Re: [CubaNews] GUARDIAN: Cuba suspends Communist party congress
- Just as the poor in the US are worse hit by this economic "downturn"*, any poor country will be seriously effected. More so if it's Cuba under the blockade. At any rate, Cuba's methods not only to deal with the crisis but how it continues to involve all Cubans in this process MUST be a model for us in the US to empower our poor and working classes.
* I'm still not convinced this downturn is real vs a tactical "screaming" of the economy to shake loose social programs (being done in spades) while big business is propped up (by the bail full!)
Lowell B. Denny, III - Ibu Ala Iña
Long Beach, CA USA
From: Walter Lippmann <walterlx@...>
To: CubaNews <CubaNews@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Fri, Jul 31, 2009 3:24 pm
Subject: [CubaNews] GUARDIAN: Cuba suspends Communist party congress
(This article postulates a split in the PCC
leadership, though he has no evidence with
which to back up such speculation.)
Cuba suspends Communist party congress
• Congress postponed as Cuba focuses on economic crisis
• 'Things are very serious,' Communist party paper says
• Cuba's tourism and nickel exports take a hit
* Buzz up!
* Digg it
* Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent
* guardian.co.uk, Friday 31 July 2009 17.43 BST
Cuba has suspended what would have been a hist
oric Communist party congress on the grounds it needs to focus on a severe economic crisis battering the island.
President Raúl Castro and senior officials indefinitely postponed the planned congress, the first since 1997, amid an alarming tumble in state revenue which has revived tough austerity measures.
The Communist party newspaper, Granma, announced today the congress - which was expected to groom new leaders - would not be held "until this crucial phase has been overcome".
In recent weeks offices and shops have sweltered without air conditioning and factories have been shut at peak hours to reduce energy consumption. Subsidised lunches have been cut and basics such as fruit, vegetables and dairy products have become scarce. According to Granma, the president warned "things are very serious" and worse is to come. "The principal matter is the economy.. we are up against an imperative to make full accounts of what the country really has available."
With an average state monthly salary of just £12, Cubans are obliged to scrimp and hustle on the black market even when things are going relatively well.
"Cuba faces a long, hot summer of discontent. Virtually every key economic indicator is moving in the wrong direction as the global economic slowdown is excerbating deficiencies long been apparent in Cuba's economic management," said Dan Erikson, author of the Cuba Wars and an analyst at the Inter-American Dialogue thinktank.
After succeeding his ailing brother Fidel last year, Raúl promised material improv
ements to shore up the 50-year-old revolution. But then three tropical storms devastated agriculture and infrastructure, causing an estimated £6bn damage, and the global recession hit tourism and nickel exports.
Growth estimates for this year have been slashed from 6% to 1.7% and even that figure is inflated by including free education, healthcare and food rations. The government is struggling to pay creditors, prompting debt rollovers, supply cuts and reduced oil drilling.
The austerity is not as savage as the "special period" following the collapse of Soviet Union subsidises, when people almost starved and there were daily power blackouts. "People are worried things will get worse but it hasn't hit them that hard yet," said one western diplomat in Havana.
The sixth party congress, which was due later this year, was supposed to map out the revolution's future and to signal rising communist stars who could replace Raúl, 78, Fidel, 82, and other ageing leaders. Its postponement was not a surprise, said the diplomat. "Since they announced it in February 2008 there have been no visible preparations or planning."
The official explanation - that authorities need to focus on crisis economic management - has not convinced those who think the party is waiting for Fidel to die so the congress can make bold reforms which are anathema to the revolutionary leader.
Whatever the reason, the suspension suggests disagreement within Cuba's leadership, said Erikson: "It does not reflect well on Raúl's ability to follow thro
ugh with his commitments to improve on government efficiency and effectiveness."
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* guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009
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"Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"
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