Heard on local radio this AM about the glorious reforms being instituted by Cuba's new El Presidente, Raul Castro - democratically elected, of course!
Anyway, the net of the report was that land which had previously been used to grow weeds was going to be turned over to collective farms with the best potential to increase the output of actual crops - you know, food.
In addition, el Presidente was going to allow Cubans to buy rice cookers, DVD players (woohoo!), and other luxury items like 21" TVs. Apparently, personal computers are also going to be legal to buy, but none are available for sale just yet... and I wouldn't hold my breath on whether they are ever sold or whether anything resembling an internet connection will be available.
Anyway, here's an article about the reforms from the ueber-right wing Guardian:
Cuba seeks more user-friendly socialism
By Marc Frank
HAVANA, April 1 (Reuters) - New President Raul Castro has lifted some of Cuba's more onerous restrictions and opened cracks in one of the world's remaining state-run economies to make socialism more user-friendly.
How far the small-scale reforms will go remains anybody's guess, but in the past five weeks, Castro has introduced changes at what amounts to lightning speed by Cuban standards.
Bans on the sale of computers, DVD players and other products have been lifted, and Cubans who can afford it can now stay at tourist hotels and buy a cellphone.
Agriculture is being decentralized, farmers can decide for themselves what supplies they need and the prices paid to them are rising to boost food production.
EYE ON THE PESO
A major public complaint that Raul Castro's government will need to deal with is that state wages paid in Cuban pesos are too low, while many consumer goods have to be paid for in convertible pesos, or CUCs, worth 24 times more than pesos.
About 60 percent of Cubans have access to some hard currency from cash remittances sent by relatives abroad, mainly in the United States, or through factory and farm bonuses and tips from foreign tourists.
A class of "new rich" Cubans that has developed over the last 15 years will be the first to benefit from access to seaside hotels, computers and cellphone lines that cost $120, or six times the average monthly wage.
"The government is recognizing that around 15 percent of the population has 85 percent of the pesos in the banks," said one of the Cuban economists.
"It is tempting the new rich -- from farmers to black market dealers -- to exchange their pesos for CUCs to buy goods, and thus reduce the pesos in circulation and strengthen the currency and wages of everyone," he said, adding increased food production had the same strategic aim.
I re-read that sentence... 15% of the population has 85% of the pesos...
in a worker's paradise that eliminated inequality
What ever happened to "from each according to his ability; to each according to his need?"
Surely many on the Left have to come to realize that socialism, communism, marxism, or any -ism that seeks to plan human activity in order to achieve some desired result is much less effective than the ordered chaos of self-interest and creative destruction which has produced the most comfortable lifestyle for mankind in history. And that the very act of planning within marxism (and other like-minded -isms) can only lead to absolute, authoritarian power within the hands of a central figure.
This was something that David Horowitz realized after seeing his fellow comrades excuse the totalitarianism of Stalin, Castro, and the murderous Huey P. Newton?
Surely others know this as well? If they don't recognize this, they're stupid. If they do, I'm frightened...
ARC: St Wendeler