Is Cuba a Socialist country?
2 weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to the beautiful island of Cuba. One of the extraordinary natural features of the island is the large number of subsurface limestone caverns, notably the caves of Cotilla, situated near Havana. Most of the numerous rivers of Cuba are short and unnavigable. The chief stream is the Cauto, located in the southeast. The sea is incredible awesome.
Something that cannot be denied is the conditions in which people lives. On several occasions, Cuban President Raul Castro has stressed the importance of changes in people’s mentality, as an objective of the Communist Party but considered one of the most difficult to achieve.
That party congress was devoted entirely to the economy in an effort that has been called “updating Cuba’s socialist model,” which means undertaking a reform process that gives more space to the market, expands self-employment and other forms of ownership (including private small, medium-scale and cooperative enterprises) – all without dismantling the broad base of state ownership considered essential for socialism.
These changes are totally necessary for Cuban citizens; they spend the 85 % of their salary just in food. The reason is that Cuba produce only 20% of their ¨food¨ they have to import 80% of the food, of course, with international prices which are pretty high. For example, cereal costs 8 dollars, in México that would costs 4 dollars. Gasoline is extremely expensive 2.5 dollars per liter.
There are several products unachievable for most of the population, these are: Milk, cheese, meat (cow, chicken and pork) condensed milk, ketchup, ice cream, mustard…
If we mention the state as an economic category, the image that comes to mind among most Cubans — especially those men and women now with gray hair — is that of the classical form of socialism that emerged after Lenin led the Bolshevik Revolution.
Therefore, as we delve into the dilemma of “obsolete dogmas and criteria,” we turn to Hugo Chavez, the self-declared disciple of Fidel Castro and a close friend of revolutionary Cuba.
The Venezuelan president speaks constantly of “socialism of the 21st century.” He doesn’t venture into the difficult paths of economic theory, but instead concerns himself with achieving the greatest degree of social justice for his people, together with the greatest amount of solidarity in all spheres.
Clearly, the former socialist systems (referred to by many as “real socialism”) failed in Eastern Europe and the USSR. Some disappeared earlier and others later, with the countries that survived that extraordinary social experiment having had to implement reforms that have marked them forever, even in Cuba now, by the introduction of market mechanisms.
This gives the appearance of the return to the capitalist past, though without losing the power of the workers, symbolized by the retention of the single-party state and Marxist-Leninist ideology, each with the particular imprint of the recognized founders in each nation.
What is real, is the misconception of market and capitalism, the Azteca Culture used to change their products with cacao as money, there was a market, is that capitalism?? Of course not!!
The popular feelings and views of Cubans point in the direction of the acceptance of market mechanisms, as was corroborated by tens of thousands of views expressed during the mass discussions prior to the Sixth Party Congress.
Finally, I can affirm that Cuba is not a socialist Country, of course if we understand socialism in the classic way (Lenin, Marx) the economic Cuban system is unique.