GIGA Focus International Edition English

Cuba: On the Way to Market Socialism?

GIGA Focus | International Edition English | Nummer 05 |

Cuba’s government has initiated plans to lay off half a million state employees by March 2011; an additional 500,000 employees are to follow. An expansion of the private sector will supposedly absorb the newly unemployed personnel.

Analysis
The acute state finance crisis has forced the Cuban government to undertake the most dramatic reform measure since Raúl Castro took office in July 2006. Nevertheless, the leadership continues to argue internally about how much market economy Cuba’s socialism will permit.

  • The laid-off state employees are to transition to occupations in the "non-state sector." This will entail the greatest opening up to private-sector economic activities since the 1959 revolution. With this opening, the question of new social disparities will become an acute one.

  • There is still no consensus among Cuba’s leadership regarding the future role of the private sector: For the reformers, the state should actively promote the new self-employed as an important part of a market socialism modeled after the Vietnamese or Chinese example. However, still-powerful forces in the party and the bureaucracy see the private sector rather as a necessary evil which is politically dangerous and thus needs to be kept limited.

  • In many ways the reform will initially mean the “whitening” of already existing black-market activities. Nevertheless, there are many indications that the opening up to the private sector will take place, also in the future, largely without strong legal foundations. While a lack of legal certainty provides the state with control and sanctioning power, it is also a hindrance to the economic dynamic which these reforms could generate for the economy as a whole.

  • With its awarding of the Sakharov Prize to Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas, the EU Parliament has demonstrated its solidarity with Cuba’s opposition. Although the EU has decided to maintain its "Common Position" on Cuba, it will nevertheless strengthen its efforts to make bilateral relations more flexible—not least because if it does not, increased solo action at the national level is to be expected.

  • Fidel Castro’s public appearances of recent weeks do not herald his political comeback. To the contrary: Raúl Castro has consolidated his power; Fidel’s presence has served primarily to legitimate his brother’s government.

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Vorgeschlagene Zitierweise

Hoffmann, Bert (2010), Cuba: On the Way to Market Socialism?, GIGA Focus International Edition English, 05, urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-275162

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Das German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) – Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien in Hamburg gibt Focus-Reihen zu Afrika, Asien, Lateinamerika, Nahost und zu globalen Fragen heraus. Der GIGA Focus wird vom GIGA redaktionell gestaltet. Die vertretenen Auffassungen stellen die der Autorinnen und Autoren und nicht unbedingt die des Instituts dar. Die Verfassenden sind für den Inhalt ihrer Beiträge verantwortlich. Irrtümer und Auslassungen bleiben vorbehalten. Das GIGA und die Autorinnen und Autoren haften nicht für Richtigkeit und Vollständigkeit oder für Konsequenzen, die sich aus der Nutzung der bereitgestellten Informationen ergeben.

Gesamtredaktion GIGA Focus: Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

Prof. Dr. Bert Hoffmann

Lead Research Fellow
Leitung GIGA Berlin Büro

Prof. Dr. Bert Hoffmann ist Lead Research Fellow am GIGA Institut für Lateinamerika-Studien, Leiter des GIGA Berlin-Büros und Professor für Politikwissenschaft an der Freien Universität Berlin. Er arbeitet zur politischen und sozialen Entwicklung Lateinamerikas und der Karibik und ist Senior Researcher im EU-Jean Monnet-Netzwerk-Projekt „Europe-Cuba Forum“.

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