THE PRECISE MOMENT
A while back, an interesting and intelligent exchange took place on social networks between forum members about what was the MOMENT — historically speaking — to make changes in Cuba. The topic motivated us to follow this exchange without participating in it, thus becoming an exercise in meditation and collective analysis.
In politics, the precise MOMENT happens as in the alignment of the stars: propitious national and international environment, sensible program, and sufficient popular support and a determined leadership to promote changes and their implementation.
That conjunction came around 2008. We remember when then Cuban president Raúl Castro uttered that famous phrase, “We are on the edge of the precipice,” and stressed that he did not come to dismantle socialism, and announced a comprehensive program. The project, later broken down and disseminated, presented substantial reforms and detailed, by sectors and institutions, the number of people who would be leaving their workplaces. The figure reached one million workers, who, he said, would not be left on the street, but would be received by the opening of cooperatives and self-employment (TCP) opportunities, etc.
It is worth remembering that, at the time, people’s faces and attitudes changed from concern to hope.
The project had an international impact and also impacted the world of business and finance. Can we isolate the renegotiation of the debt with the Paris Club (2015) from this context, for example? Or the talks with the U.S. and the reopening of its embassy? The visit of President Obama?
But then the brakes were hit on the project and even stifled. In short, the path to enter deeply into the economic structure of the country, unleash the productive forces and solve problems that we had been dragging around for years was cut short. The MOMENT passed.
Then the international panorama changed unfavorably. The rise of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States tightened the imperial siege of Cuba like never before. Then the crises that bogged us down became more evident, such as the energy crisis – which is now impacting us even harder. The same can be said for almost any sector that we look at. The country is in crisis under a tense international situation, especially after the Russia-Ukraine war.
For a while, now, today, Cuban society displays another face to the world — new desires and needs and dislikes, and more. Some intuit, others perceive and still others analyze that there is no time for delays and that openings cannot be postponed despite the fact that the precise MOMENT has passed. The current Cuban society has changed.
This week’s announcement regarding the operation of joint ventures with foreign capital in retail trade, and in the wholesale market internally prompts us to ask questions:
- Will the current economic and financial situation motivate foreign investment by important business entities?
- What guarantees can we provide as a country when we know that Cuba is indebted, even with some of the companies already established, and that may be among those designated to import/export?
- Is there a short-term solution to the energy crisis, a situation that overwhelms production and service centers? Isn’t it the key to analyzing investments in the field?
The slow economic openings show that policy makers act timidly because they don’t have enough consensus, or because they are being forced by circumstances. Either way seems limited to a purely tactical response, although what has been announced has an impact on far-reaching issues.
Small steps taken and accompanied by a controller of controls. Wow… the economy has regulatory mechanisms.
The maturity of a socialist process is not defined by its ability to control everything, but by its capacity to interact with all factors of society. Most interestingly: experience has shown us that there are processes that have made it and are enjoying good economic health.