When Raúl Castro steps down as Cuba’s president in February 2018, he will hand off to his successor the unfinished task of reforming the economy, notes William LeoGrande, Professor of Government at American University in Washington, DC. Amongst other problems, ideological suspicion has hampered Cuba’s search for foreign direct investment (FDI), he writes for Americas Quarterly:
While the reform process has had limited success stimulating growth, it has produced a noticeable rise in inequality, price increases that outpace wage growth, and rumblings of political discontent. When food prices surged in 2015-16, the state stepped in, imposing price controls. It did the same to taxi drivers, some of whom resisted by stopping work. The message, Castro made clear, was that markets had a role to play in the new economic policy, but a strictly regulated one, subordinate to political exigencies.
But labor rights are a precondition of democratic development, says a new UN report. Freedom of peaceful assembly and association lie at the core of any functioning democratic system, according to a report by the new Annalisa Ciampi, the new United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
“It is the combination of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of association that strengthens responsive democratic governance systems and ensures the full and meaningful exercise of the right to participate in public affairs,” writes Ciampi in her first report to the UN General Assembly.
“As the Special Rapporteur previously reported, ‘workers face considerable opposition, harassment, stigmatization and even physical attacks’ in the exercise of these fundamental rights,” says Solidarity Center Legal Director Jeff Vogt. [HT: Tula Connell, Solidarity Center, a core institute of the National Endowment for Democracy].
|U.S. investors hoping to do business in Cuba face numerous problems/issues which include dealing with the Cuban government’s violations of the most basic human and labor rights, notes analyst Jaime Suchlicki of the Cuban Studies Institute: