Leaving politics and ideology aside, when common sense dictates that what the Cuban people urgently needs is economic freedom to avoid sinking further into poverty and to start rebuilding their devastated country, the “new government” decides to do exactly the opposite: to impose more restrictions on the emerging private sector, which is the engine that drives every economy in the modern world.
This reveals the prevailing divorce among the generals, colonels, commanders, the high level civilian bureaucrats of the Communist Party, the State, and the rest of the 11.2 million inhabitants of the island. The people they claim to represent as rulers. These “revolutionary” leaders live themselves inside a capitalist state bubble, enjoy life as very rich people, or even as millionaires. They could not care lest for the rest of their fellow Cubans. That is, after all, Socialism.
On this occasion, the new trick about to be applied to self-employed people borders on criminality. Specially taking into account the present deep economic crisis which inevitable results from an absurd economic system and the ongoing social and economic catastrophe presently existing in Venezuela.
The new obstacles to the country’s economic activity will come into effect in December 2018, and will aggravate the national crisis. The dictatorship will prohibit a self-employed person from operating more than one business. A simple example: if someone rents part of his house to a foreign tourist he or she cannot at the same time offer him breakfast (under the bed & breakfast concept). It’s just prohibited. Otherwise jail awaits the violators. And whoever owns today a restaurant in one neighborhood and a similar enterprise in another, will be required to close one of the two.
Result? These entrepreneurs will have fewer clients, and since they will obtain lower income, instead of paying more taxes to the State they will pay less. Everyone will lose and poverty will increase.
The last straw is that among the new obstacles is the prohibition of having second parties acting as owners of a business but when they actually really represent the real owner. Why? To avoid the “concentration of wealth”. They will also be required to document and demonstrate the origin of the funds before opening the business.
It is a mockery. The regime’s hierarchy has millions of dollars and buoyant businesses abroad under the names of front men, which in many cases include their own children, grandchildren and other friends and relatives, even inside Cuba. They are all wealthy, but with the difference being that their investments originated from stolen funds of the Cuban State.
And this leads to another great mockery. It is argued that the new measures will prevent the use of products and “materials of illicit origin”. If there is no wholesale market, and the retail market does not have those inputs and materials, people get them as they can: bribing directors, administrators, warehouse managers and police, or stealing them directly from the warehouses.
Far from harassing the private sector, the government should support it and facilitate its expansion. Only in this way can poverty, that overwhelms Cuban society, be reduced. Currently, according to official figures last May, there are 591,456 self-employed people in the country, employing some 700,000 workers. Altogether, 12% of the nation’s workforce already works in that embattled private world.
For political and ideological reasons the dictatorship refuses to report what proportion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) generates that 12% of Cuban workers, who unfortunately, also for ideological reasons, cannot produce industrial or technological goods, but are authorize only to provide certain basic and non- professional services.
Just one fact: in China, ruled by the same Communist Party created by Mao Tse Tung, the private sector generates almost 70% of the world’s largest GDP after the US.
On the other hand, what does the proposal to recognize “the role of the market and new forms of property, including private ownership” reallly means in the fore coming constitutional reform? The road to the piñatas of the nomenklatura or to open the country to foreign investment before Cubans could invest in them? Or both?