Our Socialism Rejects Shock Therapies


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Cuban President Diaz Canal Bermudez

By Yenia Silva Correa

Cuba’s President, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez has reiterated the point that the social conquests of the Revolution, protected in the country’s Constitution, will not be threatened during the restructuring process.

Before addressing the core issues of the economic strategy to be implemented during the post-COVID recovery period, and progress made in the monetary restructuring process, President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez noted, in his remarks on Cuban television recently on the unprecedented aggressiveness of U.S. attempts to harass Cuba and disrupt its development.

The empire’s aggression is the greatest threat we face, he stated, they attempt to divide us by raising racial issues, those concerning the LGBTI community, and with financial and commercial persecution.

The current U.S. administration has intensified media campaigns to discredit the Revolution and our principal leaders, he added. “No one questions the fact that there is a mercenary online army making a living from this paid campaign to confront intellectuals and artists committed to the Revolution. Opinion leaders who defend the Revolution are attacked and virtual lynchings committed,” he emphasized.

Their goal is to portray our government as inept. Our main sources of income – health, remittances, tourism – are constantly attacked in an effort to asphyxiate the economy. They are trying to provoke a social explosion in Cuba, as part of an electoral strategy to win favor with the anti-Cuban mafia based mainly in Miami, the President said.

Nonetheless, he insisted, they have not achieved any success with this policy, only setbacks and more setbacks, reiterating that the blockade’s handlers continue to escalate coercive measures every day.

He recalled that during 2020, three U.S. entities were heavily fined. Over the course of Trump’s term in office, 21 such fines have been levied, reaching a total of more than 3 billion dollars, in addition to the 121 punitive measures taken against Cuba in less than two years.

TO REVITALIZE OUR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL STRATEGY

The context described, the President noted, makes the situation we face more difficult, creating uncertainty regarding our fuel supply; disrupting the contracting of services abroad; producing shortages at retail outlets and repressed inflation, evident in long lines outside stores; limiting production and exacerbating the pandemic’s impact on workers.

We have introduced a partial dollarization of the economy, Díaz-Canel recalled, acknowledging the challenges involved in the work leading to monetary and exchange rate unification, one of the necessary tasks identified in agreements reached at the last Party Congress.

We are focusing work on the transformation of agriculture and the reordering of our enterprise system, tasks which we cannot describe as easy, he stressed.

The President referred to the need to increase industrial production, expand the supply of goods and services available, advance the strengthening of state enterprises, transform and modernize commerce.

We have implemented a set of measures and already have proposals on other issues, which have a certain level of approval, and will be informing the population about these, in a timely fashion. We have, however, seen modest results from the measures implemented thus far, he stated.

THE REORDERING TASK: A COMPLEX PROCESS OF STRATEGIC SCOPE

On the issue of monetary restructuring, one of the most important tasks in our economic strategy, the President said that progress has been made, with clear definitions established as to various elements of the process.

The President reiterated that monetary and exchange rate unification is not the magical solution to all our financial problems, but should lead to increased labor productivity and more efficient performance of the productive forces. Photo: Germán Veloz Placencia

“We are now working on training all those involved in the roll-out and creating necessary conditions in the areas that will be impacted. The scope of this task is very broad and entails multiple interrelationships within the economy. We are working on creating the conditions to be able to move to implementation.”

He added that the population will be kept well informed as the process advances, stressing, “We must separate ourselves from the rumors and fake news.”

Regarding the monetary and exchange rate reordering, the President reiterated that the task is necessarily an interdisciplinary and transversal one, which we have undertaken at a difficult time.

As we studied the updating of our economic model, he said, we noted that the monetary restructuring task alone would eliminate a number of obstacles linked to pending economic issues, while stressing that unification of the country’s dual currency system is not the magical solution to all of our financial problems, but it should lead to increased labor productivity and more efficient performance of the productive forces.

As part of the process, some unwarranted subsidies will also be terminated, while wage, pension and price reform is to be implemented.

The Cuban President reaffirmed that our socialism rejects the implementation of shock therapies, and plans include support for anyone who finds themselves in a vulnerable situation, emphasizing that the reordering will in no way threaten the conquests of the Revolution, which are protected in the Constitution.

He pointed out that, in the first stage of the process, the household “libreta” which provides access to a number of essential foodstuffs, at subsidized prices, will be maintained as a mechanism to assure availability of basic items when they are in short supply, and prevent hoarding and speculation.

“Later, as our markets improve their situation and a group of economic and financial relations advance, we will move toward eliminating the libreta,” he stated.

The President reaffirmed that the Cuban state will guarantee the population’s bank deposits, and those of national and foreign legal entities, as well as all cash, whether in CUC, CUP or MLC. This is a principle established by the Comadante en jefe and maintained by Raúl, which will be respected during the restructuring. No one needs to worry about their accounts, including our international collaborators.

Díaz-Canel explained, “We are not going to a change of currency as we did in the first years of the Revolution,” and reiterated that the national peso will remain, and will be exchangeable for freely convertible currency.

During the process, he stated, plenty of time will be available to conduct all the necessary transactions, to convert the currencies, he clarified.

He added that, over the coming weeks, the Minister of Economy and other officials will explain all aspects of the monetary and exchange rate unification: the main concepts, and all the issues we will be following closely. We are going to prepare the population to understand the process, the President stated, to ensure that no one has false expectations; so the population knows what the change is meant to facilitate and what it does not affect.

When all conditions are in place and the effective date of the unification is established, Díaz-Canel said, our mass media will inform the population and detail exactly how operations will proceed in the period between the announcement and the first day of implementation.

He repeated that this is a process that will make it possible to address many issues that today are preventing progress on the updating of Cuba’s economic and social model of socialist development.

“The export sector will benefit by receiving higher CUP income from exported products. Price correction is facilitated, which should allow national goods, if produced efficiently, to be less expensive than imported goods. Incentives are created to increase efficiency and competitiveness in the enterprise sector. The replacement of imports (with domestic products) and efficient production chains are promoted and greater transparency in accounting is facilitated,” the President stated.

He added, “The adequate structuring of costs and prices significantly facilitates the evaluation of direct foreign investment projects and creates the conditions to establish comparisons based on international parameters.”

Addressing the adjustment in relations between the state and non-state sector inherent in the monetary reordering process, he noted that unification “favors the improvement of possibilities for complementarity between the two, which was the concept when we recognized this sector, and opportunities are created to support an increase in salaries, an increase in pensions and social security benefits and their purchasing power.”

“We ask the population to remain attentive over the coming days. We have the confidence of the majority of our people, and the unity needed, with the leadership of the Party, to achieve success in this complex process of strategic scope,” he concluded.

Author: Yenia Silva Correa | informacion@granma.cu


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