miércoles, 5 de octubre de 2016

The wealth that irks Castroism

The wealth that irks Castroism
ORLANDO FREIRE SANTANA | La Habana | 5 de Octubre de 2016 - 07:24 CEST.

Ever since the Conceptualization of Cuba's Socialist Economic and Social
Model document was made public, its Section 104, referring to the
prohibition against the concentration of property and wealth, was
expected to be one of its most debated aspects.

But reality seems to have exceeded expectations. There has been barely a
forum at which Section 104 has not come up for discussion. And there is
bad news for supporters of reform: in most cases the Government's
proposal of impeding non-State actors from accumulating wealth has been
supported. At least, this is the impression projected by the official
press in reference to the most recent debates of the Conceptualization
and the National Plan for Economic and Social Development until 2030.

A meeting of Popular Power delegates in Santa Clara, for example,
endorsed "preventing the proliferation of a nouveau riche class in
Cuba." In that same city, but in a meeting with pro-Government
journalists, the consensus was to inquire as "to what extent we will
allow the concentration of wealth, so that no one thinks he is going to
get rich at the people's expense."

In other cases the attacks on wealth have been launched from barricades
alleging the "virtues" of socialism. The National Hotels and Tourism
Union concluded that "it is not permissible for a concentration of
wealth to violate the principles of socialism." Meanwhile, workers in
the Health sector in Bayamo called for "the State to regulate the
concentration of property and wealth in the hands of non-State natural
or legal persons in a manner consistent with the principles of our
socialism."

The National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), with Miguel
Barnet and Abel Prieto seated in the front row of the assembly,
suggested that "self-employment should not allow anyone to get rich."

Those who think this way do not seem to realize that these kinds of
threats are likely to curb the desire to produce among the self
employed, and usufruct and cooperative workers. Obviously nobody can
sleep soundly when they suspect their business might be shut down the
next day. Also unnerving is not knowing what kind of mechanism the
Government might use to prevent the aforementioned enrichment. Indirect
or economic methods could be applied – the least traumatic – but the
dreaded direct or administrative measures, like those employed during
the Revolutionary Offensive of 1968, are not off the table either.

So long as economic logic is subordinated to ideological logic, and
until changes on the Island are wrested from the hands of Raul's
hardline henchmen, economic reform will go nowhere. It would behoove us
to remind Cuba's rulers of why China remained economically chronically
stagnant before Deng Xiaoping came along: just to prevent a handful of
Chinese from driving modern cars, the Maoists forced 800 million Chinese
to ride bicycles.

As Cuban authorities have yet to abandon their custom of exporting their
conceptions and methods of government (remember the exportation of
guerrilla wars in the 60s, and the model to control societies currently
employed by Venezuela's chavistas) the General-President just denounced
wealth in the world (that accumulated by others, of course) during his
speech at the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Countries, held
on the Venezuelan island of Isla Margarita.

According to the Cuban leader, "the international economic order imposed
by the major powers has led to 360 people possessing more wealth than
45% of the world's population."

The General-President ought to be asked his opinion about the fortunes
that tend to surface when closed societies' presidents and other leaders
are finally removed from office.

Source: The wealth that irks Castroism | Diario de Cuba -
http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1475645077_25784.html

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