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Raul Castro says Cubans must back economic reforms

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Dec 2004, 23:53
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 19 Dec 2010, 08:56
BBC wrote:
Raul Castro says Cubans must back economic reforms

By Michael Voss

Cuban President Raul Castro has warned that the island's revolution is at stake if his proposed economic reforms are not adopted.

The government is about to undergo the first major overhaul of Cuba's state-run system since the 1960s.

It wants to expand the private sector and reduce the role of the state.

Mr Castro's two-hour speech to the closing session of parliament was his longest since taking over the presidency from his brother, Fidel.

"We are playing with the life of the revolution," he told legislators.

"We can either rectify the situation, or we will run out of time walking on the edge of the abyss, and we will sink."

'Strengthen socialism'

This Caribbean island's unproductive Soviet-style command economy is in deep financial trouble, and the government can no longer afford the massive subsidies that make up for low wages.

Half a million state workers are due to lose their jobs, while restrictions are being eased on people who want to become self-employed or set up small businesses.

President Castro said the changes would not turn Cuba capitalist.

The aim, he said, was to strengthen the socialist system created by his brother Fidel Castro after the revolution in 1959.

The president also used the speech to attack the Obama administration's policies towards Cuba.

"There isn't the slightest willingness on the part of the United States to change its policy, which is irrational and doesn't have an ounce of credibility," he said.

With new presidents installed in both countries two years ago, expectations were raised that these Cold War enemies might finally settle their differences.

There have been some small but symbolic changes on both sides.

But the decades-old US trade embargo remains firmly in place, as does the ban on most Americans tourists visiting the island.


Full transcrpit: Here
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"By what standard of morality can the violence used by a slave to break his chains be considered the same as the violence of a slave master?" - Walter Rodney
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Jul 2009, 10:14
Komsomol
Post 20 Dec 2010, 02:42
Assuming it is accurate to say Cuba has a "Soviet-style command economy," I think it is safe to say they don't have a clue how Communism works. The cliche history repeats itself will probably be applied to Cuba. Revolution ----> Reform -----> Capitalism
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 11 Dec 2010, 23:46
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 20 Dec 2010, 11:19
What can they do? They messed up in Soviet times, keeping a colonial economy (just suplying sugar to the USSR). Now they totally depend on capitalist markets, so they have to go on with cuts just like any capitalist country. Because they depend on capitalists countries and can feel the effects of their disastrous policies.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Jul 2009, 10:14
Komsomol
Post 21 Dec 2010, 02:04
It's easy for me to judge the Cuban government from my comfortable chair, but this just screams trouble. Castro saying they won't turn Capitalist is nothing but empty words. He is spouting the Communist line while doing something else entirely. Now where have we seen that before...
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 15 Nov 2010, 16:48
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 21 Dec 2010, 05:00
It's a question of not having a choice
seen the unavailable of diverse production in Cuba.
What needs to be done beside releasing the grip on the private sector, is promote the cooperative based economy while supervising to make sure that organized crime doesn't take over that private sector and i think that the ability to found cooperatives should be given solely to party members

on the long term, socialist countries should adopt a single form of currency to support their economies without having the soviet union writing their paychecks anyways one of the principle ideals of communism is brotherhood and that includes an economic one
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In the Soviet Union you destroy free-market, In America free-market destroys you
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Dec 2004, 23:53
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 21 Dec 2010, 07:44
Red_Bull wrote:
Assuming it is accurate to say Cuba has a "Soviet-style command economy," I think it is safe to say they don't have a clue how Communism works. The cliche history repeats itself will probably be applied to Cuba. Revolution ----> Reform -----> Capitalism


First off, since when has BBC (or *insert other capitalist media here*) know how communism works?


Secondly the idea that reform leads to revisionism/capitalism is rather odd. How is a Revolution supposed to adapt to a changin enviroment if it just lies stagnant in it's current form, or what BBC labels "Soviet-style command economy."

Autodeterminacio wrote:
They messed up in Soviet times, keeping a colonial economy (just suplying sugar to the USSR).


Comparing the former fraternal relations between Cuba & the USSR isn't correct. It was hardly the colonial relations that Cuba had with the USA pre-Revolution or the relationship between Cuba & modern Russia. Cuba easily had the most independent line in COMECON.

Autodeterminacio wrote:
Because they depend on capitalists countries and can feel the effects of their disastrous policies.


In the early 2000s Cuba's economy was as solid as it was since the 1980s. I'd hardly call them disastrous policies. They have no control over the price of nickel, the rise overall in food prices, the USA's intensifying war against the Revolution or the devestating effects of hurricanes.

Red_Bull wrote:
Castro saying they won't turn Capitalist is nothing but empty words. He is spouting the Communist line while doing something else entirely.


I missed the point where the capitalist counter-revolution won in Cuba. Care to clarify?

Red Armenian wrote:
It's a question of not having a choice
seen the unavailable of diverse production in Cuba.


Cuba has. Nickel has always been a major export, along with sugar and tobacco (albeit both being devestated by weather). Medical exports and tourism are also major sources of income.

Red Armenian wrote:
is promote the cooperative based economy while supervising to make sure that organized crime doesn't take over that private sector and i think that the ability to found cooperatives should be given solely to party members


Cuba has been promoting cooperatives. Since the Special Period, Cuba hasn't been "going capitalist" despite the media hype about it, rather decentralizing from what BBC calls a "Soviet-style command economy."
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"By what standard of morality can the violence used by a slave to break his chains be considered the same as the violence of a slave master?" - Walter Rodney
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Jul 2009, 10:14
Komsomol
Post 24 Dec 2010, 07:42
Red Rebel, if I was a betting man, my money would be on Cuba to fail in its Communist experiment much to my sadness. I don't share your optimism. I hope your right though.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Dec 2004, 23:53
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Post 24 Dec 2010, 08:13
Never understoond how any revolutionary could be a pessimist.
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"By what standard of morality can the violence used by a slave to break his chains be considered the same as the violence of a slave master?" - Walter Rodney
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Dec 2004, 23:53
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 24 Dec 2010, 22:48
Better translation of the speech by Granma, Socialism is the only guarantee of our liberty and independence.
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"By what standard of morality can the violence used by a slave to break his chains be considered the same as the violence of a slave master?" - Walter Rodney
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Sep 2010, 22:24
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 19 Aug 2011, 17:26
Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I have just got back from Cuba, and found this entire area interesting.

My concern (like many here) before going was to that Cuba was moving away from it's Socialist style, and moving towards Capitalism. When in Cuba however, I was surprised to see the State owned areas thriving. The supermarkets were full of food (unlike what several guide books had said), shops had plenty of stock on the shelves, and Cubans were buying them.

What I found interesting was the words of the guide who was taking us around Cuba (a very open guy called "Eric" who was always open to talking politics with us, in fact, thrived in showing us his Tax receipts, and spoke at great length about Education and rationing). He told us how for the average Cuban, wages were still low, but disposable income was now increasing, with more Cuban's now taking part on internal tours of the nation...he stated that in his opinion, what Raul and the PCC is trying to achieve is a "New Economic Policy" similar to Russia in the 1920's....I found it very interesting.

If anyone has any questions or anything about current day Cuba, please ask away or message me.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 19 Aug 2011, 18:59
Do you have a feeling for how well educated the average Cuban are?

To what extent are people provided jobs versus picking jobs on their own? I guess the real question is what is the situation on unemployment, and how well cared for are those without jobs?
Soviet America is Free America!

Under communism, there is no freedom; you are not free to live in poverty, be homeless, to be without an education, to starve, or to be without a job
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Sep 2010, 22:24
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
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Post 19 Aug 2011, 21:13
On the education front, I got the impression that Cuban's are on the whole very well educated. Everyone seemed to have an understanding of a foreign language, at a minimum of a basic level where they are able to hold a conversation with you...English and Italian are apparently the biggest foreign languages the Cuban's know...it "used to be" Russian, but our guide said that Russians are now no longer as present.

On the Job front, we were told that Jobs are pretty much selected by the state for the individual. If you go into University to study a certain specialised area, you will probably end up in that area, but if there is a gap in the economy, you will most likely be asked to fill that role. Example being; the guy who drove on our bus was a trained mechanic. His job enabled him to continue being a mechanic, but unfortunately his main role was simply to be a driver. There is of course a grouping of people who have influence with those in power, who find a way around things to get into areas they want...but the PCC is trying to stop these small levels of corruption...

As for unemployment, as far as I could visibly see, and as we were told, there is no real unemployment in Cuba. From school age to 18, you are classed as a student, then you have the choice of going off to Uni, or full filling national service (2 years if you haven't been to Uni, 1 year if you do a university degree). Those who are retired apparently don't get an overly fruitful pension, though those who have contributed highly get a better ration pack...older people do tend to do voluntary stuff to get a bit of extra cash (the folk selling 'Granma' on the street were usually all retired)...

According to the Cuban Constitution however, retired people, and who cannot work are entitled to a comfortable lifestyle like the rest of Cubans...
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 11 Sep 2009, 07:33
Ideology: Left Communism
Forum Commissar
Post 20 Aug 2011, 04:20
How were politics? Or, what impression did you get of the average Cuban and politics/political involvement? Did most seem to care about being involved and participatory?
Did you get a sense of how most people felt about Cuba in general? Did they think it oppressive and "totalitarian", or did it seem that way to you; or were they proud and happy of Cuba?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Sep 2010, 22:24
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Post 20 Aug 2011, 08:40
Red Daughter wrote:
How were politics? Or, what impression did you get of the average Cuban and politics/political involvement? Did most seem to care about being involved and participatory?


You couldn't really escape politics anywhere in Cuba. On the roads and highways you would often come up on a billboard proclaiming to "Defend Socialism", or about Justice, murals of Che were everywhere, and many establishments had a lot of stuff on freeing the Cuban 5. Stuff like this;
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The general feeling I got was one of participation and involvement, but not in a "Communist Party reaches into all areas of your life" way...All major towns had a Communist Party HQ, but membership of the party is not open to all. You must have a good standing in your area and be a leader in your own community before you are allowed to join. For the average Cuban not in the party, involvement is still quite a major thing. From the people I spoke to, and from what I witnessed, people seemed to see their position in their society as part of a greater working machine. Many actively take place in Elections, and are involved in their local politics. But equally, I didn't get the impression that people had to do anything...if politics isn't your thing, you are under no real pressure to become actively involved...

Red Daughter wrote:

Did you get a sense of how most people felt about Cuba in general? Did they think it oppressive and "totalitarian", or did it seem that way to you; or were they proud and happy of Cuba?


On the whole, I did feel that despite the hardships that Cuba has to endure, the people were quite happy. Speaking with our guide about what will happen after Fidel Castro dies, he said how many Cubans believe their will be a rapid change in their society. Our guide wasn't convinced, saying that he felt the government had been preparing for it for a long time, and is already gradually changing in order to avoid rapid change and collapse. There does seem to be a genuine love for Fidel though, and I was not surprised when he said that if Fidel died tomorrow, and the US tried to come into Cuba, if the Cuban people were still defiant in the style of Fidel.

As for oppression, I honestly got quite the opposite feeling. People seemed to be genuinely free. Our last few days in Havana coincided with the Havana Carnival, a week long event which transformed the sea front into one big party. People were out in their numbers having a really good time. In the day, Havana bloomed like any other city, with markets, people running about doing their daily business, folk eating, etc. It was no different to any other city in the world...After having any reservations about "The Party" controlling the daily lives of Cubans, they were smashed when our guide began speaking and criticising some aspects of Cuban life (something which we hadn't expected), and after meeting a man sporting a "Barack Obama" t-shirt. I honestly felt no feelings of oppression, and felt safer anywhere in Cuba than say London.

The one thing that could be construed as "Oppressive" was that there is a massively active Police force who stand guard on corners...but you feel no fear from them, as they smile, and say hello, and asked "Are you enjoying Cuba?".


By the Way: I have uploaded my Photos to my Facebook...anyone interested in seeing, give me a shout.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2012, 00:06
Unperson
Post 23 Mar 2012, 11:35
The reforms passed in the Cuban legislature are not to be construed as a surrender to capitalism. Just like the NEP, they are designed to improve socialism (not with a human face) for the privileges and perks given to Cuban citizens are more humane than what are alloted to citizens of capitalist countries. Health care for example is where Cubans excel in. They are afforded to every Cuban free of charge. Ballet instructions which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in capitalist countries are free of charge to black and white cubans alike. Those who oppose reforms in Cuba are those who found a friend in Putin, no.1 democratic capitalist war mongerer who "gloated and smiled" when Fidel asked for compensation for the use of the island for its listening posts. The bullied Fidel reacted irreverently without fear, for Fidel is not a coward, a man who only finds God sacrosanct and not anyone else. who oppose his rule.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Jul 2011, 11:37
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 03 Sep 2012, 16:55
I've read an older Slovak communist who recently visited Cuba and said it was a lot similiar to Czechoslovakia in 1960 - not bad, but still much worse than USSR or Czechoslovakia or Hungary in, say 1975.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Feb 2004, 06:15
Party Member
Post 04 Sep 2012, 19:41
The way I hear it the blockade is making the healthcare system hurt. It's not that they lack good professionals, it's that they're lacking in biomedical goods. To illustrate this: back when I was there aspirin was a rationed good.

I'm mentioning this because if any of you is planning a trip over there, gifting these commonplace medicines to the locals is a good way to help them.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Sep 2012, 21:44
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 08 Sep 2012, 00:21
None of my posts are appearing on this board, and this one probably won't either, but here goes: The "new reforms" are not like the NEP> Socialism per se is most definitely being abandoned in Cuba in substnce. Raul Castro is following the "Chinese Road," which is to hang on to the symbolic trappings of Communism (official Party, singing The Internationale, pictures of Lenin, etc.) while practicing market economics in reality. Cuba will remain "socialist" in the figurehead way that Britain is a monarchy - a matter of historic tradition, not real world practice.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jan 2013, 13:38
Unperson
Post 31 Jan 2013, 02:34
Raul is right. Cubans must back economic reforms. Some of the disgruntled keep on whining of so-called "shortages". Now there'll be none of those so no need to whine.
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