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Montaner | Cuba & The BRICS


Source:  Blog de Montaner.

With the creation of the new Special Development Zone in Mariel (ZEDM), Cuba hopes to attract foreign investment — from China, especially — grow its exports and generate employment. Based on these measures, can we talk meaningfully of a Cuban transition to capitalism modeled on the Chinese?

I do not believe Raúl Castro is trying to imitate the Chinese model. First of all, because a Chinese model has never existed. There, after the death of Mao, they began to implement reforms to augment productivity, but soon found they were insufficient.

Every change they made led to new reforms, until they arrived the point where they are today: the dictatorship of one-party savage capitalism without labor rights, in which power resides in the strong ties between the political establishment and the Army.

Raúl Castro, for the time being, wants to keep the fundamental productive apparatus in the hands of the State. He believes, however, in a grand entrepreneurial State, and leaves smaller, less lucrative initiatives to a private sector whose wings are clipped so that it will not grow and accumulate capital, because that would signal the withering away of the State and political control.

Raúl Castro has invested in the economic principle of subsidiarity. According to this principle, which is fundamental to the Social Doctrine of the Church, the State should invest in those spaces that are not reached by private investment, because they is not profitable. In the eyes of Raúl Castro, the Cuban private sector can only reach where the State cannot because it is not profitable.

Naturally, this productivity plan will not work. It will only divorce the Cubans even further from the regime under which they have suffered for 54 years. It will not work because the inefficiency of the official productive apparatus will remain in force, as a hopeless private sector languishes.

In the late 1980s, Gorbachov and his inner circle discovered that the communist model was no longer capable of being reformed and had to be demolished. That task fell to Boris Yeltsin. What took place in the former USSR is not the best brand of capitalism. It is a mafioso capiitalism, but it is superior to the collectivism of the ancien regime. The same thing is happening in China. Savage capitalism of a monolithic State is not the best model, but it is very much superior to Maoism.  At some point, Raúl Castro and his inner circle — his heirs — will have to face facts and bury this nonsense for good.

Things could be worse. You could find yourself in Haiti.

There is an apocryphal story about ex-president Lula taking a meeting with Fidel in his days as a labor federation leader.

They say that Fidel was enthusiastically encouraging Lula to follow the way of Che when Lula interrupted him, pointing to a map.

“You see this? This is Cuba. You see all this? Next to the complexity and vastness of a Brazil, Cuba rates  maybe a Pernambuco ….”

Have the BRICs taken Cuba under their wings? It seems so.

At the moment, the Brazilian government is working out a loan that would allow Cuba to buy farm implements from Brazilian manufacturers.