Monday, March 16, 2009

Cuba changes, but not according to U.S. script

Workers World

By Deirdre Griswold

Published Mar 15, 2009 9:30 PM

In the vast U.S. spy network, there are undoubtedly whole rooms—maybe even whole buildings—of “experts” whose job is to analyze what’s happening in Cuba. They study all kinds of data, some of it published openly by the Cuban government, some of it provided, or rather sold, by counter-revolutionaries cultivated by U.S. diplomats and handlers.

But these experts don’t just analyze. Their object is to try to find chinks in the armor of that remarkable socialist country with the hope of one day bringing it back into the “free world”—meaning the world that has been “opened up” like a can of sardines to be freely exploited by U.S. corporations and banks.

Considering how much money Washington spends on its covert and overt war against Cuba, it must be quite embarrassing that its predictions almost always turn out to be false. To judge by the statements of U.S. officials and their parrots in the corporate media, the Cuban Revolution should have been overthrown decades ago.

When Cuba lost its major economic partners with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European states, these experts exulted that Cuba would be next. A fund was set up—its head was Jeb Bush—that raised at least $10 billion from those who would invest in what was soon to be a capitalist Cuba. Those disappointed investors must be pretty mad at Bush by now. Wonder what happened to the money?

Cuba went through an extremely difficult period in the early 1990s as it made wrenching adjustments to its economy. Its GDP shrank enormously. There were all kinds of shortages. But there were no rebellions and no mass repression—as would have happened almost anywhere else. The people knew the Cuban leaders were sharing the difficulties with them and that their socialist system was fair and just, despite the onerous circumstances. They didn’t blame the leaders for the problems. Everyone pulled together to get the country back on its feet. There were democratic discussions in all the mass organizations about what to do.

When Fidel Castro, whose life is so closely intertwined with Cuba’s revolution, fell ill a few years ago, there was another rush of predictions emanating from the imperialist colossus to the north. He was already dead. He wasn’t dead but he wouldn’t survive. He would survive but without a mind. The revolution itself wouldn’t survive without Fidel.

Last month, Fidel met with the president of Chile, who was visiting Havana. Photos in the Cuban press showed her with a thinner Fidel standing straight and tall. His regular columns in the newspaper Granma are proof of his keen interest in everything going on, even though he has relinquished his official posts because of his physical condition.

Changes in Cuban government

The latest speculation to run rife in the news media of the U.S. is that a reorganization of several branches of the Cuban government and the replacement of some well-known officials prove that the revolution and the Communist Party are in trouble.

Of course, if all the leaders in the government had remained the same, this would be criticized as showing that Cuba was ossified, bureaucratic, etc. Either way, the propaganda mill in the hostile, imperialist U.S. would grind out its “analysis.”

The announcement of the changes came in an official note from the Council of State. It said that after proposals had been made to Cuba’s legislative body, known as the National Assembly of People’s Power, urging that “a more compact and functional structure is required today, with fewer agencies under the Central State Administration and a better distribution of their duties,” the Council of State had agreed to reorganize a number of agencies and move cadres into different areas of responsibility. (Granma, March 2)

It then listed the changes made, including the names of people who were being removed and those who were replacing them.

A day later, in his column, Fidel Castro said that he had been consulted on the changes, although those in office were under no obligation to do so since he has “renounced the prerogatives of power.” It was a reply to the enemies of Cuba who were trying to pit him and his reputation against his comrades now running the state.

Not much, if any, attention has been paid in the U.S. media to the fact that three of the people who will now head ministries are women, and that two of these women are replacing men. One of them, María del Carmen Concepción González, will be head of the new Ministry of the Food Industry, which merges two formerly separate ministries—agriculture and fisheries, both headed by men—into one new department.

The Council of State says it will “continue studying the government’s current structure with the objective of gradually reducing its magnitude and increasing its effectiveness.”

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