The Guidelines: Prolonging the Scam / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya
Posted on March 1, 2016
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 1 March 2016 — A few weeks before the
much heralded 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), and
half a decade since the Guidelines for the Economic and Social Policy of
the Party and the Revolution were adopted on 18 April 2011, only 21 % of
the 313 Guidelines have been “implemented,” while 77% “are in
the process” of implementation.
These figures were announced during the 13th Plenum of the Central
Committee of the PCC (Granma, 15 January 2016, front page), within the
framework of the “assessment of the documents to be discussed” at the
Seventh Congress, and the information does not specify which Guidelines
are now in effect, nor in which sphere of the country’s life one can see
the results, nor which are “in process,” nor how much time it will take
for the complete consummation of this theoretical-spiritual guide
destined “to guarantee the continuity and irreversibility of Socialism,
the economic development of the country and the living standards of the
population, combined with the necessary formation of the ethical and
political values of our citizens,” quoting verbatim from the text of the
Resolution approved by the 6th Party Congress.
Five years later the economic development of this country continues to
remain an unattainable aspiration, people’s standard of living is
declining every day, and the only thing that is irreversible is the
poverty and loss of values in society. Few Cubans have any idea of the
content of the Guidelines and virtually no one is interested in them.
While those 313 points were, in their time, the closest thing to a
government program, ordinary Cubans have their own individual agendas,
and barely two specific guidelines – not necessarily mutually exclusive
– have been complied with, without the need of any guidance from the PCC
and or the need to contain them in the official text: survive and migrate.
However, despite the tedium provoked by the comically hackneyed syntax
of the official document, it is critical to read and analyze it if you
want to follow with some degree of approximation the erratic voyage of
this shipwrecked vessel, still nicknamed the Cuban Revolution.
In fact, the Guidelines, which the general-president presented at the
time as the recipe for success of the much vaunted updating of the
model, are currently the written acknowledgement of the irreversibility
of the crisis of Castro-style socialism.
It is sufficient to review subheadings I and II relating to the domestic
economy – Model Economic Management (Guidelines 1 to 37), and
Macroeconomic Policies (Guidelines 38-71), respectively – to confirm the
inability to achieve progress based on the renewal of the obsolete
“model” and the now dead-in-the-water principle of centralized state
planning, that turns its back on the natural mechanisms of the market.
Meanwhile, following a logical principal, one might assume that the
Guidelines had been structured following a priority order, taking into
account first the issues most urgently in need of solutions to begin to
overcome the current problems of the Cuban reality. That is, it would be
rational to assume that the first Guidelines to be stated should also be
the first to be implemented.
But in practice, this is not the case. Strictly speaking, it should be
noted that other problems of the utmost urgency have not been solved,
and appear to be enunciated at the bottom of the list. For example,
transport policy is formulated in sub-heading 10 (Guidelines 269-286),
while the 11th and penultimate subheading contains the thorny and
critical issue of housing (Guidelines 292 to 299).
We could talk until the end of time about the 313 Guidelines and their
demonstrated ineffectiveness, although no Cuban with a minimum of common
sense placed the slightest hope in that bulging declaration of
government intentions. Nor could the general-president have been so
naïve as to believe in his own scam.
In reality, the Guidelines have never ceased to be the script of a
government pantomime to entertain public opinion and gain time. What’s
more, one can anticipate with zero margin of error that, given their
irrelevance, the upcoming 7th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party will
not be given a detailed report or a balance sheet regarding the
completion of that insignificant (and doubtful) 21% of the Guidelines
applied to date.
Today, when the cost of living continues its unstoppable ascent, making
the differences between Cubans’ purchasing power and the price of food
and basic necessities irreconcilable, and while government pandering
intensifies as it sells to the highest foreign bidder – provided they
pay in cold hard cash – that beautiful but poor prostitute that is Cuba,
one must ask the general-president when he will implement at least
Guideline 55, the one that will finally unify into a single currency the
two false ones that divide Cubans into two well-defined groups: those
who have and can, and those who don’t. A distortion whose only present
purpose is to mask the colossal inflation that exists on the island for
which there is no solution proposed in any of the 313 Guidelines.
Source: The Guidelines: Prolonging the Scam / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya |
Translating Cuba –