July 23, 2013
Cuba’s Reforms Won’t Work
By Carlos Alberto Montaner
They were caught in the Panama Canal with their hands in the missile jar.
Castroism doesn’t change. The complicity between Cuba and North Korea
proves it. As stated in Havana by the North Korean Army chief of staff,
Gen. Kim Kyok Sik: “I visit Cuba to meet with my comrades in the same
trench, namely my Cuban comrades.” Lord, have mercy.
In addition, Raúl Castro is very annoyed. The country is a disaster. He
said so, publicly, some days ago. The Cubans are thieves and boors,
especially the young, who like dirty dancing and the reggaetón. Raúl had
promised that everyone would be entitled to a glass of milk and hasn’t
managed to provide it. Not even that.
There are fewer eggs, less meat, even less chicken. There’s no way to
end rationing or the two-currency scam. The state pays with the bad
currency, the worthless money, and sells for the good money, the
valuable one. Raúl Castro knows that he’s perpetrating a swindle but
refuses to put an end to the crime.
None of this is new. Some 25 years ago, Raúl Castro began to realize
that Cuban communism was radically unproductive. Then he sent some of
his officials to take management courses in several capitalist
countries. He thought it was an administrative problem. He had just read
Perestroika, Mikhail Gorbachev’s book, and was bedazzled.
At that time, Raúl was still unable to understand that Marxism was a
harebrained theory that inevitably led to catastrophe. Fidel aggravated
the problem with his ridiculous volunteerism, his inflexibility, his
absurd initiatives and his lack of common sense, but did not generate
disaster. The problem lay in the theoretical premises.
Today, things are different. By now, Raúl Castro, who no longer fears
Fidel and has eliminated from his entourage all of his brother’s
acolytes, who has had seven years’ experience as a ruler, knows that
collectivist recipes and the gabble of dialectical materialism are only
useful for staying in power.
But here comes the paradox. Despite that certainty, Raúl Castro wants to
save a system in which neither he nor any of his closest subordinates
believe. Why the contradiction? Because it’s not a question of a
theoretical battle. When Raúl said that he was not assuming the
presidency to bury the system, he really meant that he was not replacing
his brother to give up the power.
In any case, how does Raúl intend to save his regime? He has said it: by
changing the methods of production. By inventing a robust socialist
entrepreneurial fabric that is efficient, competitive and scrupulously
handled by communist cadres turned into honest managers who’ll work
tirelessly, without seeking any personal advantages.
Because he couldn’t create New Men, Raúl wants to create new bureaucrats.
In other words, we’re seeing a variation of the developmental delirium
of his brother Fidel. Fidel was the smart inventor, always looking for
the prodigiously productive cow, fed with moringa leaves, with which he
could solve all problems. Raúl is the rigorous foreman who thinks of
himself as a pragmatic, organized and iron-fisted man who can set things
right through control and vigilance.
That vigorous state apparatus imagined by Raúl would coexist with a weak
and closely watched private sector – “bonsai businesses,” as economist
Oscar Espinosa Chepe calls them – whose function would be to provide
small services and be the repository for workers dropped from the public
Now, self-employed entrepreneurs are being attacked because some of them
are purportedly saving their gains and becoming wealthy. Raúl wants
capitalism without capital.
How long will it take for Raúl Castro to discover that his reform will
not work because it is as unreal as his brother’s farming follies? It
took five years for Gorbachev to admit that the system could not be
reformed and the only way out was to demolish it.
Though Raúl has a hard noggin, he will eventually come to the same
conclusion. As his brother Fidel used to say – and their teacher, Father
Llorente, once revealed – “This boy is not very bright.”
Carlos Alberto Montaner was born in Havana in 1943 and has lived in
Madrid since 1970. A former university professor, he is an acclaimed
writer and journalist. His syndicated column appears in dozens of
newspapers in the United States, Latin America and Spain. Originally
published in the Miami Herald. Republished with author permission.
Source: “RealClearWorld – Cuba’s Reforms Won’t Work” –