Martes, 6 de Diciembre de 2016
13:02 CET.
Economics

The regime is torn between ideological commitments that lead nowhere and economic development, which depends on the reviled market economy

Last Monday's edition of Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, contains two articles illustrating the Party's ideological incoherence.

On the front page the 2016 FIHAV (Havana International Fair) was announced, in red. This convention, of an eminently commercial nature, opens its doors to more than 4,500 exhibitors who "converge to seek business opportunities at the event, which has established itself as the Caribbean's greatest marketplace."

Terms such as "business opportunities," "marketplace," "foreign investment," "production of goods and services," "external funding," etc., refer to both productive and service activities, and to the market, a vital element necessary to establish relationships between producers and consumers.

The foreign companies attending the event are international, while the Cuban entities, no matter what they are called or what they are dedicated to, belong to a single employer: the Cuban State. This last factor is one of those explaining why these fairs do not yield all the commercial commitments that would be desirable.

Despite the Cuban state's interest in establishing normal market relationships with companies around the world, on the fourth page of the same newspaper there appears an utterly contradictory article announcing a "Continental Day for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism," denying any possibility of market-based relations: "the struggle against free trade and transnationals," "integration ... centered on solidarity, reciprocity, cooperation and complementarity, breaking with the logic of the market."

This means that, while a major commercial fair is announced on one page, another page condemns market relationships and calls for others, based solely on solidarity, reciprocity, cooperation and complementarity. This would, apparently, exist in a world where there is no profit motive, and in which everyone works for everyone else, altruistically, like veritable angels.

Here we encounter another important reason why foreign companies are reluctant to do business with the Cuban State: in the end the Government of Cuba is not really interested in buying or selling, but rather in being assisted, and in others being reciprocal, cooperative and complementary, not in a situation of emergency, but always, due to the moral obligation of those that produce through efficiency, creativity, thrift, and investment to maintain others who, presumably, have a right to be inefficient, lazy, incapable and wasteful.

Some countries develop and others do not to the extent that their businesspeople are able to act in accordance with the "logic of the market." If market-based relationships create inequalities in those places, they are hardly as unjust as the “socialist equality” under which we Cubans languish.

After all, we have no right to take advantage of the wealth produced by the purportedly unhappy and exploited proletarians of the world where the market economy prevails, and capitalists are not obliged to share their profits with enemies that seek to destroy and bury them.

The vaunted "fight against free trade and transnational corporations" is a struggle against the very entrepreneurs participating in the International Fair in Havana, because it is not the governments of allied countries that are attending the event, but rather vulgar capitalists actually interested in making profits, from more than 75 countries.

The market generates wealth, while charity condemns one to begging. We liberals want a prosperous and democratic Cuba, while the Communists prefer a country that inspires pity, and exploits its doctors in exchange for oil and votes at the UN.

The International Fair and anti-capitalist Continental Day are held simultaneously, as the regime is torn between ideological commitments that lead nowhere and economic development, which depends on the reviled market economy. To be or not to be ... a real headache.