The Future, Bring it On! / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 5 November 2016 — A feature of the Cuban authorities, since taking power in January 1959, has been wasting time planning for the distant future rather than focusing on solving the present and the near future. Perhaps it is because, from the outset, they decided to rule forever.

These plans, at first, focused on specific services or productions: solving the housing problem, meeting the demand for rice (draining the Zapata Swamp), producing peanut oil (Valley of Viñales), reducing imports of industrial products , finding and extracting oil, raising sugar production (the Ten Million Ton Harvest), the dairy plan, the livestock plan and others. Most, as is known, ended in dismal failures.

With the incorportation into the “socialist camp” appeared the famous “Five Year Plans,” where everything was planned year by year, and they even arrived at the famous “Strategy 2000,” in the late seventies, which was to be a set of twenty-year plans, divided into five-year periods.

At that time there was no talk of the blockade (embargo), other than as a reason for mockery (“a sieve”  the currently nonagenarian leader said once) because the Soviets were responsible for supporting the country with huge economic and other aid.

For the breaches and failures, which were a constant, hurricanes, heavy rains, droughts and other natural phenomena, the irresponsibility and inability of the authorities were never blamed. Occasionally appearing as causes, real or fictitious, were epidemics and plagues, which were charged to the near-at-hand “imperialist enemy”

With the disappearance of the “socialist camp,” the “Strategy 2000” and the five-year plans collapsed, the so-called “Special Period” was established and the hand of the blockade (embargo) began to be ascribed full responsibility for all the misfortunes, an attitude that still remains, despite the improvement of relations between Cuba and the United States.

As a result of the 7th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, among other theoretical issues, the Cuban authorities once again turned their backs on the problems of the present (the absolute housing shortage, widespread lack of productivity, roads in poor condition, poor services of all kinds, wages of misery, layoffs of workers in the state sector, social indiscipline, rampant corruption, theft, street violence, etc.), and they spend their time, and many of their political and economic “cadres”, planning how Cuba will be in 2030.

In addition to trying to force new generations to execute their wishes after they physically disappear, they opt to continue bamboozling everyone with the old and failed formula of a “bright socialist future,” a future that, in fifty-eight years of mismanagement, inefficiency and voluntarism they have never been able to realize, and one that is ever more distant and unattainable.