Tuesday, November 2, 2010

News Roundup: Taxes, Agriculture, and the Economic and Political Outlook

Here are links to a number of enlightening articles (all from the good people at Reuters) dealing with the fits and starts of Cuban reform in agriculture, the tax system, and self-employment.  The last article also contains a bit about U.S.-Cuban relations.

  • Reuters' Nelson Acosta on last Monday's release of the new tax code for the self-employed.
  • Reuters' Marc Frank on the worries of Cuban farmers over the pace of reform.  Two steps forward and one step back.  As usual, the English version of the article is shorter and less enlightening than the Spanish version.  Still, in both versions Cuban economist Armando Nova is quoted as saying, "The contracting system should be reduced to the indispensable so that most production can be sold on the basis of supply and demand."  The Spanish version of the article also includes this provocative critique of Cuba's state food production and distribution system from Cuban economist Juan Triana: "No se puede seguir viviendo presos de cabezas acomodadas que no alcanzan nunca a ver la solución que está al alcance de sus narices" (or to paraphrase: "We can't keep being prisoners of comfortable leaders who never manage to see the solutions that are right under their noses" - thanx to a reader for help on that translation).  Also see these older articles and blog posts for useful background on economic debates about the role of Cuba's private sector.  Go here from March on agriculture, go here from April on a lecture in New York by Cuban economists Armando Nova and Omar Perez Villanueva, and go here from August on Marc Frank's soundings of Cuban farmers.
  • Finally, Reuters' Jeff Franks has this sharp analysis of the key political risks to watch for in Cuba in the months to come (H/T Penultimos Dias).

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