Latin Business Chronicle
Is Raul Castro preparing the ground for more substantive, pro-market economic reforms in Cuba?
BY LATIN AMERICA ADVISOR
Cuban President Raul Castro said [recently] that “socialism means social justice and equality, but equality of rights, of opportunities, not of income” and that “equality is not egalitarianism.” What is the significance of Castro’s comments? Is he preparing the ground for more substantive, pro-market economic reforms? What possible reforms do you see in the offing?
Dennis Hays, Vice President of Thorium Power and a former Coordinator for Cuban Affairs at the US Department of State: Raul will never be the public speaker his brother was, but that doesn’t mean he has nothing to say. In an address full of anecdotes and faint attempts at humor, he managed to get across a number of interesting points, including an ad-libbed admission that ‘sometimes in socialism two plus two equals three.’ But after noting a number of ways in which the Cuban economy continues to be the most dysfunctional one this side of Zimbabwe, he finally got to the point—Cubans can expect to be taxed in the future for many of the things they take for granted now, and major discrepancies in income will become commonplace (starting, of course, to the advantage of the senior military).