A step in the right direction for Cuba
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Raul Castro’s latest move towards a more business friendly economy is a positive development for Cuban society. This is a continuation of Raul Castro’s pragmatism with regards to the Cuban economy when he inherited the country from his brother in 2006. Such reforms include the eliminating wage caps, lifting a nine-year ban on privately operated taxis, and opening up unused land to private farmers.
Improvements in Cuba’s international position have also been considerable. Raul Castro’s comparatively liberal approach to governance has recently secured Cuban foreign trade agreements with both China and Russia and has helped to end EU sanctions. Furthermore, a 2008 poll taken by Florida International University revealed that over half of Miami’s Cuban-American population are in favour of removing the US embargo and travel restrictions.
Raul Castro is still very much the heir to his brother’s Marxist dynasty. But these recent developments represent a move towards greater Cuban integration into the international market and away from the destructive myths of Cuban autarky (its economy was mostly, until the 1990s, propped up by ideologically motivated Soviet investment) and central planning. This can only be good for Cuba. Whether economic reforms will be backed up with much needed political and social reform however remains to be seen.