Wasn't Obama's Cuba Policy Supposed to Accelerate Castro's Reforms?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016
To the contrary, it has stifled any "reforms" in Cuba.

As we argued in November 2014 -- one month before Obama's new policy announcement -- lifting sanctions would stifle any real reforms in Cuba, for the regime would solely focus on strengthening its state monopolies and the repression required to suppress change.

That's exactly what's happening today.

From Reuters:

Cuba sticks to modest reform plan despite poor results

Cuba on Tuesday published policy guidelines for the next five years that signal no new domestic initiatives although it upgraded foreign investment to "fundamental in certain sectors."

The 275-point social and economic plan, coming at a time of weak economic growth and drastically reduced supplies of Venezuelan oil, is extremely similar to one Cuba adopted in 2011, which called for decentralization of its state-run economy, support for some small business, recognition of market forces and the need for more foreign investment.

The reforms in the 2011 plan have, however, yet to be fully implemented because of stiff bureaucratic resistance, President Raul Castro said at a Communist Party Congress in April.

Despite improved relations with the United States and other western countries, there is no sign Cuba is ready to do more than tweak its Soviet-style economy.

Centralized planning and a state monopoly on the means of production lead off the new guidelines, as they did previous ones. Five years ago the reform plan authorized small business, but forbade “concentration of property”; the new one adds to that “wealth.”

The previous document called for a significant reduction in the state’s participation in the sale, distribution and pricing of food in favor of private initiative and market forces, while the new one omits this. In practice the state has once more taken control of distribution and is setting prices.