Monday, September 26, 2011

Comment: Cuba and sustainable development

Cuba: Breaking corporate power allows sustainable development

Green Left Weekly, September 24, 2011

By Marce Cameron

Cuba is a world leader in ecologically sustainable practices. It is the only country to have begun the large-scale transition from conventional farming, which is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, to a new agricultural paradigm known as low-input sustainable agriculture.

Thriving urban organic farms feed and beautify Cuba’s cities, strengthen local communities and employ hundreds of thousands of people thanks to government support. 

These farms provide about 80% of the fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants consumed by urban residents. They are now being complemented by “green belts” on the urban fringes aimed at local self-sufficiency and ecological sustainability.

Cuba was the first country to replace all incandescent light globes with energy-saving compact fluorescents and to ban the sale of incandescents. 

It has also pioneered the decentralisation of electricity generation by installing thousands of diesel generators the size of shipping containers where they are needed. This has cut transmission losses and made the grid less vulnerable to disruption.

Many sugar mills burn crop residues to generate electricity for the grid, and rural schools and other social facilities have been fitted out with solar panels. Bicycles have been promoted as a sustainable transport mode and neighbourhood committees play a key role in recycling.

Tree cover is increasing thanks to reforestation efforts. From coral reefs to cloud forests, Cuba’s network of protected areas makes it the ecological jewel of the Caribbean. For visiting ecologists, a trip to Cuba is like stepping back in time.

Like all countries, Cuba has serious environmental problems, from recent severe droughts and flooding that may be linked to climate change, to soil erosion, pollution and loss of biodiversity as a result of unsustainable practices past and present. A small Third World country subjected to a crippling US economic siege since 1962, Cuba cannot afford many expensive green technologies.

Yet Cuba has become a social laboratory for the application of sustainable practices that environmentalists in developed capitalist societies such as Australia can only dream about.

One reason why Cuba leads the world in sustainable practices is dire necessity: Cuba has had to adapt to acute shortages of energy, raw materials, manufacured goods and financing as a result of external circumstances. 

At the beginning of the 1990s, the Soviet Union and its eastern European allies, which accounted for 85% of Cuba’s foreign trade, cut ties with Cuba as they reverted to capitalism. The sudden demise of Soviet bureaucratic “socialism” caused Cuba’s own post-capitalist economy to contract by 35%.

But thanks to the solidarity embodied in its deeply popular socialist revolution, Cuba avoided the descent into abject poverty and political chaos that would have taken place had Cuba not abolished capitalism in the early 1960s.

Cuba turned to oxen to plough the fields because there was no alternative: thousands of Soviet tractors stood idle for lack of fuel, lubricants and spare parts. But once farmers got used to ploughing their fields with oxen, they discovered that oxen offer many advantages over tractors, particularly in small-scale agriculture. 

Oxen are cheaper to “run”, eat grass rather than consume oil, compact soil far less and produce free, natural fertiliser. Integrated into agricultural systems designed for low cost and ecological sustainability, oxen are a step forward as well as a step “backward”.

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but many good ideas for how to begin the transition to a more sustainable civilisation are destined to remain marginal as long as capitalism dominates the planet — even when capitalist societies experience economic crises of the magnitude of Cuba’s post-Soviet “Special Period”.

The very nature of capitalism tends to prevent such good ideas from being applied on a sufficiently large scale to make a real difference. This is mainly because it’s more profitable for capitalist corporations to continue plundering the planet.

Cuba’s socialist revolution abolished capitalist ownership of large-scale productive wealth and replaced the capitalist market with central planning to meet social needs. There is a subordinate role for market mechanisms, cooperatives and small private businesses.

Unless corporate power is overthrown and replaced with a state based on the democratic self-organisation of the millions of workers and farmers that produce most of society’s wealth, corporate power will remain an insurmountable barrier to Australia, and other nations ruled by the corporate rich, following in Cuba’s footsteps.

Cuba treads lightly on the Earth. In 2006, a World Wildlife Fund study concluded Cuba is the only country in the world with both a high UN Human Development Index — a composite ranking based on quality of life indices and purchasing power — and a relatively small “ecological footprint”, a measure of the per person use of land and resources.

The study concluded that if the world followed Cuba’s example we’d only need the resources of one Earth to sustain us indefinitely. By contrast, if the world followed the example of Australia’s capitalist economy, we’d need about 3.7 Earth-like planets. Recent telescope surveys suggest such planets may be dotted throughout our galaxy, but even the nearest one would be unimaginably far away.

As global capitalism drags humanity towards an ecological meltdown on our own planet — the early stages of which are unfolding before our eyes — the need to replace capitalism with a democratic social order based on common ownership of large-scale productive wealth and human solidarity will be posed ever more sharply. Yet people will struggle for such a society only if it seems possible, realistic and necessary. Here too, Cuba leads the world.

Not only does Cuba offer an inspiring example of what’s possible when even a small, poor country frees itself from the tyranny of the corporate rich, Cuba and Venezuela lead a bloc of Latin American countries with progressive governments — the Bolivarian Alliance for Our America (ALBA) — on the world stage in the struggle for social and environmental justice.

At the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen in 2009, the ALBA countries denounced capitalism as the root cause of the ecological crisis, and scuttled a backroom deal that would have placed the burden on the poor countries that are least responsible for rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Next year’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will mark 20 years since the first UN Earth Summit. It’s worth recalling the words of then-Cuban president Fidel Castro at the 1992 summit. Castro pointed out that a fifth of the world’s population “consume two-thirds of all metals and three-fourths of the energy produced worldwide”.

“They have poisoned the seas and the rivers. They have polluted the air ... They have saturated the atmosphere with gases, altering climatic conditions with the catastrophic effects we are already beginning to suffer.

“The forests are disappearing. The deserts are expanding. Billions of tons of fertile soil are washed every year into the sea. Numerous species are becoming extinct.

“Population pressures and poverty lead to desperate efforts to survive, even at the expense of nature. Third World countries, yesterday’s colonies and today nations exploited and plundered by an unjust international economic order, cannot be blamed for all this...

“Enough of selfishness. Enough of schemes of domination. Enough of insensitivity, irresponsibility and deceit. Tomorrow will be too late to do what we should have done a long time ago.”

Translation: Cooperatives and Socialism in Cuba

Cooperatives and Socialism: A Cuban Perspective is a new Cuban book published in Spanish earlier this year. This important and timely compilation is edited by Camila Piñeiro Harnecker. Avid readers of my blog will recall that I translated and posted a commentary by Camila, titled "Cuba Needs Changes", back in January. Camila lives in Cuba and has a degree in sustainable development from the University of Berkeley, California. She is a professor at the Centre for Studies on the Cuban Economy at Havana University, and her works have been published both in Cuba and outside the island. 

Camila hopes her book may be published in English soon. In the meantime, she has kindly agreed to allow me to translate and publish this extract (about a third) from her preface to Cooperatives and Socialism with permission from a prospective publisher. I hope that sharing this extract with readers of my blog will make you want to read the whole book. If it does become available in English I'll post the details here. If you read Spanish you can download the 420 page book as a PDF here or here.

At the end of the text you'll find the footnotes, translated from the Spanish, followed by the table of contents.

Cooperatives and Socialism: A Cuban Perspective 

Camila Piñeiro Harnecker, Editor 

* * *

Preface (extract)

By Camila Piñeiro Harnecker

Translation: Marce Cameron

This book arises from the urgent need for us to make a modest contribution to the healthy “birth” of the new Cuban cooperativism and its subsequent spread. Given that cooperatives are foreshadowed as one of the organisational forms of labour in the non-state sector in the Draft Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Sixth Cuban Communist Party Congress, the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Centre approached me to compile this book. The Centre has made an outstanding contribution to popular education aimed at nurturing and strengthening the emancipatory ethical values, critical thinking, political skills and organisational abilities indispensable for the conscious and effective participation of social subjects. The Centre considers it timely and necessary to support efforts to raise awareness about a type of self-managed economic entity whose principles, basic characteristics and potentialities are unknown in Cuba. There is every indication that such self-managed entities could play a significant role in our new economic model.

For this to happen we must grapple with the question at the heart of this compilation: Is the production cooperative an appropriate form of the organisation of labour for a society committed to building socialism? There is no doubt that this question cannot be answered in a simplistic or absolute fashion. Our aim here is to take only a first step towards answering this question from a Cuban perspective in these times of change and rethinking, guided by the anxieties and hopes that many Cubans have about our future.

When it is proposed that the production cooperative be one – though not the only – form of enterprise in Cuba, three concerns above all are frequently encountered: some consider it too “utopian” and therefore inefficient; others, on the basis of the cooperatives that have existed in Cuba, suspect that they will not have sufficient autonomy[1] or that they will be “too much like state enterprises”; while others still, accustomed to the control over enterprise activities exercised by a state that intervenes directly and excessively in enterprise management, reject cooperativism as too autonomous and therefore a “seed of capitalism”. This book tries to take account of all these concerns, though there is no doubt that more space would be required to address them adequately.

The first concern is addressed to some extent with the data provided in the first part of the book regarding the existence and economic activity of cooperatives worldwide today. This shows that the cooperative is not an unachievable fantasy that disregards the objective and subjective requirements of viable economic activity. Thus, the experiences of cooperatives in the Basque Country, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela that are summarised in the third part of the book demonstrate that cooperatives can be more efficient than capitalist enterprises, even on the basis of the hegemonic capitalist conception of efficiency that ignores externalities, i.e. the impact of any enterprise activity on third parties.

The efficiency of cooperatives is greater still if we take into consideration all of the positive outcomes inherent in their management model, which can be summarised as the full human development[2] of its members and, potentially, of local communities. The democratic abilities and attitudes that cooperative members develop through their participation in its management can be utilised in other social spaces and organisations. Moreover, genuine cooperatives free us from some of the worst of the negative externalities (dismissals, environmental contamination, loss of ethical values) generated by enterprises oriented towards profit maximisation rather than the satisfaction of the needs of their workers.

It’s not possible to take up here the arguments of enterprise administration theorists who hold that cooperatives are inefficient. These criticisms are based, in general, on the fact that democratic decision-making takes time, ignoring the fact that this participation is also the principal source of the advantages of cooperatives over other, non-democratic enterprises. In addition, they condemn cooperatives for not resorting to dismissals, as well as for a supposed tendency to undertake little investment due to the maximisation of member incomes and their aversion to risk. However, such behaviour is not revealed in the practices of the cooperatives analysed in this book, practices which also demonstrate the advantages of democratically managed enterprises in terms of the positive motivation of cooperative members. While the negative incentive of the fear of dismissal is undoubtedly effective in eliciting certain behaviours, not even this is sufficient. The tendency of capitalist enterprises to incorporate methods of democratic management suggests that they understand that participation in decision-making is needed in order to achieve the levels of worker motivation necessary for competitive success in the capitalist market.

We hope that those who, on the basis of the Cuban experience, doubt that it is possible for a cooperative to be truly autonomous and democratic will find this concern adequately addressed in the first part of the compilation. Here, when we explain what a cooperative is, we point to the basic differences between a cooperative and a socialist state enterprise. In a genuine cooperative, the participation of the cooperative members in management does not depend on the enterprise management council deciding to involve them more in decision-making; such participation is a founding principle, concretised in the rights of members established in the internal rules of functioning and exercised through bodies and decision-making procedures that are drawn up and approved by the cooperative members themselves. Although the degree of autonomy of the new Cuban cooperatives will depend, of course, on the content of the anticipated legislation on cooperatives and on the implementation of the regulations it establishes, the Draft Economic and Social Policy Guidelines seem to indicate that they will be granted the powers of self-management that characterise cooperatives everywhere, and without which democratic self-management is impossible. We hope the legislation resolves the deficiencies of the current legal framework for Cuban agricultural cooperatives, which are analysed in the fourth part of this book.

The third concern, that which gives rise to the inclination to reject the cooperative as an option for socialist enterprise organisation because it is considered too autonomous and therefore incompatible with broader social interests, takes up the most space in this book. Beginning with the first essay in the compilation we attempt to demonstrate that genuine cooperatives function according to a logic that is diametrically opposed to that of capitalist enterprises. Instead of profit maximisation for the shareholders, the driving force of cooperatives is the satisfaction of the human development needs of their members, needs which are inevitably bound up with those of local communities and of the nation, and even of humanity as a whole. Throughout the book it is suggested that while it’s true that cooperatives cannot be incorporated into the national economic plan or regional or local development strategies though mechanisms of coercion or imposition, it is possible to harmonise and coordinate the orientation of their activities towards the fulfilment of social needs identified through the planning processes, above all if the latter are democratic and respond to the interests of the surrounding communities or those to which cooperative members belong.

However, to argue for the relevance of cooperatives as part of a socialist project we need to begin by clarifying what we mean when we refer to these socioeconomic entities. In the first part of this book, Jesus Cruz[3] and I try to define the cooperative as simply as possible. Here, it is important to stress that in the international context, cooperatives carry out a great diversity of economic activities, and that a not insignificant part of the global population either belongs to one of these organisations or directly benefits from their activities. This should not be surprising if we consider that the form of the organisation of labour that characterises a cooperative, self-management, has existed since the emergence of humanity. The cooperative has persisted as the most common organisational form chosen by groups of people that seek to resolve common problems through their own efforts.

What differentiates a production cooperative (referred to hereafter as “cooperative” since we emphasise this type[4]) from other forms of enterprise organisation is emphasised, based on an analysis of the cooperative principles[5] that have contributed to the success of these organisations since the emergence of the first modern cooperatives. These early modern cooperatives understood the imperative of achieving an effective enterprise management that would allow them to survive within the more savage and monopolistic capitalism of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. To the degree to which cooperatives have observed these principles in their daily practice, they have benefited from the intrinsic advantages of this form of enterprise. These advantages ultimately derive from a democratic management model that permits the harmonisation of individual interests with those of the collective (i.e. of the common interests of cooperative members) and even, though in a less axiomatic way, with the social interests of the local communities with which they interact the most.

The observance of these principles is also what allows cooperatives to reduce the inevitable corrupting effects of the capitalist surroundings in which the majority of them have developed. The capitalist environment privileges individual over collective solutions; makes it difficult to achieve equality by generating and reproducing differences in abilities and social status among cooperative members; denies them the time needed for democratic decision-making; punishes genuine acts of solidarity; and promotes the super-exploitation of human beings and nature. While this undoubtedly limits the horizon of human emancipation – the overcoming of the barriers that stand in the way of us fulfilling our human potentialities – an emancipatory dynamic has always been latent in genuine cooperatives. The capitalist environment is not an absolute barrier to cooperatives becoming spaces in which these principles are put into practice, and in which the values that such practices instill may develop. The experiences of successful cooperatives presented in this book demonstrate the economic and ethical-political potential of these organisational principals, above all when cooperatives that embody these principles are able to link up with other self-managed entities, and when they promote the approval of laws and regulations that undermine the prejudices that exist regarding cooperatives in the legal framework and in the practices of capitalist enterprises and state institutions.

As Julio Gambina and Gabriela Roffinelli argue, the cooperative should be seen as one of the many forms of the self-managed social organisation[6] that will allow us to transcend the capitalist logic of maximising narrow individual interests. Because it takes no account of human nature and its social and ecological constraints, such economic “rationality” is in fact irrational and suicidal. For as long as it pervades our daily practice, the logic of capitalism will not only distance us ever more from the socialist or communist ideal of complete social justice; it is also taking us to the brink of an irreversible rupture in the dynamic equilibrium of the biosphere.

The rationality that drives a cooperative, as with all forms of genuine self-management, is the necessity for a group of people to satisfy common needs and interests. It is based on the recognition that they share collective interests that correspond to some degree with their own individual interests, and that it is collective action that allows them to pursue these interests most effectively. This, together with the recognition that all its members are human beings with the equal right to participate in decision-making, results in democratic management in which the cooperative members decide not only who the leaders are and how revenues should be allocated, but also how to organise the process of production: what is produced, how and for whom.

The managerial autonomy of the collective that makes up the cooperative – the ability of this group of people to make decisions independently – is the key reason why the historical experiences of socialist construction have rejected their relevance to the building of socialism and have relegated them to agriculture or marginal economic spaces. Some see in autonomy a disconnection from, or a wanting to have nothing to do with, social interests and the strategic objectives embodied in the socialist economic plan, and ask the following questions: Is it possible to “hitch” an autonomous enterprise to a planned economy? Can a cooperative respond not only to the interests of its members but also to wider social interests? When one thinks in terms of absolute autonomy and authoritarian (i.e. undemocratic) planning, if the interests of collectives (groups) are considered a priori to be indifferent to social interests, then the answer is obviously negative. The authors of this book are motivated by the certainty that the answer is affirmative. We argue the case here, though we are unable to respond to all of the questions about how this can be achieved in practice.

Here, we must point out that we make no claim to have solved this practical problem which dates back to the times in which socialist theories were first elaborated. It is perhaps more of a conceptual problem than a practical one, since there are examples of collective and even private enterprises that satisfy social needs more effectively, and that have established decentralised horizontal relations that are more socially responsible, than some socialist state enterprises. Our focus here is on the form of organisation of labour within a productive unit and not in the economic system as a whole. The analysis of how a socialist-oriented society should guide the management of enterprises, or of the form in which the fruits of cooperative labour should be distributed in society, are thus topics that we do not attempt to grapple with in this initial approach to the problem. However, we do put forward some ideas in relation to these themes throughout the book.

The “fruits” of cooperative labour that interest us most here are the human beings themselves that are “produced” as a consequence of the particular form in which the productive process is organised in the enterprise: the social subjects that work together as members of a cooperative and who are motivated to give the best of themselves to the success of their enterprise and, potentially, to local communities.

What differentiates a cooperative member from an employee of either a capitalist or socialist state enterprise? In light of the experiences of cooperatives analysed in this compilation, the member of a genuine producer cooperative, or other form of self-managed entity, is the true owner of their enterprise and thus feels like it. He or she, together with the collective they belong to, participate in a conscious and active way in strategic and managerial decision-making, as well as in their implementation and in verifying that decisions are carried out. What characterises a cooperative is not legal ownership of the means of production (premises, land, machinery) by the collective or group of people that comprise it, but the fact that decisions regarding the use of means of production are made by the cooperative as a whole, either directly or by representatives that they elect, in such a way and with such powers as decided by the collective. Albeit limited to the cooperative enterprise and its activity, this is a concrete form of self-management, of the exercise of popular sovereignty.

Given this, for Gambina and Roffinelli the relevance of various forms of worker self-management, in particular cooperatives, to the building of socialism depends on the degree to which they serve as an “an apprenticeship in administration outside the control of capital”. Thus the value of the cooperative lies in the nature of its daily practice, in the social relations of production that are established among its members: relations between associated producers rather than between wage-workers and capitalists. Cooperative members are not obliged to renounce, in exchange for wages or salaries, their capacity to think, be creative and make decisions. They exercise these capacities via democratic mechanisms in conditions of equal rights and duties. There are no bosses and subordinates in a cooperative but an organisational structure and a technical division of labour that have been collectively drawn up and approved.

Thus cooperatives can be valuable weapons in the struggle to build socialism. They are not the only such weapons, they are insufficient by themselves and are not devoid of risks and challenges, but they are nevertheless tools – perfectible and adaptable – for socialist construction. They are tools that we should not allow to be abandoned due to either state-centric dogma or the misconception that only what is privately owned and managed, and operates according to capitalist logic, works. As Gambina and Roffinelli argue, “... there is a dialectical relationship between socialism and cooperativism that is either promoted or discouraged in specific socio-historical conditions.” The extent to which cooperatives contribute to the building of socialism depends on the context in which they arise and develop, and on the relationship they establish with this context. 

[Extract of preface]


[1] By “autonomy” we mean the ability to make decisions independently. As we shall see, no social organisation anywhere in the world is completely autonomous since its options are always conditioned in one way or another by its social context.

[2] The term full or integral “human development” is used to make clear our rejection of the progressivist and economistic mythology that reduces development to achieving an abundance of material goods, without taking into account that development also has intrinsic ethical and spiritual dimensions, in which people can achieve professional fulfilment and the realisation of their potentialities as social beings.

[3] A brief biography of each of the contributors to this compilation is included at the end of the book.

[4] Cooperatives can be classified as either production cooperatives, in which cooperative members unite in order to collectively produce goods or provide services; or consumer cooperatives, in which the members acquire goods or services collectively.

[5] Essentially, as is clarified in the first contribution to this compilation, a cooperative must be: (1) open to members joining and leaving and flexible with regard to its internal organisation; (2) run democratically; (3) based on the labour of its members; (4) managerially autonomous; (5) prioritise the education and training of its members and the general public; (6) establish mechanisms for cooperation with other cooperatives; and (7) committed to the community.

[6] Other forms of enterprise self-management are the various forms of co-management (in which the work collective participates in the management of the enterprise together with the legal owners of the means of production, or owns shares in the company); professional partnerships (professional associations in which members provide services on an individual basis, but pool a part of their incomes to acquire services and goods collectively; they are usually limited liability companies); associations, etc. There are also forms of self-management outside the economic enterprise sphere, such as self-management in regions, communities and local governments.

* * *
Cooperatives and Socialism: A Cuban Perspective

Compiled and edited by Camila Piñeiro Harnecker
Editorial Caminos, La Habana, 2011, 420 pp.
ISBN: 978-959-303-033-5

Table of contents

Preface, Camila Piñeiro Harnecker

Part 1: What is a cooperative?

1. An introduction to cooperatives, Jesús Cruz Reyes and Camila Piñeiro Harnecker

2. The construction of alternatives beyond capital, Julio C. Gambina y Gabriela Roffinelli

Part 2: Cooperatives and the socialist theoreticians

3. Cooperativism and self-management in the perspectives of Marx, Engels and Lenin, Humberto Miranda Lorenzo

4. Socialist cooperativism and human liberation: Lenin’s legacy, Iñaki Gil de San Vicente

5. Che Guevara: cooperatives and the political economy of the socialist transition, Helen Yaffe

6. The basis for self-managed socialism: the contribution of István Mészáros, Henrique T. Novaes 

Part 3: Cooperatives in other countries

7. Mondragón: the dilemmas of a mature cooperativism, Larraitz Altuna Gabilondo, Aitzol Loyola Idiakez and Eneritz Pagalday Tricio 

8. Forty years of self-managed community housing in Uruguay: the “FUCVAM model”, Benjamin Nahoum 

9. Solidarity economy in Brazil: the current state of cooperatives for the historical emancipation of the workers, Luiz Inácio Gaiger and Eliene Dos Anjos

10. Worker self-management in Argentina: problems and potentialities of self-managed labour in the aftermath of the crisis of neoliberalism, Andrés Ruggeri

11. From cooperatives to community-managed social property enterprises in the Venezuelan process, Dario Azzellini

Part 4: Cooperatives and building socialism in Cuba

12. Cuban agricultural cooperatives from 1959 to the present, Armando Nova González

13. The Basic Unit of Cooperative Production (UBPC): redesigning state property with cooperative management, Emilio Rodríguez Membrado and Alcides López Labrada

14. Key features of the legal framework for Cuban cooperatives, Avelino Fernández Peiso

15. Challenges for cooperativism as a development alternative in the face of the global crisis and its role in the Cuban economic model, Claudio Alberto Rivera Rodríguez, Odalys Labrador Machín and Juan Luis Alfonso Alemán

Monday, September 12, 2011

Translation: Coming to grips with bureaucratic thought

Born in Paris in 1932 to a Russian mother and a Cuban father, Graziella Pogolotti grew up in Havana, Cuba. She studied at Havana University and at the Sorbonne in Paris, specialising in contemporary French literature. After returning to Cuba she qualified as a journalist, lectured at Havana University and worked at Cuba's National Library.

She has held various academic posts in the field of the arts and literature and has served on the editorial boards of several leading Cuban cultural journals and other publications, including Granma, the Cuban Communist Party daily. In 1999 she received the National Award for Art Criticism in recognition of her lifelong contribution to this field. She has also received numerous other national awards.

Attentive readers of my blog will have noticed how few of the commentaries I've translated are authored by women, which is more of a reflection of reality than any bias on my part. The commentary below is a small step towards redressing this imbalance. On the cusp of her ninth decade, Pogolotti's sparkling intelligence shines through in this piece. 

Coming to grips with bureaucratic thought

By Graziella Pogolotti, Granma, July 21, 2011

Translation: Marce Cameron

General Raul Castro, Cuban Communist Party (PCC) first secretary and president of the State Council and of the Council of Ministers, has sharply criticised on more than one occasion what he terms “secretism”. Despite this, the phenomenon appears to be getting worse in all institutions, from the office that deals with paperwork involving the common citizen to those higher up that have the authority to decide what goes on in a workplace.

Thus the chain of interdependent links that is indispensable for the functioning of a complex society fails to function with the necessary rapidity, as happened on numerous occasions with the primitive tribal structure. When the petty functionary goes on holidays, takes part in one of those many meetings or attends to personal affairs, they leave behind under lock and key the documents without which the workplace cannot function. Meanwhile the demands of reality continue to wander about in search of a solution, because the monopoly of knowledge is the first defensive trench of a system of fortifications that includes routinism in action and in thought.

On another scale, the mentality of the coffee stand proprietor begins to assert itself, an unconscious postmodern atomiser that is unaware of the ultimate end-point of the “meta-narrative” of the construction of the present and the guardianship of the future. Each one preserves their own tiny patch. The inability to see the bigger picture gets in the way of the cooperation that is needed between the various sectors, as well as the optimal utilisation of highly skilled workers. The formalisation of procedures prevents recognition of the relationship between form and content. This leads us to cling to obsolete concepts that must be discarded in order to preserve, above all, the goals that constitute the raizon d’etre of the revolutionary process.

Few recall an interview given by Fidel back in the 1980s to two visitors from the US. It was published at the time by Editoria Politica. In an allusion to Heraclitus, Fidel affirmed that we cannot bathe twice in the same river, not only because the water is not the same but also because we ourselves have changed. The profound truth of this observation reveals an organic assumption about dialectics that is superior to the simple memorisation of the dialectical laws [i.e. the laws of evolution in the most general sense, such as the interpenetration of opposites and the transformation of quantity into quality – translator’s note]. 

This idea, and the implications it entails, is a powerful weapon against the routinisation of bureaucratic thinking and a stimulus to the incessant creativity that life’s unfolding imposes. The conduct of the petty bureaucrat hinders the proper functioning of the economy, the implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines approved by the PCC Congress and is a source of political discontent among the people, who are often subjected to abnormal administrative procedures. It also undermines the credibility of institutions.

On another level still the harm done is even more irreparable; it can rupture the fabric of continuity of the socialist project, which would mean the end of national sovereignty and a precipitous decline in the quality of life of the great majority, along with the enthronement of violence via the intrusion of Mafia of every kind. Cuba occupies a particular place on this planet as an island in close proximity to the US, the biggest market for narcotics. During the prohibition era in that country Cuba was the base of operations for the smuggling of all kinds of alcohol, but times have changed. The intrigues of Al Capone belong to a more primitive era of criminality.

The present conjuncture demands a change of mentality. It may seem dull, but the phrasing of reports has led us to forget the “why” and the “for what purpose” of things, the concrete definition of medium and long-term goals, the permanent questioning of reality, the priorities and the sequencing of solutions and the specific appraisal of the quality of the available human and material resources. The established rhetoric obscures the formulation of the appropriate questions. In this as in other cases, the language conditions the way of thinking.

The habitual and indiscriminate use of the impersonal mode of expression has become a verbal formula that is applicable in all circumstances. “It” is being carried out, “it" must be undertaken ... who is responsible and the manner of execution are veiled in an impenetrable fog. Statistics rain down that take no account of the need to select meaningful data to quantify magnitudes, characterise the situation and submit everything to the appropriate analysis. The figures require a qualitative correlate. The study of reality must reveal reality in all its crudeness because only this can point to the way forward. “X has advanced, but we’re still not satisfied” has become a catch-phrase that hardly clarifies. 

To take apart the structure of bureaucratic thought, everyone must ingrain into their consciousness a true modesty in the domain of knowledge. Only in this way will our pores remain open to learning on the basis of the confrontation of daily life. What was always done in a certain way may not be what is needed today. Mistakes are not overcome through formal self-criticism, nor by throwing stones at those who were mistaken in the past. Critical analysis serves its purpose when, on the basis of the multiple factors that constitute a problem, it delivers us the necessary lesson. In this sense, the “culture of dialogue” – also converted into a catch-phrase during the past two decades – implies an exchange of wisdom derived from experience, a command of various techniques and of the ability to conceptualise phenomena in order to get the bottom of problems and to come up with solutions.

As a character the bureaucrat has an ostentatious visibility. Though he may seem immortal he is the subject of criticism and, what’s more, withering humour. We see him often in the letters that the readers send in to our daily press. Bureaucratic thought manifests itself in subtle ways and can invade very different institutional environments. Some think that the radical reduction in the powers of the state can contribute to eradicating this evil. For various reasons many entities suffer from an excess of personnel and of functions, derived from the necessity to counteract unemployment and from excessive centralisation.

The strengthening of municipal administrative entities and local Peoples Power governments does not imply the dismantling of the state, but a redistribution of resources and responsibilities aimed at adapting state agencies to the peculiarities of local development. However, local government is bound up with the state. No measures of an organisational character will achieve their purpose if the predominance of bureaucratic thinking persists, a parasitic plant that sterilises creativity, real collective participation and the education of the new generations.

The struggle against bureaucratic thinking will take time. We have to go about demolishing its powerful system of fortifications. Jose Marti wasn’t a dreamer. He could offer Maximo Gomez only the likely ingratitude of men and women. Yet he believed in human betterment, in the dialogue that is needed to move forward. Let’s keep in mind the distinction between fertile contradictions and antagonistic ones. Let’s preserve respect, frankness and mutual confidence. Herein lies the key to the changes in mentality that we are demanding.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Translation: The right to express an opinion

Granma letter to the editor

Extend the right to express an opinion to daily life

By A. J. Perez Perez, August 5, 2011

Very important steps are being taken to consolidate the gains of the Revolution and to reaffirm its socialist character. Our top leaders have spoken about the need to do away with old formulas and prescriptions that hinder and weigh down the economy and life in general in the present circumstances. Despite the calls for change, we’re all aware of the meetings for the sake of meetings and the passivity of many functionaries, with most of the time spent listening to the same things that have been said before and hearing about the same unfulfilled commitments.

In his July 26 speech, compañero Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura pointed out the need to eradicate these evils at once. Things are changing on our blockaded island and people feel it in the streets, though the pace of change may not be as rapid as we'd like or in the manner that many of us long for.

Our President Raul Castro was emphatic in stressing, in the Second Communist Party Central Committee Plenum held recently,
 that any disagreement within the Permanent Commission for the Implementation and Development of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines would be analysed rather than being tossed aside, thus ensuring a free discussion in which everyone can say what they think and want. As Raul said afterwards in the National Assembly this also applies to daily life in Cuba, so that Cubans may have a space in which to exercise their right to express an opinion in an appropriate manner and with due respect. 

I’m one of those who ask that our Round Table current affairs TV programme gives voice to opinions regarding national themes. There are people with a lot to say, with many ideas to contribute, who deserve to be heard and must be listened to. We mustn’t fear fair remarks or justified criticism, and if such criticism is constructive, educational and puts forward solutions then all the better.

I urge that we create a mechanism for delivering the population’s daily complaints of institutional abuse suffered at the hands of functionaries who occupy posts that were created to serve the people. Such a mechanism would deliver these complaints to every level as required and would be committed to nothing other than the truth and justice. Unfortunately, and I speak from personal experience, a large proportion of the complaints that are made are lost in complacency and indolence.

It’s infuriating and at the same time sad that cases published in the national press elicit a speedy response following their publication, despite the fact that those making the complaints went back and forth for months, and in some cases years, trying to get their problems resolved. Most of the time the higher-ups took note of these cases (which often waited on their own signature) only when the whole of Cuba knew about them. Unfortunately, there are many functionaries who cease to function when faced with problems whose resolution should be straightforward.

Everyone must contribute to what the country and the people need in these times. Everyone must be listened to. Sometimes, as Jose Marti said, trenches of ideas are worth more than trenches of stone.       

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Translation: Guidelines debate 18, Agriculture

Here is Part 18 of my translation of the booklet Information on the results of the Debate on the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution, an explanatory document published together with the final version of the Guidelines adopted by the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) Congress in April.

I've now translated some two thirds of this document, which is arguably one of the most important in the history of the Cuban Revolution because of the unprecedented popular debate that resulted in substantial modifications to many of the guidelines and the incorporation of new guidelines. What we see in these modifications is the depth, scope and direction of this consultative and consensus-building process.     

The entire project of renewing Cuba's socialist course depends on the transformation of agriculture, and the changes to the Cuban socialist-oriented economic model under Raul Castro's presidency have begun here. The importance of agriculture is reflected in the fact that the English translation of this chapter of the Guidelines explanatory document runs to almost three and a half thousand words.

The outstanding success of Cuban agriculture during the Special Period has been the concerted effort to develop and generalise a new agricultural paradigm, known as low-input sustainable agriculture, that combines traditional farming methods with scientific knowledge, high-tech green innovations and the social cohesion and solidarity embodied in Cuba's socialist revolution. A world leader in sustainable agriculture, Cuba is a laboratory for the large-scale application of sustainable practices, such as the proliferation of urban organic farms with state support, that those of us in developed capitalist societies can only dream about this side of the socialist revolution.

Despite these remarkable achievements, Cuban agriculture in general has fallen into a parlous state of neglect and mismanagement during the post-Soviet Special Period, symbolised by the spread of marabu, a tropical thorn scrub that has taken over vast areas of prime agricultural land. There has been an exodus from rural areas to the cities. Reforms undertaken in the early 1990s to transform huge state farms into cooperatively managed entities did not go far enough, leaving cooperatives under the tutelage of a centralised administrative apparatus that is both inefficient and inept.  

Bold reforms in this sector, such as the leasing of unproductive state farmland to anyone willing to farm it and the devolution of planning from the Ministry of Agriculture in Havana towards the municipalities, are aimed at freeing agriculture from bureaucratic tutelage, making farming an attractive option in the context of the economy-wide rationalisation of state-sector employment and using market mechanisms judiciously to stimulate production and productivity without privatising the farmland that belongs to Cuba's working people as a whole.

The challenge is to turn Cuba from a country that imports billions of dollars worth of food annually into a socialist-oriented society with a vibrant and dynamic agricultural sector, avoiding the concentration of land ownership side by side with rural poverty and ecological ruin that would result from allowing market forces too much of a free reign. Guideline 187 affirms that the goal is "a sustainable agriculture in harmony with the environment". 

The reforms so far are starting to take effect but they have yet to bear fruit. 

The format is as follows: number and text of the draft guideline, followed by the text and number of the corresponding guideline approved by the Communist Party Congress, followed by the drafting commission's explanation for the change. You'll find it easiest to read on my blog where the amended guidelines are in bold font.

Ecological mural, Pinar del Rio, Cuba  
Agro-industrial policy


166. Achieve an agricultural sector that makes a positive contribution to the country’s balance of payments, so that the country is no longer a net food importer, and lessen the high dependence on financing that today comes from the incomes of other sectors. (Maintained as guideline 177)

167. Adopt a new management model in line with the greater reliance on non-state productive forms, which must be based on a more effective utilisation of monetary-trade relations, delimiting state and enterprise functions with the aim of promoting greater autonomy for producers, increasing efficiency and making possible a gradual decentralisation towards local government. (Maintained as guideline 178)

168. Modify the current legislation in correspondence with the transformations in the productive base in order to facilitate the efficient and competitive functioning of the sector, and decentralise the system of economic and financial management. Apply measures to ensure auditing and the reliability of information.

Modify the current legislation in correspondence with the transformations in the productive base in order to facilitate the efficient and competitive functioning of the sector, and decentralise the system of economic and financial management. Perfect the organisational structures for the application of measures to ensure auditing and the reliability of information. (179)

Includes the reference to perfecting the structures responsible for auditing and information. In response to 543 opinions nationwide.

169. Make the various forms of cooperatives independent of the mediation of state enterprises and gradually develop integral agricultural services cooperatives at the local level.

Achieve the managerial autonomy of the various forms of cooperatives and gradually develop agricultural services cooperatives at the local level. (180)

Changes the wording to affirm the objective of achieving managerial autonomy for cooperatives.

170. Adjust agricultural production in line with demand and the transformation of commercialisation, boosting quality and ensuring the fulfilment of contracts so that the parties meet their obligations. Limit the centralised distribution of product lines to those that affect the national balance of payments, allowing competitive mechanisms to play a more active role in the commercialisation of other products. (Maintained as guideline 181)

171. Restructure the current system for the sale of agricultural inputs and equipment in accordance with the new scenario in food production activity and the financial mechanisms to be established, making these resources directly available to the productive forms through the network of stores that will be set up in the municipalities. 

Restructure the current system for the sale of agricultural inputs and equipment, considering the new food production scenario and the financial mechanisms to be established, assuring an appropriate correspondence between quality and prices of the products on sale. Facilitate the direct access of productive entities to these resources through the network of stores that will be set up in the municipalities. (182)

Includes the need to ensure correspondence between the quality and prices of products on sale, as well as the possibility of the producers being able to purchase these inputs and equipment directly. Given 2,620 opinions nationwide and the Congress analysis.

172. Modify the system of distribution and commercialisation of agricultural products through more flexible mechanisms that contribute to reducing losses in the productive chain. Increase producer earnings by simplifying the links between primary production and the final consumer to improve the quality of the products on sale.

Transform the system of distribution and commercialisation of agricultural products through more flexible mechanisms that contribute to reducing losses by simplifying the links between primary production and the final consumer, including the possibility that the producer can access the market by their own means. Expand the scope of profitable activity to improve the quality of the products on sale. (183)

Includes the producer having the possibility of bringing products to the market on their own initiative and expanding the scope of profitable activity to improve product quality. Given 1,295 opinions in the 15 provinces and the Congress analysis.

173. Prioritise, in the short term, the substitution of imports of food that can be produced efficiently in Cuba. The necessary resources must be concentrated where they can be used most effectively with the aim of boosting yields and productive efficiency while promoting the application of scientific and technical advances. (Maintained as guideline 184)

174. Organise agricultural production around activities that earn export incomes or that substitute imports, with a systematic approach to the productive chain that considers not only primary production but all the links in the agro-industrial complex. These productive chains should be developed using the sector’s internal resources, on the basis of net incomes via exports or of savings via import substitution. In the organisation of other productive activities a regional and local approach must predominate, directed towards local self-sufficiency with an emphasis on the execution of the program to develop agricultural “green belts” on the urban fringes. This program should be extended to the whole country. (Maintained as guideline 185)

175. Adequately link the agricultural production poles to the food processing industry, with the aim of guaranteeing the supply of food to the larger cities as well as for exports and the internal convertible currency market. (Maintained as guideline 186)

176. Continue reducing the amount of unproductive agricultural land and increase yields through crop diversification, crop rotation and polyculture. Develop a sustainable agriculture in harmony with the environment that promotes the efficient use of plant and animal genetic resources including seeds and varieties, gene technologies and the use of organic fertilisers, bioferilisers and biopesticides.

Continue reducing the amount of unproductive agricultural land and increase yields through crop diversification, crop rotation and polyculture. Develop a sustainable agriculture in harmony with the environment that promotes the efficient use of plant and animal genetic resources including seeds and varieties, gene technologies and phytosanitary measures, and that promotes the production and use of organic fertilisers, bioferilisers and biopesticides. (187)

Adds phytosanitary measures as one of the appropriate ways to make use of plant genetic resources, and boosting the production of organic fertilisers, bioferilisers and biopesticides. In response to 61 opinions in 13 provinces and the Isle of Youth, and the Congress analysis.

New guideline:

Develop an integral policy that contributes to favouring the production, conservation and commercialisation of seeds and their beneficial use. (188)

Added on the basis of the Congress analysis.

177. Ensure that the granting of land in usufruct [i.e. the leasing of state-owned farmland rent-free to producers on a medium or long term basis — translator’s note] favours productive results that are similar to those of the cooperative and peasant sector today, where the producers are not salaried employees and their incomes depend on their earnings. Prices for most products will be set by supply and demand and as a rule there will be no subsidies.

Ensure that the granting of land in usufruct favours productive results similar to those of the cooperative and peasant sector today, where the producers are not salaried employees and their incomes depend on their earnings. Prices for most products will be set by supply and demand and as a rule there will be no subsidies. Implement the modifications to Decree Law No. 259 [regarding the granting of land in usufruct] to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the use of lands granted in usufruct. (189)

Includes the modification of Decree Law No. 259 to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the use of lands granted in usufruct, and deletes that referring to the setting of prices, which is taken up in the current guideline 190. Given 1,188 opinions in the 15 provinces.

New guideline:

Maintain the regulatory role of the state in the setting of farm gate prices of agricultural products that substitute imports, or that generate export revenues, to create an incentive for primary producers. Price fluctuations on the international market will be taken into account. (190)

Includes in the Guidelines the need to maintain the regulatory role of the state so that prices are an incentive for primary producers, as well as taking into account price fluctuations of these products on the international market. In response to 525 opinions nationwide and the Congress analysis.

178. Give special attention to activities that add value to agricultural products, improve their quality and presentation, reduce the need for transportation and lower costs for distribution and storage. Link up small processing entities with large-scale industry with the aim of increasing the availability of food products in the national market, including via import substitution and the generation of export revenues. (Maintained as guideline 191)

New guideline:

Continue developing the breeding program for cattle, buffalo, pigs, fowl and small livestock [e.g. sheep, goats, rabbits]. Promote the genetic improvement of herds in order to boost production of animal protein and diversify the production of animal feed. Ensure the availability of veterinary services, boost national production of veterinary medicines and increase the use of artificial insemination. (192)

Includes the breeding program in the Guidelines, considering the genetic improvement of herds, veterinary services and the production of medicines, as well as increasing the use of artificial insemination in order to boost the production of animal protein and substitute imports. Given 928 opinions nationwide and the Congress analysis.

New guideline:
Ensure fulfilment of the programs for the production of rice, beans, corn, soy and other grains and pulses to guarantee increased production, in order to contribute to a gradual reduction in imports of these products. (193)

Considers the proposal to add that referring to the rice program and to include the production of beans, corn, soy and other grains and pulses that underpin the policy of import substitution. In response to 104 opinions in 7 provinces.

New guideline:

Boost the development of coffee growing, cacao, apicultural and other activities that contribute to the gradual recovery of traditional sources of agricultural export revenues. In tobacco production, take maximum advantage of the international market. (194)

Incorporates various product lines that are traditional agricultural exports and others that also contribute to import substitution, such as coffee and cacao. Given 731 opinions in 13 provinces.

179. Recover the national production of citrus fruit and ensure the efficient commercialisation of citrus products in international markets.

Revitalise the citrus sector, boosting the production of other fruits and ensuring the efficient commercialisation of citrus products in the national and international markets. (195)

Adds the national market as one of the destinations for the commercialisation of citrus products and those of other fruits. In response to 599 opinions throughout the country.

180. Develop an integral program for the development of forestry plantations that prioritises the protection of watersheds, in particular the catchments of reservoirs, tree cover along watercourses, mountains and coasts.

Develop an integral program for the maintenance, conservation and development of forestry plantations that prioritises the protection of watersheds, in particular the catchments of reservoirs, tree cover along watercourses, mountains and coasts. (196)

Includes maintenance and conservation activities, based on a proposal made during the Congress.

181. Give special attention to the redeployment of the agricultural workforce, adopting measures to encourage permanency and the incorporation of new workers.

Develop an integral policy that contributes to the gradual re-population of the countryside, adopting measures to encourage the permanency and stability of the agricultural workforce and to assist families moving to rural areas. (197) 

Considers the development of an integral policy for the re-population of rural Cuba, with measures to encourage participation in the agricultural workforce and the stability of this sector. Given 2,364 opinions across the country.

Prioritise the adoption of measures to encourage the incorporation of youth into the agricultural sector and their permanency, in particular through the granting of state farmland in usufruct as a means of employment. (198)

Adds the priority of measures aimed at encouraging the incorporation of youth into the sector and land grants in usufruct. In response to 135 opinions in 14 provinces and the Isle of Youth.

182. Organise the agricultural workforce into collectives, establishing a correct relationship of people to the land they work and to the final results of their efforts. This will ensure an increase in the productivity of agricultural workers, higher incomes and a better quality of life.

Organise the agricultural workforce into collectives to establish a correct relationship of people to the land they work and to the final results of their efforts, which will ensure an increase in the productivity of agricultural workers. (199)

Reformulated for better comprehension.

183. Develop an integral qualifications system in line with the structural changes, aimed at training and re-qualification in the areas of agronomy, veterinary science, industrial technology, economics, administration and management, incorporating aspects related to the management of cooperatives and the environment.

Develop an integral qualifications system in line with the structural changes, aimed at the training and re-qualification of managers and workers in the areas of agronomy, veterinary science, industrial technology, economics, administration and management, incorporating aspects related to the management of cooperatives and the environment. (200)

Specifies that the qualifications system will take into account both managers and workers. Given 53 opinions in 13 provinces. 

184. Concentrate investments among the most efficient producers, taking into account the characteristics of localities and links with industry. Prioritise irrigation, the repair of agricultural machinery and industrial equipment indispensable for the assimilation of increased production and the achievement of greater efficiency.

Concentrate investments among the most efficient producers, taking into account the characteristics of localities and links with industry. Prioritise irrigation; the repair of agricultural machinery; mechanised transportation; and new technologies and industrial equipment indispensable for the assimilation of increased production and the achievement of greater efficiency. (201) 

Includes mechanised transportation [animal transport has been common during Cuba’s post-Soviet “Special Period” – translator’s note] and new technologies among the priority investments. In response to the Congress debate.

185. Reorganise irrigation activities and agricultural machinery services to achieve a rational use of water, hydraulic infrastructure and the available agricultural equipment, combining the use of animal traction with advanced technologies. 

Reorganise irrigation and drainage activities and agricultural machinery services to achieve a rational use of water, hydraulic infrastructure and the available agricultural equipment, combining the use of animal traction with advanced technologies. (202)

Adds drainage to the activities to be reorganised to achieve a rational use of water, based on the Congress debate.

186. Guarantee specialised banking services for the agro-industrial sector to support producers, facilitating the granting of loans and the auditing of their execution.

Guarantee specialised banking services for the agro-industrial sector to support producers, facilitating the granting of loans and the auditing of their execution. Strengthen and broaden the scope of agricultural insurance, making it easier to acquire and process. (203)

Adds the need to strengthen and broaden the scope of agricultural insurance. Given 332 opinions across the country.

187. Better integrate scientific and technological development, ensuring its efficient integration with the productive base and improving scientific and technical services for producers. (Incorporated into guideline 136)

Incorporated because it deals with the same content.

188. Update and carry out programs aimed at the preservation and rehabilitation of natural resources that are utilised: soils, water, forests, animals and plants, training producers in environmental management and applying, with maximum rigour, the established regulations and penalties for their violation. (Maintained as guideline 204)

189. Develop the program of municipal food self-sufficiency based on urban agriculture and urban fringe “green belts”. (Maintained as guideline 205)

190. Carry out the urban fringe “green belts” program by making efficient use of the farmlands that surround cities and towns, based on minimal use of fossil fuels and imported inputs, local resources and the widespread use of animal traction. (Maintained as guideline 206)

191. Carry out the gradual transformation of the food agro-industry, including its local development, with the aim of achieving a greater utilisation of raw materials and the diversification of production. (Maintained as guideline 207)

192. Apply systems of food quality management in correspondence with the established norms and the demands of buyers.

Apply systems of food quality management in correspondence with the established norms and the demands of buyers to ensure, among other objectives, food that is safe for consumption. (208)

193. The sugar agro-industry will have as its primary objective a sustained increase in cane production, in which the relationship between sugar mills and cane producers must be perfected as the industry develops. At the same time production must be diversified taking into account international market conditions, achieving a correct utilisation of the mills and sugar derivatives plants. 

The sugar agro-industry will have as its primary objective a sustained increase in cane production, prioritising the reorganisation of the cane-growing areas so that they are closer to the sugar mills. As the industry develops, the relationship between sugar mills and cane producers must be perfected in order to make use of the cane growing tradition and its experience. (209) 

Adds the priority given to reorganising the cane growing areas, given its importance to cane production. That referring to diversification is incorporated into the current guideline 212. In response to 895 opinions in 14 provinces.

New guideline:

The fluctuations of prices on international markets must be taken into account in setting the purchase price of sugar from cane growers, which must also create an incentive for cane production in relation to other crops in order to ensure increased cane production and higher incomes for workers in this sector. (210)

Isolates the content of the original guideline 194 referring to the setting of purchase prices for sugar cane, and adds the need for such prices to incentivise cane growing in relation to other crops. In response to 69 opinions in 13 provinces.

194. Gradually increase the production of sugar cane and its derivatives to the point where convertible currency incomes allow for the financing of all the sector’s operational costs, plus the value of the investments carried out, so that it earns a net income for the country. In the setting of purchase prices for cane and sugar the fluctuations of international market prices must be taken into account.

Gradually increase the production of sugar cane and its derivatives, ensuring the proper organisation and planning of the sugar harvest, the repair of industrial equipment and the efficient use of technology to achieve convertible currency incomes that would allow for the financing of all the sector’s operational costs, plus the value of the investments carried out and the cost of repairs, so that it earns a net income for the country. (211) 

Adds the proper organisation and planning of the harvest and industrial repairs to for increased sugar production. That related to the price of cane is deleted from this guideline and transferred to the new guideline 210. In response to 71 opinions in 14 provinces and the Congress analysis. 

195. Progress in the construction and recuperation of sugar industry derivatives and by-products plants, prioritising those that produce alcohol, animal feed, bioproducts and others.

Diversify sugar industry production, taking into account demand on the international and internal markets. Progress in the construction, recuperation and correct exploitation of derivatives and by-products plants, prioritising those that produce alcohol, animal feed, bioproducts and others. (212)

Adds part of the original guideline 193 to integrate that related to the diversification of sugar industry production into a single guideline. In response to 57 opinions in 11 provinces.

196. Achieve a rational use of off-shore fishing resources and increase levels of production and efficiency in this sector, principally in aquaculture, increasing the use of technologies, the appropriate use of genetics and of fish-raising practices. Achieve net foreign trade incomes to finance the importation of inputs and equipment that cannot be produced in Cuba.

Increase levels of production and efficiency in the off-shore fishing industry, complying with fishing regulations, to achieve a rational exploitation of these resources and the protection of the coastal and marine environment. Aquaculture will be developed with a greater use of technology and continual genetic improvement; this sector must achieve foreign trade incomes to finance the importation of inputs and equipment that cannot be produced in Cuba. (213)

Modified to separate aquaculture activity from off-shore fishing and to add compliance with fishing regulations to achieve a rational exploitation of these resources. In response to 309 opinions in 15 provinces and that of one National Assembly of Peoples Power deputy. 

New guideline:

The fishing industry must increase the supply of quality fishing products to the tourism industry and to the rest of the internal convertible currency market on the basis of national production. (214)

Includes the need to increase the supply of quality Cuban fishing products to tourism and the internal convertible currency market. In response to 309 opinions in 15 provinces.