sunday, April 20th, 2014, pg.3), which misses the mark
from its own opening paragraph, when referring to the authors of the
inquiring articles as “preachers of a policy aimed at promoting foreign
interests over national affairs”. This cluelessness indicts the rookie’s
inexperience, when he refers in such terms to the critics of a law that
precisely favors “foreign interests” at the expense of the Cuban people.
Yoerky’s errors did not end here. He obviously has access to the
independent press but does not dare to reproduce the arguments of the
criticisms of said law. It is untenable to be a representative of the
people while advocating, at the same time, in favor of legislation that
strips the people of their essential rights, contained in international
pacts and declarations ofwhich Cuba is a signatory.
“One of the causes for the media’s ‘skepticism’ is related to the fact
that the law prohibits foreign investors to directly contract with
workers, a role that will be up to national employer organizations,”
Yoerky indicates, and he explains to us that such a measure “protects
our human resources, considered as the country’s most important asset.”
Unfortunately, he forgot to explain how stripping Cuban workers of their
capacity for free and individual contract constitutes “protection” for
them and what “guaranties” this offers the investors.
“Who better than us to select employees, taking into account taxing
requirements which will contribute to higher solvency and satisfaction
to all parties…” wonders this Beefeater, immersed in a “collective us”
that always emerges when the lords try to convince the herd about the
need for sacrifice. Maybe he is ignoring that, when they sold us out as
a “pseudo-republic,” foreign companies freely hired Cuban workers, who
did not need a government agency to determine their suitability, their
wage levels or the taxes they would pay to the State, so the current
investment law implies a serious labor rights setback.
In short, far from being enlightening, the referenced writing stirs the
murkiness of a law that holds more questions than answers. We continue
to not know how the “investment portfolio” is defined, or what devices
will manage it or prevent favoritism, influence peddling, corruption,
patronage, and other ills.
There is no mechanism or information system that will allow Cubans–its
supposed beneficiaries–to find out what items, who, and how to go about
investing, much less verifying amounts, earnings, and how the wealth to
be gained will be distributed. The “exceptional reasons of social
interest or public utility” that will determine expropriations haven’t
been clearly established either, and they will be left at the
government’s discretion, while rampant widespread corruption–in spite of
many battles and comptrollers–continues unabated and constitutes a
threat to any investor in a country in which the actions of individuals
are patterned for survival.
Yoerky does not say, perhaps because a servant is not able to understand
it, that in the absence of civil liberties and democratic changes no
palliative measure will be able to overcome the crisis. Undoubtedly,
investors will always turn up who are ready for an adventure with the
regime, and thousands of Cubans will probably flock to apply for jobs of
“our own procurement” because nothing motivates a crowd as much as a
poverty auction. Maybe by then this young man, an undertaking of the
official media, will see this as another “victory of the Revolution.” I
will not attempt to argue the point: I have spent 54 years attending
them without any benefit whatsoever.
Translated by Norma Whiting
Cubanet, 22 April 2014 | Miriam Celaya
Source: Magic Formula to Revive Socialism / Miriam Celaya | Translating