Martes, 25 de Junio de 2019
Última actualización: 16:01 CEST

Raul Castro wishes to withdraw from power fully faithful to his brother's principles. Nothing, not a single sign of change

Raul Castro, during a session of the National Assembly, alongside the empty chair of "Representative Fidel." (CUBADEBATE)

The general philosophy that will pervade the Government next year, until the promised resignation of General Raúl Castro, was clearly outlined in his closing speech at the regular session of the eighth convocation of the National Assembly of Popular Power.

According to a summary of the speech published by Granma on Dec. 27, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, blamed "the limitations on fuel supplies and aggravated financial stress on falling export earnings and the prices of the main goods" for the poor performance of the nationalized Cuban economy, which last year saw a 0.9% decrease in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

And he went on: “Another factor impacting the Cuban economy was the damage done by Hurricane Mathew” and “the negative effects generated by the blockade cannot be forgotten,” while stating that “nevertheless, free education and health services will be preserved.2

Based on these excerpts, it is clear that the blame for our problems and economic disaster will continue to be blamed on external factors and natural disasters, without any recognition of the ruinous role of statism, the centralization of decisions and the country's property and resources, or a reevaluation of the poor performance of state monopolies on the domestic and foreign markets. To top it all off, the regime shall persist in preaching the idea of ​​the state as sacrosanct creator of wealth, while snubbing producers, and in claiming that health care and education are "free."

Moreover, he stated that to achieve the modest growth figure of 2% in the plan for 2017 it will be necessary to follow through on three key objectives: “ensuring exports and timely collection on them, increasing domestic production, replacing imports; and reducing any non-essential spending.” He also added that: “A crucial aspect to achieve this will be overcoming, once and for all, the outdated mentality, steeped in prejudices, against foreign investment.”

The lines reveal that hopes for development and growth will be left to factors stated on other occasions, and will have nothing to do with pursuing efficiency in production methods and organization. Neither will there be any effort to provide incentives to work, and production methods and technologies – such as payment for labor, cooperatives and domestic private enterprise – will continue to be neglected. Rather, hopes will be placed on international capitalism coming to save “Cuban socialism” from the foreseeable debacle.

Raúl Castro added thatthe historic leader of the Cuban Revolution left us his undying example, his unwavering optimism and faith in victory. The best monument to his ideals and work is to realize every day the principles enshrined in his brilliant definition of the concept of Revolution.”

This reference to Fidel's faith in victory and the vague principles of the “Fidelian” vision of revolution, so distant from that of Marx and other modern revolutionaries, serves to further suggest that the same path of populism, voluntarism, centralism and state employment that have characterized the policies applied in Cuba since 1959 will be taken.

Raul Castro wishes to withdraw from power fully faithful to his brother's principles. Nothing, not a single sign of changes. The idea seems to be to let those who follow fend for themselves.

The democratic aims propounded to mobilize the Cuban people in the struggle against Batista, and wielded by the Socialists in 1961 to enlist workers, peasants, students and all the people to build a more advanced society, will be once again deferred, to further pursue social justice according to fidelismo, which have nothing to do with democracy, human rights, or socialism.

It remains to be seen whether the decrepit economy, foreign generosity and the aspirations of the majority of the Cuban people will endure another year, without somehow sparking the urgent and necessary political, economic and social changes demanded by a good part of Cuba’s intellectuals, workers and people at large.