14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, 22 April 2016 – As the journalist Regina Coyula warned, in order to understand what the press in Cuba is saying you have to know “Granmática” (the language of the newspaper Granma) and, even though the note on the first page of the official organ of the Communist Party appears signed by the Minister of Finance and Prices, one has to have read a lot of official editorials, listened to enough speeches by Señor Machado Ventura and dedicated several days to studying what they say on the Roundtable TV program, to assimilate a single paragraph of a dissertation on the economy in its purest form.
The note says, “The final solution to this complex reality will be achieved with increased productivity and efficiency in the national economy,” but a few lines affirm that it has been “the political will of the Leadership of the Party and the Government (…) as well as the reduction in food prices in the world market” that have led to the adoption of “a set of measures aimed at gradually increasing the purchasing power of the Cuban peso in the short term.”
Every economic measure that has been taken from political will, be it to raise or lower wages, raise or lower prices, will be unsustainable if there is no increase in productivity. On the other hand, any increase in the purchasing power of the Cuban peso, subject to the fickleness of prices in the world market, will inevitably be impermanent unless we can count on an efficient economy.
So the official note is clear while confusing. Clear because it warns that there shouldn’t be many illusions that these price decreases will be lasting, because they are dependent on the capricious world market; confusing because it doesn’t explain the lack of political will to make the national economy truly efficient and productive.
Every time that there is a proposal from the heights of power to control prices, or when it is affirmed that there will never be shock therapies, or that no one will be abandoned, or that the accumulation of property and wealth will not be allowed, what is really being proclaimed is the populist and voluntarist posture that aims to put political decisions ahead of economic emergencies.
Now, the good and paternalistic State just realized that the wages aren’t enough to live on, something they apparently ignored all the times they mercilessly sent prices through the roof and perverted the concept of the “acquisitive power of the population” through dark and twisted paths of corruption, the diversion of resources and the absolute lack of belonging that workers have in relation to their workplaces.
Those who criticize the price reduction measure as insufficient will be labeled as ungrateful; those who suggest that it would have been better to raise wages will be considered irresponsible. Any proposal to remove the straitjacket from private entrepreneurs could be considered as a frontal attack on the socialist model of production, the state enterprise and certainly the Nation.