Cuba: Profound debates anticipated at congress

Issue 

The Cuban Communist Party has called its Sixth Congress for April. It has presented a document for discussion that proposes economic and political reforms to be implement over the next five years.

The proposals are outlined in the “The Economic and Social Policy Development Project”, a 32-page pamphlet that establishes 291 “lines of action”.

The document covers: the economic management model; macroeconomic and foreign economic policies; investment, agro-industrial and energy plans; and initiatives in the tourism, transport, construction and trade sectors.

The pamphlet emphasises that, “the economic policy of this new stage will correspond with the principle that only socialism is capable of overcoming the difficulties and preserving the gains of the revolution, and that in the updating of the economic model, planning will take precedent and not the market”.

It argues: “In the economic policy that is being proposed, it is acknowledged that socialism is equality of rights and equality of opportunity for all citizens, not egalitarianism.

“Labour is at the same time a right and a responsibility, a motive for the personal realisation for each citizen, and should be remunerated in conformity with its quantity and quality.”

In economic matters, the document foreshadows, among other things, the carrying out of studies looking at the elimination of the dual currency — in reference to the existence of both Cuban pesos and “convertible pesos” pegged to the US dollar.

The project said the “socialist state company” would be maintained as the principle model. However, “strong” mixed companies involving the state and foreign investment will also be promoted, while avoiding developing a market economy.

In this scheme, the creation of cooperatives will be promoted, as well as the use of state land for small-scale private farming and the leasing of premises for self-employed work.

The CCP’s daily newspaper, Granma, noted that the project will be discussed “with all the militants, workers and the population in general in order to collect and taking into consideration their opinions and afterwards submit them to the VI Congress”.

The text underlines the need to carry out an evaluation of the state of the economy and the problems to be solved, “in an international context characterised by a systemic structural crisis, with simultaneous economic, financial, energy, food and environmental crises, and where the underdeveloped countries are hardest hit”.

It said: “Cuba with its open economy, and dependent on its foreign economic relations, is not exempt from the impacts of this crisis.”

[Reprinted from America XXI. Translated by Federico Fuentes.]

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