Private Initiative / Fernando Dámaso

After being closed for too many years, the door to self-employment has opened and you can see the activity on the streets of our towns and cities. The Cuban has always been an enterprising person with initiative. These aren’t unique qualities as many other people also have them. Because of this, however, Cubans were able to take a country devastated by the wars of independence into a republic and a prosperous nation in the historically short space of 56 years, despite political tensions, violent clashes, a banking crash and two dictatorships, placing it in the top ranks globally with regards to health, education, social and labor security, culture, sports, urban development, transport and agricultural and industrial production, which can be easily proven by browsing historic documents and letters.

Starting from the early sixties, private initiative was suppressed by absurd laws, decrees and regulations, and everything began to be considered and decided at the highest level of government, implanting the inertia and stagnation which brought with it, as a consequence, a profound and accelerated process of involution, partially mitigated for over thirty years by the millions in subsidies received from the extinct Soviet Union and other socialist nations, but in the end leading to the current crisis and misery, where agriculture and industry have disappeared, more than 80% of what is consumed is imported, there no longer being producers of sugar, coffee, and other items.

The other side of the coin is the city of Miami and the Florida peninsula where, before 1959, it was mainly a resort of bored elderly, and otherwise an area of swamps and crocodiles, but today, thanks mainly to the initiative and entrepreneurial spirit of Cuban immigrants, it has become a crowded modern city, one of the richest in the United States.

The initiative and entrepreneurial character came to us from our roots, of those immigrants who came as employees of businesses and farmers and, in a few years, working with determination, themselves became owners of the same, making Cuban families.

It would be healthy if the open door was opened to all, and if private initiative and the entrepreneurial character of our citizens was not restrained. This would, despite the many limitations that still exist, breathe a little life into the Cuban reality and we could begin to emerge from the abyss in which we find ourselves.

March 2 2011