Thursday, July 26, 2007

Raul: "structural" changes needed

First reports from Raul Castro’s speech in Camaguey: EFE reports that he said “structural” changes are needed, and more foreign investment has to be encouraged. BBC notes his “olive branch” reference to the United States.

More later.


leftside said...

I wouldn't read too much into these Western headlines. I have not read a transcript of the speech yet, but Granma's reporting gives a much different feel. Their headline is "Raul Castro Calls for Hard Work, More Production, Greater Efficiency."

The call for foreign investment came with quite a few caveats and the structural changes seemed to be aimed primarily at the agricultural sector. Other specifics like more milk, import substitution and higher paychecks are hardly (counter)revolutionary. There will be no budging on items that could potentially (further) open up societal divisions or step back from socialism.

That being said, there does seem to be a growing committment to pragmatism. Raul said “We need to
be creative and critical in what we do; avoiding being schematic and
thinking everything we do is perfect and doesn’t merit revision.”

leftside said...

Something interesting in a NYTimes piece from today:

"He (Raul) has told the police to let unofficial taxicabs operate without interference."

I can see more sublte things like this going forward. Basically toleration of work "on the left" as long as no one gets too big and greedy...

Anonymous said...

Phil, the branch is "olive green"..... nothing to trust!
(Hitler and Stalin exchanged olive branches every so often, too)

Anonymous said...

"“This is such a lovely place to work. Packs of sweating and desperate Republican Congressmen coming in and out, trying to talk to Bush and get him to at least make some kind of promise (of course never to be kept) about withdrawing or at least to stop snarling at people. Pointless. Bush is constantly in a rage here and yesterday, I had to deliver something to the West Wing. After I had dropped of my files and was heading back to my office, someone opened a door and I could hear, very clearly, Our Beloved President screaming with rage. He said, and I quote: “Goddamit! I said to quit bugging me about Iraq! I will never withdraw a single man from there and when I leave here for good, my successor can handle it.”"I also don't care about my poll numbers as long as Cuban Americans support me by 90%".

My associates say he has been shouting at everyone here about this and it is interesting to watch him. His eyes squinch shut, his mouth turns down and he shakes all over. And his face gets white as flour and all kinds of blotches can be seen on it. Not a nice sight and rather frightening considering who he is (and who he thinks he is) and what he can do, even with his nuts chopped off. The Democrats are pussy-futting around, enraging the electorate who elected them to stop the crazy Bush from further manic bloodshed. Recruitment has tanked, the Surge is a total flop, Republicans are hysterical with fear and about 30% of the staff has quit the Monkey Palace with more desertions planned. I still think the only thing to do is to impeach both Bush and Cheney but the Democrats are too frightened and too busy looking for more lobbyist money to be worth more than a pinch of sour owl shit.”"

Anonymous said...


When you set out for distant Ithaca,
fervently wish your journey may be long, —
full of adventures and with much to learn.
Of the Laestrygones and the Cyclopes,
of the angry god Poseidon, have no fear:
these you shall not encounter, if your thought
remains at all times lofty, — if select
emotion touches you in body and spirit.
Not the Laestrygones, not the Cyclopes,
nor yet the fierce Poseidon, shall you meet,
unless you carry them within your soul, —
unless your soul should raise them to confront you.

Fervently wish your journey may be long.
May they be numerous — the summer mornings
when, pleased and joyous, you will be anchoring
in harbours you have never seen before.
Stay at the populous Phoenician marts,
and make provision of good merchandise;
coral and mother of pearl; and ebony
and amber; and voluptuous perfumes
of every kind, in lavish quantity.
Sojourn in many a city of the Nile,
and from the learned learn and learn amain.

At every stage bear Ithaca in mind.
The arrival there is your appointed lot.
But hurry not the voyage in the least:
’twere better if you travelled many years
and reached your island home in your old age,
being rich in riches gathered on the way,
and not expecting more from Ithaca.

Ithaca gave you the delightful voyage:
without her you would never have set out:
and she has nothing else to give you now.

And though you should find her wanting, Ithaca
will not surprise you; for you will arrive
wise and experienced, having long since perceived
the unapparent sense in Ithacas.

Translated by John Cavafy

The Wizard said...

Very Nice.