Economic Reform vs. Temporary Survival

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
As we posted yesterday, it's important to understand that the Castro regime's latest self-employment charade is not about economic reform -- it's about temporary survival.

There's a big difference. Here's why.

In 2008, Generation Y's Yoani Sanchez wrote:

"I remember when, in 1994 they allowed licenses to open a private restaurant (paladar) or a cafeteria. Havana filled with improvised kiosks that brought back lost flavors and desired recipes. Within a couple of months all the creativity showed in hundreds of umbrellas, tables on porches and even sophisticated places to try a mamey shake or a guava pie. The pent up energies of thousands of Cubans materialized in products and services of a quality and efficiency previously unknown by my generation.

We witnessed, with astonishment and happiness, the rebirth of small private enterprises that our parents had seen drowned in the Revolutionary Offensive of 1968. A stroll along the streets of my native Central Havana confirmed that the previous scarcity hadn't been born of an innate incapacity to produce, but was caused by the ironclad State controls to private ingenuity.

To this boom in creativity and ingenuity we also had to say goodbye, the moment the "higher ups" understood that economic freedom would imply, inevitably, political autonomy."

By the late 1990's, once Canadian and European tourists and investors -- followed by Hugo Chavez's oil subsidies -- had effectively bailed out the Castro regime from its near collapse pursuant to the demise of the Soviet bloc, it quickly re-centralized the economy.

Today, Chavez's oil spigot has dried up, tourism is down 35% and the Castro regime owes foreign investors multiple times what it receives (not to mention freezing their bank accounts).

Thus, there is only one bailout source remaining:

U.S. tourism, financing and investment -- that's right, the same U.S. that the Council on Foreign Relations' (CFR) Julia Sweig and other Cuba "experts" absurdly claim is "increasingly marginal."

So if we want to see true economic reforms in Cuba -- not to mention political reforms -- here's some advice:

Don't bail out the Castro regime.