Apartheid en Cuba
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    An Inclusive Cuba Would Always Be Stronger

    An Inclusive Cuba Would Always Be Stronger
    May 19, 2016
    By Fernando Ravsberg

    HAVANA TIMES – It is no secret that Washington is slowly moving away
    from its former partners of dissent and betting on the self-employed,
    cooperatives and Cuban entrepreneurs, born under the reforms led by
    President Raul Castro.

    The advantages of these over traditional dissenters are huge; they are
    integrated into society, their compatriots consider them successful
    people and they have their own financial resources, so the government
    doesn’t have to maintain them and the water in which they swim is the
    market economy.

    They even have contradictions with the prevailing social model on the
    island, which ties their hands with an inefficient bureaucracy, by
    officials always slow to make decisions, some corrupt and many fearful
    of losing their position.

    Workers and self-employed entrepreneurs are frowned upon by the more
    political “orthodox”, those who still believe that the purity of
    socialism is measured by the amount of the means of production in the
    hands of the state. It’s the hangover from drinking so many Soviets manuals.

    Those who go to the sources of socialism can see that Karl Marx merely
    proposed nationalizing only the “core means of production” and Lenin put
    it into practice promoting private initiative in the New Economic Policy

    And if we look at the roots of Cuba, José Martí would be an enemy of the
    concentration of capital in few hands because “exclusive wealth is
    unfair.” He also noted that “a nation that is rich has many small owners”.

    The worst of the orthodox view is that they use the media to fill the
    citizenry with their prejudices, fears and suspicions, some of them
    confirmed by the new US strategy, but many others are just to scare people.

    The future will depend on who this emerging sector identifies with. In
    this terrain their economic interests will be first, but they will also
    be influenced by more subjective aspects such as nationalism, social
    conscience or political ideas.

    If the authorities and economists have determined that more than one
    million state workers must move to the private sector, they should act
    consistently, making them feel that their economic interests are
    inextricably linked to those of the nation.

    It’s not about preparing tangled speeches; it would be suffice to
    explain the closure to foreign investment in some branches of food
    service and hostels, benefitting locals by limiting the competition from
    large conglomerates.

    The entrance to Cuba of fast food chains or international restaurants,
    for example, would put the Cuban businesses at a very unequal
    confrontation, both in production costs and by the experience and
    accumulated capital.

    SMEs, cooperatives and the self-employed, should be the first interested
    in maintaining some niches in the economy in the hands of Cubans because
    that way they defend their own interests while enhancing the nation.

    However, there are also subjective aspects that influence. It has to do
    with the appreciation or contempt with which they are treated. In the
    Cuban press and in some political speeches remain too many prejudices
    against this private sector, a legitimate child of the Cuban Revolution.

    Corruption cases are always mentioned much more concerning private
    businesses than in state enterprises, despite the fact that the economic
    crimes in the state sector are far more, due to it being much larger and
    also by the huge lack of controls.

    It takes forever for a cooperative to be approved and the self-employed
    have no wholesale markets to purchase supplies. They are also forbidden
    from importing. Likewise, only 200 forms of self-employment are allowed,
    while the inspectors bleed them dry demanding money under the table.

    The economic role of the autonomous may seem small compared to the state
    but the fact is that the reforms would be impossible without them. No
    government can run efficiently if it has to address both nickel mines
    and the street sale of fritters.

    The private sector reduces the number of state employees; covers the
    lodging deficit for tourists outside the hotels; solves everyday
    problems of the population, and contributes to the national coffers with
    taxes while allowing the government to address the crucial sectors.

    Private enterprise is not an enemy of the nation or even “a necessary
    evil.” Sometimes it even has a social profile in its project, such as
    the case of Papito the barber or the Cuban Art Factory, where culture
    and sustainability merge.

    As in any other economic and social sectors there will be corrupt or
    unprincipled people but President Raul Castro himself said most are
    “patriots”. So why so much prejudice, mistrust and suspicion against them?

    While in Cuba the bureaucracy and orthodoxy make life impossible for
    them, they receive praise from the US, from where they receive offers
    for loans, training courses and open doors to export and import. Which
    of the two policies will be the most intelligent and provide the best

    Source: An Inclusive Cuba Would Always Be Stronger – Havana Times.org –

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