Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Threat from the left

If you puzzle over how Cuban economic policy is made these days, then you might find Fidel’s latest “reflection” intriguing. (AP story here.)

He tells how he reads commentary about Cuba from all over the world, and he takes on the foreign leftist “superrevolutionaries” whose counsel for Cuba is the “pure poison” of “neoliberalism.”

It’s not clear precisely who he is talking about, but it would be nice if he would provide some links, because the rest of us would be interested in reading arguments in favor of opening up the Cuban economy written from a hard left perspective.

Regardless, Fidel’s own preferences are clear.

Regarding foreign investment, for example, he says “one cannot do without” some joint ventures because they bring access to essential markets. But there’s a political reason to limit them, he says, because “neither can one inundate the country with money without selling sovereignty.” Sort of the opposite of the U.S. hard-line argument that doing business with Cuba “props up” the current system.

When it comes to ethanol, Fidel is still against it – both globally and if made from Cuban sugar cane. The “superrevolutionaries” see in ethanol an “energy advantage for the island,” while he contends that it would lead to doubling or tripling of world food prices. That is based, one guesses, on the zero-sum supposition that production of crops for ethanol comes at the expense of land devoted to food production.

That has long been his view, although as we learned last May, Cuban policy at least in principle is open to ethanol production.


Juan Cuellar said...

Phil, am I suppose to believe you are so naive? Your comments about Castro's latest facade is childish. Can you ascertain that is he writing such "reflections?
Even though you noted that "he" does not identify that "left" your conclusions about the contradictions about what "he" said in opposition to the politics of the hard liners of US is extreme. Is the typical left view of fitting a peg into a square.

Also your deductions regarding "ethanol" and your Zero-sum supposition is empty. Cuba agricultural land, included old sugarcane plantations are mostly covered by marabu, even Raul Castro noted that (as if he was living in the moon all this year.) so you better suppose other things in your efforts to see "sweet dreams". Castro is saying, if indeed is Castro speaking which I very much doubt it, that to give people comfort is equal to loosing their sovereignty from him. That is why, no matter how much you trade and engage with that regimen he will nor loosen up his grip. He is telling you, Phil, that engagement is not what you think it is. That your world is a sweet dream. That by lifting the embargo won't change nothing. He prefer building collapsing that new buildings being build for the people. He rather refurbish old buildings into hotels like the new state chain "Encantos" and "Palacio Azul" for those enemies he complaint will use those "condominium", that make them available to the population. His message about the superrevolucionarios is not directed only to foreigners, is a signal that everything is for grasp amongst the elite after he is gone. I think he already left. This is the begining of the end.

Fantomas said...

Peters realmente piensas que fidel escribe toda esa basura?

Omar said...

Juan, why do you insists in the "building for the people" if that wasn't said or implied in the original writing whoever did it? Do you know which buildings is being mentioned? Be sure that they are not "for the people". Don't mix things, please, that there are already enough reasons for confusion. You can see two of these buildings, for example, close to the interception of 5ta and 42 in Miramar. They look very quiet. Are they populated? And if so, by whom? Buildings for the people are Alamar and thousands of peasant's houses all over the country. Who the hell will invest on such real buildings for the people projects besides the Cuban State as it did when there was some cash in the 70s-80s, as it will if the embargo were released and cash flow, as it won't if the government changes to a Latinamerican styled free-market democracy. Like those that despite of being embargo-free have reproduced the infamous favelas. "Building for the people" you said?
Now, if you meant that no radical political change should be expected if the USA loose its grip on Cuba, I agree with you. Simply because Cuba is a sovereign state and change should be build by Cubans, by Omar and Juan, without the disproportionate hostile-spirited support of our powerful neighbor.

Juan Cuellar said...

Omar, get it right. "Castro" said:

Se aconsejan inversiones que son ruinosas, y los servicios que aportan, como el alquiler, son prácticamente gratuitos. De no haberse detenido a tiempo las inversiones extranjeras en viviendas, habrían construido decenas de miles sin más recursos que la venta previa de las mismas a extranjeros residentes en Cuba o en el exterior. Eran además empresas mixtas regidas por otra legislación creada para empresas productivas. No había límites para las facultades de los compradores como propietarios. El país suministraría los servicios a tales residentes o usuarios, para lo cual no se requieren los conocimientos de un científico o un especialista en informática. Muchos de los alojamientos podían ser adquiridos por los órganos de inteligencia enemigos y sus aliados."
Meaning that even if those workers are Cubans, they get pay by worthless pesos that I (Fidel) give them. Since I do not allowed them to buy, get paid directly, even visit those hotel with convertibles dollars send by their relatives abroad, or stay in those condominiums with the owners consents. That what I call sovereignty.

Now, do you get it Omar?

Phil Peters said...

Mr. Cuellar, I think you get all your exercise leaping to conclusions.

To take one example, the sero-sum supposition is his, definitely not mine. Take a minute to read his writings about ethanol and you'll see.

I agree that Cuba has plenty of agricultural land, especially since the sugar downsizing.

Juan Cuellar said...

Leaping Mr. Peters? You wrotr:

"That is based, one guesses, on the zero-sum supposition"

Whose guesses Phil? You are the guesser. That is not a leap. Your disassociation from it is.