The following article could have been written this week -- and some variant of it probably was -- by a journalist enthralled by the latest "change in Cuba" narrative.
And yet, Castro's regime remains as manipulative, monopolistic and repressive as ever.
So when was this story actually written?
From The New York Times:
On the Street, Cubans Fondly Embrace Capitalism
Less than a year into major economic changes that have opened the way for foreign investment and freed many Cubans to work for themselves, life in this city is being transformed by a new ethic: the frantic search for dollars.
Although Cuba's Communist leadership has often sought to rein in the changes, repeatedly reminding the people that it has not chosen capitalism as a solution to the country's grave economic problems, almost everywhere one looks these days private enterprise is filling voids left by an exhausted Government.
In special shops once reserved for diplomats, Cubans with dollars earned in small private businesses or sent by relatives abroad line up to buy basic imported goods, from bath soap to over-the-counter medicines, that failing Government enterprises can no longer supply.
Although these shops are owned by the state, and therefore are not examples of private enterprise, echoes of capitalism can be heard in the hum of activity around them.
Each of the diplo-tiendas, as the special stores are known, has spawned an outdoor market where, from the paid bicycle parking lot and carwashes to the fevered trading in home-grown produce, clothing and handicrafts, Cubans who have abandoned Government jobs now fend for themselves.
While capitalism is most evident in the street-corner flowering of petty commerce, Havana's biggest moves toward it involve foreign investors. At the International Center of Havana, a private business consulting concern that opened last fall, each month brings a handful of new European or Latin American companies hoping to get in on the ground floor of the transformation of a Cuban economy with enormous needs but also considerable potential.
Foreign business people here say the most important changes are in the attitudes of Cuban officials toward international investment.
"The investments which meet our needs are the ones we will greet," said Reynaldo Taladrid, deputy minister of the state committee that oversees new private investment in Cuba. "We need partners and we need foreign exchange."
But even as they have opened the door to foreign capital, Cuban officials, fearful that things may be getting out of hand, have recently stepped up warnings that the Communist Party leadership, far from embracing capitalism, intends to retain a Communist economy.
Ultimately, business executives and economic experts here say, Cuba will be guided by pragmatism. In November, the Government invited a two-member team from the International Monetary Fund to advise it on transformations under way in Eastern Europe and to make suggestions on Cuba's own changes.
According to the fund's summary report on the visit, the Government has concluded that without major changes the economy will inevitably collapse, "with all the accomplishments of Cuba's political and social model disappearing in the wreckage."
Answer: February 3rd, 1994
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