Changes in Cuba?

Linked with Salim Lamrani – France.

Published on ZNet, by Salim Lamrani, April 30, 2008.

The Western press has been untiring with respect to the changes happening in Cuba after Raúl Castro’s election as president of the Republic and celebrated a possible liberalization of the island’s economy. (1) But, as always when Cuba is talked about, this reality is treated superficially and erroneously. Whether it is about acquiring electric devices, hotels, or cell phones, the restrictions which were valid until recently had rational explanations, but the information multinationals have not touched upon them. In reality, an intense debate was launched at the beginning of 2008, shortly before Fidel Castro’s decision not to run for reelection, with the objective to improve Cuban socialism. This debate involved the entire population and generated 1.3 million proposals …

… Economic liberalization?

Are these reforms perhaps leading towards certain liberalization of the Cuban economy? (13) It would be mistake to think that. It is necessary to remember that in the 1980s Cubans had abundant access to consumer goods. It is merely about the abolition of restrictions which no longer have any reason to exist. Other should quickly follow. In the same way, the government decided to rent idle land to small private producers with the goal of augmenting agricultural production, at the time in which prices of raw materials have reached their peak. (14)

Real changes in Cuba occurred in 1959 and the island finds itself in constant evolution since that date. There criticism is constant and it’s enough to read the national press to be convinced about it, particularly the daily newspapers Juventud Rebelde and Trabajadores whose tone is increasingly incisive and without concessions. There is an undeniable political will among the high leaders, of promoting debate. Raul Castro’s own daughter Mariela Castro, a sexologist who defends the rights of gay and lesbian minorities, defended “socialism but with less prohibitions.”(15) But the media pretends not to perceive this reality. Contrary to what they expect—and hope—the information multinationals, Washington and the European Union, Cubans will not return to a market economy, but will continue making an effort in the construction of a modern, more just, and more rational socialism. (full long text).

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