Breaking News: Castro Is Still a Rabid Communist

Last year, the Cuban economy grew 3%. In each of the next two years, it is expected to rise by more than 4%. So perhaps it’s only natural that Fidel Castro wants to hinder progress out of sheer hatred for markets:

Castro Tightens Grip Amid Boomlet (CSM)

Beginning in 2001, the party leadership began to dismantle reforms it had permitted to help bootstrap the collapsed economy. Castro began limiting the numbers of Cubans legally licensed to work for themselves — computer programmers, used-book sellers, locksmiths, and even magicians, among others.

“There’s an ideological element to some of it,” says Philip Peters of the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va. “There wasn’t a threat from having locksmiths, but the state supplies employment, and the government never felt comfortable with the erosion of its place as employer.” Still, he says, “They haven’t abandoned reforms, it’s just not the track they’re emphasizing.”

Still, many companies that came to Cuba when it opened its doors following the collapse of the Soviet Union have been asked to leave. According to the Financial Times, three foreign ventures have shuttered each week since 2000, when there were 700, and only half the homes rented to expatriates are occupied.

Some agricultural trade deals remain. But they mean very little within the broader context of increasing centralization.

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Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. Milton Sanchez-Parodi says:

    Communist label plays well when we want to demonize the target to the US public opinion.

    Labels matter little when one is without a home, medical insurance, or unable to send one’s child to college due to having poor economic means.

    Cuba, unlike any other Capitalist country provides all it’s citizens with housing, education, and healthcare. These are factors that allude many people in the US.

    Uniquely Cuba has continued to support it’s citizens despite a practical economic and political war from the most powerful country in the world. I have not seen an example of such resiliency in the past 20 years by any country continuing to support it’s population under these dire conditions.

    Perhaps the slowdown of “reforms’ have more to do with keeping economic control, therefore sovereignty, over the island and a balance of economic power throughout the population than a hold of dictatorial power of the few.

    US may well learn from Cuba whether Communist or Capitalist, how to protect it’s citizens from the misery of poverty as well as how to provide it’s citizens with access to healthcare and education.

  2. McGehee says:

    Milton, Castro blames Cuba’s problems on the U.S. “practical economic and political war” despite the fact anything his country can get from America it can also get from any of a hundred other prosperous nations that have no barriers to trade with it.

    That’s scapegoating. The real cause of Cuba’s troubles are in Cuba — starting with Castro and Communism.

    Communism has never worked no matter who has tried it or with how much help.

  3. Viva! says:

    McGehee, if the US embargo against Cuba has no effect (as you claim), then why has the US kept it in place for all these decades? In fact, the effect is quite real.

    Furthermore, the amount of money spent by the US to fund/train/support anti-Cuba terrorists like Posada Carrilles or destabilize Cuba or assassinate Castro or fund anti-Castro groups also has a very real effect. Your contention that Cuba’s problems start with their popular support of socialism is repulsive — keep the US imperialist dogs muzzled for a while and then let’s see where Cuba can go. Until then, I put the blame entirely on Cuba’s bully neighbor to the north.