English (Editorials)

A RANGE OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR FOREIGNERS… WHAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR CUBANS?


A RANGE OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR FOREIGNERS…
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR CUBANS?
 
The Range of Investment Opportunities for foreigners has been presented at the International Havana fair. The government offers the foreign capital practically the main areas of the Country’s economy: industry, agriculture, medicine production, tourism and computer services.
 
Meanwhile foreigners value those opportunities offered all over the country and in almost all productive areas and areas of services… What does the Cuban government offer their own citizens? It offers them an exiguous list of medieval trades excluding every sphere of the Nation’s development.
 
Here is the difference and the inequality. Deep down, it’s the essence of a State monopolist model maintaining centralized control over economy, blocking the productive initiative of its own citizens and offering the foreigners the investment of capitals in order to revive the State inefficiency and obsolescence.

 
Foreign investment in itself is part of today’s global economy. It should be taken into account and legal and social guarantees should be present so that investors can be confident. The need for foreign investment is not the problem. The problem is the exclusion of Cubans, women and men; they cannot play a leading role in productive processes, in the decentralization and diversification of economy, in the exercise of the legal guarantees of the different ways of property, included private property and cooperative property. In a few words, it’s the blockage to the productive forces of the nationals living in the Island or in the Diaspora.
    
The exclusion of Cubans, women and men, as protagonists of the main structures of development in the Country means an economic apartheid ethically unacceptable. It is like this because their role is reduced to be cheap labour with unfair wages and their business and professional initiatives are blocked. Along this path the foreign capital will turn Cuba into an attractive and tropical maquiladora and the citizens will only have the right to wait in a “job bank” handled in an exclusive way by an only employer: the State. Cubans will be “called” to work in an enterprise which will be, at the very best, half Cuban, half foreign; and they will earn a miserable salary.
 
And who will be the entrepreneurs on the Cuban part? Who chooses them? The very State will, the only employer. What persons are going to be chosen: the most competent ones or the most faithful ones? Will they be the ones with more enterprising initiative or the ones who have been discharged from military service? Will the applicants present themselves with their curricula for competitive examinations or will they be appointed from up to down?
 
Profile of economic opportunities in Cuba today.  
 
According to this strange model typical of primitive and savage capitalism and not of the present world, the profile of opportunities in the economic structure of Cuba could be as follows:
 
-The capital would be foreign without opportunities for Cubans in the Island and it would be politically selective for the ones in the Diaspora.
 
-The main productive areas and large services have been offered to this foreign capital.
 
-The Cuban State is the only counterpart for the foreign investment, excluding possible Cuban private entrepreneurs.
 
-The State continues being the big only employer and the only agent in the so-called Job Bank.
 
-The State receives the salaries offered by the foreign or mixed enterprises and it withholds a significant part of what the Cuban worker should earn in its totality.
 
-The Range of Opportunities” for ordinary Cubans, women and men, would be reduced to one of these four offers:
 
. To be an employee in a Cuban state-owned enterprise; the immense majority of these enterprises are unprofitable with exiguous salaries.        
 
. To be an employee in a mixed enterprise or an enterprise with foreign capital if he has been chosen by the filter of the state job bank, with an incomplete salary the main part of which goes to the State.
 
.To become an independent worker reduced to a list of medieval trades or trades for survival, determined by the State and excluding the private exercise of professions; middle and large business cannot be undertaken.
 
.To leave the country looking for a range of opportunities abroad; these persons will swell the group of emigrants or exiles; they are the part of the country that escapes to normal countries where a lot of injustice, unemployment and corruption exists but there is no economic, financial and commercial state monopoly excluding its own citizens as it is in Cuba.
 
Any citizen can analyze this profile of opportunities for Cubans, women and men and he can qualify, specify and adjust its characteristics. But the essence that seems to emanate from this “economic photograph” is that the so-called Cuban model has the face of Frankenstein: some grafts coming from the worst part of capitalism together with the worst part of static and centralized socialism. Cuba does not deserve such face. We Cubans should show another face to the international community; a profile that should present the distinctive characteristics of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights; a profile that should defend the family rights, the work and labour union rights of all Cubans; in short, it should be an economic model that combines the greatest economic efficiency with the greatest possible social justice in a humanized face.
 
A proposal for a range of opportunities where we all fit.
 
We don’t want to complain and verify reality only. We wish to offer a proposal to public debate to be enriched with the contribution of all; a proposal that should approach as much as possible the ideal of efficient productivity and fair distribution. Nothing can be redistributed if it is not produced before with efficiency. This seems to be a truth patently obvious but it has been the daily routine in Cuba for decades during which the “help” coming from foreign countries were distributed in a paternalist way.
 
In order to produce more and with more efficiency, this profile of opportunities should change its essence and its structures. We have already proposed it before but the so-called Range of Opportunities has brought to the table these urgent needs again:
 
  1. A new Law of Property where all ways of property are acknowledged without hegemony or exclusion.
  2. A new Law of Enterprises that eliminates the list of Independent Workers and opens up opportunities for all Cubans from the Island and from the Diaspora to undertake business.
  3. A new Law of Investment or the modification of the present lawopportunities for Cubans in the Island and the Diaspora as well as for foreigners.
  4. Eliminate the Job Bank so that all businessmen can employ persons without using the State as intermediary and respecting all labour rights universally recognized.
  5. The free exercise of professions. The possibility for all professionals to create associations and cooperatives.
  6. The workers should receive their salaries in their totality without the intervention of the State that deducts a part of what corresponds to the one who works by right.
  7. Eliminate labour segregation for ideological, political, social, racial, religious or sex reasons.
 
May a Range of Opportunities appear soon for all Cubans. It’s even better not to depend or expect from the paternalist State a gift of opportunities that grant privileges to foreigners and excludes the nationals, wherever they live. May we Cubans be the very ones who can create and offer a wide range of opportunities to our compatriots and to all who want to invest in Cuba.
 
The update of the Cuban economic model promotes a perverted scale of values which in practice brings about:
 
-The primacy of capital over the work and the human person, his dignity and his rights.
 
The essence of the model we propose and we hope to build for Cuba, including all Cubans is:
 
-The primacy of work over capital; the primacy of the human person, his dignity and all his rights over work and capital.
 
This is the new economic order we want for our country.
 
Can our Range of Opportunities include it?
 
Pinar del Río, November 9th, 2014
The 25th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.