Even Cuba’s leftists are unhappy with Raulito

Cuban Economic Policy Facing Criticism from the Left

HAVANA – Cuban President Raul Castro’s plans to lay off some 500,000 state employees and expand the scope for self-employment represent a betrayal of socialism, the social democratic dissident group Arco Progresista said Tuesday.

“The entire global revolutionary left and a good part of the social democratic left have supported a political project that culminates as a great social farce,” Arco spokesperson Manuel Cuesta Morua told reporters in Havana, reading from a prepared statement.

Arco also accused Cuba’s only legal union, the CTC, of betraying the working class to become the mouthpiece of the government.

The CTC is a “bureaucratic enterprise at the service of employers,” according to Arco Progresista, which is demanding the resignation of union chief Salvador Valdes.

“The combination of massive layoffs with the way in which self-employment is being reintroduced, and with a new project in conjunction with foreign capital – which is hidden from Cuban citizens – constitutes the opening to a late, harsh and primitive neoliberalism,” Arco said, using leftist shorthand for the kind of economic policies associated with figures such as Margaret Thatcher and the late Ronald Reagan.

Arco cited other traces in Cuba of the “typical model of archaic neoliberal modernization,” including the monitoring and repression of civil society and “the creation of a happy bubble for the military and repressive sectors.”

Far from being “strategic reforms,” the Castro government’s economic initiatives are a “chaotic response to the structural crisis” plaguing Cuba, Arco Progresista said.

Pointing to the accelerating “stampede” of emigrants, the organization urged Cuba’s government to embark on a program of rebuilding the nation. EFE