HAVANA, June 15th The president of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, made an unexpected announcement today confirming that from next year the economic plans of state-owned companies will no longer
“come from above”, as the workers and managers of each of them they will have to trace their own projects and goals to become “financially self-sustainable companies”.
The information, published this morning by the government newspaper Granma, was said by Diaz-Canel during the closing of the Congress of Economists and the president himself has described it as “a bold step” that will try to refloat the damaged economy of the country.
The process of decentralization of the economy in Cuba puts an end to more than five decades of verticality in its economic plans, a method implemented by the government of the late Fidel Castro and which in the first years of the Revolution could be classified as “effective”, but that over time became a real burden for the largest of the Antilles and exploded with the crisis of the special period in the 1990s.
Experts have been repeating that a measure like this is a challenge for the “vertical culture” of the Cuban economy, adapted to follow orders always of a superior structure.
“To be effective this measure, claimed for years, a change of mentality is necessary. Jump to the new moment and know that the Plan will not arrive from above. It is an audacious and revolutionary measure that demands objectivity, realism and conscience “, insisted Díaz-Canel.
According to the Cuban leader, the centralized economy has only led to “corruption and illegality, low level of savings, indebtedness of the State and insufficient income from exports”; becoming a burden on the economy of the country.
Díaz-Canel asked at the meeting the economists, and the rest of the leaders of the country, to adopt a “smart and concrete” attitude after this announcement so that they can find “safe and specific solutions” to every problem that may arise in the structures of economic management.
He also called on the different ministers under his command to change the “import mentality that threatens the initiative and creativity of Cubans in the country,” as well as organize the private sector, “without blocking or slowing down their performance.”
“The end of the US blockade does not depend on us, but we can solve the internal blockade that we have imposed ourselves for years if we work with intelligence, effort and collective creativity,” he said.
Miguel Díaz-Canel, who took office in April 2018 from the hands of former President Raul Castro, inherited the reforms initiated by his predecessor, which opened the country to foreign investment and boosted self-employment to deflate the bulky state staff.
The recently proclaimed Cuban Constitution included for the first time foreign investment and private property, and the Government has recognized on several occasions that the injection of foreign capital and the private sector are vital to revive the economy, although in practice it still holds obstacles that slow down this contribution.