Hope and Change in Obama’s Cuba: Preserving the dictatorial status quo

John Suarez in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Cuba: Change for the preservation of the dictatorial status quo

More things change the more they remain the same

Reforms seek to preserve central planning. Eusebio Leal loses autonomy to military

The Associated Press broke the “news” on August 16, 2016 that the Castro regime would sacrifice the well being of Cubans in order to hang on to power. The communist dictatorship remains committed to maintaining a centrally planned economy, it also will not permit property or wealth concentration, and will “gradually” advance internet service:

“Cuba’s ruling Communist Party released a new set of economic guidelines Tuesday that emphasize the slow-moving and limited nature of the country’s reforms amid a sharp national economic downturn. The guidelines “recognize the objective existence of market relationships,” but they also restate Cuba’s commitment to a centrally planned economy. The 274 rules say concentration of property and wealth will not be permitted and promise to advance internet service only “gradually, according to our economic possibilities,” in one of the world’s least-connected nations. They update a document that laid out President Raúl Castro’s vision of economic reform at the Cuban Communist Party’s twice-a-decade congress in 2011.”

This should not surprise anyone. Five years ago when the so-called reforms were initially announced I made the following conclusion that remains true today.

“If there is one lesson over the past 52 years it is that political considerations have priority over economic considerations in order to preserve the regime. When it is convenient to decentralize in order to survive the regime will do that as it did in the early 1990s and as it appears to be doing today. At the same time when things improve and regime survival depends on the re-centralization of economic control at the expense of economic growth as was the case in the late 1990s and through the 2000s they will do that as well, but the important consideration is that the Cuban people are tired of this regime and want change.”

Since 1959 the Castro regime has carried out numerous changes in the service of two goals: entrenching the communist dictatorship in power and perpetuating its rule. Now the regime continues to consolidate economic control in the military. The latest victim in this trend is Eusebio Leal Spengler and his Office of the Historian of the City of Havana (OHCH) that according to The Miami Herald “rescued at least one third of the buildings in the historic heart of the Cuban capital and won lavish international praise” in the 1990s during the special period. Leal had autonomy but that has been upsurped by the Grupo de Administración Empresarial S.A. (GAESA), a holding company controlled by the Cuban military.

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2 thoughts on “Hope and Change in Obama’s Cuba: Preserving the dictatorial status quo”

  1. Oh, nobody is surprised, certainly nobody who actually knows the score, and most of the usual suspects do know it. By and large, we’re not dealing with idiotic, misinformed or confused people who presumably have tolerably good intentions. We’re dealing with people following their particular agendas who ultimately don’t give a shit about Cuba or Cubans, especially “those people.”

  2. And by the way, Leal is not a historian, just as the dictator he serves is not a general. Leal doesn’t even have a university degree, but he’s been an exceedingly busy little beaver in terms of positioning himself and currying favor, even if his masters are now sidelining him. He only rose as much as he did because he made himself useful to Castro, Inc., which has apparently decided to set him aside for other, bigger players.

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