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  • Author: Ricardo Torres Pérez
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In an August 2010 address to the Cuban National Assembly, President Raúl Castro unveiled a plan that would irrevocably alter the Caribbean nation's trajectory. As part of a broader package of economic changes to increase productivity and exports in a number of sectors, the government planned to lay off 1 million state workers over the next five years, half of those in just six months. The announcement was based on the basic principle that the state could no longer afford to keep unproductive companies afloat and provide the public services—like universal education and health care—that are key to Cuba's socialist model. While Cuba is no stranger to economic crises, this time the proposal appeared to be well grounded and more in line with contemporary economic trends. To pick up the slack shed by the public sector, the Cuban government introduced a number of economic "updates," known as lineamientos (guidelines), to the Cuban economy. The idea was to create space for private-sector growth by granting more licenses for Cubans to employ themselves—an incremental first step grudgingly taken toward a more market-friendly system.
  • Topic: Agriculture
  • Political Geography: Russia, Cuba