A new Cuba – or Market-Leninism?


The independent Center for Legal Information Cubalex warned Thursday that the attack launched by the regime against it last Friday is not over and that its members could be subject to “criminal and administrative proceedings,” Diario de Cuba reports. The project, which provides free legal advice to citizens, prepares reports on human rights and presents them to international organizations, called for “the support of the international community and monitoring” of their case.

In an illuminating, must-read essay on the background to the restoration of U.S.-Cuban ties, The New Yorker’s John Lee Anderson asked President Obama why, considering Fidel Castro’s long-standing distrust of the Americans, his brother Raúl had finally stepped forward:

“It’s my sense that two things are going on,” he said. “One is that there is a recognition—particularly in light of what’s happening in Venezuela—that sustaining their economic model over the next ten years becomes increasingly untenable. So they’re very much in the mode of: how do we make our economy run without giving up power?” He went on, “My impression also is that Raúl recognizes that any substantial change to their economic system—and, by extension, at least their civil society, if not their full political system—requires him to do the downfield blocking. If a younger generation tries to pull this off without the revolutionary credentials, there will be too much pushback.”…

“I said this directly to Raúl,” Obama told me. “ ‘It is not my objective to see Cuba turned into some tourist playground for the United States.’ There are genuine gains they made in health care and education that are worth preserving.” He went on, “ ‘By opening up your economy, you can transform Havana in a way that really works for the economy and works for you. But it can’t just be haphazard. It can’t be opening it up to the highest bidder, and then suddenly you’ve got the cruises coming in and you’ve got fast-food joints popping up in the middle of the old city.’ I said, ‘You should find advisers—and they probably shouldn’t be U.S. advisers—to think about a controlled, thoughtful development plan.’ ” He said that he proposed calling Singapore, or one of the Scandinavian countries— ‘‘ ‘whoever it is that you think has properly balanced a market economy with some sort of planning.’ ”

But the regime is more attracted to a Market-Leninist model, the President suggests:

Obama said, “I suspect that the model that appeals to him most is a China, Vietnam type of shift, where, slowly, market elements are introduced but an authoritarian political system remains.” He suggested that such a strategy would be inherently short-lived. “China may be able to pull that off for a while—for a pretty long while, given the culture and the size of the country and its ability to isolate itself from outside forces. It’s very hard for a small country to pull that off. Once you start being part of the global economy and the global supply chain, things happen quickly.”



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