An Original Congress / Fernando Dámaso

In a few days, the much postponed Sixth Party Congress will be held, with its original innovation: it will only address the economic issue. It is true that this is one of the most tricky, but there are other outstanding issues, which will be deferred and held over time. Putting a straitjacket on the Congress is not healthy. Moreover, in practice, what they are going to analyze (the guidelines) have already been examined and there is very little new that they are going to bring. This gives a quite formal character to it, like the completion of something that shouldn’t be further postponed.

Economic problems are not of interest only to party members and their delegates to the congress, nor only to the economic experts of the party and government. If you try to cook the possible solutions with the same recipes and chefs who have done so for the past five conferences without actual results, there very little that can be expected to come of it.

If the will exists to confront and resolve the accumulated economic problems, there must be real participation of all parties, and a hearing of and taking into account the views and possible solutions of different specialists, both of party and government as well as those outside. This is a problem that affects us all, and all of us, without political or ideological exclusion, must participate. In practice this has not happened. The entrenchment of the impregnable fortress had proved its failure.

To solve economic problems is to move through major changes in the current model. Including the authorization of small and medium private enterprises and cooperatives; authorizing the investment of capital, first of all of Cubans, both inside and out of the country, and of foreign capital in agriculture, the substitution of land ownership for land in usufruct, with amortization in fair conditions and regulations that do not allow hoarding. These would be real actions, from which one would expect short-term results.

To ensure these changes will require relevant legislation, clearly establishing the rights and duties of each, as well as their implementation, and an intelligent tax system to serve as a stimulator and regulator of production and services, not a plastic bag to prevent breathing and stifle investment and enterprise. It is not advisable to continue shooting in the dark and trying to supplant the laws of economics with political and ideological voluntarism.

April 14 2011