Socializing Cuba’s Large Services Companies

The Cuba I wish for (1)

By Repatriado

Abstract. Foto: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba has been suffering from State-monopoly capitalism for 60 years now, where the government runs companies via officials who are theoretically loyal, most of whom are Communist Party members and are often corrupt or nepotists.

This management isn’t transparent; not just the citizenry lacks access to state-run companies’ accounts but the same goes for the national press, despite the businesses supposedly being “public”.  

Cuba’s so-called “socialism” has been an appropriation of property and using all of the country’s resources, snatched from millions of hands to be concentrated in the few who have done (better yet, squandered) what they wanted to with all of a country’s financial resources. The results of this are clear to see.

In the Cuba I wish for, large services companies such as telecommunications, electricity or water, won’t be privatized, they will be socialized. This won’t limit their economic liberalization, it will support it, as the State will leave the financial controls of the system as society’s intermediary and society will run itself.

The privatization of large services companies has been a positive option in some countries, mainly those with a strong, stable democratic system that is upheld by a healthy economy, but in countries without this foundation, such as Cuba, too much privatization has led to further inequity.

Let’s take Cuba’s Telecommunications Company ETECSA as an example, I don’t believe I’m lying when I say that this company has the highest mobile phone and internet rates in the world, and the most old-fashioned service when compared to services other countries offer.

Pay phone. Photo: Juan Suarez

As a state monopoly (and therefore belonging to all Cubans hypothetically-speaking, we’d have to come to the conclusion that we are either masochists and we like to pay too much for a bad service, or it’s just not a public company, but a state company, which is like being a private company, almost a family-run business.

Many people advocate that the solution is to open up this market to other companies and create competition. I believe that another path is possible and I consider the take-over of these leviathan companies, which are poorly managed, inefficient and completely disconnected from civil control, to be an opportunity.

I reject the premise that having 4 or 5 companies in competition providing the same service will benefit customers is a verifiable fact. Four, five or ten private companies in every sector will easily come to an agreement to arrange prices, lay off workers, not invest enough or convert benefits into dividends.

Studies conducted by Richard T. Ely reveal that competition has made what were considered Natural Monopolies, referring to telecommunications, water or electricity services, cheaper. This can be proved, but were they made cheap enough? After a certain amount of time, are there any guarantees that companies haven’t set prices? Are regulatory bodies and politicians in the current system protecting customers still? In a system where benefit are converted into dividends, there are still ways for owners and politicians to form an alliance against masses who consume.

My proposal is that these companies become the property of everyone involved in their existence, from workers to clients. I’m not talking about handing out stock shares where the greatest purchasing power buys more and controls it, I’m talking about everyone being equally responsible. One user, one vote.

There’s no need to establish property, your right would come and go with being a customer or employee and we would all be responsible, albeit to a small extent, for keeping the company going. By using Information and Communication Technologies, the company’s accounts would be 100% public information and easily accessible so that matters relating to prices, large investments or expenses, debts, pay rises and the use of resources, are decided by these user-owners, democratically.

Living. Photo: Juan Suarez

The body of owners will be the ones to elect their administration, and these administrations will manage day-to-day tasks, under everybody’s scrutiny.

Within this system, the owners won’t receive dividends as they won’t exist, but they will have them to use as contributions towards public education and healthcare budgets or to the Social Bank, which I will explain in my next article.

Socialization entails responsibility. As user owners we will have to make democratic decisions which we currently leave to a small group of experts chosen by the only political party. These or other experts won’t disappear, they just won’t be handpicked by the government and will form part of a public dialogue and organized by technicians, managers and user owners, this is the key to its success.

Motivation to keep us involved would come from the widespread perception that we are receiving servcies and paying a company which is using its resources to best serve our needs.

I can’t see why we would need more than one large national company or a few regional ones to efficiently and fairly run basic services if we have this system, where we all benefit and where we are all responsible in the Cuba I wish for, which might resemble the Cuba you wish for.

41 thoughts on “Socializing Cuba’s Large Services Companies

  • I think you are correct is saying that ETECSA has the highest mobile telephone rates in the world. Yes, the charges per hour for those permitted access to the Internet (which is censored) are exorbitant ensuring that few Cubans can afford it.
    The much lower rates in other countries are a consequence of competition between private enterprise companies. One of the advantages of capitalist countries.
    ETECSA also has the advantage in Cuba of the 27% shareholding by RAFIN SA (Raul and Fidel Castro). One noteworthy factor is the use of Peugeot cars and service vans rather than junky Geelys. Not surprising that Raul was a welcome guest at the Elysee Palace in February 2016.
    As is usual in Cuba being communist, customers have to wait outside the air-conditioned offices in the heat, to be permitted access by “security” a few at a time.
    During more recent times, people gather outside sitting on the street to use WiFi. But, the last consideration by ETECSA reflecting that sloth of “socialismo” is concern for the paying customer.

    Reply
    • Jejejeje, RAFIN SA made me laugh, but why 27%? I am sure it is 100%

      Reply
      • The 27% repatriado was purchased from the Italians for $706 million US. RAFIN SA was formed for that purpose, the principals being Raul and Fidel Castro. (RA = Raul FI = Fidel). Apart from ETECSA, the morticians use Peugeots, no doubt because they need a dependable vehicle.

        Reply
        • I actually don´t know how is distributed right now the Shares of ETECSA, if it is 100% Cuban or if there is a percent belonging to a foreign company. In any case a foreign company working with Cuban government only has a percent of the profit and of the management, even if they have a contract signed, if the government, I mean Castro and company, decide to kick them off they do it and there is nothing the foreign company can do about it.

          There are countless examples of foreigner, companies and people, that invest large amount of money here and a day they found a communication saying something like “thank you, we owe you some amount of money, right now the country don´t have cash, go and take a number in the long line of people waiting to be paid, good bye”

          Any one owe nothing in Cuba, you are not a real owner if you always depend of other person will to keep what you think is yours, Castro’s possess Cuban law, Cuban army, Cuban police and Cuban only political party, so how can you have a property under those conditions?

          Reply
          • The only other shareholder is the State.

  • As an American who just visited Cuba in April, I had the preconceived notion that the economy was socialist, and that the society was egalitarian. I did not have a high regard for Fidel. After seeing your beautiful beleaguered country with my own eyes, I realize that my notions were far from the truth. Fidel ruined a thriving economy and created poverty and misery in the name of socialism. I didn’t see socialism. I saw repression, unjustified and unconsionable repression. He ruined industry and suppressed industriousness. He thwarted Nature itself by ruining agricultural and fishing. How absurd and sad that an island nation imports fish! How wrong that a fertile island imports most of its vegetables. How ridiculous and heartbreaking that Cubans are forbidden to travel and see the rest of the world. I left Cuba with my preconceived notions replaced by the sad knowledge of what an egomaniac did to his people. Fidel was wrong. Fidel was cruel.

    Reply
    • Hi, normally we all see those aspect of reality than confirm our own preconceived ideas, even we people can bend reality to adjust it to what we want to see. I am deeply glad you could change your point of view about Cuba and Fidel, and I am also glad you changed in the way I personally share. Thanks for caring about Cubans.

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    • I think there is much merit in your analysis following a short visit Jancie. If you had stayed longer you might have been even more critical.
      Just one correction. It is quite easy for Cubans to get a passport and since the white card system was abandoned, it has been relatively easy to leave. The problem that Cubans face is that capitalist democratic countries (I refer to the likes of the UK and Canada) are loath to even issue a TRV (Temporary Residents Visa) – to enable a visit. Cuban members of my own family have been refused TRVs to visit Canada on nine (9) occasions by the Canadian Embassy. I think that the problem has been exacerbated by Cuban sporting teams visiting other countries and members of teams defecting.
      If you seek further political knowledge, then just read my book – you’ll get it on the web. That is not a plug, but there are few other books about Cuban politics.

      Reply
    • My impression of Cuba improved after visiting the country. I was expecting to see a “Grapes of Wrath” scene of people starving in the street, most buildings crumbling to the ground, raw sewage in the street, diseased people dying under bridges, routinely seeing people dragged off by the police for no reason. I get the idea that Cuba is perhaps at or around the 25th percentile for livability. That means that a quarter to perhaps a fifth of the world is worse off than Cuba. That’s a sad thought; that there’s over a billion people on this planet worse off than the typical person in Cuba.

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      • So DW you obviously had not properly prepared yourself for your visit to Cuba which has over 500 years of history. Trinidad is now 504 years old for example. So, before returning, read a guide book – I suggest Lonely Planet, and if interested in the political aspects – Cuba Lifting the Veil. You may agree or disagree with what you read in either, but at least you will be more informed.
        Average earnings in Cuba are less than $1 per day.
        Cubans get jailed for any criticism of the Castro regime or the PCC.
        The fact that there are others in this world who are worse off economically does not act as a balm for those who are denied freedom of expression even in teaching their own children?
        Did you for example realize that Cuba has the fourth highest level of incarceration in the world?
        Did you realize that under Cuban Law, the accused are guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent?
        Did you realize that people who are taken to Villa Mariska inevitably confess?
        Did you understand the purpose of the CDR?
        Did you know that until five years ago, Cubans could not even enter hotels?
        The list goes on, but you apparently think its all OK?

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  • Repatriado,
    I agree with pretty much everything you say in your piece.
    The idea that the selling off of public sector services is a positive move is a myth.
    Here in the UK that experiment was tried (against the will of the people).
    It was not a complete disaster but neither has it been an overwhelming success.
    Services are not generally cheaper and overall beurocracy has actually increased if you take into account the various competing interests.
    Bizzarrely we also have a situation whereby some services that were once in the public sector are now run by public sector companies from Germany, France and Holland. That is 100% opposite to what people were told prior to the big sell-off.

    Cuba is in a difficult situation if the plan is to replace an ailing an unfair system of socialism with a better system of socialism. That’s not easy but I wish good luck for this task.

    Hi Mr MacD ! I have given you a ‘welcome back’ in my comment on Elio’s piece re May 1st.

    Hi Ms Bugos, I hope you enjoyed your trip to Cuba. I would point out that the system that the Revolution replaced was to a large extent a ‘gangster’ led system.
    It is always interesting to hear people’s impressions after visiting Cuba (which I know very well) for the first time.
    Some people start out with specific viewpoints and sometimes wish to have them reinforced. I’ve met people whou go to Cuba looking for a socialist paradise and come back convinced that they have found one! Wierd huh?
    In Cuba I’ve also met many fine people from the USA who have had a very different impression from the one you have.

    Reply
    • I would not differ Nick that Cuba is a socialist paradise. Control of everything by the Party, no freedom of individual speech or action, enforced compliance with the will of the Party and dictatorship Yes Nick, that does qualify as a socialist (communist not social democrat) paradise! Yes, those visitors found one!

      Reply
      • What you describe doesn’t sound very paradisal to me Mr MacD.
        My point is that some people find in Cuba the very opposite to what you describe.
        And perhaps the reason for this is because that is what they wanted to find.

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      • Carlyle you shoul not believe there is socialism in Cuba, what you are describing is totalitarianism, or even better, Castrism. There wasn’t socialism or communism in Cuba, just, “whatever it takes to keep myself in this comfortable big chair smoking cigars and spending time in Cayo Piedra” The propaganda about socialism has being long gone from Cuban propaganda system.

        There are some visitors than love Cuban system, but they love it for Cubans, not for them self, they come Cuba as I go to the Zoo, I love to see the monkeys jumping in their cells, but I don’t want that cell for mi.

        There are good will persons than hates capitalism and assume than to support Cuban regime is to fight capitalism, they are so wrong, sometimes I have the feeling they don’t care real Cubans as long as Cuba as a myth endure, they are willing to sacrifice Cubans for they “higher” cause.

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        • In response to your comment repatriado that there isn’t socialism in Cuba, I make two observations.
          Firstly, I here have frequently used “socialismo” for that is how Fidel Castro personally described his imposed system. I have carefully explained that my social democrat friends belief in multi-party elections not dictatorship.
          Secondly, as you may know, this year 2018 during April the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba put up their May 1st posters and hoardings declaring t.he merits of socialism.
          I very much liked your reference to: “a comfortable big chair smoking cigars and spending time in Cayo Piedra.” The Fidel admirers in these pages never respond to mention of his luxurious lifestyle.
          I also admire your second paragraph and comparing those visitors who admire the poverty for Cubans that is a consequence of “socialismo” to visitors to a zoo. You hit the nail on the head!
          Some seven years ago a Cuban poet (that is the source of his income) corrected me when I spoke of “socialismo”. He said – as you do – “what we have in Cuba is Castroismo.”
          That reflects communism (single party socialism), for it varies enormously from one country to another. Dr. Guevara particularly admired Mao Zedong’s form, whereas the Castros admired the Stalin approach, indeed that was the reason that Guevara gave up his Cuban citizenship and left.
          Cuban communism is peculiar to itself, but just as evil as that of Mao or Stalin.
          Viva Cuba libre!

          Reply
          • So what you say is that there is socialism in Cuba, a particular one, different to the Chinese and the Russian one. This is a point of view and not an irrational or minority point of view, I admit that.

            But I defend that neither Cuba nor Russia nor china have had or have being approaching to socialism, I defend this interpretation because I still have a good concept of socialist ideas and I don’t want to mix them with the totalitarian centralism that Lenin, Mao or Fidel used to keep their power.

            Absolute power was their greater luxury and they were hard workers and even they rejected physical luxuries, some times, in order to maintain power. I smile when Forbes magazine says that Fidel had 900 million, is that the value of a 1000 kilometres islands with 11 million of slaves? He did not needed money never, he had absolute power to use any property, industry, company or person in Cuba at his will.

            I agree in evilness, they were equally evil, the body count, lower or higher just depended on their control and craziness, not good heart.

            Vivan los cubanos libres.

        • If those seeking to find a “socialist paradise” in Cuba spent their time in Cuba in a well-appointed Casa Particular or all-inclusive hotel, it’s no wonder they left singing the praises of the Castro Revolution. But, if they actually found a way to see Cuba the way a Cuban sees it, I am pretty sure they would leave with an entirely different impression.

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          • That Moses is a very sound point, but of course tourists are not allowed by law to stay in Cuban homes. You and I have access because we are married to Cubans and are allowed to stay in their families homes. In my case, I can stay in our own home for up to six months. T hen I have to leave for a period (and am then able to access the Internet and contribute to HT). Life in Casa Particulars and Hotels has little relationship to average Cubans. Similarly with Paladars and Restaurants, for how many normal Cubans (without remittances) can afford them.
            I always recall a Veterinarian friend relating to me how he and his wife, following Raul deciding five years ago that Cubans could then stay in hotels, relating how they went and stayed in one at Varadero for three nights to get the experience, but using up all their savings. He said to me:
            “It was the trip of a lifetime.” and described meeting and actually being able to socialize with foreigners

    • Hi Nick, do you know in the UK some successful experience with a model close to what I am proposing?

      I don´t know if I am proposing socialism, perhaps, I am talking about a concrete model of managerial administration inside a market economy for large services companies.

      I really don´t know if I am socialist, maybe cause I always voted PSOE in Spain, but I think all models, socialist, communist, liberalism or anarchism have good things, why not to take from all them?

      Reply
      • Hi Repatriado,
        It is an interesting theme.
        Here in the UK pretty much all public services were officially nationalised shortly after WW2. This was seen as being for the common good. Detractors said it was a bad idea and happened due to the then prevailing socialist influence.
        The political climate in the 1980s was very much different.
        Politicians with a very different ideology managed to gain enough power to bring through a programme of privatisation.
        Many now regard this as having been a failure as profit seems to be the only objective. Profit is not a bad thing in itself, but the remorseless pursuit of profit is never going to result in the best public services.
        There is now significant public support for bringing some services back into public ownership (By the way, one the Public Sector health service was created it has never been privatised – any politician suggesting this is effectively committing political suicide)
        Proposals always seem, to an extent, to be based on one ideology or another.
        Perhaps a better way forward would be to seek another alternative because no amount of ideology can make the trains run on time.
        Your proposals for running public services sound perfectly reasonable to me.
        Taking ideas from all the political models that you have listed also sounds perfectly reasonable.
        Some people may suggest that there are no good ideas to be taken from communism. During the communist era in Russia they managed to eliminate child malnutrition. It is most unfortunate that child malnutrition now exists once again in certain poorer parts of Russia just as it did in the Tsarist era.
        The way I see it, ensuring that children are adequately nourished is clearly a good idea.

        Reply
        • hey nick¡

          When I mentioned communism I was not thinking in the soviets, the only real Russian communist I know is Protopkin.

          Soviets for sure did great things, as Hitler, Trujillo, Pol Pot and Papa Doc did, but I don’t want any of those regimes doing good things for me.

          What you say about Russians children is terrible, but are you sure that soviets eliminated malnutrition? Statics are a toy in dictator`s hands, anyway I am going to say something, I would prefer a real freedom, and in freedom to create a mechanism to support those people who needs it, rather than a totalitarian state that feed children equally medium well.

          Russia isn´t a free country today, they have their own dictator.

          Big hurricanes kill many people in Puerto Rico, even today the American government has not given a good response or at least a respond at the same level of their economical capacity for the last big one, Irma. In Cuba government concentrate resources and mobilize the country in order to face hurricanes with the less human and economic losses, and they always success doing it, that’s great.

          Even so you will find much much more people willing to emigrate from Cuba to Puerto Rico than vice versa, why, because we normally prefer the chance of attempt and fail under our own possibilities that to be secure but tied by an almighty State.

          Liberalism or capitalism has also lot of defects, starting for the exacerbation of the worst of human beings, but liberalism is in constant reform and that give me hope of improvement, something that we have not in Cuba.

          When Obama was elected the word was CHANGE

          When Diaz Canel was designated the word was CONTINUITY

          Now Americans have Trump, before they voted twice for W bush, I honestly can´t believe there are not better people to lead a country, any country, that those two, but, Americans still have the power, minimum but it does exist, the power to kick Trump out or at least to know that soon enough, I hope, someone better will come.

          About nationalization, today, after 35 years living in my nationalized Cuba, I prefer privatizations if I cannot have socialization.

          I read your comment about the people going to 1 of May, I agree, nothing to big happens to a worker if don’t go to the demonstration, but from there to think that people goes showing support to the Cuban regime is absolutely erroneous.

          Reply
          • Hi Repatriado………
            I don’t really get your comment which seems to compare the whole of the Soviet era with individuals such as Hitler or Pol Pot. This seems a bit of an extreme comment. It would perhaps be more appropriate to compare an individual (Stalin?) with these other individuals.

            Much as it may not fit in with your viewpoints, there are millions of Russians who say things were better in the Soviet era. There are millions more who miss certain aspects of the Soviet era. I don’t say this to prove a point. I mention this because it is factual.

            If you doubt what I say regarding infant malnutrition in modern Russia, then check out what poor people in Siberia are saying. There are many saying that it’s all very well that people have all these great and wonderful, capatilist opportunites in Moscow, but my kids and my brother’s kids and my neighbour’s kids don’t have enough food. Then they say that during the Soviet era there was never this food problem. Perhaps they just can’t remember properly huh?

            Yes there are Cubans who go to ‘La Plaza’ on May 1st to show support for the Cuban Government/Revolution (This is a fact).
            Others go because it is their turn.
            But if you are saying that that no Cuban goes to support the Revolution and Fidel or Raul or whoever, then you are in denial.

            I understand your viewpoints and to some extent I agree with most of what you say.
            But if you want to persuade more people to agree with you, it’s always better to stick with the facts isn’t it?

    • Bravo, true that i have a different impression from the one he got. I don’t understand where he got is info from, tell him to go to Grenada or worst again Haiti, he need to go to America and find out what’s wrong in Cuba?

      Reply
  • People take the line of least resistance.
    People will protect their own existence.
    Family and friends are really all one cares about.
    No one can find out about my real actions.
    The golden rule is : He who has the Gold rules.
    Just about covers all the needs for enforcing necessary regulations in a proper society !
    Chuck

    Reply
  • Nick, I wasn’t comparing, I used extreme examples to appoint the fact that to do good things do not legitimize a government, all those monster I mentioned did good things for their country, but the balance is negative as negative was the soviet balance and negative is the Cuban balance.

    Stalin, Mao and the rest of “communist” dictators, as well as Fidel, are the same to me, I don’t use the bloodshed as a parameter because they killed or violate human rights more or less depending on what was convenient for them in every circumstance, what they have in common is the manipulation of an ideology to control populations under their personal power.

    Many women miss their abusive husbands and return with them many times, it is a fact that we cannot judge the husband behaviour depending on the wife reaction as well as we cannot judge soviet era depending on the behaviour of those who miss it, and certainly we cannot say than previous abusive husband was good because the current one is worst, once the Russian knows how is life in a democracy like that of the UK, then they will be able to judge with some more certainty the Soviet totalitarian era, or what they have had after that.

    I don´t doubt about anything you say, my doubt is in the statics. By the way, I consider than the capitalist way of production and consumption is now obsolete and it is very dangerous for humanity, I hope we people evolve quick enough to be more rationales, those “capitalist opportunities” do not sound so well for me.

    About Cuban support to the revolution I cannot talk with scientific data, just from my experience and please believe me if I tell you that I just know one person, only one person that actually support Fidel and the revolution, I am not being dramatic or exaggerated, I am telling you my truth. This person is my grandfather and you can see a bit of him in my very first article here in HT. https://www.havanatimes.org/?p=127819

    For sure there are many people that support revolution, but they are a vast minority, the vast majority of Cubans are trapped in their ignorance of options, trapped in 60 years of propaganda of fear about liberalism, about democracy, about freedom in general, they have being confused, for example, the most of the people believe that “free” health or education are just possible inside a communist revolution, many people have being breastfeed in nationalism and in the idea that the only way to be Cuban and not an American servant is to defend the revolution.

    For sure in an emotional level I would like to persuade people to think like me with this set of writings I want to publish under the subtitle The Cuba I wish for, but in a rational level I only seek to inspire people to think and to propose options about Cubans future.

    I also understand your viewpoint and I think you are close to socialism as I am, thank you for to understand me in my basic English, I am trying to improve.

    regards

    Reply
    • !!Oye Repatriado !!!
      Cuba tiene mucho que ganar.
      Desde mi punto de visto (de habar pasado tanto tiempo en tu pais tan bello)….. Cuba tambien tiene bastante que perder.
      Como dicen ustedes:
      Entre col y col hay lechuga………
      No hay ningun ‘…ismo’ capaz de resolver todos problemas.
      El socialismo no es la solucion completa – no es ‘bala de plata’.
      Pero, tiene que forma una parte de la solucion – seguro.
      Sino….
      ……estamos perdidos todos.
      (Entiendo tu ingles y lo que dices cien por ciento.)
      Respeto.
      N.

      Reply
      • Coño Nick pareces un tipo de mi barrio hablando jejeje.

        Espero de verdad podamos salvaguardar las cosas buenas que la revolución aportó, pero hay que apurarse porque esto está muy malo amigo mio.

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        • This is to Repatriado and Nick. When you comment in Spanish I think it would be best on the Spanish side of Havana Times.

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          • sorry

          • My Apologies Boss.
            Just squeezed in a spanish comment out of courtesy to Repatriado who described his (very good) English as ‘basic’.

          • No problem

    • The Cuba you seek for is for everyone to own a gun and all the drugs dealer to control the blocks, all the gangs to start killing people, so far Cuba is one of the safest country in the Caribbean at least, true we have poverty but none to compare to Haiti or other places, the only issue with my country is that the government needs to give more to the people.

      Reply
      • to give more what? is that “the only issue”?

        Yes, we are better than Haitians, but worst that Australians, I don´t care if we are in the Caribbean or in different galaxies, the question is that there are humans doing it better than us, so we can improve but we have a government that do not allow it.

        I think we have something in common Bent, we both like some drugs, but I never use it when I am going to write here.

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  • I have been reading the debate between Repatriado and Nick with interest. The difficulty which both suffer, is that the definition “socialism” lies very much within the individual mind. Hence when a country or a government claims to be socialist and is then widely criticized for its inevitable faults and errors, socialist supporters loudly pronounce that it wasn’t practicing true socialism.
    But thanks to both of you and do let us all know when you can clearly define “true socialism” to the satisfaction of all those who pursue the myth.

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    • I remember in the 90s Fidel started to talk about dogmatism and then teachers, politics, bureaucrats and of course TV began to talk about dogmatism, the idea was that now Cuba had to find their own way to “socialism”. After 30 years trying to turn this tropical island in a little Moscow, 30 years following Marxism and Leninism as revealed truth, that was not good enough and once Fidel changed his mind, we all followed and changed our minds. Sad.

      The fashion in Cuban “socialist” is to defend a Chinese or Vietnamese way, they want more food, more clothe, more thing in general but not more freedom, eso es mierda.

      Reply
    • Socialist theories can be debated. The realities of trying to operate a country according to these theories is variable and clearly imperfect.
      But you could apply this to any ‘ism’.
      For example:
      Capitalism is often equated with freedom. But what is the reality of this freedom?
      For some its the freedom to enjoy the benefits and potentially exploit others.
      For others it’s the freedom to suffer the misery of being exploited.
      And then of course there are those hard working, tax payers in the middle doing ok.
      I try to explain myself as clearly as possible.
      But perhaps there would be a fuller understanding if I go to the cake analogy:
      Socialism produces a smaller cake that everyone should get a fair share of.
      Capitalism should produce a bigger cake. Some get to eat big fat slices whilst stamping on those who are down at the bottom fighting over the crumbs.
      There is no perfect cake.
      Perhaps the best cake involves a variety of ingredients. Including socialism.
      One example of this type of cake would perhaps be Repatriado’s original piece which promotes the socialisation of public services.

      Reply
  • You and I Nick, both know that having lived their lives in Cuba, people like Repatriado have only had access to information which the regime has chosen. Cuba has been and remains one of the 10 most censored countries in the world. Yes, the advent of tourism necessitated following the “special period” to gain access to hard currency from the capitalist world, did mean that a relatively few Cubans working in tourism began to glean additional knowledge and bits of that that eked out into the population.
    Repatriado shows that I was correct when I wrote:
    “that although communism can endeavor to contain, it cannot quench the thirst for freedom that is a natural desire by mankind including Cubans”
    We can debate our own views about what is socialism, but we should not confuse what we probably both regard as such with communism. Fidel Castro created confusion by speaking of “socialismo” to describe both communism and Castroismo.
    As you know being a fairly avid contributor, I have repeatedly spoken of my own social democratic friends belief in democracy. For communists democracy with freedom of political choice is anathema.
    I am old enough to remember Ernest Bevin, Foreign Secretary in the British Attlee Labour government. Although dedicated to democratic socialism, he detested communism and said so on many occasions, loud and clear. The clarity of Ernest Bevin’s view (and he was of the “working class”) was in contrast to the confused prevarication of Anthony Wedgewood-Benn. Bevin was for “the working man”, but to Wedgewood-Benn, they were but part of his theory. That was demonstrated when he cut off the footpath along the river bank at the bottom of his mother’s garden. He didn’t want the common ploy to effect his and his mother’s privacy. Fortunately, the fence had to come down as the English have had for generations the right to walk along river banks – when politics comprised the Whigs and the Tories!

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  • There is not a recipe for the best society, starting in that there are so much different societies that what works in one society do not works in the other.

    Capitalism, for me, is just a way of property, it is not freedom itself, freedom is democracy, it can exist capitalism, like the one we have in Cuba, with a very big owner who employ millions and own not only the production resources, but also the law, and it can be a mix between capitalism and democracy that was the most successful formula until now, but that, and it is just my opinion, must be urgently modified to avoid the big environment disaster is coming.

    There are enormous injustices in this world, there are still happening horrifying things that could be avoid years ago like the starvation, people dying from treatable diseases, people being enslaved, but I don´t blame capitalism for all those, 200 years ago it was much much worse than now and thanks to capitalist organization the human kind improved more in 200 years that in 2000 000 before.

    Capitalism already produced cake enough to all humankind, the lack of distribution and all the injustice are much more associated to humans character as specie that to capitalism as system.

    I think that the only person who really tried to make a socialist world was Lenin, the only one with real power I mean, all the rest of so called socialist or communist leaders just used the idea to organize people under them but none were a real socialist or communist, their drive was power and control, not people.

    Carlyle if you assume that Cuba is “socialist” because Fidel said so you have to star also to drink Moringa tea or prepare ASAP a bunker because nuclear missiles are close to be launched. Fidel was a demagogue with the ability of talk bull shit and make a lot of assholes say ohhh great¡¡¡¡

    Following Fidel Cuba is Marxist, Leninist, socialist, communist and Martiana (josé Martí) that is an impossible mix because Martí was a democrat whom didn´t like Marx, he said so clearly.

    You both Nick and Carlyle read Spanish, use this link and read an speech from Fidel with his justification of the Cuban “democracy” and then tell me if this guy is serious or just a shitter.

    Reply
    • All dictators once they have achieved power, do as they please and Fidel Castro was no exception. You may have noticed in the past Repatriado that I have repeatedly said that I detest dictatorship whether it is by extremists of the left or right. Communism has a history of developing dictators, denying freedom and endeavoring to create a “mass” or proletariat.
      Capitalism is far from perfect and does not create a society where everyone is equal, but it is preferable to Cuba, where with the exception of the gang of communist lackeys (I borrow the word from Elio), everyone is equally poor, and most without hope.

      Reply
  • I turn around your argumentation to say dictators have a history developing communism.

    I also hate dictators, and like you I prefer inequality with some freedom, like the one exists in capitalism, than inequality with no freedom at all, like the one that we have in Cuba.

    Reply
  • Pinochet and Franco were both Dictators Repatriado and neither adopted communism, there have been plenty of far right wing dictators But the propensity for South American countries to produce dictators of both extremes is notable. Maduro for example is now well on his way.
    Your comparison between capitalism and communism in Cuba is valid. I will again quote Winston Churchill:

    “The inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.”

    Reply

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