If Cuba Strikes Oil, What Then
If Cuba Strikes Oil, What Then? / Anddy Sierra Alvarez
Posted on November 2, 2014
The Cuban government is betting on the Port of Mariel to strengthen its
economy, but what would happen if crude oil were found in Cuban territory?
Many Cubans are not very confident of “progress.” The government boasts
of this being the definitive path to the Island’s development. Is it
possible that the government has a development structure in place?
It is true that the Cuban economy lacks a solid base, following
commercial experiments in the interior that continue to constrain Cubans
and prevent their development. All because of political fears — one
being to limit personal enrichment to prevent an individual from
directing his spending power towards a possible career or political
With Cubans thus constrained since 1959, chaos has reigned in the gross
national product of Cuba. The most recent crisis was the “opening” of
the private sector. The government had no choice in the matter — it was
not intended as a social development. Inflation had reached the limit
and something had to be done. This was not an audacious decision to
maintain the internal equilibrium of the country.
Private-sector employees, who as of September 2014 numbered 99,395
self-employed workers, cannot develop an entrepreneurial project no
matter how small it is. They are limited to dealing in raw material
acquired on the Island, or rather, to engaging in retail transactions
that have created major stress in the community.
Let us imagine that we now have petroleum, that we found a full well,
sufficient to satisfy all commercial needs and propel the country
towards development and future ranking among the 10 major economic
players in the world.
All seems to be going excellently: the Cuban will become a person, he
will earn his own livelihood, and he will recapture all that was lost
throughout the years. Social values, human rights, democracy, social
conscience and a political experience will flourish that today are
lacking among the inhabitants of the “Great Green Alligator.”
But, how many years will it take to see these changes? Will the regime
give the green light to social progress? This seems doubtful. No! The
central nervous systems of these socialist — sorry, communist — leaders
cannot fathom anything other than absolute power. Their godfathers
(Fidel and Raúl Castro) have inserted values from another galaxy into a
Let us suppose that I now want to own a business. I manage my resources
and funds to build a GNC store to sell nutritional supplements –
monohydrate creatine, L-carnitine, whey proteins, Centrum, etc. (just so
you understand what I’m talking about).
With the policies in place currently and in the future, I cannot do
this. I am limited to doing business with foreign business interests.
There exist only state eentrepreneurs directly linked to the government,
who are authorized for this type of activity. Clearly, the government’s
interests are assured with these individuals.
How will the island develop? Only if we, Cuban citizens, are an
important link in the chain of our country’s development. It is very
clear that we are not part of the system, that we do not count, except
for where there are direct benefits to the State. Only for the Census
does everyone count.
It is a simple proposition: I have my store, I make progress in my
personal economy, I contribute taxes to the country, and my family also
Just like me, many others embark on this path — unlike in the current
“private sector” model, which is a lie. Thievery, diversion of
resources, and inflated prices comprise this so-called “private sector.”
What is wrong with this picture? That there are different social classes
in Cuba? This has been the case for many years.
The leaders belong to the high class, and the inhabitants, for the most
part, belong to the low class, and a few are in the middle class (aided
financially by their relatives abroad). So, there are social
differences! Or, I’m mistaken.
Truly, there is no hope unless there is a change in the form of
government. The leaders of the Revolution are in their “third age” or
beyond. The new generation of leaders will assume hereditary places,
not earned promotions, having been bred on very totalitarian politics.
The key to development is not just about striking oil. It is about
fundamentally changing the commercial and social structures of the
country. It is about thinking differently, something which today will
land you in the ditch. If you don’t believe me, just ask the Cuban
It is curious that Fidel defines his concept of Revolution as
“everything that needs to be changed.” Well, the way everything
functions today is apparently still good as far as he is concerned — if
he is still even capable of rational thought, that is.
Translated By: Alicia Barraqué Ellison
13 October 2014
Source: If Cuba Strikes Oil, What Then? / Anddy Sierra Alvarez |
Translating Cuba –