Cuba’s reforms won’t work



They were caught in the Panama Canal with their hands in the missile jar.

Castroism doesn’t change. The complicity between Cuba and North Korea proves it. As stated in Havana by the North Korean Army chief of staff, Gen. Kim Kyok Sik: “I visit Cuba to meet with my comrades in the same trench, namely my Cuban comrades.” Lord, have mercy.

In addition, Raúl Castro is very annoyed. The country is a disaster. He said so, publicly, some days ago. The Cubans are thieves and boors, especially the young, who like dirty dancing and the reggaetón. Raúl had promised that everyone would be entitled to a glass of milk and hasn’t managed to provide it. Not even that.

There are fewer eggs, less meat, even less chicken. There’s no way to end rationing or the two-currency scam. The state pays with the bad currency, the worthless money, and sells for the good money, the valuable one. Raúl Castro knows that he’s perpetrating a swindle but refuses to put an end to the crime.

None of this is new. Some 25 years ago, Raúl Castro began to realize that Cuban communism was radically unproductive. Then he sent some of his officials to take management courses in several capitalist countries. He thought it was an administrative problem. He had just read Perestroika, Mikhail Gorbachev’s book, and was bedazzled.

At that time, Raúl was still unable to understand that Marxism was a harebrained theory that inevitably led to catastrophe. Fidel aggravated the problem with his ridiculous volunteerism, his inflexibility, his absurd initiatives and his lack of common sense, but did not generate disaster. The problem lay in the theoretical premises.

Today, things are different. By now, Raúl Castro, who no longer fears Fidel and has eliminated from his entourage all of his brother’s acolytes, who has had seven years’ experience as a ruler, knows that collectivist recipes and the gabble of dialectical materialism are only useful for staying in power.

But here comes the paradox. Despite that certainty, Raúl Castro wants to save a system in which neither he nor any of his closest subordinates believe. Why the contradiction? Because it’s not a question of a theoretical battle. When Raúl said that he was not assuming the presidency to bury the system, he really meant that he was not replacing his brother to give up the power.

In any case, how does Raúl intend to save his regime? He has said it: by changing the methods of production. By inventing a robust socialist entrepreneurial fabric that is efficient, competitive and scrupulously handled by communist cadres turned into honest managers who’ll work tirelessly, without seeking any personal advantages.

Because he couldn’t create New Men, Raúl wants to create new bureaucrats.

In other words, we’re seeing a variation of the developmental delirium of his brother Fidel. Fidel was the smart inventor, always looking for the prodigiously productive cow, fed with moringa leaves, with which he could solve all problems. Raúl is the rigorous foreman who thinks of himself as a pragmatic, organized and iron-fisted man who can set things right through control and vigilance.

That vigorous state apparatus imagined by Raúl would coexist with a weak and closely watched private sector — “bonsai businesses,” as economist Oscar Espinosa Chepe calls them — whose function would be to provide small services and be the repository for workers dropped from the public sector.

Now, self-employed entrepreneurs are being attacked because some of them are purportedly saving their gains and becoming wealthy. Raúl wants capitalism without capital.

How long will it take for Raúl Castro to discover that his reform will not work because it is as unreal as his brother’s farming follies? It took five years for Gorbachev to admit that the system could not be reformed and the only way out was to demolish it.

Though Raúl has a hard noggin, he will eventually come to the same conclusion. As his brother Fidel used to say — and their teacher, Father Llorente, once revealed — “This boy is not very bright.”

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