Cuba: Gradual Process Versus Voluntarism, a Matter of Methodology

As the results of their proposals have been the same, perhaps it makes no sense to discuss how they carried them out.

Fidel and Raúl Castro during the last session of the 6th Congress of the Communist Party / Cubadebate

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 26 April 2024 — Any attempt to theorize about methodological issues in the way of governing is usually dismissed when the results are the same. That is one of the reasons why the differences in method to exercise power between Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl are barely mentioned.

If I had to define Fidel’s method, I would reduce it to a single sentence: “We will go forward no matter the cost.”

Raul’s contribution is evidenced in his attempt to achieve “a sustainable (and prosperous) socialism” and his insistence on advancing “sin prisa, pero sin pausa” — without haste, but without pause.

Four years ago Raúl met with a large group of leaders from all political and governmental levels, and he warned them that waste and improvisation had to be eliminated and that they had to “have their feet and ears glued to the ground.”

When in April 2018 Miguel Díaz-Canel assumed the position of president of the Council of State by appointment, Raúl Castro assured that this was part of a process of “gradual and orderly transfer.”

While it can be said that everything that happened in Cuba from 1959 to 2006 (especially the disasters) was the result of Fidel Castro’s indisputable voluntarism (everyone makes his own to-do list), it can also be said that the poor result of the reforms promoted by Raúl Castro from 2008 to the present is largely due to the slowness and lack of depth of their application.

As the results have been the same (I have my own list), it makes no sense to discuss the methodology.

But I make this observation:

If Fidel Castro had applied the nationalization of foreign companies in a gradual and orderly way, and his Revolutionary Offensive of 1968 would not have been decreed with the stroke of a pen but with his feet and ears on the ground…

If Raúl Castro, a chainsaw ready for action, had put an end to the inefficient socialist state enterprise and put the country’s economy into private hands, opening the doors to foreign investment…

The methdology wouldn’t have mattered.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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