By Arleen Rodríguez Derivet

July 17, 2020


Possibly no other country in the world has it worse when it comes to facing what Cuban President Miguel Díaz Canel has defined as the very challenging global economic scenario, after the impact of a pandemic that in the first six months of the year put almost all economies on hold and is still slowing down the most dynamic productive, financial and commercial processes on a planetary level.

But surely no one else, among the small states of this unbalanced and unjust world, is in a better position to attempt another giant leap from uncertainty to risk.

Because, as the President also said, “the worst risk would be in not changing” and there is a political testament reminding us that “Revolution is the sense of the historical moment” (…) “to change everything that must be changed”, “to emancipate ourselves and with our own efforts (…) to challenge powerful forces inside and outside the social and national sphere” and “to defend values in which we believe at the price of any sacrifice”.

“In the economy, we can’t keep doing the same thing, because, as we’re doing it, it’s not working.”

Diaz Canel’s speech began with this harsh self-criticism. From the first lines of his speech before the Council of Ministers where the economic strategy for the post-COVID stage was presented, he referred to the way in which the Government has acted, listening and evaluating the greatest diversity of opinions, which range from the respectable seriousness of the academy, through the criteria of former cadres and experts, to the simplest of popular concerns.

Even criteria contrary to the political line of the Revolution were addressed, it was said, always separating the ill-intentioned offensive from those matrices that aim at a single objective: to dismantle the Cuban socialist system.

He did not use euphemisms in response to those who have turned the social networks into a battlefield, where daily attempts are made to discredit and denigrate the Cuban government and its main leaders, by those who are not willing to make the slightest sacrifice for the nation; They do not dare to point out the blockade as the main cause of our problems, or even condemn it, and they live tearing at their clothes, raising false flags of “concern” for the population’s standard of living, while mocking the State’s huge efforts to overcome the multiple crises resulting from the economic war in the first place.

“They said we’re going to close all the stores in CUC and CUP, to dollarize the economy. They are not going to close,” said the President, responding directly to the promoters of the distortion and confusion that seeks to sow discouragement and distrust among the people, “in the only government in the world that even cares about the per capita food supply to all its citizens.”

Although it is in the sight of those who have eyes and want to see, there was no shortage of his clarification that “every day we are engaged in the search for solutions to problems, thinking and feeling as a people, thinking and acting for the good of all.

“It is up to us to explain that, sometimes, in order to benefit everyone, we must implement measures that “favor” a few, but that in the long run will benefit everyone,” said Díaz Canel and in that apparently contradictory expression, he summarized the explanation of a measure that is not pleasant to take because it points to undesirable inequalities, but inevitable if one wants to have foreign currency to acquire the supplies that would make any type of market work.

However, the adversary’s guideline would be followed if there is talk of a single measure within a system of profound modifications that includes the immediate and definitive implementation of agreements pending from the last Party congresses, which will impact the entire economy, from food production, the number one priority, to monetary, financial, import and export and property management policies, among others.

The strategy presented this Thursday by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Alejandro Gil, comes at a time marked with equal intensity by two feelings that are opposed and complementary in the national soul, although it sounds like an absurdity: on the one hand, optimism and high self-esteem for the victory over COVID 19 as a result of an unprecedented link between Science, Health and Government. On the other hand, the logical uncertainty generated by the global nature of the crisis.

If even for the big economies the forecasts are scary, what awaits us little ones, the ones that are blockaded, those who refuse to bend their necks below Trump’s knee?

Four months without tourism, that is to say without the national economic locomotive, running in parallel with very strong expenses to control the pandemic, and almost a year of siege to the purchases of fuel, in any market and at any price, turn our survival, the absence of blackouts and the rise in salaries since last year, into an objectively inexplicable event. Another mystery of the many that have accompanied us since the omnipresence of Martí for more than a century and of Fidel in recent years.

It remains to be asked why this Thursday we Cubans are not living the typical day of bad news that has become a daily occurrence in neighboring nations afflicted by the pandemic, with its sick sent home to die and its dead waiting to be picked up in the streets, while people prefer not to ask what their new normality will be like with so many jobs lost and so many uncertain horizons.

Cuba has a Plan. It is IDEAL. Ideal because of the ideas that support it, not because it is perfect, as the President made clear, and he has summarized it in five points:

  • Implement the agreements of the Party Congress and comply with the popular demands emanating from the popular debate of its guidelines.
  • Defeat the policy of the blockade.
  • Confront the global and multidimensional crisis that neoliberalism and the pandemic have exacerbated.
  • Apply science and innovation to all productive processes and social dynamics to strengthen development.
  • Legitimize and strengthen the socialist ideal as the only known path to prosperity with social justice.

Now, that even hopes have been lost in half the world, between the fear of contagion and the contagion of fear, to have a Plan is to have certainties. And there are no mysteries. Only a gigantic challenge. We have just overcome an immense one. There is no need to fear another. The President has said it: We did it!! We will be able to do it!!


Source: Cubadebate, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau

photo by: Ismael Francisco