In “Cuba After Communism: The Economics That Are Transforming the Island (July,2015) Julia E. Sweig and Michael J. Bustamante went through the players involved in the transformation. It is interesting to note that Raul Castro’s opposition is only referred to on one line and it is to say that they are seen as mercenaries by Raul Castro. a sideline and to contrast the
On Raul Castro:
“Is leading a gradual but, for Cuba, ultimately radical overhaul of the relationship between the state, the individual, and society, all without cutting the socialist umbilical cord.”
On the transformation of its models and systems:
“So far, this unsettled state of affairs lacks complete definition or a convincing label” adding “actualization of the Cuban social and economic model,” the Communist Party’s preferred euphemism, oversells the degree of ideological cohesion while smoothing over the implications for society and politics”
On the economics of the immediate Cuba:
“For now, the emerging Cuba might best be characterized as a public-private hybrid in which multiple forms of production, property ownership, and investment, in addition to a slimmer welfare state and greater personal freedom, will coexist with military-run state companies in strategic sectors of the economy and continued one-party rule.”
Miguel Diaz-Canel, Raul Castro’s designated successor according to Sweig and Bustamante said:
“Cuba has made progress on the issues that are easiest to solve”
On Diaz-Canel’s statement Sweig and Bustamente reposted:
“But, what is left are the more important choices that will be decisive in the development of [the] country.”
On challenges Cubans are facing Sweig and Bustamante noted that:
“Unlike China and Vietnam at the start of their reform efforts, Cuba is an underdeveloped country with developed-world problems”.
Citing fundamental distinctions between processes undertaken by China and Vietnam:
“When Vietnam began its doi moi (renovation) economic reforms in 1986, services accounted for about 33 percent of GDP, whereas the productive base represented nearly 67 percent. By contrast, services in Cuba make up close to 75 percent of the island’s GDP — the result of 20-plus years of severe industrial decay and low rates of savings and investment. Service exports (mainly of health-care professionals), combined with tourism and remittances, constitute the country’s primary defense against a sustained balance-of-payments deficit”.
On Cuba’s productivity:
“More broadly, Cuban productivity remains anemic, and the country has been unable to capitalize on its highly educated work force”
Castro appears to recognize that attracting foreign investment, decentralizing the government, and further expanding the private sector are the only ways to tackle this long-term predicament.
On the opposition to Raul and Fidel Castro, Sweig and Bustamante write:
“Mercenaries” in the eyes of the Cuban state.
On the opposition to the opposition the scholars added:
“They also maintain t heir distance from foreign, especially U.S. and Cuban American, financial support, which marks many dissidents as “mercenaries” in the eyes of the Cuban state. Yet they do so more out of political conviction than strategic calculus, refusing to accept the purported choice between towing the party line at home and collaborating with transition schemes concocted abroad”.
On the short term they project:
“Cuba’s economic and political predicaments cannot be appreciated in isolation from its international context. The U.S. embargo remains a formidable obstacle to the island’s long-term economic prosperity, and it casts a long shadow over Cuban domestic politics. In the case of Vietnam, it was only after the lifting of the U.S. embargo in 1994 that the economy began to transform in earnest. Given Cuba’s proximity to the United States and its relatively low labor costs, a similar shift in U.S. law could have a profound impact on the island”
The recommendations for the United States President are:
“Obama, meanwhile, has a choice. He can opt for the path of least political resistance and allow the well-entrenched bureaucrats, national security ideologues, and pro-embargo voices in his own country to keep Cuba policy in a box, further alienating regional allies and perpetuating the siege mentality among Cuban officials. Or he can dare to be the president who finally extracts the United States from Cuba’s internal debate and finds a way for Washington and Havana to work together. Both the Cuban people and U.S. national interests would benefit as a result”
Rolando Cartaya VOA —
“Más de un millón de hectáreas de tierras, equivalentes a la sexta parte de la superficie agrícola total de Cuba, permanecían ociosas seis años después que el gobierno de Raúl Castro iniciara la entrega en usufructo de tierras improductivas para impulsar la producción de alimentos.
Además, de las tierras de cultivo, se encontraban sin cultivar el año pasado cerca de 4 millones de hectáreas (3,696,600), para sólo un 25,3 por ciento de aprovechamiento productivo de toda la superficie agrícola del país.
Los datos aparecen en el informe Panorama Uso de la Tierra 2013publicado el lunes por la Oficina Nacional de Estadísticas (ONE),