Friday, 20 May 2011

“No-one in Cuba will be abandoned and everyone will be protected”

Luis Marron – Political Counsellor at the Cuban Embassy – told a fringe meeting at PCS Annual Delegate Conference that proposed economic reforms in Cuba will ensure that “no-one in Cuba will be abandoned and everyone will be protected”.

Luis asserted the need to differentiate between redundancies and redeployment. The process – which will take five-years to implement – is a result of mass public consultation with heavy trade union involvement. The CTC General Secretary (Cuban TUC) reported to the National Assembly that 3,085,798 workers had met in 85,301 workplace assemblies to discuss the proposals, with 99.1 per cent voting for the changes. For over fifty-years the central aim of the Cuban Revolution has been to guarantee everyone a job and this priority will not change. The process of redeployment in Cuba is aimed to reinvigorate the economy, increase productivity and ensure efficiency.

Around a million workers will be redeployed from state jobs into jobs in either an expanded self-employment sector, an expanded sector of worker co-operatives, or jobs in areas of the state sector that are short of labour, including education, construction, police and agriculture.

Luis contextualised the Cuban economic reforms within the worldwide financial crisis. Lots of debate has been generated by the proposed reforms but, as Luis contended, it is not fair to compare the process in Cuba with the barbaric cuts which are being enforced by the International Monetary Fund in other parts of the world. Cuba – because it is not at the mercy of the IMF – can ensure all citizens are protected and supported.

Luis emphasised the debilitating effects of the ongoing blockade of the island and argued, because Obama’s foreign policy is less overt and aggressive than George W Bush’s, that the situation is more difficult and the blockade is more entrenched.

Alvaro Sanchez, speaking on behalf of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, declared that “the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela – which has halved poverty – has only been achieved with the cooperation and help of Cuba in terms of health and education” whilst Hector Wesley, PCS NEC, urged branched to affiliate to the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.

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