06 January 2012 ~ 1 Comentario

Raul Castro’s absurd hope: a socio-capitalistic system

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

Raul Castro

(THE MIAMI HERALD) Another Jan. 1 passed. What’s happening in Cuba 53 years after the communist dictatorship was imposed? Some important things. Fidel, now 85, distanced from power by his age and his chronic ailments, no longer commands. He has some moments of lucidity amid a spreading fog of senility like the one that affects his two older siblings, Angelita (89) and Ramón (87), still alive but demented.

While not dozing, Fidel entertains himself watching international television and reading reports delivered to him by his aides. They treat him reverently, as if he maintained some sort of real authority. It’s pure illusion. Every once in a while, some traveler spurred by some kind of anthropological curiosity interrupts his lethargy, and the Maximum Leader, with slurred speech and in a very low voice, which increases the torture, inflicts upon him some badly put-together tales about the Sierra Maestra or explains to him how the solution for hunger can be found in the plantations of moringa, an abundant comestible plant he has just discovered.

In melancholy tones, the Comandante warns that his brother Raúl is disassembling his entire "revolutionary oeuvre," but sighs that he can do nothing to stop it, although sometimes he phones some of his old buddies to complain. They hate to listen to him. The ears of State Security are very sensitive and any complicity, even though passive, could be costly. They answer him with vague and evasive phrases that won’t compromise them. That’s called "talking to the microphones." It is the misery of the games of power.

Meanwhile, Raúl Castro continues the slow demolition of the disaster his brother bequeathed to him. The opinion, summarized by a close aide on condition of anonymity, is implacable: "Fidel engaged in politicking and forgot how to govern." He goes on: Fidel "surrounded himself with corrupt and incompetent acolytes who praised him constantly but mocked him in private." The sentence that ends the man’s diagnosis is very harsh: "The country’s biggest problem is not the American embargo but the heritage of Fidelismo. Raúl should stand a few people before the firing squad."

I don’t know if history will absolve Fidel as he predicted 60 years ago, but the Raulistas already have condemned him.

Raúl is not going to execute anyone. He was a bloodthirsty young man but, at 80, old age and the influence of his daughter Mariela have led him to moderation. To murder one’s opponents is not well regarded these days. Raúl has three objectives. First, to stay in power, along with his military cronies. Second, to alleviate the amazing unproductivity of the system. Third, to organize the transfer of authority so his own death won’t interrupt the dynasty’s control.

The first and third objectives hinge on the second. Marx, who was wrong about almost everything, was partly right when he said that the relations of production generated the perceptions and therefore the behaviors. Nobody in Cuba doubts that the country is a woeful disaster from which millions of people want to flee. A few defenders of collectivism remain. Raúl wants to tear the system apart but gradually, in a controlled demolition.

That simply doesn’t work, and they’re finding it out. To create and lead a free economic system is a contradiction. A successful market economy is the product of a spontaneous order, not of the planning by a few stale-minded bureaucrats. That is why the indices of farm production continue to fall; that is why the micro-entrepreneurs who are authorized to exist ("the self-employed ones," as they’re called) discover how difficult it is to move in a hostile economic environment, forever dependent upon a clumsy government that is the sole provider of supplies and credit.

On the other hand, the demand for civil liberties is growing. Cubans, including those who support the dictatorship, want to be able to travel freely. Almost everyone hoped that the hated "white card," or exit permit, would be eliminated. Cubans living abroad thought that the need for a visa to reenter their homeland would also be eliminated. But Raúl refused. He’s afraid.

He knows that communist regimes "collapse due to the stampede of fleeing citizens," as journalist Juan Manuel Cao has phrased it. Raúl’s absurd and unreal hope is that a substantial improvement of living conditions will lead Cubans to reconcile with the government and the hybrid socio-capitalistic system led by a single party and ruled by an iron hand.

That will never happen. By now, he should know that.

One Response to “Raul Castro’s absurd hope: a socio-capitalistic system”

  1. joseluis 9 January 2012 at 4:34 pm Permalink

    El comunismo es destrucción y miseria.
    Si en Cuba no habido una hambruna en extremo, es porque existe el capitalismo que tiene una maquina económica que funciona y Cuba sobre vive gracia a la limosna que recibe del mundo capitalista.
    Imagínense, que el mundo estuviera poblado por un sistema castrista o comunista, y no existiera en la faz de la tierra un solo país capitalista, el 50% de la humanidad hubiese dejado de existir, por consecuencia del hambre y otros motivos.
    Miren en Corea del norte, existiendo el capitalismo en el mundo, y en ese país, habido por consecuencia de la hambruna, millones muertos, y los Chinos han tenido que sustituir la economía comunista, por la capitalista, y los motivos, ustedes sabrán.
    Y estos no es apologías incoherentes de Fidel Castro, con matices de profundidad, esto es un analice sencillo, de uno como yo, que ni soy intelectual, ni economista, ni analista, soy un hombre común, y lo dicho por mi, lo sabe cualquiera que tenga dos dedos de frente.

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