In Cuba there is a “strong tradition for small-scale capitalism,” said Pujol. But he said, “There is no way the Cuban economy can recover without strong foreign investment.”
Several analysts said they thought Cuban membership in international financial institutions could aid in its transition.
“Cuba needs foreign direct investment” and membership in international financial institutions “is vital for Cuba eventually,” said Richard Feinberg, a professor of international political economy at the University of California, San Diego. Feinberg has laid out a strategy for Cuba’s reconnection with international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
“Membership [in the IMF] does not require you be a liberal democracy,” he said. “A lot of strange governments and rogue governments are in the IMF and the World Bank.”
But one big problem is that a country must express a desire to join the IMF, and at this point Cuba, which left the fund in 1964, hasn’t shown interest in applying, said Lorenzo Perez, who retired from the IMF after a 30-year career. Cuba would also need a sponsor. Countries such as Brazil and China that are friendly with Cuba might be willing to fulfill the role, he said, although at this point they might have to bring Cuba “kicking and screaming into the IMF.”
While IMF membership wouldn’t immediately promote democracy in Cuba, Perez said it could promote political reform in the longer term by forcing Cuba to adopt a more rational economy policy and by encouraging policy transparency and government accountability.