Raul's Hallucinatory GDP Growth

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Cuban blogger Miriam Celaya on Raul Castro's fuzzy economic statistics:

I resigned myself to follow televised excerpts of the Seventh Legislature of the National Assembly and news of the schedules. In addition, I listened patiently to all the “reports” of each of the ministers, and I even stoically put up with the General’s euphoric speech in his eternal boring and nasal manner. It’s all in vain, it turns out I don’t understand a thing. The worst part is that Cuban TV seems to cause hallucinations.

I don’t understand, for example, why the “complete” repair of a stretch of 24 km of rail — which has a total of 800 km — conducted throughout the year 2012, is considered an achievement. If one adds the additional fact that the plan for 2013 is to “complete” 40 km of this important pathway (suggesting that only 16 km will be repaired in the coming year), is it not also a plan to go in reverse?

Another issue is that, if almost all parameters projected for 2012 have failed, such as agricultural production, housing construction, production of construction materials, the export plan (with an alarming increase imports of food and other goods), etc. If, in addition, the eastern region was hit by a vicious hurricane that caused huge losses to the economy and the already inadequate and deteriorating housing stock, if an important coffee crop and other crops were lost, among other items, and the few sugar mills we still have, which should have started producing sugar this harvest have been unable to do so… I wonder how it is that the economy has registered a growth in GDP of a respectable 3.1% and what indicators the General took into account to declare that, in the year about to end, “the favorable growth trend was preserved”; that we have been able to maintain a positive correlation between the growth in median income and productivity, which contributes to the internal financial stability” and that Cuba moves ahead in a “gradual reduction of its external debt, on the basis of strict compliance with its financial commitments”? I am so very confused!

Courtesy of Translating Cuba.