Cuba Needs Facts, Not "Innovative Thinking" From Above

Steps, taken with firmness and political guarantees, are needed to optimistically begin the colossal task of rebuilding the nation. (M. Maynor)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 1 June 2020 — Just three years after Parliament debated the “guidelines,” the President of the Republic has called on the Government to engage in “a deep exercise in innovative thinking” to face the crisis created by the pandemic and to “lead to a firmer, safer and faster implementation of everything provided in the Conceptualization of the Economic and Social Model.”

That both pieces of news were published on June 1 in the party’s official organ, 36 months apart, qualifies as a fluke. What does not seem accidental, but rather contradictory, is that everything anticipated that had not been able to move forward with firmness, security and speed can now be implemented thanks to the crisis.

Miguel Díaz-Canel clarified, as a warning to the pessimists, that the exercise of thought to which he was summoning was not “more of the same” and that it was necessary to “question and review everything” because only from that questioning would it be made clear what has been going well, and what must be maintained and what must be improved.

The pretension declared as the objective of this call to ’thinking’ is to reach the productive transformation that the country needs, as announced. Something that must guarantee “processes with more efficiency, productivity, utility and income, the satisfaction of internal demands, export possibilities” and that, in addition, must promote well-being, development and prosperity.

Evoking, without directly citing them, the sharpest arguments put forward by Fidel Castro to introduce the measures of the Special Period, Díaz-Canel indicated that the economic results obtained will support “the conquests of the Revolution and the work of social justice that it has carried out.”

For the umpteenth time, the President repeated that it was necessary to “remove obstacles” and finalize issues already raised, but without suggesting that the socialist system should be replaced by another that works but “changing a group of ways of operating, acting and directing, on the whole economy.”

Perhaps this is the way of thinking that must undergo a deeper modification, because if it were true that everything will be questioned, it will be necessary to get to the essential and not stay in the peripheral. After 60 years of constant rectifications in the ways of operating, acting and directing, in order to build socialism, it is about time that it is recognized that we must radically change course.

If economic actors are to succeed in food production, then deep self-criticism from the state is necessary, which has created absurd prohibitions and regulations. It is useless to recognize that “we have institutions that cannot continue to function as before” without mentioning them by name and without describing their shortcomings.

If all that comes out of this is suppressing that useless entity called Acopio and letting the farmers market their production without restrictions, progress will have been made, but not enough.

If it is decided that the military entities that monopolize sectors of the economy are accountable for their performance, one step, but only one step, will have been taken.

If the existence of small and medium-sized companies is finally accepted, for the SMEs that have waited so long, with the right to export and import under market rules and without ending up being vampirized by abusive taxes, it will open up possibilities for development of the internal economy, but create enormous imbalances unacceptable for institutionalized political precepts.

If the legislation on foreign investment is erased with the stroke of a pen and a legal space is opened so that everyone who can and should invest in a sector does so, the country will be given an opportunity to recover its material base to have new jobs and niche markets, but that will not be enough either.

All the aforementioned should be done in unison but, first of all, the most important step should be taken: to encourage everyone who has something to say to participate in this call for thought that the president has proposed and to do so without fear of consequences.

With this one step, taken with firmness and political guarantees, we could optimistically begin the colossal task of rebuilding the nation.


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