By Lissett Izquierdo, Cubadebate journalist. Graduated from the University of Havana (2014). She worked at the Cuban News Agency from 2011 until September 2018.
and Ferrer Ariel Ley Royero
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The Cuban economy plan for 2020 will have a new conception: it will be elaborated without specific directives or limits, since it will come out of the active participation of workers in each company, informed Alejandro Gil, Minister of Economy and Planning (MEP), this Wednesday.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the VIII Congress of the National Association of Economists and Accountants of Cuba (ANEC), at the Havana Convention Center, the Minister argued that planning will become a collective construction, in which the potentialities of the country’s entities are identified.
Gil reminded the delegates and guests that up to the moment a global model of the economy was made, from which the specific directives for sectors came out, that is to say, the requests for goods and services, as well as the pre-defined level of imports and exports that the economy would have.
According to Gil, now “there is no straitjacket,” but we will have to be objective, realistic and conscious. This new way, demanded for years by the workers, also requires a change of mentality, because “there will be those who are used to the numbers coming from above,” said the minister.
For this reason, he said, this process – which is currently taking place in the labor collectives – will require the support of ANEC and the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC). “The plan that is built has to be by nature more efficient than the one that came from the top down.
Gil ratified that for next year, in the midst of the restrictions that the country presents and the tightening of the blockade imposed by the United States, growth and development can be guaranteed due to the existence of human capital, a national industry with potentialities to be better exploited and a more diversified foreign trade.
Among the priorities, he mentioned activities related to food production, housing programs, transportation, computerization and medicines. The financing of national industry will also take precedence.
In the words of the head of the MEP, one of the problems that hinders the performance of the Cuban economy is the persistence of a mentality that is highly dependent on imports. In recent years there has been a trend towards increasing purchases abroad, which has an impact today, he argued.
He explained that goods are imported that with efforts can be produced within the country. For example, animal feed for pigs, because when there are failures in their purchase, the production and commercialization potholes appear, as happened in the last quarter of last year.
“The economy must prepare itself to gradually reduce these purchases, although it will not be resolved immediately,” he said.
In agreement with Gil, one of the ways to strengthen national industry is to promote productive chains, based on policies and financial incentives. It has also been conceived to strengthen local development projects, based on the use of the endogenous resources of the territories.
Another topic discussed by the Minister of Economy was that of investments. He commented that not infrequently there are differences between feasibility studies and yields. In these studies, scientific rigor must prevail, he said.
He added that the return on investment is little analyzed, when the most important thing is the examination of the expected result of the investment and how it impacted the economy.
Economists committed to the development of their country
In the opening remarks, Oscar Luis Hung Pentón, president of ANEC, reiterated the commitment of the more than 80,200 members of the organization to the process of updating the Cuban economic model.
In reviewing ANEC’s performance in recent years, Hung Pentón highlighted the activity of improvement, especially of officials and specialists in the state sector of the economy, as well as the development of science.
On the other hand, the working links between ANEC and the Permanent Commission for the Implementation and Development of the Guidelines constitute an expression of the close communication existing today between the governmental structures, directly involved in the transformations of the economy, and the prevailing Cuban economic thought in the civil society, said the expert.
The meeting was attended by Jorge Cuevas Ramos, member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Party and Head of its Economic Department; Meisi Bolaños, head of Finance and Prices; and Abel Prieto, director of the Martiano Program Office and president of the José Martí Cultural Society.
By István Ojeda Bello
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
For the first time, readers have in the same volume all the known letters of our Heroic Guerrilla, thanks to the joint effort of Ocean Sur Publishing House and Che Guevara Study Center with the Epistolary book of a time. Letters 1947-1967 Ernesto Guevara.
The text was presented this Friday at the Casa de la Amistad in Havana with the presence of relatives of the Argentinean-Cuban revolutionary fighter; and Fernando Rojas, Vice-Minister of Culture; Fernando González, Hero of the Republic of Cuba and president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, as well as Adán Chávez Frías, ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in our country.
In Epistolario de un tiempo… Che’s most famous missives converge, such as his farewells to the Cuban people and their children, along with another appreciable number of letters that denote his communication with figures of the politics, art and society of his time, such as Haydée Santamaría, Armando Hart, Celia Sánchez, Carlos Rafael Rodríguez, Regino G. Boti, Nicolás Guillén, Ernesto Sábato or Lisandro Otero, as well as his messages or reflections with institutions, media and ordinary citizens.
Many of these documents had remained unpublished until now, noted researcher Disamis Arcia Muñoz who along with Dr. Maria del Carmen Ariet Garcia was in charge of the compilation.
This book, he emphasized, helps to clarify controversial moments in the life of the Guerrilla of America as his discrepancies with other revolutionary fighters; but also to give a more intimate look to his conversations with close friends and even with strangers.
Arcia Muñoz stressed the importance of making known the epistle that Che sent to Fidel Castro on March 26, 1965. It, he affirmed, together with Socialism and Man in Cuba, and its inconclusive Critical Notes on Political Economy, completes the Guevara triad of thinking about the Cuban Revolution from its external projection, its technological development and the problems of socialist transition.
When reading several passages of the text, Aleida Guevara March noted that many of the realities described by her father can be appreciated in contemporary times. She also emphasized how, through the letters, we know this tender and paternal angle of a man who articulated sensitivity and sense of humor with a high sense of duty and self-criticism. “In this book you can find those things,” she concluded.