Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Who Is To Blame For The Cuban Economy?

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel reported on the sluggish economy in ways that you don't typically hear.

Commenting on deficiencies noted in execution of the 2018 Plan, he acknowledged that many are due to the complex economic situation we face, which is related to problems accumulated on the structural order, of operations, as well as those of our own making that we must resolve. Nor can the impact of the blockade be underestimated, he said, which has worsened under the Trump administration, especially financial persecution internationally. 
The embargo is secondary, which I don't believe I've ever heard before. Here is Raúl Castro in a 2015 speech at the UN.
However, the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba persists bringing damages and hardships on the Cuban people, and standing as the main obstacle to our country’s economic development, while affecting other nations due to its extraterritorial scope, and hurting the interests of American citizens and companies. 
That is a long-standing line.

So for Díaz-Canel, what or who is to blame if not the embargo? Bureaucrats!
The 2019 Plan, he said, is realistic, "but it's the least we can do. And if we implement it well, we have the potential to do more. But if there are bureaucrats, if there are people who delay making decisions, to export, to collect; if there are people who do not have the sensibility that the circumstances demand, then the plan is paralyzed.”
This is interesting because Díaz-Canel himself was, well, a bureaucrat. His career is serving on Communist Party committees. It also echoes what Fidel Castro himself believed. This is from 1965:
"Bureaucracy is a vice which threatens socialist revolutions as well as it threatens capitalists. But the socialist revolutions must know how to take measures to prevent this evil from becoming enthroned and causing all the damage it is capable of."
The embargo obviously hurts the Cuban economy badly. There can be no argument there. But this is a big step away from leaning on the embargo as a crutch to avoid self-reflection, which Raúl was doing to a degree with all his efforts at economic reform.


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