The Cuban economy has advanced without neoliberal prescriptions
Granma | Friday, 20 December 2019 | Click here for original article
Given the complex international situation Cuba faces, marked by the intensification of hostile U.S. policy, the nation has resisted and achieved positive results, insisted the President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, during a meeting of the Economic Affairs Committee.
“Boosting the Cuban economy is everyone's task,” he said, “We need to propose, think, implement solutions, concretize concepts in order to reanimate and promote."
In this eagerness, let us not miss the opportunity to conduct a deep critical analysis, to enhance local development. This will be the best response to the unjust economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States, he reflected.
"May the National Assembly of People's Power be the propitious place for thinking about and defending the Economic Plan for 2020. Let us take advantage of the smallest opportunities, and go to the grassroots. The best answers can be provided by workers, who are in the front line of production.
“There is a lot of talent and capacity to develop on the island, he said. We must make the economy participative and supportive - that is how we have acted in these complex times. The empire's threats have not achieved their purpose of destroying the Revolution and it has all been thanks to our people,” he said.
The best proof of this is that, thanks to the resources that were allocated to different sectors of the economy, it is expected that in 2020 there will be growth in the Gross Domestic Product of around 1%, said Alejandro Gil Fernandez, Minister of Economy and Planning, adding that this growth rate is possible if we work hard.
He explained that, although it is a modest increase, it will be an important accomplishment, especially given the current context marked by the escalation of U.S. hostile policies toward Cuba.
To achieve this goal, the Minister listed as priorities: "maintain and increase energy conservation measures, increase the quality of services, reduce imports in the tourism sector and give greater participation to national industry.”
He emphasised "the need to strengthen productive chains in foreign investment projects, reinforce local development efforts, move forward on the monetary order and increase ties between academia and the enterprise sector.
It is essential to work together, that everyone does their job, and do it well, in their own arena, commented Esteban Lazo Hernandez, president of the National Assembly of People's Power, during the committee discussion.
CUBA'S MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2019
Diaz-Canel Bermudez referred to the main accomplishments of 2019. The first of these, he noted, is surpassing projections in the Housing Plan.
Progress has been made in the awarding of subsidies and the elimination of bureaucratic procedures. Housing damaged by extreme weather events has been recovered and tens of thousands of dirt floors of dirt throughout the country have been eliminated, he said.
Among other achievements, Cuba has maintained its recognized status as a preferred, safe destination, even though the number of visitors we would have liked was not reached.
He also highlighted how the desolate images left by the devastating tornado that hit Havana, in January of this year, are behind us. By November, almost all of the damage had been repaired, allowing the city to celebrate its 500th anniversary beautifully. Although there is still much to do to heal its wounds, the people see the capital as different, revitalised.
On the other hand, today we can say that we have the best cargo truck and railroad transport situation of the last 20 years, which continues to open the way to export awareness and foreign investment, he said.
The computerisation of society is also advancing. We already have 3g and 4g telephone technology, we have our own applications to facilitate electronic commerce, with platforms such as Transfermóvil and EnZona, among others, he added.
This year, he said, the number of jobs increased, a considerable wage increase was achieved, and we were able to overcome shortages during the first months of the year, in products such as chicken, among others.
We cannot say that everything has been achieved. This 2020 we are going for more," the President insisted.
THE COUNTRY DID NOT COME TO A HALT, EVEN IN THE MOST DIFFICULT DAYS
In September and October, recalled the Cuban head of state, we had less than 50% of the fuel we need, and priority was given to avoiding power outages.
It is true, he pointed out, that the economy slowed down, the pace slowed, investment projects stopped. But, what would have been the approach of those who hand out prescriptions?
The price of fuel and the price of products would have been raised. They would have closed schools, cultural centers... None of that happened here.
In solidarity, he stressed, we all acted as a country. We won, we resisted, the enemies did not achieve their goals.
That is why we are here in the National Assembly projecting how to move forward next year. They ask us to abandon our brothers (the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela) in order to ease the economic blockade.
"Sixty years of dignity are not thrown into the dustbin of history. Cuba will continue to maintain its honour.”
Díaz-Canel Bermúdez referred to the complex international situation, marked by a dysfunctional, corrupt imperial government, whose aggressive behaviour affects all regions.
With this policy, he said, the existing problems in the world and the lack of respect for international law are worsening. For our area, that U.S. government has reaffirmed the Monroe Doctrine, and continues to think that America is its backyard.
Within this context, he said, we have faced escalating blockade measures. Nevertheless, imperialism has failed in the region, experiencing massive anti-neoliberal protests in several countries. In addition, efforts to overthrow Venezuela, have bogged down in the face of the country’s military-civic union, which remains strong in the face of aggression.
The President noted that the U.S. has fabricated a pretext for its aggressive policies citing Cuba’s supposed presence in these places. They fail to recognize that the problem is that the peoples have grown tired.
Neoliberalism, he said, exists thanks to imperialism and capitalism. The battle is against capitalism, the system that generates neoliberal politics.
Cuba maintains its position: in the face of their lies, refusing to surrender, rejecting what they attempt to impose, following our historical path of resistance, struggle and emancipatory solutions, he affirmed.
And for this, he stated, unity is important. May our unity never be broken.
Víctor Manuel Gutiérrez, deputy for the municipality of Boyeros, Havana province, commented, during the Committee discussion, that the country's progress in economic matters, albeit modest, was very important. Despite the limitations of the economic blockade and other coercive measures imposed by the U.S. government, which were intensified in 2019, Cuba has not been stopped, he noted.
Only the unity of the people will be able to overcome periods of difficulty such as those we have recently experienced with fuel, he added, and called for legislators to promote transparency with the people in any situation, however difficult it may be.
Margarita Soroa, representing the municipality of San Cristóbal, in the province of Artemisa, urged members of the Economic Affairs Committee to put proposals recorded in the minutes into action, based on a meticulous analysis of what remains to be done regarding priorities and untapped potential of our economic plan.
Likewise, Marta Aguilera, deputy from the province of Granma, focused her comments on the need to adjust economic plans and projections to real capacity at different levels.
While Oscar Luis Pentón, deputy for Sierpe, Sancti Spíritus, insisted on the leading role of the enterprise system, responsible for 80% of total income in the state budget.
Referring to the experience of the Sur del Jíbaro grain company, he cited new forms of payments, which have motivated workers and increased production, as well as the university-enterprise link that, in the specific case of this municipality, has produced joint projects between higher education institutions in Sancti Spíritus and Holguín, to offer doctorates for the professional development of business leaders in the territory.