Back to top

Is Cuba’s New Policy Towards MSMEs a Response to Brussels?

If the Government has decided to support MSMEs now, it is likely because it is enticed by the lure of European money.

La Habana
A Cuban freelance worker.
A Cuban freelance worker. Reuters

The Cuban government certainly "shines" for its decidedly deliberate decisionmaking. In the last 62 years, things have only happened when and if it suited the regime. Public opinion, economic benefit and the people's rights are only taken into consideration once the State, after it has decided to do something in its own interest, seeks to wrap it up in good intentions for the populace.

Often the Government spends years —and not just a few— mulling over an issue, "investigating" what is already known and about which there is plenty of international experience, including that of pre-Castro Cuba; and then creates commissions that study it, then micro-experiments that it fine-tunes to its liking, then a pilot plan in a municipality that is only later extended to the province ... And then one must wait for a congress of the Party, the ANAP, the Pioneros, or whatever occurs to them, to take the final step, which is always a little one.

In view of the calamitous state of the country's infrastructure, the infinite difficulties the people are suffering daily, the gloomy scenario in light of the lack of medicines and basic foods, how can the authorities be so cynical and move so slowly (and claim that it is for the good of the people) towards the urgent and radical transformations the Cuban economy needs?

The only thing forcing Castroism to change are the circumstances spawned by its own ineptitude. If it weren't for the fact that it no longer has an international victim to exploit, we would not even be seeing these timid, hesitant and very sluggish steps towards some degree of economic freedom —if permits for ventures that do not usually go beyond earning basic levels of subsistence can be classified as such.

Along this line came the recent announcement that the Council of Ministers approved a "refinement for actors in the Cuban economy", which includes socialist state enterprises, non-agricultural cooperatives, MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises), and the self-employed."

This, when it would be so simple to deregulate private property and grant people freedom! But this will not happen; Prime Minister Manuel Marrero announced that "initially (the MSMEs) will not engage in some professional activities, including those that can be carried out by self-employed workers."

The Government is in no hurry. It is probing and experimenting, terrified of losing the control it wields over the people, and dreading the emergence of an autonomous social sector that could live without the State, or even confront it. The people's dependence on the State is an unshakable, basic principle of Castroist doctrine.

Nor have the Cuban authorities lost all hope that, at some point, they will find another source of external funding (if only Biden listened to them...) so that they can then halt and quash any advances towards individual freedom, as they have done on previous occasions.

So, why now the announcement that they "approved" this "refinement" (God only knows what that means) affecting the country's economic actors? Why now, after so much posturing, have they tackled this issue?

Clearly, approving the MSMEs pains them, which is why they will be saddled with more restrictions than "self-employment." The natural thing would be for it to be integrated, not for it to exist in parallel to the MSMEs, because, what are a cobbler, a farmer or a slushie seller if not businesspeople?

The reason why they have done so now may be closely related to a recent news item: the mediation of the Cuba Humanista platform, led by the Christian Democrat Yaxys Cires, who appealed to the US State Department and the European Union, the latter showing willingness to "support the development of capacities and access to financing by Cuba’s non-State sector."

Financing? Anyone who has seen the old show Sábado Gigante, on Univisión, will remember its catchphrase: "Where's the dough, where are the bills, where's the money?" And that is, now the Cuban Government's "Hail Mary full of grace..." and it more willing than Judas to do anything for a few coins.

If the European Union has money to help Cuban MSMEs, "the only thing missing to get our hands on that jackpot is to create them," the Communist government, characterized by its passion for capitalists’ money, must reason.

To finish where we began: the only sure thing in Castroist Cuba is that nothing happens if the Government does not deem it to be in its best interest. If it is moving to bolster MSMEs now, it is probably because it is enticed by the prospect of European money.

Archivado en

Sin comentarios

Necesita crear una cuenta de usuario o iniciar sesión para comentar.