From Capitalism to Capitalism

Although many refuse to accept it and some prefer to ignore, Cuba is making the transition to capitalism “in haste and with pause*.” This is the true formula being executed, despite the official rhetoric around “saving socialism,” and “making it prosperous and sustainable,” designed more to appease the nostalgic comrades than the Cuban people.

The system is being constructed “with haste” because the authorities urgently need it to survive and remain in power. “With pause,” because they fear that the installation of capitalism will escape their controlling hands. The steps being taken, now mainly in the economy, point to this and it is clear in the interest in foreign investment, coming from Russia, France, Germany, China, Brazil, Canada, Spain or the United States, all market economies. 

The old joke, “the long and difficult transition to capitalism is produced through socialism” is coming true. No one imagines, however, a capitalism in the style of our Republic era, with its lights and shadows, in the short term. Nor does it seem to be that of Norway, Sweden, Denmark or Switzerland, and much less that of France, Germany or the United States. The capitalism that is coming is State Capitalism, far removed from democracy, where the current leaders will try by every means possible to maintain political power and assure the greatest possible control over the economy.

The capitalism to come is State Capitalism, far removed from democracy, where the current leaders will try by every means possible to maintain political power and assure the greatest possible control over the economy.

Those who hold the most important posts today will position their families and closest collaborators as capitalist businesspeople, and will favor their foreign partners with full capital or joint ventures. Meanwhile, what the rest of Cubans will be left with, if anything, will be small agricultural production and services through different types of cooperatives where, as has already been clarified, “The form of management will change but not the form of property.”

In any event, whatever clothing in which they try to dress up such a system, it is capitalism, however primitive. With the passage of years and the activities of citizens, this atypical model will be decanted and humanized, although it will be very difficult at the beginning. In this context, the reestablishment and maintenance of normal relations with the United States will exercise a certain influence in relation to the democratization of the country, but it will not be the determining element.

The different administrations of that country, be they Democratic or Republican, have prioritized their interests above all others, just like the Cuban government, having maintained relations with democratic governments as well as others of the authoritarian stripe. The White House has no commitment nor obligation to Cubans to bring freedom to our country. To believe that would be to accept a position of subjugation to a foreign power. The commitment and obligation to restore democracy in Cuba is the responsibility, and exclusively the task, of all Cubans.

*Translator’s note: The phrase references a speech by Raul Castro where he stated economic reforms would be undertaken “without haste but without pause.”

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