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'Conveying Concerns' or Developing an Economy in Cuba?

'From the beginning it was evident that the regime wanted MSMEs to supplant the self-employed'.

A small business in Cuba.
A small business in Cuba. ACN

Don't complicate things. It is much simpler. It is not necessary to organize a Second Economic/Productive Day Cuba 2022, or anything similar, to produce mechanisms that foster relationships between the country's economic actors. While attending this event, valuable time is wasted  that could be spent reaching agreements, signing contracts and organizing joint operations that might enable the businesses involved to maximize their profits.

So, what is the problem? It is simple: the Communist regime in Cuba is not interested in the kind of spontaneous, natural and efficient movement of private economic activity that would actually spawn mutually beneficial agreements. In fact, it fears it, so it proscribes it, as is the case with the market, supply and demand, which is the instrument for the development of voluntary and non-coercive relationships characterizing agents in any free economy.

Since the regime does not want this kind of free and independent activity in Cuba, it promotes this type of event that, in the end, is good for little. Let no one think otherwise. A statement in Granma says that this day is "a forum where the country's economic actors can convey their concerns to the global organizations charged with supervising productive and economic processes."

Convey what, and to whom? "Concerns" is not the term. The genuine concerns of economic actors are reflected in projects to be implemented, associated with investments that aim to earn money and be profitable while meeting the needs of consumers. What the government is talking about, however, is something else, and has little to do with the business world and business.

Even more serious is the need to transfer these "concerns" to the global organizations that oversee the country's productive and economic processes. We must stop all this empty rhetoric, because these organizations are nothing more than the regime and the Communist Party, which not only want to know everything, but also to maintain absolute control over private economic activity.

Any "concern," whatever it may be, has to be approved by the regime within the Cuban Communist social model, which, seen in perspective, is deeply reactionary, anchored in an ideology dating from the mid-twentieth century that has failed everywhere attempts have been made to implement it, but that survives in Cuba, largely due to the regime's absolute and excessive control over the population.

In other words, there is no point in approving foolish MSMEs and there being 3,563 or 4,000, or 5,000 of them, if these small and medium-sized enterprises and non-agricultural cooperatives do not have the autonomy, freedom or capacity to generate and accumulate wealth and hold private property rights, without limits. As long as their very existence depends on government authorization, to speak of private enterprise in Cuba is to lie. The regime does not allow free-market enterprise, as we know it, and the steps it has been taking to authorize MSMEs and non-agricultural cooperatives are a good example of how it aims to maintain absolute control over the country's economy, state and private.

Therefore, when it was proposed that "there should be mechanisms that connect this large mass of actors, 1,842, to the two economic activities, to satisfy the deficiencies existing in the territory in reference to the Industry and Construction sectors", someone must have replied that the answer is not in these events, but rather in the market, the law of supply and demand, and the definitive elimination of state interference in economic affairs through the plan. The formula works in other countries and could work in Cuba. In fact, it did it magnificently before 1959.

The Communists, however, remain concerned with other matters. For example, they do not understand why there are self-employed people who do not want to become MSMEs or non-agricultural cooperatives in sectors such as Construction. They do not understand that self-employment, in many sectors, is fundamental to the organisation of production and that, no matter how they try, not all fish will enter the net.

This is especially understandable when the only thing the Communist regime has to offer those construction MSMEs are "local development" projects that do nothing but squander the few resources available on fruitless ventures and unproductive experiments that lead nowhere.

From the beginning it was evident that what the regime wanted was for MSMEs to supplant the self-employed, and submit to its orders, checking them and keeping them from constituting any threat to socialist state enterprises; and to send the message that one?s legal personality can be lost at any time if he does not toe the line traced by the hierarchy of local Communist governments. In short, under this political and social system a mixed market economy based on privately-owned companies, as in other countries of the world, will never be allowed. Every step they take confirms this position.

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