Sunday, July 5, 2015

Fifo in '05: "No one here has become a neo-liberal!"

Up late re-reading the chapter on Cuba's private, home-based "paladar" restaurants from the book "Entrepreneurial Cuba" that I recently published with Arch Ritter, and I came across this GEM from one of Fifo's last marathon speeches on November 17, 2005:

"Referring to U.S. promotion of private enterprise in Cuba, Fidel Castro reminded his listeners that self-employment has no real future in a socialist Cuba. 'The Empire was hoping that Cuba would have many more paladares but it appears that there will be no more of them. What do they think, that we have become neo-liberals? No one here has become a neo-liberal'."

Can someone please tell Raúl?!

Or, perhaps I should say, "What a difference a decade makes" or "This is what change looks like."

Fidel equated self-employment and paladares with neo-liberalism (!).

Raúl sees them as part of a new, still socialist Cuban economic model where the (still euphemistically named) "non-sate sector" plays and complementary role in economic development and the provision of goods, services, and employment, allowing the state to focus on the fundamentals.

Compare the above quote from Fidel, with this one from Raúl from December 2010:

“Self-employment is one more alternative aimed at increasing the supply of goods and services to the population. We should facilitate their work rather than generate stigmas and prejudices against them, much less demonize them. It is fundamental that we modify the existing negative approach that quite a few of us have towards this form of private work.”

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