Marino Murillo, the “Antifidelista”

Mariano Murillo, ministro de Economía y Planificación en Cuba. (EFE)
Mariano Murillo, Minister of Economy and Planning in Cuba. (EFE)

Like those erratic comets whose pulse astronomers have not yet measured, Marino Murillo disappears and reappears on the Cuban political scene, generating gossip about his “thunder” when he disappears and expectations about its relentless ascent when he returns.

Those who knew him when he was the Director of the Economy in the Ministry of the Food Industry say that Murillo was the official who struggled hardest to get national production to substitute for imports. However, when he served as Minister of Internal Trade (2006-2009) he was the one who increased the trade in imported drinks, with obvious consequences for the domestic industry.

Now, in addition to being Minister of Economy and Planning, he is the member of the Communist Party Politburo responsible for implementing the guidelines of the 6th Congress, or, and it’s the same thing, the man who keeps track of the reforms.

“We must concern ourselves with creating wealth, because the economies with the best results are those that have been able to sustain production.” said Murillo

Which explains that Murillo will “put it to the test” as teachers say to their students when they present them with some new significant detail of the subject at hand. And recently he pointed out something revealing to the deputies of the 8th legislature of the Cuban Parliament: Cuban companies are governed by the fundamental law of capitalism. Clearly, he didn’t formulate it like that, but for someone with a degree in Economics who studied in the Soviet Union, the statement that the fundamental law of the capitalist system is to profit through capital gains is something that is learned like a catechism.

Therefore – and I am quoting from memory now, when he said that the basic objective of companies (Socialist State companies) was to produce, sell and make profits, it was like setting aside what the theorists enunciate as the fundamental law of the Socialist system which is expressed in the proposition of “satisfying the needs of an ever growing population.”

Not content with that, two days after he appeared before the delegates of the 10th Congress of the Young Communist Union, and after clarifying that the growth of 4.7% in the GDP is still not reflected in the domestic economy, it is understood on the shelves and in the refrigerators of every home, he said that, “for this to happen the GDP needs to grow at a sustained rate of 5% to 6% over several years.”

And he added, “We must concern ourselves with creating wealth, because the economies with the best results are those that have been able to sustain production. The model must start from the idea that all the economic actors  and the productive forces are working equally and non-stop.

Murillo is the loudest voice against the chorus loyal to Fidel, he said that the time will come when people can live on their wages

Perhaps I have not been attentive to the evolution of the official discourse and I’ve forgotten something, but I don’t recall the moment in which a self-criticism was made to what was, in its time, the magnetic north of the Revolutionary compass: “It is not to create conscience with money or wealth, but to create wealth with conscience.” (Fidel Castro, speech delivered on 26 July 1968).

If that has changed, Murillo is the loudest voice against the chorus loyal to Fidel, proof of that is in the same speech delivered to the Party pigeons, Murillo said that the time will come when people can live on their wages, which will increase depending on the ability to create wealth. “We have to make efficient use of the Socialist State enterprise to create wealth, which will be returned in salaries,” he stressed in case anyone had not understood.

Murillo is absolutely right, although he stops short, or perhaps he is measuring his steps. What I can’t understand is why this Minister of the Economy doesn’t mention “socialist emulation” or “moral incentives”… am I missing something?


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