So the Cuban government, as far as I can tell, has still not announced the official results of the Jan 20 “elections.”
In the meantime, the repression continues with more emphasis on “catch, threaten and release”.
Lula’s visit to Havana resulted in three reflections from the semi-retired, but newly “re-elected” dictator. In the second of those reflections, he seems to be warning the Cuban people that Raul’s promised “structural changes”, specifically those in food production are unattainable:
Our soil is not suitable for the large-scale commercial production of cereals, as required to meet the necessities of a population of almost 12 million people, and the cost in machinery and fuel imported by the nation, at today’s prices, would be very high.
Also, there’s this not-so-veiled criticism of the Chinese and Vietnamese economic models that the pragmatic and collegial Raul is rumored to favor:
Besides, we do not have the required labor force to intensively take part in cereal production as the Vietnamese and Chinese do, growing rice plant by plant and often reaping two or even three harvests a year. It has to do with the location and the historical tradition of the land and its settlers.
What I find interesting is that Fidel, whom I once described as the Ralph Kramdem of Dictators, because of his penchant for highly optimistic, low on specifics, always horrific get Cuba rich-quick schemes, now seems to have morphed into Scotty from Star-Trek with a very “it cont be dunn cap’n” attitude. Even in the face of the utter, (udder)(sorry for the pun), failure of his economic policies, Castro can’t help but to bring up one of his failed grandiose schemes, “White Udder”, (Ubre Blanca) complete with an excuse on why “it cont be dunn”:
I continued with my explanation saying that in Cuba, we had a cow that broke the world record in milk production, a Holstein-Zebu hybrid. Right away Lula named her: “White Udder!” (Ubre Blanca), he exclaimed. He remembered her name. I went on to say that she would produce 110 liters of milk per day. She was like a factory, but she had to have more than 40 kilograms of fodder, the most she could chew and swallow in a 24-hour period, a mixture in which soy meal, a legume that is very difficult to grow in Cuban soil and climate, is a basic ingredient
Aside from contradicting his little half brother’s supposed and highly anticipated “changes” -even though the word “change” in Cuba will get you beaten and thrown in the slammer-his answer to Cuba’s many economic woes seems to be to live on the kindness of other nations, to beg for subsidies from countries like Venezuela and Brazil who have developed their economies on sound economic principles and free markets and not on the ideologically, not logically, derived “Guevara Economics”:
Che studied the budgets of the big Yankee companies whose managers lived in Cuba, not their owners. He drew from this a clear idea about how imperialism worked and what was happening in our society and this enriched his Marxist ideas and led him to the conclusion that in Cuba we couldn’t use the same methods to build socialism.
But even the failure of their economic policies can be justified because they were in a war economy and could not pay attention to details:
Che used to argue with Carlos Rafael Rodríguez about the self-financed or the budgetary method, things we didn’t consider that important then as we were involved in the struggle against the U.S. blockade, its aggression plans and the 1962 October Missile Crisis, a real survival issue.
What the excuse is for keeping the Cuban people in poverty after1962-after Kennedy promised Khrushchev that the US would not invade Cuba- he doesn’t go into, but he mentions, the “blockade”, Cuba’s geography and climate and even global warming-never failed leadership; a leadership that has been solely in his hands for nearly a half century- unchallenged.
All in all, Mr. Reflective or whomever is penning these missives, is dead set against any change that will improve the everyday lives of Cubans. And the solution offered, sort of, is for other Nations who have managed to develop their resources to send their wealth down to Castro so that their citizens can also experience the joys of Cuba’s “socialized misery.”
Two days later, however, Juventud Rebelde, published the 3rd of a series of articles alerting the Cuban population on the problems they face in putting food on the table. Just in case their empty pockets, empty refrigerators and grumbling stomachs didn’t already alert them.
The article quotes one Armando Nova, an Economics professor.
He theorizes, as Economists like to do, that the problem in Cuba lies in the lack of production-that is to say the supply side- with this Gem of a quote :
“..there are added prohibitions that conspire against ourselves. One of these taboos is not to recognize the existence of the market…”
That, is a beauty. How can you fix an economic problem if you, like Guevara, refuse to accept the most basic law of economics: supply and demand? If you refuse to acknowledge that human economic activity is governed by the market through the law of supply and demand, you are doomed to fail because you go against human nature.
Nova, as an economist, realizes that in order to increase the supply of agricultural products to meet demand and lower prices, there have to be other reforms to facilitate increased production. This can only achieved if production is incentivized-another one of those human nature things- people only tend to do things that benefit them in some way. Logically not ideologically, Nova, offers up private property reforms as an incentive to get farmers to produce.
He rationalizes his ideological impurity this way:
” Neither Marx nor Engels, although they always prioritized the cooperative form of property, were in discord with the forms of individual or private property, what they did repudiate was the exploitation of man by man, inherent to the capitalist property”.
Ah! another taboo that needs to addressed –the infallibility of Marx and Engels . That would be to boldly go where only “Gusanillos” dare to tread and that “cont be dunn” in Castro’s Cuba.”