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Felipe de J. Perez Cruz

Texte du chercheur sociologue cubain Felipe Pérez présenté à la conférence de la fondation Rosa Luxembourg organisée à Pékin en novembre 2008

I appreciate the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation and the Institute of the Socialism of Peking the opportunity offered to me to share with the present colleagues my vision and passion for the Revolution to which I owe, in as much the son of humble workers, to be here with you [1].

The title that I have proposed for this presentation is not born from a literary exercise : it summarizes the central thesis that I defend for the present and immediate and the near future of my country. My objective in this communication will be to present a summary of the arguments that sustain this thesis. For reasons of space, I am only going to refer to the historical axis of the economic reform in its political and ideological importance. The debate properly on economic policy, and aspects not less important like the cultural and the educational ones, the functioning of the political system and its joint with the civil society, the subject of the socialist democracy, can be treated in the debate later.

I start from the criterion that it should be clear what has meant and means for the 11.2 million inhabitants of this Antillean archipelago [2], to live the socialism who we really have, in the context of Latin America and the world that has arrived to the 21st century. In as much we were not indifferent to the vices of the apology, and not yet we have got rid of it completely ; the formulation of an approach such that I propose, is in danger to motivate the mistrusts that are born in the genuine rejection to the excessive praise, accomplice almost always of the justificatory spirit. I run such a risk because I am convinced of the necessity of a positive balance. Not to try to systematize those profits of socialism in Cuba, not to propose its historical, political and cultural evaluation - or minimize them -, is something extremely erratic. It always wraps a type of resignation in favor of our ideological enemies, and in as much similar or worse, to leave a way without obstacles to flattery and deceit, mediocrity and opportunism of one or another sign.

The task that I set out not only circumscribes to the Cuban subject. The universality of the mission that we Cubans have drawn up, in particular causes that when assuming its study, we enter into completely main debates for the life and the future of our countries, Latin American and the third-world ones.

The complex socialist transition

The creators of Marxism did not leave a detailed model of the future society, but a scientific theory of the development. Carlos Marx and Federico Engels could not anticipate that socialism would prevail first in Russia ; the poorest capitalist power of its time, and that would be definitively in the underdeveloped world, where firmer concretion would reach today. Still in the consideration of which first to the socialist revolutions in Europe and the United States would occur, Federico Engels, did not fail anticipating the complexity that our countries would have to win “before arriving at the socialist organization” [3].

We Cubans are not unaware to the problems that we have for being a Southern country, with half a century of colonial and neo-colonial exploitation, underdeveloped and plundered by an unequal international economic order. The inherited underdevelopment, the capitalist market and the transnational globalization threaten socialism in Cuba. They cause that existing conditions are insufficient to produce the new regime spontaneously, reason why the Revolution is forced to develop - to force, time and time again the existing economic, political and ideological conditions, progressively to transform the Cuban men and women, and to the conditions of unfolding the revolutionary accomplishments [4].

Our difficulties arise from the challenges of that complex socialist transition - still not solved by any country in the current historical practice, that are translated into errors that we have had in the socialist construction, and in the difficulties to assemble a stable pattern of development. A historical problem is that Cuba has not managed to produce sufficient foodstuff for its population and depends on the imports of nutritional product. When the United States tried to paralyze the country and to create a crisis of energy provision and foods, the generous commercial terms offered by the Soviet Union allowed to sell our sugar to five times the world-wide price, and as well, to buy petroleum and nutritional products to low prices. More than 50 percent of the consumed calories and the 60 percent of proteins were imported. These problems do not have been outside the evaluation and the analysis of the Cuban revolutionaries has entailed rigorous self-criticisms and new searches, to discords and debates that at every moment have led to plans and concrete measures.

The Cuban revolutionary praxis - still needed from studies and fertilizations from the social and cultural scientific thought, has led us to confront a complex logic of profits and reverses, advances and stagnation, rectifications and changes ; but the prevailing tendency - marked by the leadership of Fidel Castro, Ernesto Che Guevara and Raul Castro, has been nonconformity, the self-criticism and the constant search of new spaces of revolutionary accomplishment. From the mid of the eighties, we noticed - before the Soviet direction spoke about perestroika - of the necessity to rectify the socialist model in course. And in such criterion the process of rectification of errors and negative tendencies in the debates of III the Congress of the PCC in 1986 began.

The process of rectification of errors and negative tendencies was a deep and inclusive conceptual revolution that had by center the self-criticism and collective reflection, and the encounter with the most genuine foundations of the Cuban revolutionary ideology. Indeed against the economic deviations and the deterioration of revolutionary consciousness, the rectification led to reassume the main role of the socialist ideology, relegated by the prevalence of the false criteria on the spontaneous efficiency of the economic mechanisms, which implied a greater prominence of the popular masses. Rectification, as a process, lacked the time that the circumstances did not grant. Among others, an ambitious agro-alimentary program was paralyzed. Cuba was never so close to create the bases for his definitive nourishing independence that in those final years of the eighties [5].

From 1989-90 on, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we underwent the severe well-known economic crisis known as “special period”. We remember that in a few months, Cuba lost all stable suppliers and right prices of fuels, spare parts, fertilizers, of the immense majority of the consumptions of the national economy and good part of foods of the basic basket. The consequences were disastrous for the material production and in branches like the cattle raising, the losses were dramatic, with affectations in milky and meat products until now not solved. The Internal Product (PIB) of the nation fell down - 35 percent, while the imports were reduced in a 75 percent. The fiscal deficit went off to the 33 percent of the GIP in 1993, when economists consider that only 5 percent is a dangerous level for any economy.

In those years the value of salaries had a blow from which we have not yet been able to recover. A reduction of the standard of life of the family was observed who includes the economic income, the conditions of the house and the level of domestic appliances. It is consensual among specialists the consideration that a situation like the one that took place in Cuba, no country in Latin America or the Caribbean could have resisted (6) [6].

The steep arrival of the special period needed the concentration of all the energies of the nation, in the immediate and transcendental tasks of survival and defense next to the socialist project, of the life of each and every one of the Cubans. In the critical circumstances of the special period the country was seen in the necessity to initiate a process of adjustments and economic reforms, to reintroduce the relations of market and open sectors of the national economy to the private property, the participation and the investment of the foreign capital, without leaving the planning of the economy, nor the mastery of the society on the course of the socialist development. There were phenomena of social re-stratification, reappearance of proprietor sectors, managers of mixed and foreign companies and bourgeois elements took place, of expansion of inequalities in the most diverse scopes, and alteration and fractures previously of the type of socialism-equality relation, which was expressed particularly in an irregular configuration of the conditions of life, the deterioration of the social consumption and the appearance of diverse pathogenic conducts and new social and ideological tensions. [7]. The absence of motivation to work triggered a few adverse phenomena.

The impacts of the created situation were reflected directly in the communities and districts, and in the Cuban family. A reduction of the standard of life of the family was observed, who included the economic income, the conditions of the house and the level of domestic equipment. The time spent in domestic tasks and the number of these increased, influencing in the attention and education of the children. [8]

These were years in which unfortunately the number of people who somehow were in condition of social exclusion increased : They neither worked, nor studied. Many self-excluded, and others excluded by the disfunctionalities of the system, and the insufficiencies of institutions. The reappearance of injurious phenomena which had been practically eradicated and the sprouting of other new ones, like prostitution, the under-market, and drug consumption - most visible, struck the model of sociality and socialist morality. Such negative phenomena affected sectors of young people [9].

The heavy inheritance of under-development, our quota of errors and lacks of understanding in the forge of the new socialist sociality, and historical adversities of the magnitude of the disappearance of the USSR, and our allies of the European block ; explain a good part of our present difficulties. But it is never possible to avoid that the Cuban life is hurt basically, by the most ruthless and cruel economic and political war, that any nation has resisted, organized and generalized on an international scale by the government of the United States, powerful leader of world-wide Capitalism.

The atypical socialism that was born in the Caribbean had the courage to break the chain of domination of the United States in the American continent. The Cuban Revolution would have definitively to face a historical disagreement of more than two centuries, between the nation in struggle to self-reaffirm and to grow, and the powerful neighboring country always in plan of conquest and domination. For that, it has had to face the most colossal and systematic, political economic, ideological and cultural aggression executed against any country in the XX century, a criminal action that is continued again in this new century. Karl Marx could not anticipate this outcome. But Jose Marti was able to foresee it.

There is no nation in the world that has had to pay more than 93 000 million dollars, that the current value of that amount equals 224 600 millions of dollars in less than half a century, to defend his sovereignty and national independence [10]. A sum that is multiplied in the numerous human and material losses as a result of the biological war and terrorism of State practiced by the empire of the North against our small country [11].

The nineties were particularly intense in the amount of violent acts against Cuba. In all the years of the Revolution, 713 acts of terrorism against Cuba, 56 of them from 1990 on have taken place, organized and financed from North American territory [12] with a balance of 3478 dead and 2099 disabled and physical and psychic damages to hundreds of victims and relatives [13]. In United States, the criminal anti-Cuban Mafia, with the indulgence of the federal authorities, has carried out hundreds of terrorist acts against institutions or people in favor of Cuba or to a normal relation with this country.

The scaling of the provoking actions organized and financed by the Section of Interests of the United States in Havana (SINA in English) has had a constant increase in 2008, as its prop of the subversive policy of the North American government and the General Headquarters of the mercenaries of the internal counterrevolution. This Office has increased its illegal activities, in spite of the reiterated denunciations by the Government of Cuba [14].

The economic reform

In the midst of a drastic reduction of the food and standard of life of our people, when the western world was affected by the collapse of the USSR turned into pessimism and resignations to the communist ideals, and the empire hardened the attacks with the pretension to advance what they considered a sure death or giving up of the Cuban Revolution ; we managed to resist and to save the Revolution. The endurance and victory that in the nineties the Cuban Revolution demonstrated, the fact that the severe economic crisis did not turn into political crisis ; ratified like an unquestionable quality of the Cuban socialism, the extraordinary support of masses, demonstrated that the majority of the Cuban people was in favor of socialism.

On all the existing problems and the threats that emerged, the strategy in practice was useful to restrain the economic crisis, to save the main conquests of socialism, and to begin the recovery of economy.

The survival of the Revolution, the possibilities of resisting and of advancing were the result of eight factors that the revolutionary direction knew to unravel and to conjugate : Not to be intimidated, to precise strategic mastery, to regroup forces and to find potential resources, the decision to fight, to be critical without losing the bond with the masses, consulting the people and to mobilize them for the fight, and to work continually and systematically [15]. These factors were the historical variables that allowed keeping the principle of unit of the nation around the policy and the ideology of the Communists. They proved the importance of the unique Party as the center of the political system in the country, as the main leader of the national resistance, safe guide in the overcoming of the special period and essential force for the maintenance of national independence and socialism.

In 1992 the National Assembly of the Popular Power approved a group of tending measures to look for new alternatives within the crisis that allowed leaving so difficult circumstances, without losing the fundamental conquests of socialism. The economic reform that was then institutionalized was the most active process around which the strategy of victory of the Revolution took shape.

In the summer of 1993 the Government dictated the legalization of the possession of dollars and currencies in general, decision that not only meant the legalization of the possession of dollars, but the depoliticisation of the possession of US money, and this had, beside economic, a political and ideological impact [16].

The legalization of the dollar produced an important effect in the economy by moving the pattern of accumulation towards the US currency, and stimulating remittances from abroad, and the development of dollar sectors that would conduct practically all operations in currency, essentially, tourism and the internal market in hard currency. Through the instruments that the State articulated both sectors became the ones which more currencies canalized towards the rest of the economy. With the circulation of dollars, the emission of the convertible peso (CUC) began in 1994, and a nonbanking financial institution was created to change the Cuban Peso into the convertible peso. Also the financial system was extended and the instruments for saving were diversified.

The changes in the economic policy were addressed to stimulate the work of self-employed, and to open the “released” markets for farming, industrial and artisan products, where the prices would be determined by competition, and to which all types of producers concur, be a state, cooperative company, private or an individual worker. The state and cooperative companies with delivery commitments could concur, after having fulfilled their commitments of productions with the State, and so the provisions for the social consumption were protected and those distributed to all the population.

When the country in 1993 faced the necessity to orchestrate a process of structural transformations in the economy, it acquired pre-eminence to drive essential changes, in the farming sector. This sector was then object of a reconstruction, and it was decided as of October 1993, the transformation of the state system of agricultural farms ; that constituted the dominant form within the farming structure of Cuba and the creation of the Basic Units of Cooperative Production (UBPC). By means of renting the land which was property of the Government - without payment of rents - in permanent usufruct, the agricultural workers were stimulated to the constitution of UBPC. [17]. The UBPC’s were formed in the worse conditions : with acute shortage of petroleum, spare part, instruments, etc. ; what made difficult to obtain short term real gains from a greater productive effort. However, they represented an important change in the form of management of Cuban agriculture [18].

In the logic of the reforms, another set of economic measures directed toward the diminution of the internal financial imbalance was implemented. By the end of 1995 a new law of foreign investments was approved which stimulated the foreign presence of capital and incorporated the industrial possibility of the development of “duty-free zones and parks” as a way to stimulate the development of companies with outer financing (More recently, in 1996 a decree-law was approved by means of which it allows the establishment in the country of duty-free and industrial zones and parks).

These economic transformations gave way to a stage of economic recovery as of 1994. The effectiveness of the applied mechanisms allowed the change of the received dollars into financing for the sectors with less capacity to generate convertible currency. Objectively the economic crisis was stopped and the first indications of the real possibilities of the country to survive and to develop became practical on the base of internal potentialities, and our reserves of economic and social efficiency. Side by side the socialist democracy was extended and so the committed participation of the people in the decision making to solve the problems and to improve the socialism. The main decisions of the economic reform were discussed with the people.

A gradual evolution of the economic activity began, registering a decade of annual average growth close to the 4 percent. Such process was accompanied by the correction of the public finances, and a budgetary deficit of the 33.5 percent of the GIP in 1993, turned into a 3,0 percent in the 2003. The currency in the hands of the population was reduced from 73.2 percent to 34.9 percent of the GIP in those same years. Between 1994 and 2003, the Cuban Peso was revalued from 140 pesos by dollar to values that have fluctuated between 18 and 27 pesos. Also the growth of the prices given in the first years of the special period decelerated.

The reform in the Cuban industry begins once certain stabilizing macroeconomic control was reached, in the financial sector and the dynamics of the direct foreign investment towards industrial sectors. The process of labor reordering constituted another of the basic columns of the socialist economic policy. [19]

For the economic recovery of the country it was vital the start of the Enterprise Improvement, a system of economic management that began to be applied as of 1987 in Cuban military companies. This is based on the fact that each company must design, for itself, an economic system based on a market with safe sources of supply, a high competitiveness and reliable accounting. It is vital for the application that all the workers knew about it and assumed their new forms of organization and management. Also in 1997 began the banking reform.

The taken measures gave rise to a reduction of the currency in 3 000 million pesos and helped to revalue the peso. Out of 150 pesos by dollar that was the change at the beginning of its legalization, to 22-25 pesos by a dollar, in the last years.

The 90’s supposed for the country a process of deep economic and social transformation. The results did not lack strong contradictions, but they fulfilled the main goal because they guaranteed the economic recovery and they mitigated the most negative effects of the crisis, without resigning to the defense of the main conquests of socialism in Cuba [20].

What is the Battle of Ideas ?

The brutal kidnapping of the boy Elian Gonzalez by the terrorist Mafia based in Miami, detonated in December 5, 1999, a new stage in the fight of the Cuban people. It opened a multidimensional process of deepening the ideology and the revolutionary work that Fidel Castro named as Battle of Ideas. In this process a particular attention is given to the importance of the subjective factor, of the consciousness of the masses in the Revolution. In his strategic leadership, the Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, emphasized the humanist nature of the Revolution, the emancipating content and the undeniable solidarity, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist vocation.

Consequently Fidel developed, with the national mobilization for the liberation of the kidnapped boy, a colossal movement of public opinion, debate and explanation of the national and international situation, in which the childhood, youth and the Cuban family, played an important role. Never, in no other stage of the political life of our country, the ideology of imperialism was submitted to a harsh criticism. The ideological political work in this period was enriched with new instruments of revolutionary propaganda as the TV program of analysis and debates called the Round Tables, and the multitudinal Open Tribunes.

The ideological battle was not only placed in the angle of the main contradiction that faces the Cuban socialism as a result of the aggressiveness of the powerful imperialistic neighbor. It served in addition to realize a deep glance towards the North American society and in particular it allowed unraveling the realities of the life in Miami as a false window that the anti-Cuban propaganda sells.

Under the direction of Fidel in those first months of ideological and political battle, the main problems that affected the development of the socialist sociality were reviewed, and the enrichment of the spiritual life to the interior of the Cuban civil society. The speech on the equality incorporated the necessary mediation between the real opportunities that the Revolution for all the Cubans has brought, and the diverse departure points from which each man and woman have extended to the benefits contributed by the revolutionary work, each family. One directly approached was the subject of racial discrimination, its manifestations at present and the bond of these with the social economic sphere and the national political life. The fight against the prejudices and the forms of life that still reproduce criteria of discrimination against the total social participation of the Cuban women also received attention.

The speech about the evils of Capitalism disappeared and turned into the recognition of the social sources of distraction, that are still present in a country that it constructs the socialism surrounded by the empire, from under-development, and where not always the most suitable solutions have been found. It was deepened in the study of the causes of the marginality, crime, prostitution, drug addiction and its relative growth in the circumstances of many more inequalities and differentiation of life patterns, that the special period brought about consequently.

The analysis of the submerged process of private accumulation of capital, that is fed by dissimilar routes, in the first place by the corruption and the enterprise embezzlement, as well as by the speculation and operation of the nourishing needs, and of another nature, was approached with bravery. It was discovered that for certain youthful sectors, the wealthy groups and the “new” rich were groups of reference of the models of the society of consumption, of individualism and of the social apathy. And it was deepened in the relation that such negative models had in the pathogenic conducts. Also it was seen the incidence that this brought in the maintenance of the migrant potential and the economic migratory contraband.

The perspective systematization of such massive movement of political education, Fidel set it in the world of the culture, in such dimension appeared again with the University for All, the historical project of the Popular University (), now with the wonderful audio-visual resources developed by television. Also the search of formulas to solve pending problems in the areas of education and cultural work, as well as in the promotion of new integral programs of wide sociocultural and scientific technical scope, with special emphasis in the new generations and the solution of the existing breaches of inequality in diverse groups and popular sectors. More than three hundred programs and initiatives were drawn up and executed in this direction to take care of the underprivileged popular groups. To give answers to the needs of the population before the serious deterioration of the services during the special period. During nine years of the Program of the Battle of Ideas they have concluded more than 7 000 works in all the country and about other 295 to be finished.

Results in course

After the economic reform the structure of the national productive apparatus has changed, the central position of the sugar complex was radically changed, the services, especially tourism, medicine and knowledge, assumed a preponderant role.

In 2007 the Cuban economy reached a growth of 7.5 percent. This effort is materialized in the growth of a 5.0 percent in the productivity of work ; a 16.8 percent of investments ; the growth of key sectors like farming in a 24.7 percent, industry in a 7.8 percent ; transport in a 7.9 percent ; and services with a 11.7 percent. The exports of goods and services increased a 24.0 percent, against a 2.0 percent in imports, with a positive balance in trade. Tourism is a leading sector, because it is the one that contributes the greater amount of gross income to the country, and has a very important multiplication effect [21].

Enterprise Improvement has reached appreciable levels of organization, discipline and efficiency, in the management of the organizations in which it has been applied.

The global indicators that the country obtained in 2007 show advances in specific areas, where the main insufficiencies are concentrated during these years [22]. The productivity the work increased in a 5.0 percent, investments in a 16,8 percent, services in a 11.7 percent. The average salary in monetary terms grew a little more than 5 percent and reached 408 pesos monthly.

Biotechnology, a legitimate scientific pride of the nation, is an example of how a small country, with tenacity and intelligent strategy, can develop excellent centers, with remarkable economic results. In such direction, biotechnology increased its exports and incorporated new productive technologies and medicines, with an increase of 90 percent in its exports in spite of the US embargo, reaching more than fifty countries.

The exports grew in 40 percent in traditional products like nickel, rum, fishing, among others and in 13 percent in nontraditional like generic, biotechnological medicines and medical equipment [23]. Of general way 24 are, percent the exports of goods and services increased a 24 percent against a 2 percent in imports, with a positive balance in trade. The program of substitution of imports has a positive behavior. Light Industry shows to a tendency to recovery from the advantage of the present capacities and the investments. The demand of government is constituted in one of the great motors of growth [24].

The new economic measures in course, which place new products and services in the internal market, would cause a greater diversity of supply, a resetting of the basket of expenses of the Cuban family, new incentives to work, majors contributions to the income of the State via sales and, mainly, more options for the people [25].

The Energetic Revolution settled down as a main instrument in the intentions of saving energy and fuel - the intensification of the Program of Saving of Electricity (PAEC- and improvement in the use of the financial resources in currency. Besides the march of the Energetic Revolution, oil production and gas have grown more than the increase of consumption, and now the extraction covers 50 percent with the demand and new vectors of energy like Aeolian and solar. In 2007 oil production grew 2.2 percent and it displayed better perspective to count on greater availability of perforation equipment.


In 2007 the growth of the Cuban economy surpassed the 5.6 percent shown by Latin America. For the CEPAL Cuba has the fifth place, among 33 countries controlled by this UN organ. We are satisfied by the reached advances, but we did not stop précising our nonconformities. Unlike not few governments, Cuba does not make juggling with numbers and percents. Our well-gained productive increases are with respect to the low level of the special period, and there is a conscience that the reached growth does not yet indicate the potentialities of the Cuban productive system.

The figure of growth reached in 2007 was inferior to the planned 10 percent. The difference between planned and the real was due to the financial tension taken to limits by the intense ascent of prices of vital imports like food and fuels. The meticulous cruelty of the economic war in its incessant search of routes to do damage to Cuba exerted its far from negligible influence in the listed difficulties. To it the weak productive and organizational capacity in the sector of the construction was added, the mentioned insufficient food production, deficit in the sugar cane harvest, and the decrease of tourism. But there were also present central problems like the insufficient productivity, organization and discipline of work, the weak saving, the little preparation and deficient execution of investments, and in as much insufficiencies and indulgences in managers and workers, in groups of direction and party and union organizations.

With critical spirit and accurate political rationality, assemblies of workers and the direction of the country precise those aspects that are still deficient. Still we are far from reaching the economic, labor and productive culture that socialism demands. The understanding that harmony in the planning, organization and control is essential in socialism does not constitute a generalized conviction in directive actions. It is not sufficient the time and the quality of the work that is done by many organizations.

There are insufficiencies in the country strictly speaking from the lack of work in some people. Wastefulness is not finished ; the evil use of fuels, there is much to save through organization, efficiency, and control. The delivery of home appliances has had deficiencies and errors that they did not have to take place if a more effective study of quality and relevance of the equipment had been done.

The fact that farming production is still depressed constitutes one of the main reasons for self-criticism. We emphasize that the sector is far from satisfying the urgent necessity to place amounts of products in the markets, to make prices go down, to reduce expensive product imports that must be produced in the country and to cause a favorable turn in the feeding of people. In the country 3 million hectares are only cultivated, while there are 6 million hectares of fertile land. After the great national effort of the first years of the special period, in favor of food harvests, between 1998 and 2007, in only 9 years, cultivated land fell in 33 percent.

Although the system of distribution of ration food has been always kept, the variety of products including fell noticeably from 1990, and the consumers must go to other sources to guarantee the basic basket. The alternatives are in farming markets of free concurrence and the network of state stores that sell in CUC, with supplies at high prices. Generally the economic recovery has not hit the family economy ; the structure of cost of the Cuban family is still concentrated mainly in food purchase, which absorbs between the 65 and the 80 percent of all the cost of the family income.

While the indicated problems still exist to satisfy the family basket, in the sphere of social consumption there is waste, lack of planning and control. In this substrate the economic crime grows, and it reproduces an illegal group of embezzlers, producers, remarketers and usurers, who accumulate force, with the aspiration to become a parasitic and corrupted bourgeoisie.

When analyzing the stealing of State resources and its canalization in the black market in diverse areas of social needs, the incidence cannot be ignored that it exerts the reduced sale to population [26]

The challenges of the Cuban economy also go through the socialist recovery of the space that has gained the informal economy, and the regulation of the essential quota of economic power that is transferred to the new subjects that the economic reform has harnessed. This must be expressed in laws and institutional and fiscal mechanisms which are more agile and able to canalize a substantial mass of the resources that generate these subjects, towards the socialist reproduction. The fight and elimination of the black market is another challenge.

Perspective of the economic project

The tendency of the Cuban economy is to the continuity of the process of exit of the special period, with a country much more developed, greater preparation to find the most suitable opportunities and to advance in the complex world that we lived. Despite the impact of the substantial elevation of the prices of foods and fuels in the international market in and the forecasts on the maintenance of this situation, it will force to adjustments and inevitable restrictions in the elaboration of the project of Plan for the 2009, and in the projection of the national economy in the future immediate.

The national scale of the Cuban economy, more and more happens through the directed work to operate the potentialities of each territory, with a view to providing solution to the problems of the communities, and enriching the cultural and natural micro surroundings of the citizens. Then the subject of the local development begins to occupy a significant place in them project of unfolding of the Cuban socialism.

The continued development of the industry of the tourism, and the maintained investment in the development of the industrial technological complex of the biotechnology, has conferred a qualitative slant to the structure of the Gross Internal Product (PIB) in the last years that describe, it like own as economies developed by the component as added value. Doubts that do not fit the success of the undertaken economic transformation in the ninety has expressed with a sharp growth of the national economy in the last decade [27]. The centralized planning of the resources is a fundamental condition for the triumph of the economic policy allows to direct them Us towards the prioritized objectives and to make compatible the built the framework for complex of actions that comprise of the social policy.

The favorable data of the international organizations, the places reached about our archipelago in the indicators of human and viable development, the recognized fulfillment of Agenda 21, are results of international comparative measurements, whose value is unquestionable. In the base of such results it is the consolidation of the gradual growth of the economy of the country that accumulates an increase of the 42.5 percent in its GIP, only between the 2004 and the 2007 [28]. One is a way to make specific the new heresies that have conquests the Cuban Revolution, to do violence to the adverse circumstances, to change the logic of the political economy that prevails in the world of the capital. And in such persistence, by on the threats favorable opportunities are drawn

The vitality of the socialist economy is closely associate to the recovery, remodeling and re-sizing of the national economy, to the scientific and technological development, the growth of the traditional sectors and the new branches of the industry, to the multiplication of international the commercial and financial bows, in order that the present transformations and measures in the consolidation of an efficient economic management, and mainly to that the triumph of the socialist company like predominant economic sector begins to take shape, on the base of the maximum use of the resources and potentialities of the nation. According to evaluations that have been realized the productivity of the work in the country, still it can rise almost in a 60 percent of the cases. The recovery of the paper of the half fundamental wage as of satisfaction of the needs of the population is a fundamental goal. The reduction of the financial liquidity and the progressive fortification of the national currency are profits of the revolutionary policy in the special period that must take shape much more.

In the present and to where it is possible to glimpse the future, the nourishing subject and the fight by the farming sufficiency it is a subject of maximum national security. The institutional changes that Cuban agriculture has experimented in recent years have made possible positive answers in the scope of the production, in spite of the problems of supplying of consumptions, replacement of machinery and facilities and deterioration of the physical infrastructure. The conversion in cooperatives of most of the state farms, along with the creation of the farming free trades and the diversity of schemes of stimulation of the agricultural workers, constitutes the main successes of the transformative process [29].

We must definitively revert the tendency to the decrease of the worked earth area [30]. The key of the food production happens to give resources them to which they have earth ; to give earth to which they want to them and they deserve to have it (30) [31], and to solve the problems of the commercialization. These new realities create conditions to overcome the existing problems, and to apply in him Cuban land, the necessary structural changes and of concepts, raised by president Raul I castrate from the 26 of July of the 2007, in the city of Camaguey, endorsed by the town in an intense process of debates carried out in the country. One advances as well towards a new economic model - environmental of Cuban agriculture, to obtain profitable and sustainable productions, it is in the conversion of conventional agriculture in organic agriculture.

In it generates concerning all the national economy is due to act with more precision. To establish priorities and to fulfill them strictly. To delay the investments that are not essential to undertake immediately, and to concentrate the efforts in the process of strategic investments in course. Today the gross investment of capital is fomented ; part of the industrial park in a group of state companies recovers and modernizes. For it is necessary to take advantage of the existing facilities, remodeled old woman sub used constructions, of which there are enough by all the country. The infrastructure energetic and the system of transport of loads (and passengers) are object of an accelerated process of physical and technological recapitalization. In the industry where it is possible, and the conditions can be created, has to go to the double turn to use better the equipment available and to shorten the time of completion of works, very especially in the sector of the construction.

The continued development of the industry of the tourism, and the maintained investment in the development of the industrial technological complex of the biotechnology, has conferred a qualitative slant to the structure of the Gross Internal Product (PIB) in the last years that describe, it like own as economies developed by the component as added value. When the registered institutions of the neoliberal Globalization recognize that the knowledge is the more important limiting factor in the aspirations of development of the underdeveloped countries and that the grant of knowledge and its efficient advantage has become a determining factor in the competitiveness of the nations, Cuba is in a position of relative privilege.

The country that has had like center of its strategies of development the human being, is in a privileged position to walk throughout the economy of the knowledge and therefore to get up itself with gains to this new tendency of the world-wide economy. With a force of work of 10, 8 degrees average of schooling and more of the 50 percent of the same with levels of average education, average superior and superior, with a cover of the 100 percent of the national territory in schools, stops health indices and new programs that modernize and expand the education in all the levels, the advantages of the country are unquestionable. Time concurs in addition to our favor the factor, in the sense of the coincidence of the relevance of the knowledge for the development and our availability of “capable resources” to face the challenge. This well-educated Cuban product that we could call “good”, is a product of good quality, to a suitable price and with costs and system of securing that guarantees a relative competitive advantage at least in our region and also between the underdeveloped countries.

One of the most solid economic strengths of the Revolution is in the National System of Science and Technological Innovation that owns a stop and novel potential of scientific integration, and tells between its supports the scientist-productive poles, integrated by cooperative networks of the most important service and research centers, besides producing companies and organizations and universities.

In the context of the computerization of the country, our economy and society advance the creative joint of the systems of management of knowledge in network (GC-Network). The exports of software and an ample range of computer science services grow, including integral the technological solutions [32]. Thus we open to a way towards the exporting diversification on the product base of high technological content, something that is reaffirmed if the exports of machines and electrical equipment are added that basically are medical equipment.

The future growth must be based then on the advantage of this advantage created by the Revolution, not only developing to new branches like the biotechnology or the production of software, but also, promoting the displacement within the own chain or productive system from products of low intensity in knowledge towards those others of high intensity. The cultural change that it implies, as much for the organizations applies that them, like for the direct participants in these systems, is one of the most transcendental processes in course as much in the economy as in the Cuban society [33].

The revitalization of the system of communications by means of seedtime of all the national territory with a network of optical fiber conductors is part of the strategy after increasing the services of telephony and data, introducing the terrestrial digital television, and to elevate the stability and invulnerability of the telecommunications. The project of imminent execution of an own underwater cable for the nodal connection, coordinated with Venezuela, that will allow us among others to break the limitations imposed by the United States to our use of Internet, observes that strategy of investments of first importance, for a development of the knowledge of extensive sights.

The cooperation with the People’s Republic of China and the Bolivar Republic of Venezuela and has been decisive in the reframing to medium term of the Cuban strategy of development. The advance of the projects of strategic and shared in common integration of the Venezuelan Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) [34], they will allow a better positioning us in the complex international economic surroundings. New spaces of cooperation in human resources, finances, technology and commerce in right and mutually advantageous conditions are open.

The relative opening, under extremely restrictive conditions, of the food commerce with producers of the United States, fruit of the fight against the blockade in the Nation of the North, represents an opportunity from reaccess to a market from which unjustly we were excluded. So perspective nevertheless, always it will be threatened by the political hostility of the government and the groups of the Cuban American Mafia. It is not possible to be avoided in addition, that we are to the doors of the recession of the American economy, and to the affectations in chain that it would bring for the international economy, as well as to the immediacy of increasing threats of crisis in vital areas like nourishing and the energetic. While, on credit mediate it advances the environmental crisis, that already alerts with events many to us of unpredictable them.

A constant threat that has the Cuban and the farming one economy in particular is the climatic situation. The country is object of unfavorable events that without doubts have broken out again as a result of the climatic change. Already we had obtained to surpass scenes so adverse of year 2005, in that two hurricanes that enter both caused losses by 2 146 million weights and damaged 100 thousand 266 houses, of them met completely destroyed 5 thousands 360 ; while a drought of most intense than remembers, it affected the Eastern provinces and Camaguey, to the end to force expensive measures of emergency to supply from water to cities like Holguín, Tunas and Camaguey. But just in this 2008, the passage of other two cyclones in August-September was in more serious the climatologic disaster of Cuban history. It has meant for the country losses superiors to the 5 000 million dollars [35].

If the future is all about

Mingled in the Cuba of today all the phenomena of diverse nature that have had impact in the economic and social development recently. We have left the most complex and critical moments of the special period behind, but the economy and the society is still in the special period, in a world also in crisis conflict. It has varied the structure of the productive apparatus, the centrality of the sugar industry has been radically changed, the services, especially tourism, the medicine and education, assumes a more preponderant role every time. In as much the problematic realities and the unpublished ones emerge, in a society where accumulated and unsolved problems are interpenetrated and conditioned, contradictions that do not have reason to exist, next to wonderful expressions than we have reached, in the middle of a dynamics revolutionary changes, that above all the difficulties are kept and enriched.

We know that socialism is not a calm station. Either thought from social sciences, religion, art, or the latest contribution of mathematics and computer sciences, will always take shape in a scene of bloody emancipatory fight, against a ruthless capitalist and imperialistic enemy, and in constant belligerence. Socialism has been and will be a historical transit of heroic creation, as the Peruvian Amauta Jose Carlos Mariategui predicted. Therefore there is no immutable conquest. Today in Cuba all the strengths for development are present, socialist generation and regeneration. Also not few of the weaknesses of socialism that really existed in the USSR and other socialist countries of Eastern Europe and part of capitalist excrescences that managed to break the never well constructed hegemony of the socio-moral ideals and the socialist sociality in the referred European socialist countries.

I assume that we Cubans live a true Revolution, because is a socialism with total capacity to defend itself and to grow. And in this perspective I consider that our own evaluation must start off indeed from knowing what we have : Without the concrete historical balance, without knowing which is the inheritance to we cannot resign, it will be impossible for us to establish an accurate debate, on the courses to be strengthened, the rectifications to make and the changes that must take place.

The Cuban economy has undergone this year, at the same time, a significant deterioration on the terms of interchange - increase of the price of imported foods and oil and a decrease of the price of nickel, and the attacks, almost simultaneously, of two hurricanes with damages that surpass all the historical records. Such scene endangers the high rates of growth that shows the economy from 2004 and the monetary stability that has been preserved from 1995. Also it has harnessed in the immediacy of the daily life many more nourishing deficiencies and worsened the problem of housing. Against such adversity the country works arduously in the recovery, in a strategy that recognizes the urgencies, and tries to insert them in the economic policy and social that is formed in the country, with the intention not only to obtain the essential immediate answers that the population needs and demands, but also the binds of these measures to the dynamics of the historical scale fortification of the progressive social movement, to the socialist flow of the revolutionary process.

The evaluation of the perspective of socialism in Cuba has in its opposed side, the belligerence of the North American empire and the irrational activity, deeply fascist and terrorist of the Cuban American Mafia (35). At the moment of writing this presentation, the possibility of the arrival to the government of the United States of a representative of one of the most pragmatic sectors of the transnational oligarchy of the American first house, opens for Cuba a possible change in the scene of the fight for the defense of its sociality, culture and socialist political system.

To new challenge would take us from the confrontation to the present policy of the guns, the brutal economic embargo and the stimulation of terrorism ; to the one of a luck of laying foundations for adjustments - of double track or Track Two once tried at the time of Bill Clinton- and the specificities of a relation that would have to turn around the virulent opposition of the fascist right of the Republican Party and its partners of the Cuban American Mafia. In such scene the ideological fight, the combat for the Socialist cultural and ideological hegemony would occupy a central place. We would never win in such context, if we did not prevail in the economic front, the materialization of a viable project of prosperous society and humanist, able to generate its own civilizing antibodies in front of the alienating traps of social anomia, individualism and consumption, that appears with attractive attires of comfort, competitiveness and technological modernity.

Felipe de J. Perez Cruz : Independent Academic. Member of the Group “Cuba, theory and society”, of the Institute of Philosophy. President of the National Union of Historians of Cuba in the City of Havana. Paper present in International Conference “Steering Transformations : Historical Experiences and Curret Challenges” Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Germany. Centerr for Party Studies, Central Compilation and Traslation Boreau of CPC, Beijing, 20-21, 11, 2008

Notes :

[1I speak of vision, as far as the commitment to realize an objective approach of that historical, multiple and contradictory subject that indeed is known with the category of Cuban Revolution. I maintain the subject of the passion because I do not agree with the supposedly aseptic positions in social sciences.

[2The resident Cuban population in the country until the December 31, 2007, was about.11236790. Center for the Study of Population and Development of the National Office of Statistics, ONE, Havana, 2008

[3Federico Engels’ letter to Kautsky on September 12, 1882, in : Carlos Marx and Federico Engels, Selected Works in Three Volumes, Progress, Moscow 1973, pp. 185-186.

[4Carlos Rafael Rodriguez : Cuba in the transit to socialism, 1959-1963. Havana, Political Publisher, 1979 ; Victor Figueroa Albelo, Jaime Garcia Ruiz and others : Tests On the Socialist Construction in the Experience of Cuba, Editorial of the Central University, Santa Clara 2000.

[5See “The economic and social development”, in : Fidel Castro Ruz : Central report. The Third Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, Political Publisher, Havana, 1986.

[6Osvaldo Martinez, Conference, mentioned by Hedelberto Lopez Blanch : The Cuban economy grows in spite of the blockade, Rebellion, www.rebelió, 12-04-2008 ; CEPAL : The Cuban Economy. Structural reforms and performance in the nineties. Funds for Economic Culture, Mexico, D.F. 1997, pp. 9-10

[7Mayra Hawthorn : “Social effects of the economic readjustment : equality, inequality and processes of complexity in the Cuban society” in O. Perez (compiler) : Reflections on Cuban economy, Social Sciences, Havana, 2004 pp 385-419

[8Investigation on the human development in Cuba, Research center of the World-wide Economy, published by Caguayo S.A., 1996.)

[9Luis Gomez Suarez : The new Cuban generations of Cubans in the first row of the Revolution, Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People, Direction of Information and Analysis, Havana, 2007

[10Conservative figures that only include the damages properly documented, because there are numerous direct and indirect affectations that could not have been quantified. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Republic of Cuba, Havana, September, 2008

[11Cuban Society of the International Rights : Aggressions from the United States to revolutionary Cuba, Social Sciences Editorial House, Havana, 1989 ; Fabian Escalante Font : Cuba : the secret war of the CIA, Editorial Captain San Luis, Havana, 1994, Ariel Alonso Perez : The biological war against Cuba, Editorial Captain San Luis, Havana, 2008. Ministry of the Interior. Republic of Cuba, Havana, July, 2006

[12Popular Supreme Court, Havana, July, 2006

[13Ministry of Foreign Affairs : Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Granma, July 2, 2008

[14Raul Castro Ruz : “The problem is not to stop. Raul in the Military Board of the MINFAR. Trabajadores newspaper. City of Havana, April 3, 1995 p 3

[15Jorge Mario Sanchez Egozcue and Juan Triana Cordovi : A present panorama of the Cuban Economy, the transformations in perspective course and its challenges (DT) DT Nº 31/2008 -26/06/2008

[16The members of these new cooperatives became collective proprietors of the equipment and the machinery that previously belonged to the state farms. The National Bank of Cuba (BNC) granted long term credits (with an interest rate of 4 percent and with a period of grace of 3 years) so that the new cooperative organizations bought the machinery, the investments of capital (such as systems and facilities of irrigation), and in case of being applied, the existing investment in permanent cultures and the cattle. The working members of a cooperative of the UBPC are proprietors of what they produce. They provide what they agreed with the State and all their overproduction of the plans is sold to liberated prices in the farming free markets (the farming free markets were created in October 1994 ; after the beginning of the process of transformation of the state agricultural enterprises, See : Lazaro Peña Castellanos and Armando Nova González : Agricultural economic transformation : UBPC and Farming Market. Center for the Study of International Economy (CIEI) Havana, 1997). The profits generated by the UBPC are of their own property

[17George Brown Carriazo. “Structural Changes in Cuban agriculture : the cooperatives”, In : Dietmar Dirmoser and Jaime Estay (Cood.), Economy and the Economic Reformation in Cuba, FESCARIBE. New Society, Caracas, 1997 ; V. Figueroa : The structural reformation of the agrarian regime of the socialist transition in Cuba. Edition GEDERCO, UCLV, Santa Clara, 2002 ; Armando Nova González : Agriculture, foods and the necessary transformations, Cuba 21st century, Havana, 2007

[18The central objective was not to realize a violent adjustment on the workers, with the typical one of thousands of workers. It was demonstrated the wisdom to decide that this complex task was a gradual process, without goals, centralized, that will advance in those branches and activities with provisions and stability in raw materials, and in particular that all growth of the labor resources and our uses would correspond to the growth of each branch of the economy. For not few analysts, the reached profits were surprising and they consider The most outstanding characteristic, the deep reorganization in the administration, the organization of the work, the quality and the efficiency in the production, See : Josefina Morales : The economic reform in Cuba, Mexico-Cuba : 1902-2002, Extraordinary Chair “Jose Martí”, Series Memories, no.. 1, Coordinating and Diffusing UNAM-Center of Latin American Studies. Mexico, D.F., 2003. pp. 125-151 ; Omar Everleny and others : Cuba. Reflections on its economy, University of Havana, Havana, 2002

[19In its analysis on the social impact of the process of economic reforms in the middle of the nineties, the joint study made by CEPAL, INIE and the PNUD conclude : “The contributions of the Cuban case are very useful for the international reflection on the possibilities of obtaining the productive development with fairness”. Although “the balance between the social and economic goals has not always been balanced”, yes there has been “a strong capacity of adaptation of the policies in order to limit the adverse effects”. All this allows affirming that the base of the Cuban strategy “has been the constant evaluation in order simultaneously to reach results in terms of fairness, development and well-being”, See : Jorge Máttar and Elena Alvarez, (coord) : Social policy and structural reforms : Cuba at the beginning of the 21st century. CEPAL, INIE and the PNUD, Mexico, 2004. p 258

[20This sector made favorable organizational transformations, implanted major discipline and control, that has meant greater efficiency. Against the decrease of tourist flow, a new strategy started up to obtain a greater tourist affluence. One is based on four fundamental lines : to construct hotels with enchantment, to modernize the facilities, to publish portal sales in Internet and to foment the health tourism. A total change in the philosophy of the promotion and the publicity of the island has been promoted, which is translated in a new image. Also contracts with new agencies of publicity were realized to make more effective actions in the 90 percent of the emitting countries from tourism to Cuba

[21Not only agriculture grew. The growth of the GIP takes shape in economic activities of strategic nature. The industry managed to triple the reached growth the previous year, emphasizing the nickel that, despite heavy rains in the mining zone and failures in a plant, managed to grow 2.2 percent. The pharmaceutical industry expanded its production 21 percent, in correspondence with the strong investing process which has taken place and managed to appreciably reduce lacking medicines for productive reasons

[22Declarations of Antonio Luis Carricarte, vice-minister of Foreign Commerce, in Deisy Francis Mexidor, the authority and the prestige of Cuba grow, Granma, May 27, 2008

[23The plans of improvement of the electrical infrastructure, the construction of houses, the expansion of the constructions and modernizations in the sector of health, and in works for education have become one of the main stimuli for growth. The investments grew and have been concentrated essentially in the programs of the Battle of Ideas. Indeed for that reason the high indices of growth have a determining, although still modest repercussion, in the improvement of the conditions of life of the population by means of services and sustained social programs. These are the aspects that strike Cubans most, that is to say the deterioration of services of health and education, food, electricity, house and transport

[24Juan Triana, investigator of the Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy of the University of Havana, IPS, Havana, March 20, 2008

[25Contradictory facts also cause this situation : The commercialization in only a year of 200 000 tons of gray cement in the State currency stores, while without the corresponding supply of barren in those same establishments or others, raises a clear question, from where did the population get the sand and the stone to build ?)

[26Juan Triana Cordovi : Cuba : Social development, globalization and economy of knowledge. Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy, Havana , 2003, p 2

[27Jose Luis Rodriguez : Presentation of Jose Luis Rodriguez, Minister of Economy and Planning, before the National Assembly of the Popular Power of the Report on the economic results of 2007, and the lines of the economic and social plan for 2008, Granma, City of Havana, December 29, 2007

[28Antonio F. Rosemary Gomez : Cuba : Economic transformations and the farming sector in the nineties, Center for the Study of the International Economy, University of Havana, Havana, 2000

[29The cooperative sector and farmer today own 35 percent of the cultivable land. Of them, about 225 thousands are proprietors, and the rest, up to 350 thousands, usufructuary, and they all are responsible for more of the 60 percent of the agricultural production of the country

[30Council of State : Decree-Law No.259 on the delivery of idle land in usufruct, July 10, 2008

[31They include the integration of hardware and software, the installation of the product, the training of specialists and post-sale operations), they provide to the country an important income, and has made possible that colossal investments like the one of the creation of the University of Computer Sciences (UCI) in September, 2002, are practically are financed with their own productions

[32Center of Management of Knowledge Networks : First draft of the Methodology (Technology) To manage Networks of Knowledge (RdC), Center of Management of Knowledge and Technology (GECYT), Havana, June, 2008

[33ALBA took shape first like bilateral agreement, between Cuba and Venezuela in April 29, 200, open to all the Latin American countries. To this call united Bolivia, Nicaragua and Honduras

[34Official information of preliminary data on the damages caused by the hurricanes Gustav and Ike, Granma, Havana, September 15, 2008

[35“Three days to kill” Communists have requested these criminals to the empire, to take place an invasion to Cuba by the Armed Forces of the United States)



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