- These measures will increase public welfare – for those Cubans who can participate in them.
- Over time, these measures will erode the myth that no Cubans have substantial disposable hard currency income. For example, many Cubans already have cell phones, and have managed to pay ETECSA’s high rates. Fewer can afford hotel stays, unless hotels lower their rates for Cubans, a step that could certainly be taken, profitably, in the July-August low season.
- They represent progress on human rights, although the degree is debatable, and it’s also debatable to what degree hotels and phones and computers are the priority of the average Cuban. But if “tourism apartheid” has been a perennial (and legitimate) element of the human rights indictment against the Cuban government, its elimination has to be counted as progress. In this Herald article, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen nonetheless calls the measure “pathetic.” What will be the reaction if
eliminates the tarjeta blanca, the requirement to receive an exit permit to emigrate or to travel abroad? Cuba
- These measures – with the exception of the changed customs regulations – cost the government nothing, and are likely to increase revenues to government enterprises.
- The measures allow Cubans to make broader use of the purchasing power they have, but they do nothing to increase purchasing power by generating new jobs or higher income. Hopefully, something is being cooked up on that score that extends beyond the agriculture sector, where some initial moves are under way.
- The hotel, DVD, cell phone, and computer measures will increase communication, the flow of information, contact with foreigners, and demand for connection to the Internet. In the past, factors such as these have stopped good ideas dead in their tracks.
- Another difference from the past: Fidel’s philosophy in these matters seemed to be that if everyone could not afford it, then no one would be allowed to have it. That hyper-egalitarian thinking has gone out the window.