14 March 2008

It’s The Economy, Estupido

Just when everybody in Cuba was jumping up and down in joyful and gleeful expectation to go buy computers and DVD players and such, along comes the Party Pooper to ruin all the fun- The Communist Party.

According to this uncharacteristically-not so pro-regime AP piece, Granma’s director Lazaro Barredo had these “reservations” about the Cuban people’s expectations:

'I am worried that some people are waiting for the announcement of specific measures that would immediately resolve household or spiritual needs, or ones that would automatically lead to more consumption,' Barredo wrote.

According to Barredo, who we, of course, know is "freely" expressing his personal opinion, because that's what "journalists" do in Granma, Cubans are suffering for a form “malaise”, (maybe he met with ex-pres Carter when the ex-pres paid tribute to Fidel on his vist to the island), and what they need to do is work and sacrifice even more and harder for the revolution. I’ve heard this one before. A few times. Hay que sacrificarse.

'We can't expect more needs to be resolved if people don't work more, if they don't produce more,' he wrote, adding: 'Unfortunately, there is a not-insignificant part of our society ... that wants to live without working.'

The article also has the mandatory quote from Cuban Expert Phil Peters, who blogs about Cuba over at The Cuban Triangle where he posts lots of pretty pictures and comments against the current US Cuba policy, who offers a retort of sorts to Barredo’s comments:

'I don't think the problem is that Cubans want to live better without working for it,' he said. 'The problem is that even by working hard, Cubans cannot live because they are not paid enough to make a decent living.'

With all due respect, and I do respect Peters because he sat across a table from the lovely, talented and hot Maria Elvira Salazar, I think Peters who is described as a working for a “pro-democracy” think tank based outside Washington, needs to dive back in the democracy tank and re-think that answer.

I think we can all agree that the problem in Cuba has nothing to do with whether Cubans work or not or how much they get paid, but who they work for-the regime-which is undemocratic. The problem is lack of democracy and a totalitarian monopoly of all the means of production. Like they say in Miami: No Castro, No Problem.

To be fair, maybe the AP quoted our friend Peters out of context. Or maybe Phil doesn’t work for a pro-democracy think tank, but a tank-democracy pro think. They get stuff mixed up at the AP a lot.


Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Somebody ought to point out to the economic geniuses running everybody's lives down in Cuba, that they fret about over consumption needlessly. The lower the consumption the more the Cuban people must sit on their ass and do nothing. That is why the Cuban government is always warning about consumption and "consumerism" as if it is one of the seven deadly sins. But the reality is the collectivists everywhere want good slave production but want to provide as little as possible for the slaves to consume. That way the collectivists' profit margin is much higher.

Anonymous said...

Phil rocks, so does the Lexington institue, which by the way leans hard right (libertarian).

don't mess with our friend Phil! Not everyone has to think exactly like you.

Phil is major friend of cuban people

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

What's your point anon? By agreeing with this blogger I am "messing" with him somehow? By calling libertarianism "hard right" demonstrates that you may still hold a flat earth perspective on politics. Some actually put Stalin on the left and Hitler on the right. Antiquated thinking. The political spectrum is more aptly described by the Nolan Chart.

Go here and take the test:


Gary Nolan correctly defines these questions into one basic question:

Who decides, you or the government? He breaks this question into two categories:
Personal freedom and economic freedom. Under Noland's chart people like Hitler and Stalin are found at the bottom together in the "Authoritarian" quadrant of the diamond shaped 3D chart. Take the test. You might be surprised where you plot out. But at the least I would hope you refrain from calling we libertarians "hard right" in the future. We're at the top of the chart. Reagan would be hard right.

El Gusano said...


With all do respect, Mr. Peter's thrust seems to be to open Cuba up for business. That makes him a good friend of the corporate interests. Trade, as we have learned in China and Viet Nam is not ynnonimous with freedom which is what Cubans really need.

TEP: I took the quiz. I'm a leftist freedom lover? Ummmm...no.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Being a leftist and a freedom lover is not actually possible. By definition a leftist is okay with sacrificing their own individual freedom for the group. The leftists is okay with letting the leaders decide for the individual what is best for the individual with respect to economic freedom. So you can't be an individual freely making all the decisions about your time, body and money if the leaders control that personal domain. Now one might argue that the best thing for everyone is to sacrifice their personal freedom for the benefit of the group. I would not do so but it is important to realize that this is what collectivism means and is what ails Cuba. But thanks again for taking the test. I will continue to lure you away from the collectivist camp and into my INDIVIDUALISTS' INSURRECTION army. Until I can convince you and all the others to join up I figure you guys are just prisoners of war and as such victims. I'll never be angry at you.