Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cuba's reform

Cuba's reform
Saudi Gazette - 29 August, 2010

It has been more than obvious for years that the Communist economic
model was doomed to failure. It came as no surprise in Eastern Europe,
especially, that once the Soviet Union disbanded, the former satellites
rushed to implement capitalist reforms. Finally, nearly 20 years
following the collapse of the Soviet Union, one of its most significant
client states, Cuba, has finally implemented the kind of land reform
laws that will increase its capitalist bent and result in spurring the
income and standard of living of its people.
Raul Castro, who has been running Cuba's government since his brother
Fidel's health problems threatened the old revolutionary's life.
Although the early signs were that he would continue his brother's
hard-line communist policies, he has just signed new laws allowing
foreigners to lease government land for up to 99 years and allowing
individuals to grow fruits and vegetables privately instead of as part
of the government.
Allowing foreigners to lease land will likely result in a slew of new
golf courses and condominiums lining some of Cuba's world-famous
beaches. Investors are expecting that the new laws will allow foreigners
to actually live part-time on the island as opposed to just visiting for
vacations. The new construction will also result in hundreds of jobs for
locals and should spur a number of support businesses for those who will
take up residence in the new buildings.
The relaxation of laws governing private sale of farm goods is likely to
have a more immediate effect on the common Cuban, who now will be able
to run small businesses based on selling their own produce. In a country
where 95 percent of the working population is employed by the
government, relaxing controls on small business will have a huge effect.
The demise of the Soviet Union should have meant the demise of
Communism, whose promises of equality never panned out. Cuba, sitting
just 90 miles from Miami, stubbornly refused to follow the zeitgeist and
now finds itself forced to make capitalist reforms.
May the Cuban people profit from their government's new thinking.

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