Patria de Martí Artículos y Ensayos
Comentario sobre las relaciones de Cuba-Rusia Por Julio M. Shiling, publicado en el Latin America Advisor, la publicación del Inter-American Dialogue el 11 de noviembre 2019. El comentario es en inglés pero también aparece una traducción al español ►.
How Much Can Russia Keep Cuba’s Economy Afloat?
Dozens of shops selling items in U.S. dollars reopened in Cuba in October as the cash-strapped government struggles with a liquidity crisis of tradable currency needed to purchase imports and pay debts. Meantime, President Miguel Díaz-Canel traveled to Russia to meet with his counterpart, Vladimir Putin, as well as with other Russian officials, to discuss expanding cooperation and boosting economic ties.
How bad is the economic situation in Cuba? What other tools does the government have in order to deal with the liquidity crisis and a worsening economy, both in the short and long terms? In what ways can Russia help Cuba with its financial predicament?
Julio M. Shiling, director of Patria de Martí: “Going from a developing country in the 1950s with showcase statistics, such as infant mortality, calorie consumption and physicians per capita, among others, highlighting modernization trends that in many instances surpassed first-world European powerhouses, Communist Cuba has descended into a basket case of shortages and misery.
Empirical evidence demonstrates that the Castro regime has avoided greater calamities because of a very fine-tuned ability to parasitize. First the Soviets, the Western banks (Paris Club), business schemes cuddled under state capitalism and then the Venezuelans, as well as a medical army leased to foreign bidders in exploitative conditions.
The diplomatic opening with the United States offered hope that credit and American investment would flood Cuba. It never happened. Trump’s presidency has effectively reversed all the alms Obama rendered. Even Cuba’s successful leap into the state-driven mercantilist China model (albeit more market sensitive) seems remote. Deng received the support of the Chinese diaspora from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao to launch its brand of socialism.
The Cuban nation in exile has not accommodated the Communist regime’s desire that democratic aspirations be forgone. Putin’s Russia is unable to inject the kind of capital infusion Cuba needs. The Cuban regime will, no doubt, double down on tempting investment offers for risk-seeking foreign speculators.
The absence of the rule of law in Cuba, however, will assure that the numbers remain low. Cuban communism’s liquidity is indeed in a bind. It seems that there remains no substitute for profound systemic changes and democratic institutionalization.”