Friday, November 12, 2010There's been so much reporting -- or hype -- about economic "reforms" and the recently announced VI Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (CCP) that we thought it'd be helpful to recap what the last one, the V Congress of the CCP -- back in 1997 -- is remembered for.
According to the Encyclopedia of Nations:
At the 1997 Party Congress, Castro endorsed policies intended to maintain the status quo for as long as possible. Sheer necessity has forced him to seek foreign investment in state companies and allow some limited self-employment.
Sound familiar? But wait, it gets better.
Here's a summary of the economic targets set forth by 1997 Party Congress:
· GDP to grow 4-6 percent a year
· Sugar output to increase to 7 million tons
· Nickel production to reach 100,000 tons
· Attraction of 2 million tourists, bringing a gross revenue of $2.6 billion
· Oil needs met increasingly through domestic production, conservation, and savings in private consumption and public transportation
· 50,000 dwellings built each year, mostly in the countryside
· Health care to continue to partly rely on traditional and herbal medicine
· State pensions supplemented by individual savings accounts and life insurance
· Income inequalities to be curtailed through taxation
Sound familiar also? Now here's the real tragic part.
Most of the reporting (hype) on the upcoming VI Congress has focused solely on "economic reforms." And there's a reason for that.
During the 1997 Party Congress, most of the focus was also on "economic reforms," such as self-employment, foreign investment and tourism. Why?
So there would be no expectations about political liberalization -- it's a smoke-screen, a diversion tactic.
It was during the 1997 Party Congress that Raul was officially named Fidel's successor, while the economic reality was that the Cuban military would take control of all hard-currency operations.
Same old Party, same old Congress.
More "reform" you can't believe in.
S: CApitol Hill Cubans