- May 13, 2010
- Reaction score
- Los Angels, USA
- Political Leaning
- Slightly Conservative
Philip Peters article says the following with regard to the self-employment:As Cuba gives private sector a try, experts ponder future
By William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
MEXICO CITY - As Cuba embarks on a bold new experiment - firing 500,000 state workers and letting them plunge into freer markets - experts in the region are watching to see whether the communist government and its baby entrepreneurs can salvage the economy without sacrificing the nation's "socialism or death" model.
The government layoffs, amounting to 10 percent of the 5 million state employees in Cuba, represent the most significant economic changes since President Raul Castro took over from his ailing older brother, the semiretired maximum leader Fidel, in summer 2006.
"It is a major step forward," said Wayne Smith, former chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba and a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. "But they have little choice but to try something because the economy is going down the tubes."
All 500,000 workers are scheduled to be pink-slipped by March 2011, the government announced in Communist Party newspapers and on state television Monday.
"It's a big deal, a big breakthrough, because for the first time the government acknowledges that the private sector, the small-business operators, are not bit players but a strategic part of the Cuban economy, that they are the solution, that they will help save Cuba," said Philip Peters, a scholar at the Lexington Institute and adviser to the Cuba Working Group in the U.S. Congress.
What will the hundreds of thousands of Cubans who suddenly have no day job do? The document suggests that they will have to hustle for themselves. No plans have been announced for capital injections, small-business loans, retraining or more opportunities for foreign investment. No large, relatively successful state enterprises are for sale or lease.
"It is a major step forward," said Wayne Smith.
"It's a big deal, a big breakthrough, because for the first time the government acknowledges that the private sector, the small-business operators, are not bit players but a strategic part of the Cuban economy, that they are the solution, that they will help save Cuba"
A major step forward? A Big deal? A big breakthrough? For the first time?
Phil Peters apparently is unaware that this is not the first time the Castros military dictatorship has used private employment to save it from the economic disaster of its own, as this Reuters article from 1995 indicate:
Self-Employment May Be Answer to Cuba's Problems
Self-Employment May Be Answer to Cuba's Problems : Economics: As factories shut down in recession, tens of thousands take out licenses to provide goods and services. - Los Angeles Times