Thursday, February 27, 2014

Economic Independence?

Economic Independence? / Fernando Damaso
Posted on February 26, 2014

According to official propaganda — intended to validate the experimental
economic measures taken during his early years in power and which is
repeated incessantly — nationalizations and interventions were aimed at
returning the wealth held by foreigners, mostly American, to the people.

Statistics show, however, that this was not exactly the case. Those most
affected were in fact Cubans, who held between 82% and 85% of the
nation's wealth. This included the entrepreneurial and successful middle
class, the principal generator of wealth and employment, most of which
was liquidated during the early years. What little remained was finished
off during the ludicrous "Revolutionary Offensive" of the 1970s.

In his book, The Owners of Cuba 1958, Guillermo Jiménez focuses on the
island's 551 most influential and powerful families. He notes that only
102 were foreign; the rest were Cuban. In most instances the foreigners
were based in Cuba and had Cuban families, including all 65 from Spain.
There were 24 Americans, some of whom had Cuban wives and lived in Cuba.
At the time the nationalizations took place, the economy was largely in
Cuban hands. Some 61.1% of bank deposits were held in Cuban banks, while
Cuban-owned sugar processors accounted for 62.2 of daily production,
with Americans accounting for 38.4%.

I bring this up because now much is being said and written about the
importance of attracting foreign investment to shake the moribund Cuban
economy out of its coma. The same government responsible for expelling
Cuban investors (who were the majority) and foreign investors (who were
the minority), now calls for their return. And what about Cubans?
Priority should first be given to Cubans living in Cuba, then to Cubans
scattered around the world, and finally to foreigners. Or is it that the
authorities do not care about the vaunted economic independence?

It is true that in today's globalized world no one can pursue economic
development on his own, that capital is necessary, no matter where it
comes from. But there must be some respect shown to one's own nationals.
At least that is what one expects of intelligent governments which
actually look out for the interests of their citizens.

26 February 2014

Source: Economic Independence? / Fernando Damaso | Translating Cuba -

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