Diaz-Canel Begins a National Tour to Defend the Measures that Terrify Cubans

Díaz-Canel visited a high school, a day-care center, an agro-sugar company and a food processing center in Bahía Honda. (Cubadebate)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 12 A little more than 10 kilometers from the place from which thousands of Cubans flee the Island in boats and precarious vessels and where 14 months ago seven rafters died after being attacked by the Border Guard Troops, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel began this Thursday by failing to tell the truth in his  first tour of the Island  in 2024. The president stated in Bahía Honda, Artemisa, that the government measures to “invigorate the economy” “have been announced and none have been applied.”

The president thus ignored the fact that on January 1 some of them came into force, the (yes, expected) salary increases for Education and Health personnel, and the tax increases, which put an end to tax exemptions on imports of consumer products by private companies, although they are maintained for raw materials.

Díaz-Canel may claim that he was referring to the increases in the price of supplies and some basic services – electricity, gas, transportation and fuels – which are the ones that have most agitated the population, but in that case he was not right either. “Nothing has changed. The other thing is that each measure will be applied when the conditions are created,” he specified.

Unless the Government reverses its announcements, these increases already have a designated schedule to go into effect

Unless the Government reverses its announcements, these increases already have a designted schedule to go into effect. On February 1, the new fuel prices come into force, which represent increases of around 500%, while increases in the prices of electricity, gas and transport  will do so from March 1, as reported on television by the ministers of each area, who allegedly spoke to clarify doubts for the population.

But their boss’s words call into question whether the desired clarity has been achieved. “There is a lot of talk with the economic measures, and I know that this is creating a lot of uncertainty; and above all the counterrevolution is greatly detracting from the measures,” he added, while he was the one who sowed doubt about something that seemed clear to date.

“Each measure, even those that have to do with increases in rates or prices, will have a treatment for the people who could be most affected,” he explained while asking the population to have “confidence in the way the Government is going to take the measures, because there is a lot of counterrevolution building and distorting the content.” Díaz-Canel stated, however, that the measures are harsh but they must be applied “because if not, we will not put the economy in order.”

The president once again trod ground that raises countless issues by saying that “the vulnerable will always be taken into account,” a message that has been insisted on from the first moment, without knowing what criteria will determine if a citizen is in that category, how a record will be maintained, whether it will be stratified or how compliance with standards will be verified in a population accustomed to living on the black market and fleeing the radar of the authorities.

Díaz-Canel focused on being specific only about those elements where the plans are already in place, such as the increase in electricity prices, which will affect “few people,” by specifically targeting those who consume the most — more than 500 kWh in a month — 6% of the population

“All measures – he insisted – will have differentiated treatment for the vulnerable. And what we ask of you is that you be very attentive to what is explained.”

On his journey through Bahía Honda, the leader visited a high school, a ‘children’s house’ — a kind of daycare center but one where the children must go home for lunch — an agro-sugar company and a food processing center while, according to the official press, “the people were waiting in the street, with expressions of support and firmness.”

“You have to work. You have to work and you have to produce, and you have to create wealth and distribute it as equitably as possible,” said the president, for whom “that is social justice and that is socialism”

After the usually calculated mass events, Díaz-Canel met with the territory’s authorities, to whom he insisted on the importance of the harvest and food production in a province that exports more than any other.

Roberto Morales Ojeda, a member of the Political Bureau and Secretary of Organization of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, who accompanied the leader, called attention to the need to “rectify a group of deviations related to indiscipline and phenomena that have nothing to do with what what is wanted for a better society” and thus the first visit was completed, with a dose of ‘voluntarism’ — that is relying on voluntary action for implementation.

“This year we have to do better. But we have to do better by working hard ourselves. We must work. You have to work and you have to produce, and you have to create wealth and distribute it as equitably as possible,” said the president, for whom “that is social justice and that is socialism.”

“In this country there is enough dignity, talent and will,” he added, and went back to the Palace of the Revolution.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.