In the past year it has exposed the dysfunction in many Cuban state enterprises and serious problems in delivery of dental care. Yesterday’s paper contained an opinion piece that criticized the “overwhelming unanimity” in Cuba’s National Assembly, citing the fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes” to chide the legislature for the scarcity of debates where opposing views are voiced.
It also contained a long article on Cuba’s unemployment figures that showed what a stroll through just about any Cuban neighborhood reveals: that many more youths are unemployed than official figures admit, or as the article put it, “the figures are never a reflection of reality.” The article (in English, here) explained how undercounting occurs; it revealed that in the province of Granma, social workers counted about 18 times more unemployed than official figures show; and it pointed out that programs to bring youths and others into the workforce are not always successful because in many cases the economy is not generating enough new jobs, or the right kind of jobs, to give opportunities to graduates. In light of this article, it will be interesting to see how government ministers treat the employment issue when they give their annual accounting to the National Assembly next month.
It will be even more interesting to see if Cuban economic policy confronts this problem.
The Economist, for example, reports that
ment could opt for an opening that would affect Cubans more directly, by easing the restrictions on their own economic initiative. The agriculture sector is a prime candidate, frequently mentioned in the discussion of the recent economic debate.
Another job-generating possibility involves
[Photo from Palabra Nueva]