Martes, 25 de Octubre de 2016
08:35 CEST.

Institutionalizing the Country

The government is desperately seeking foreign investment. It lobbies, it promises, it winks, but ... as they say in Cuba, "the drunk thinks one thing, while the winemaker another." This is no fault of the capitalists, who are eager to establish their businesses in a virtually untapped market, with thousands of workers prepared to assimilate the new technologies.

The problem is that the Communist system's laws do not recognize the private ownership of the means of production, ignore the laws of the market, and make it clear that the lion's share and core of the economy will continue to be controlled by the state, centralized and planned. The Communist system also outlaws the accumulation of wealth, while the hiring of employees is carried out through state employment agencies (intermediaries) that charge capitalist investors in dollars while paying workers just a tiny portion in the country's devalued national currency, at 25 to 1. Finally, import and export activity is monopolized by the Ministry of Foreign Trade.

In Cuba the President is a general, and the major companies and government agencies are headed by senior officers of the Armed Forces. A country with so many military personnel engaged in activities that are not related to defense generates wariness among investors, to say the least, who know how incompetent the military usually is outside their regular sphere.

Flashing one's best smile to capitalist entrepreneurs while attacking at every turn private property, the market economy, and democracy - which he is an ambassador of - is hypocritical and belies the true intentions of the Cuban ruler, who recognizes, in practice, that only the capitalist economic system, with its law of supply and demand and respect for private property, is capable of creating the wealth that Communism then aims to arbitrarily distribute.

This arbitrary distribution of wealth will allow Antonio Castro Soto del Valle, or any other daddy's boy, to cruise the Mediterranean in a yacht, accompanied by a handful of cigar-smoking, whiskey-drinking hangers-on, even while there aren't enough state funds to import drugs for general use amongst the population, or install modern means of communication for the benefit of all.

The Morales, Correas and Ortegas out there go hoarse denouncing capitalism, but deep down they know that with the nationalization of the economy the only beneficiaries would be the predators in their inner circles, while the scraps, thrown to people in the form of public education and health, would be more and more paltry.

Corruption, a lack of productivity, the absence of freedom  and the spawning of every form of physical and human misery are inherent to Communism. Although it is now in fashion to call it 21st-century Socialism, or New Socialism, or a New Social Project, it is easily identifiable by its populist and demagogic discourse, and the gradual curbing of civil and political rights, first converted into social defects, and later into crimes; and verbal and even physical attacks against those who espouse different ideas. Another invariable trademark of these leaders is their compulsive need to be re-elected, to install themselves perpetually in power, all of them exhibiting a kind of messianic madness, even when the example they smugly follow is a man who in 1960 declared that the so-called "Program of the Moncada" had been realized, while more than half a century later his successor struggles to clean up the mess he made of Cuba's socialist project.

Foreign investors (nationals are not allowed) are doing what the Cuban people should have from the outset: not believing Cuban leaders' promises. They have shown that they are not to be trusted, as their intentions clash with the interests of their people.

If Raúl Castro seeks to win the trust of foreign capitalists, he ought to realize that he first must win that of those he governs by implementing laws guaranteeing fundamental freedoms and rights - including that to private property.

Without these minimum initial measures, which should form the basis of his government program, when in 2018 the General/President passes power to his successor, he will really be giving him a rotten piece of fruit, or even a time bomb.