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    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
    confrontation.

    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
    alternate future.

    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
    benefits.

    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
    opposition.

    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 –
    http://translatingcuba.com/if-cuba-strikes-oil-what-then-anddy-sierra-alvarez/