CUBA: HOW RADICAL WILL THE CHANGES BE?

  • by Leonardo Padura
  • Thursday, April 21, 2011
  • Inter Press Service

Everyone expected the proposal of a broad overhaul of the obviously exhausted Cuban economic model. The new plan will try various alternatives like foreign investment, work, taxation, and private production, the decentralisation of the government, the elimination of bureaucratic red tape, and cuts in government subsidies. All of these measures will introduce the element of market competition desperately needed in a country weakened by an interminable economic crisis, rock bottom production, and a society deformed by the way goods and services are provided.

Without profound changes in this mechanism of controlling thought, and without allowing freedom of expression, it will be difficult to put in place a real culture that supports not only the need to "change everything that must be changed", because the party agreements and decisions just made will not change from one day to the next the tendency to accuse (among those from higher up) and the habit of fear (in those below). Over many years, too many accusations and too much fear has built up in the lives and consciences of Cubans for this change to take place overnight, even though it is clear that in Cuba today the level of permissiveness and heterodoxy are light years ahead of those thirty or forty years ago, when any divergent opinion was condemned as "an ideological problem" or seen as "strengthening the enemy" -even when it was a clear and obvious statement of the truth.

(*) Leonardo Padura Fuentes is a Cuban writer and journalist whose novels have been translated into more than fifteen languages. His most recent work is The Man Who Loved Dogs, featuring Leon Trotsky and his assassin Ramon Mercader as central characters.

// NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN CANADA, CZECH REPUBLIC, IRELAND, POLAND, AND THE UNITED STATES //

© Inter Press Service (2011) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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