Cuba's Mariel Development Zone Unmasked
April 18, 2014
HAVANA TIMES — Ana Teresa Igarza, director general of the Mariel Special
Development Zone (ZEDM) Regulations Office, recently announced that a
special hard-currency exchange rate had been established for Zone employees.
Contracted employees will receive 80 percent of the salaries agreed to
by Cuban employment agencies and investors, and payments are to be made
in regular Cuban pesos (CUP), at a "special" exchange rate of 1 Cuban
Convertible Peso (CUC) to 10 CUP. This is as "special" as the Special
That is to say, if the employment agency negotiates a 1,000 CUC salary
(or its equivalent in US dollars) for a Cuban worker, the agency will
pocket the 1,000 CUC (or its equivalent in US dollars) and pay the Cuban
worker (in CUP) 80 percent of the sum agreed to, at the special exchange
rate of 10 CUP to 1 CUC.
If mathematics hasn't also been deformed by "State socialism", this
means the worker will receive 10 Cuban pesos for each CUC, which means
that their salary would be 8,000 CUP (10 x 800).
When that worker comes out of the ZEDM, in order to purchase anything at
the hard-currency stores operated by Cuba's military monopoly, they will
have to resort to government exchange locales (or CADECAS), where they
are required to buy CUC at an exchange rate of 25 to 1. Thus, their
8,000 Cuban pesos become 320 CUC.
This means that, of the 1,000 CUC (or their equivalent in US dollars)
paid by the investor, Cuban workers will only receive 32%. To this, we
must add that the wage worker must pay an additional 5 percent for State
"social security", which means that they are ultimately only receiving
27 percent of the original 1,000 CUC.
A total of 63 percent will go to the State, which will sit back and not
"get its hands dirty" – it will pocket this only for acting as an
"intermediary" between the investor, a euphemism for a foreign
capitalist exploiter, and Cuban salaried workers.
A crafty maneuver, true, but it can't hide the double exploitation they
would submit Cuban workers to, between the foreign capitalists and the
extortionist State which, to add insult to injury, leaves workers
helpless, deprived of laws that could protect them from their employers.
Having accustomed Cuba's working class to hyper-exploitation, the State
of course expects workers to content themselves with 32 % of their
salaries. The other 68 % goes to the "nation."
The benefits that the Mariel port mega-project brings the Cuban working
class are becoming clear.
The much publicized Mariel project thus takes off its "progressive" mask
to show its true face, to reveal itself as the extortionist of Cuban
It is a clear illustration of the sought-after alliance between Cuba's
State monopoly capitalism (which has sought to pass itself off as
"socialism") and international capital, coming together to jointly
exploit Cuba's workforce.
Source: Cuba's Mariel Development Zone Unmasked - Havana Times.org -