Martes, 18 de Diciembre de 2018
Última actualización: 18:42 CET

The Adjustment Act, emigration and changes in Cuba

Cuban 'balseros'.

In the world there are issues that are considered very important, important and less important. Amongst the most important is the security of the US. And amongst the least important stands Cuba's internal affairs - unless they affect the US's national security.

One mechanism that contributes and will continue to contribute to the security of the US is what is known as the Cuban Adjustment Act, a law that opens up the possibility for Cubans to rebuild a social fabric that has been destroyed in their country like in no other. The Cuban government is determined to obliterate all independent initiative, however harmless it may seem.

We see how in Cuba there are issues that Cubans accept without even batting an eyelash, without the slightest or protest or questioning. To cite just two examples: farmers must let their cattle die starve or die of thirst, and there is no mechanism to alert the authorities to the gravity of the situation, no reaction by the farmers, or by the Government. Another example is that in Cuba, for more than 50 years now, to buy basic foodstuffs citizens must show clerks a document indicating the the full name, date of birth, and gender of each of their family members. This is a humiliating mechanism, never seen before on this temporal scale and magnitude. Cubans not only have to wait several hours in line, but but, mentally, do not go to buy, but rather to take "what they give."  And this, among other things, is considered "normal."

The Cuban state first took over and monopolized all the functions and tasks that in other countries are carried out without government intervention. The State, meanwhile, has ceased to perform its functions - except, of course, for its well-oiled machine of secret courts and repressive forces - while doing everything within its power to prevent citizens from organizing.

This is why, among other things, it is necessary to educate people so that they learn to work and can take responsibility for making the country prosperous. Cubans must learn how to make decisions again, whether it is selecting a type of oil - choosing one from amongst the 50 available on the market, with different qualities and prices - to organizing and fighting, for example, for an environmental cause. We read in the official press how people actually protest when the same product is sold at two different prices in two different stores.

As doing this is impossible in Cuba, it must be done in the US. For this the Cuban Adjustment Act is necessary. In addition, the Obama Administration has made it possible to undertake joint projects in all possible areas, ranging from the protection of sharks to cultural and military cooperation that affords Cuban specialists contact with the world. The State's lack of independent instruments for cooperation could generate an unstable situation that is difficult to control.

The US has intervened military in Cuba twice. These actions had, like everything, negative and positive consequences. In the first intervention they controlled the chaos resulting from the war of independence. In the second operation, in addition to establishing order, they reduced child mortality, created communications infrastructure and, among other things, public health systems, and organized the police force. On both occasions they left Cuba as soon as their task was done.

We are probably witnessing the beginning of the third American intervention in Cuba, this time broader and less formal, though it has not yet been given a name. Unlike previous interventions, this time Americans have more support than ever.

The number of Cubans in the US has risen to two million, of which approximately 1.52 million are US citizens, 316,000 meet the conditions to obtain citizenship, and another 2.5 million wish to go to the US (with their families). There is probably no other more pro-American people in the world.

Moreover, the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, Hero of the Republic of Cuba, Commander of the Rebel Army, General of the Army and Commander in Chief, Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz, has been making changes for over 7 years. These changes are implemented by the PCC based on a document called the "Economic and Social Political Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution", which was approved by the Government and the Party in June of 2011.

The Government has failed to solve any of the fundamental problems facing the country and mentioned therein. It has not has not clarified when the "special period" will end; oil has not been found; state companies are not those most representative of the economy, but rather military corporations and public-private enterprises ; businesses enhancement was overlooked; the currency has not been unified; it has not been explained how inflation is to be controlled; salaries remains at levels considered by the UN to constitute extreme poverty; the number of cooperatives continues to decline; transportation fails to function like in other cities around the world; there has been no foreign investment in the ​​Mariel Zone; and the population continues to age and to migrate at levels above those forecast.

Many wonder: Are there changes in Cuba? Due to the lack of valid criteria to answer this, the debate yields nothing useful. How can changes be made? We can select an expert, or several, to define it. I shall choose the example of John P. Kotter, who has written one of the 20 best-selling books in the business world: Leading Change.

 Kotter recommends the following in order to bring about effective change:

1.    There must be a sense of urgency.  (The Government has ordered that things be done as slowly as possible.)

2.   A large support group should be created. (Decisions are still being made behind closed doors by a faceless group of individuals.)

3.   A strategic vision needs to be created. (It is not explained what the changes will give us, and how we are going to make them).

4.   An army of volunteers that support the changes should be formed. (Senior government officials continue to make appeals, but no mass mobilization from below is visible.)

5.    The completion of the tasks should be facilitated by removing obstacles. (There are a a few prohibitions that have been technically rescinded, but in practice they remain in place).

6.   Small victories must be generated. (Are any positive results visible?)

7.   Work should be undertaken to accelerate change. (We see just the opposite.)

8.   Consolidating and monitoring to ensure that the change continues to be made.

To make a change, objectives must first be set. The objectives defined for the changes that the Government is making are not improving the country's socioeconomic situation, the mechanisms that makes possible the unification of families are not being created, nor is there any regeneration of productive mechanisms independent of the State. Thus, people emigrate. The PCC does does what it must to stay in power, not what it must to allow people to live better.

Both governments, those of Cuba and the US, need the Cuban Adjustment Act as a safety valve releasing internal pressure. While it is true that the State's extortion mechanisms make emigration a good business, in addition to reducing unemployment and social frustration, a time has come in which major intervention has been necessary to limit it. The US also needs to regenerate social fabrics to secure stability (and national security) in the short and medium term, which the Cuban government is clearly obstructing to maintain power, regardless of the cost that this entails.

The exponential increase in the number of emigrants in 2015 is due to the fact that Cubans have discovered a mechanism that works and allows them, with a high probability of success, to reach the US.  New technologies allow know-how to quickly reach a large number of people. At the same time, this mechanism financially fortifies mafias and can be used by terrorists to reach the US too. America's silence, the panic at the MINREX (Foreign Ministry) and the partnership agreement between the Cuban, American and Nicaraguan armies, lead me to suspect that the US has given Castro an ultimatum to immediately curb the excessive volume.

Given the alternative of leaving, difficult but possible, it is hard for the Government to generate any excitement about the changes it making bringing prosperity. In addition, it is the most qualified who are leaving: young people, university students, doctors and professionals, which is devastating for the message the Government is struggling to convey to foreign investors that Cuba possesses the conditions and human resources to develop investments to the tune of 2.5 billion dollars a year.

So, on the one hand it makes the change/fraud increasingly visible, while on the other it clashes with the excessively optimistic demographic forecasts that the ONEI (Statistical Office) just released, as birth rates are actually dropping and the extinction of the Cuban labor force is accelerating. 

The Cuban president is also generating hopes that he will step down on February 24, 2018. So that everyone will wait calmly until then. From the point of view of the interests of the Cuban nation, there is no reason he should remain in power even one more day.

It is necessary to correct the errors that have led to this crisis. Food has been rationed since the Agrarian Reform was implemented. Buildings have not been maintained since the Urban Reform was announced. We are among the least advanced nations with regards to telecommunications since the phone company was nationalized. Electricity, sanitary, water and gas networks are run down and worn out due to the lack of investments, not made since these companies were appropriated. Families have been separated since entry and exit permits were introduced.

It is necessary for the Cuban government to eliminate, as soon as possible, the US "blockade." Without cooperation with the US no development for the Cuban nation will be possible. There is no development, even though Cuba has received more money and assistance resources than any other country.

It was the Cuban government that has imposed it, because the measures they took against US companies forced the Americans to react. It has been the Cuban government that has paralyzed Cuban society through endless prohibitions, in space and time, using the decisions made by the Americans as an excuse. We cannot speak of freedom and sovereignty without taking responsibility for the consequences resulting from the decisions that the leaders of the nation should make to enable the nation to progress.

Lifting the US "blockade" would be fast and easy. It would only be necessary to issue a decree allowing the direct import of machinery and raw materials, and permitting citizens to finance and invest in their businesses. 75% of the Cuban workforce wants to do so. Once the decree was issued the "Miami Mafia" would mow down the blockade in the blink of an eye.

The Cuban people need to begin rebuilding their nation, as soon as possible. To do this we need a plan to build our future in our country, and we need a government to support us in this effort.