Cuba and the Price of the Alliance with Foreign Capital

April 1, 2014 | Print Print |

Pedro Campos

Hard times. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — The new foreign investment law – which seals the alliance between Cuba’s bureaucratic apparatus and foreign Capital – has been approved on the island. The regulations that are to make this new legislation viable have not yet been announced.

Previous articles dealing with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the “socialist bloc” and its failed form of “State socialism” clearly demonstrated that there were two ways of overcoming the crisis facing Cuba’s revolutionary process.

One by moving forward towards a new form of association between the government, people and workers, in order to share economic and political power and arrive at socialist forms of self-management, or two, by returning to private enterprise capitalism and an alliance between the State bureaucracy and capital.

These conclusions can be arrived at easily. The economic crisis that is the natural outcome of State monopoly capitalism can only be overcome in these two ways: with the participation of the people and workers or with the aid of capital. Both alternatives have a price: sharing power and losing it to the chosen ally in the long term. Bureaucracies founded on “socialist” State centralization have always opted for the second option.

It is, in essence, what happened in the former Soviet Union and “socialist bloc”; it is what happened in China and what’s been happening in Cuba recently. This decision is ratified by the anti-constitutional law that authorizes wage exploitation by private business owners and, particularly, by the new foreign investment law.

Only a basic outline of the new law has been made public, even though the legislation has already been “approved” by the Cuban parliament, made up of deputies advanced by the government and Party, without any previous debate with the people and workers, without having subjected the bill to a referendum, despite the fact that it affects all Cubans. Its strategic results are of historical significance and it implies a new course for the country’s economy as well as modifies essential aspects of the current Constitution.

The law is an expression of the alliance between State and international capitalism sought by the Cuban leadership, for the purposes of overcoming the severe crisis brought upon Cuba’s economy through the joint exploitation of Cuban wage laborers.

No one can deny the need for a partnership with foreign capital – rejected again and again by the very government that now welcomes it – in today’s global economy.

Corner cafe. Photo: Juan Suarez

However, using it to the befit of a centralized and bureaucratized economy is one thing and placing it at the service of a broadly socialized economy where small and mid-sized private and associated capital enterprises, free individual labor and cooperatives predominate is quite another.

Not one of the three major revolutions of the 20th century, the Soviet, Chinese or Cuban revolution, led to any form of Marxist, cooperative, self-management socialism. The “socialism” these revolutions sought to build were never anything other than a form of State monopoly capitalism, where the State, owner of all the means of production, continued to exploit salaried workers and to degrade and reject free individual and collective labor.

Let us consider some of the historical developments shared by these three revolutionary processes that produced the same results:

1- In none of these cases did the social revolution stem from the economic base of society, as has been the case within modern capitalist societies in the Americas, Europe and Asia. That is to say, the base did not directly participate in transforming the salaried labor relations that characterize capitalism into different forms of free and self-managed labor, which would predominate in and characterize socialism.

2- The three revolutions began as violent armed insurrections and continued to exercise violence once in power as a means of maintaining the control of their respective Communist Parties, as per the “Marxist-Leninist” doctrine turned into dogma by Stalinism.

3- The three governments which emerged from these revolutions dismissed democracy and its elective mechanisms as “bourgeois”, contrary to Engel’s teachings on the Paris Commune and Marx’s reiterated defense of the democratic republic.

4- In the course of these three historic events, land and properties were taken by force from the defeated capitalists, expropriated in the name of the nascent “socialist State”, which claimed to represent the interests of the people and workers. In all cases, the result of this was a violent clash between classes which led to civil war and foreign intervention. During these three processes, peasants were considered a counterrevolutionary, petit-bourgeois class pitted against the urban proletariat. There was talk of an “alliance of workers and peasants,” when, in truth, peasants were forced in different ways (War Communism in the Soviet Union, communes in China and the State as the only food purchaser in Cuba) to hand over their products at low prices in order to feed workers in cities. The three revolutions practiced the forced collectivization of the peasantry.

Line to buy potatoes. Photo: Juan Suarez

5- The three countries conceived of the market as a capitalist mechanism and sought to replace it with centralized planning that would control the economy through regulation and State monopolies. The creative initiative of individuals and their social collectives was thus replaced with instructions handed down from the bureaucratic apparatus.

6- All three revolutions sought to “build socialism” on the basis of the creation of a New Man endowed with a new consciousness that would define the future.

7- In the Soviet Union, China and Cuba, the centralization of property, appropriation and all important decisions led to the creation of a new class: the political and military bureaucracy, a caste that appointed itself the authentic and sole representative of the revolution. This resulted in the emergence of a “bureau-bourgeoisie” which continued to exploit workers through wage labor, as the capitalists did, with without paying workers the true value of the exploitation of their use-value (because, according to “Marxism-Leninism”, no classes, exploitation, laws of value or surplus value would exist under socialism).

8- All of these dogmatic and misguided conceptions, far removed from true Marxist dialectics, ended up ruining these countries’ economies, the vast wealth of resources they had and the energies of their respective peoples.

9- In all three cases, when Left democratic forces demanded a change of course and proposed and sought democratic and socialist reforms as a means of confronting the crisis, governments used different forms of repression against these revolutionaries and the very rank and file of their Parties.

Stalin’s barbarous acts and murders are well known. Politburo conservatives opposed Khrushchev’s reforms of the 1960s and ultimately deposed him. Two decades later, conservatives again staged a coup against Gorbachev and the renewal of Perestroika (the results of which are well known).

Cuban art. Photo: Juan Suarez

The repression of revolutionary forces by the Chinese Communist Party reached its most brutal expression with the Tiananmen Square slaughter, which did away with attempts at democratization within the Party and consolidated the pro-capitalist course of Den Siao Ping’s reforms.

In Cuba, the revolutionary leadership has been carrying out political purges aimed at left-leaning currents practically since the beginning. Suffice it to recall the persecution of anarchist and Trotskyist groups during the first years of the revolution, the sectarian foundation of the Politburo and Central Committee in 1965, the so-called “Micro-Faction” incident in 1968, the Gray Quinquennium (70-75), the closing down of the social sciences journal Pensamiento Critico (“Critical Thought”) and the Americas Study Center (CEA).

The collapse of the Soviet Union and socialist bloc brought about a crisis within the bureaucracy and the contradictions that had existed within the Party, particularly those stemming from currents that supported the democratization of politics and the socialization of the economy, began to flourish as early as the 4th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, held in 1991.

What followed, however, was a deep purge aimed at sweeping away such currents, where Cuban Counter-Intelligence played a central role (dismissing, deposing, expelling or retiring all Party, Armed Forces or Ministry of the Interior officials who showed “signs” of sympathizing with Perestroika or have advanced proposals of a similar nature.

10- Left-leaning currents having been eliminated, neutralized or quite simply crushed during the three periods, the road was paved for the respective bureaucracies to enter into alliances with international capital, as a means of remaining in power and continuing to enjoy its benefits. Their justification has always been the economic crisis, which they attribute to factors external to the absurd economic model imposed by these same bureaucracies in the name of socialism.

In Cuba, this moment came with the arrival of Raul Castro and his trusted officials, who imposed the “updating” of the country’s economic model on the Party and people of Cuba, inspired by the pragmatic conceptions of Chinese “communists.” The way was clearly defined: they chose an alliance with capital, instead of a coalition with the people and workers.

Today, there are no longer any doubts about what’s happening and, as was the case in Russia and China, in Cuba, to paraphrase Preobrazhenski, the unnatural alliance between the socialist State and foreign capital will fail and will be replaced by the natural alliance between the latter and the bourgeoisie.

What Cuba’s political and military bureaucracy, the “unforeseen” class, blinded by the glint of international capital, fails to understand is that it will never be allowed to join the bourgeois club, and that, just like the Russian and Chinese Stalinists, it is destined to ostracism, to be absorbed, defeated and expelled from power by their new, powerful allies (who neither forget nor forgive).

The price of having chosen an alliance with international capital and not the workers and people will also have to be paid by Cuba’s bureaucracy at one point.
—–
pedrocampos313@yahoo.es


What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    An interesting analysis. Pedro continues, however, to be deluded into thinking that an alliance with the people and the workers would somehow be a viable option for the survival of the Castro regime. Cuba is badly undercapitalized. Socialism, at its philosophical best, does not answer Cuba’s need to find the capital to pay for infrastructure, transportation, housing and other costs that have gone un- or underfunded for 55 years. Only fresh capital can build homes and buy buses and repair water systems. This capital must come from foreign investors who are motivated by a profit potential. I heartily agree with Pedro that Socialism and foreign capital are ultimately incompatible and the seduction of foreign investors will ultimately corrupt the staunchest socialist military and political bureaucracy.

    • Terry Downey

      I would much rather it be America’s capital corrupting Cuba’s socialist military and political bureaucracy. If America remains complacient to sit on the fence, it will be China’s capital corrupting Cuba’s socialist military, but also enhancing and celebrating Cuba’s political bureaucracy. The Cuban government will stay in place, unchanged, for another 55 years as well.

      • Griffin

        You propose a false dichotomy: either China or the USA will own Cuba. There are other, better options.

        There are many foreign investors in Cuba, and China is not the largest. Canada, Spain, France the UK & Brazil all have larger stakes in Cuba. Maybe China will invest more in the coming years and maybe not. But they will not be alone.

        I would much rather the Cuban people achieve freedom from dictatorship and assert their independence through democratic elections. Then they can look after their own interests rather than hoping one band of foreign capitalists will be nicer than another, all the while the old Castro regime lives on to oppress another generation of Cubans.

        • Terry Downey

          “I would much rather the Cuban people achieve freedom from dictatorship and assert their independence through democratic elections. Then they can look after their own interests rather than hoping one band of foreign capitalists will be nicer than another, all the while the old Castro regime lives on to oppress another generation of Cubans.”

          Griffin,you have either completely missed my point…or you’ve chosen to ignore it. You continue to state the same old bla bla bla over and over and over again about democracy for Cuba. It’s nice that you have that noble assertion on your “wish list”, but what exactly are you proposing to help make that happen? What’s your
          transitional plan? What will help the Cuban government to consider substantial compromise? What will both entice and motivate the Cuban government to effect changes in their governing system? What will make your wish a reality? And please, don’t tell me that the ball is in their court. The embargo has done little. If anything, it’s done more to circle the wagons in Cuba and further entrench their system for it’s long-term survival. Obviously there is a real need for pro-active change on the part of America too. Your continual hollow assertions don’t do anyone any good. You propose no plan. There’s no substance. There’s no ideas that differ from the failed status quo of the embargo… nothing to stimulate a redirection of energies. No carrot on a stick. Griffin, you’re an intelligent person…but true intelligence is only measured by one’s ability to problem solve. Given that, I’ve yet to see you propose anything of true intelligence.

          • Bob Michaels

            Terry: I can describe the US’s transitional plan. It is currently in process and it is working well. The US government is allowing its citizens to send remittances in substantial amounts to Cuban residents to start private businesses. Look at all the paladars and many of the casa particulars. Look at the small private businesses starting up. A large part of these private businesses were financed by foreign remittances. These private businesses are then creating more private businesses. This is creating a class of Cubans that are simply ignoring the economic aspects of the government and becoming economically independent. These private businesses are starting at a pace that the government cannot realistically control so were forced to allow. No more waiting for the Cuban government to proactively implement changes, they are happening in spite of the government.

            These economic changes are slowly driving political change as the Cuban government realizes they must adapt to not become insignificant to its citizens.

          • Terry Downey

            I agree with you, Bob. Whole heartedly. I’m currently playing my part in that equation too. But Griffin mentioned democracy. I don’t see the Cuban government moving towards democracy without significant, respectful, and positive incentive provided by the American government. Instead of holding a gun to their heads, vis-à-vis, the economic embargo, I think it would be tantamount for the American government to dangle carrots…incentives…to gradually move them in the right direction. Some might argue…why should we have to do that? My answer is simple…if we don’t give the Cuban government clear, concise, and meaningful objectives to achieve a transition to democracy step by step…and significant positive rewards for achieving each rung in the ladder, then I’m worried that the Chinese will beat us to the punch.

            With their available capital to invest, China will lure the Cuban government into a false sense of security, as did the Soviets, to move the Cuban government in the wrong direction and make it impossible for America to promote democracy with any kind of credibility in the face of China’s support, both financially and idiologically. I feel it’s important for America to now privately and publically embrace the Cuban government, before the Chinese do, to impress upon them that their future and their best interests lie in a very close allegiance with America, American investment, and inevitably, American democracy too. The dismantling of the embargo has to come first of course in order for both sides to gain confidence and move things forward. Concessions could surely be granted by the Cuban government if the right carrots are dangled before them to effect a preliminary round of initial changes. This would help to confirm their intentions for further negociation and the complete normalization of relations. The US can drop the embargo. It should happen sooner rather than later. I feel there is a brief window of opportunity that should not be minimized or missed.

          • Griffin

            The problem I see with your argument is that CUba has always had somebody to provide subsidies and that is what has kept the Castor regime in power. First the USSR, then the European & Canadian tourism & mining deals, then Chavez & Maduro sending very cheap oil.

            The Castros have had a long line of carrots fed to them, and at no time has it motivated them to moderate or reform the dictatorship. You have presented no explanation of how or why the Castro regime would become more democratic if the US would only lift the embargo. Why would they do that? What is their motivation? The regime is in power to hold onto power. They know perfectly well that democracy will end their rule, so they will never, ever willingly move in that direction. Daily the regime demands the embargo be lifted. Would they do that if they thought it would end their power?

            You asked what course of action would I recommend. Here’s a positive suggestion: I would support a world-wide public campaign to boycott tourism to Cuba. Start a campaign to get Canadian & European citizens to refuse to travel to Cuba until the government starts respecting the human rights of the Cuban people and holds free and democratic elections. Model the campaign on the anti-apartheid boycott of South Africa. At the same time, the people of Western democratic nations should demand their governments stop supplying Cuba with foreign aid and lines of credit. The Castros are already getting a steady diet of carrots from Canada, Europe and the US. It’s time to show a bit of stick. That is the only thing the Castros will understand. The carrot will be offered again only when they grant the people of what the Castro’s promised long ago and then cynically forgot: free elections and a restoration of the 1940 Cuban constitution.

          • Terry Downey

            Griffin, I stand corrected regarding your level of intellegence. Your unwillingness to enter into serious dialogue regarding this subject is a true indicator of your mental capacity.

            You’re dismissed….now go run some laps.

          • Griffin

            You seem to think “enter into serious dialogue” means agreeing with your point of view. I have addressed every issue and question you have put forward and I have done so in a respectful and rational manner. I have presented reasonable arguments and provided historical evidence and links to verifiable sources.

            You have not addressed any of my points, instead you simply repeat your same points over and over saying, “the US must change, the US must change…”

            On several occasions you have insulted me, called me names and questioned my intelligence. Not that I care in the least what your opinion of me is.

            I will let other readers of HT decide who is willing to engage in serious dialogue and who is flinging insults.

          • dani

            I don’t object to the allowing of remittances for private businesses per se. But there are a number of aspects you need to consider. Not everyone has relatives in Florida. There is a danger of creating a privileged elite that will get successful without having earned it. As the vast majority of Cuban Americans are white and a section are from the old Batista elite and this may well cause racial and social tensions.
            Also you have got to realise that Cuba isn’t big enough to create an internal economy like Russia or China. Except for tourism there aren’t going to be many business opportunities within the internal economy. To succeed Cuba needs to get a trade surplus from their import/exports and this is where the embargo/blockade comes in as it increases the cost for imports and seriously limits the ability to export. It is fine to set up a business but if you can’t sell anything outside Cuba it isn’t going to work. So the effectiveness of the remittances of helping the economy is limited.

          • Griffin

            There already is a privileged elite in Cuba. It’s called the regime and their families. Private businesses will at least reward hard work and innovation, which the regime does not do.

            Very, very few of the old Batista era elite left. That’s an old Castro smear to tar every Cuban in Miami with the Batista brush.

            But you are correct about the lack of an internal market in Cuba. In time it will grow, but for now it is thoroughly dependent upon the cash brought in by tourists. That is why I suggest to anybody travelling to Cuba to stay at casas particular & eat at paladars. Skip the big tourist resorts, which are all owned by partnerships between foreign hotel operators and the FAR front companies. The more money flows to the Cuban people and not straight into the pockets of the regime elite, the better.

          • Griffin

            Hi Bob,

            I’m not sure if the path you describe will be enough to make real change, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. It does have a better chance of success at bringing real political change to Cuba than does Raul’s economic reforms and overtures to foreign capital investors. And it’s a better bet than simply lifting what little remains of the US embargo and hoping the regime changes it’s mind and becomes “nice” to the Cuban people.

          • dani

            This is an awesome response and so true. Now is the time to break the deadlock/stalemate.
            A possible solution that would be acceptable to both countries would be if the US agreed to drop the blockade/embargo and the other antagonistic and interfering policies if Cuba agrees to a referendum on their constitution within a given timeframe.
            I can only see four possible outcomes to such a declaration. One — Cuba refuses to hold a referendum and nothing changes except Cuba loses credibility. Secondly — Cubans vote to keep their current constitution (well if self-determination means anything then they have a right to do this). Thirdly – Cubans vote against the current constitution which will most likely lead to the government falling. Fourthly – Cuba comes up with a new constitution that is acceptable to the majority of Cubans.
            I can’t really see how anyone could object to such an approach if they are genuine in their motivations.

          • John Goodrich

            EXCUSE ME …
            But what right does the U.S. have to tell ANY country what form of societal institutions it will have ?
            The United States is waging an economic war on Cuba that is badly hurting al of Cuban society .
            Cuba is not waging a war on the U.S.
            But in your asinine way of thinking, Cuba must make compromises or deals with the devil to resolve that aggression ?
            That’s surrender to imperialism and that route has been roundly rejected by the 11,000,000 Cuban people for some 55 years now.
            I’m sure the U.S. State Department would love your idea.

          • dani

            I would love it if the US left Cuba in peace and unilaterally dropped the embargo/blockade. But it is unlikely to happen any time soon. I’m only saying Cuba should agree to have a referendum on their constitution with outside observers. That isn’t surrender and I would doubt if they would object to holding one. However, there are many things that need to be negotiated if there is going to be a resolution to this conflict. As long as self-determination is respected everything else will fall into place

          • Griffin

            A free and open referendum is a lovely idea, but you are missing one very crucial point:

            There is no way the regime will ever agree to anything that will bring an end to their absolute monopoly on power. Never. You can ask them as respectfully as you like, pretty please with sugar on top, but the answer will be the same as always: Sociolismo y Muerte!

            (or more of the latter and less & less of the former)

          • Terry Downey

            “That’s surrender to imperialism and that route has been roundly rejected by the 11,000,000 Cuban people for some 55 years now.”

            John, I can’t agree with you on this point. Until there is a free vote in Cuba, no one can say that 11,000,000 Cubans have rejected anything.

          • Griffin

            Hey, for once I agree 100% with you. The Cuban people deserve the right to self-determination, as expressed through a free and democratic vote.

          • Griffin

            What right do the Castro brothers have to tell the Cuban people what form of societal institutions they will have? Fidel promised free & democratic elections and a restoration of the 1940 Cuban constitution. He reneged on that promise when he banned all political parties but the Communist party and cancelled promised elections.

  • Griffin

    To turn Voltaire upside down: this is the worst of all possible worlds.

    The alliance between the Raulist State and foreign capital will lead inevitably to a new oligarchy dominating the political and economic life of Cuba. The Cuban people have been specifically excluded from participation in the new economic activity that is expected to flow from the investment of foreign capital, except as exploited low wage workers. The Cuban people are not allowed to contract directly with these foreign firms, but must sell themselves through the government labour brokers. Cubans are not allowed to form partnerships with foreigners, nor to receive foreign investment. All must flow through the government monopoly.

    After 55 years of so-called Revolution, Cuba has arrived at this pathetic condition and are now selling their enslaved populations to foreign capital.

    Well done, Fidel. Well done, Raul.

    • John Goodrich

      It’s not your daddy’s capitalism so you’re never going to be happy with these Cuban investments.
      As I read In Guillermo Martinez’s column in the Sun-Sentinel a few days ago ,
      Cuba will maintain a 51% ( CONTROLLING ) share of all such foreign enterprises and will place their trained workers in the jobs that arise from these enterprises.
      That’s a more socialist method than you’d prefer with the government of Cuba controlling working conditions rather than the wonderfully humane international capitalist hotels and restaurants who pay their workers slave wages .
      It is a socialist way for the necessary goods and services of a society to be distributed evenly , capitalist control of any enterprise ALWAYS guarantees an unfair distribution of the profits .
      In this case the rich investors get to keep 49% of the money made and the Cuban people -AS A WHOLE – enjoy the 51% of the profits that is their share and not just a few wealthy Cubans .
      Of course as a capitalist die-hard, sharing is completely unnatural and undesirable for you and your distaste for such sharing easily understood. .

  • N.J. Marti

    The fear of exploitation of workers by future foreign investment is overstated. The government has at it’s disposal the ability to pen regulations that protect workers rights. It can authorize private unions if it so chooses. So far what government has permitted as private enterprises are small private ventures. Hardly the stuff of corporate exploitation. There is no working model of an “individual social collective”. The Cuba government hardly has a choice on leveraging foreign investment. Building the wealth of the nation will give it more flexibility in how the population shares in the Islands GDP. That a few generals become oligarchs is hardly an issue if the overall welfare of the state is raised. What matters is your personal life not that some others have more wealth. Chasing equality purely for it’s own sake is the hobgoblin of little minds.

    • CUBAQUS

      Cuban workers are already exploited by the regime. I find this sudden concern of the author for the exploitation by foreign capitalists strange.
      Very few “foreign capitalists” truly exploit the Cuban people. It is the regime. often foreign employers paid “under the table” extras to Cuban workers and ended up being charged with “corruption” for doing so.

    • Griffin

      NJ Marti wrote, “It (the Cuban government) can authorize private unions if it so chooses.”

      The irony of that sentence cannot be overstated. Beginning in January 1960, the Revolution very forcefully acted to crush all independent unions and to bring Cuban workers to heal under the one big union, the CTC, which was placed under the control of the Communist Party. Since that time, independent unions have been outlawed and workers are denied the right to strike.

      Your suggestion that the government has at its disposal all the power it needs to protect Cuban workers from exploitation is contradicted by the historical fact that the government has for the past 54 years used that absolute power to control, repress and exploit the Cuban workers.

      The Cuban government could protect the Cuban worker, but they sure as hell have never done so in the past. It is absurd to expect they would do so now.

      NJ Marit also wrote, “So far what government has permitted as private enterprises are small private ventures. Hardly the stuff of corporate exploitation.”

      You are confusing two separate topics. The small private enterprises now permitted by the government as “self-employed” Cuban citizens, are not the subject of this new Foreign Investment Law. Self-employed Cubans are not allowed to contract with foreign investors nor to buy or sell directly with foreign firms. All dealings with foreign firms and investors must be carried out through the government owned state monopolies. It is precisely these partnerships between foreign investors and the Cuban state-owned monopolies who are exploiting the Cuban workers.

      For example, the foreign firm which operates a resort, in say Veradero, must hire all their staff through the government labour agency. Cuban workers are not allowed to contract directly with the resort managers. The foreign firm pays the Cuban government $400 per month for each worker assigned to their business. The Cuban worker however, receives only $20 per month. That represents a 95% cut on the payroll taken by the Cuban government. This exploitative practice is in violation of established International Labour Laws.

  • CUBAQUS

    Pedro: face facts: all so-called socialist states have followed the way of the communist Stalinist system: a ruling elite that dominates the people.
    With the exception of the Catalan anarchists cooperatives during the Spanish republic I have seen no examples of a workers democracy in action at all.
    It isn’t surprising that these anarchist coops were destroyed by the Spanish Stalinist communists in their Moscow ordered purges. Purges that by the way contributed to the fall of the republic by weakening the republican side.

    • John Goodrich

      I completely agree with your analysis as far as it goes.
      Cuba is Leninist in its cadre-led, top-down and therefore anti-socialist / anti-democratic economic and governmental systems.
      What also exists is the possibility that Cuba will come out of an end to the U.S. economic war on its economy and revolution with democratic reforms which hopefully would lead to the full implementation of the spirit of Poder Popular.
      Cuba society and institutions is being twisted and perverted by the successful effort to make life very hard for all Cubans and until this enormous downward pressure is relieved I feel it is both unfair and very pro-imperialist to OVERLY criticize things that no government could change short of surrendering to U.S. demands.
      Cuba is Leninist .
      Stalinism involves gulags, mass relocations, mass killings which Cuba does not do and which is the usual hyperbolic exaggeration that suits the purposes of counter-revolutionaries but which historians do not employ.

      • CUBAQUS

        We agree on what Cuba is.

        We disagree on why the hardship in Cuba exists: the effects of any trade sanctions have been more than compensated by Soviet and Venezuelan subsidies. What they can not compensate for the is the complete mismanagement of the economy by the Cuban elite.

        The regime is what “twisted and perverted” Cuban society and institutions. The sanctions did not create the repression in Cuba. The regime did. The agricultural disaster – as Raul himself admitted – can not be blamed on the sanctions. The US became Cuba’s 5th trading partner and largest food supplier by 2008 and any reductions since – as the regime itself admitted – are due to decisions of the regime and a lack of cash to pay – something the regime does not admit to as it spends lots on other “priorities”.To end sanctions two things basically need to happen: compensation – or restitution – of non-compensated expropriated assets and respect of human rights. Restitution with the requirement to re-invest would meet Cuba’s needs and respect of Human Rights would benefit all Cubans.

        Stalinism does indeed involve:

        – gulags: Cuba has had its UMAPS where even Fidel Castro admitted crimes against humanity happened. It also has a network of over 500 penal institutions from military style camps to closed units for sick people and young people.

        – mass relocation: unconstitutional Decree 217 expelled thousands of people from Havana. Millions fled the country.

        – mass killing: executions and deaths trying to flee the regime are estimated at up to 141,000. The Castro regime is listed on Genocide Watch’s list.

        Cuba is Stalinist. Even leading communists agree. See “Is Cuba Socialist”, by Paul Hampton of Workers’ Liberty.
        Leninism as such does not exist. The Leninist system became the Stalinist system.
        You should also face facts, John. There is no democratic form of communism. “Poder Popular” does not exist in Cuba and will never exist in Cuba as all communist systems – be they Leninist as you prefer to call Cuba, Stalinist as it really is or Maoist – end up being a dictatorships of the few over the masses. Communism defines itself as a dictatorship.
        Only social democracy is a true democratic form of socialism. That has abandoned the dictatorship of the workers by the defense of the workers.

  • http://thenonlatinaafricanfromcuba.blogspot.com/ MilagrosGV

    We shall see!