Saturday, July 2, 2011

Translation: Guidelines debate 12, Collaboration

Here is Part 12 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.

These eight guidelines deal with Cuba's international collaboration. Cuba's solidarity collaboration with other, mostly Third World countries is legendary for its generosity, altruism and professionalism. It's a well-known fact that more Cuban medical personnel have served on overseas missions than those provided by the UN's World Health Organisation. Through such solidarity revolutionary Cuba expresses its humanistic vocation and its internationalism, wins hearts and minds and shows in a very practical way that another world is possible. 

Such large-scale collaboration also instils and transmits the ethical values of the Revolution to new generations of Cuban revolutionaries. These missions may involve considerable risk and personal sacrifice, though the participants may not see it this way — they experience something that only those who dedicate their lives to serving others can experience, an inner richness worth more than all the gold that the conquistadores stole from the Americas. They also enjoy great prestige in Cuba. Love of their noble work and the honour bestowed on them by the Revolution is undoubtedly the main motivation for most Cubans to volunteer for these missions. 

Another is that volunteers earn substantially higher salaries and are given priority in the allocation of new housing in Cuba. Such salaries, in the order of a few hundred US dollars a month, are tiny compared with those of professionals in the imperialist countries, but they're enough to allow internationalist volunteers to send money home to their families and to live a little more comfortably when they return to Cuba. This is an example of how moral and material incentives can be combined harmoniously to promote socialist values.

In some cases Cuba covers most of the costs of its international solidarity collaboration, an extraordinary commitment for a small, poor and blockaded Third World country. Examples are the medical, educational and sports collaboration programs with Pacific island states and Cuba's solidarity in the wake of natural disasters. In other cases the recipient country pays Cuba for its services, as with the Cuban doctors working in the black townships in South Africa and Cuban literacy specialists in New Zealand, both being wealthy countries that can afford to pay. In Haiti, Cuba's medical collaboration programme is supported by Venezuela and Brazil and partly funded by Norway. Then there's the special case of Venezuela's Bolivarian socialist revolution that reciprocates Cuba's generous solidarity and practices its own internationalism inspired by Cuba's example.

The Guidelines stress the need to integrate such collaboration programmes into the national economic plan, and the need to ensure that the money allocated to such programs is accounted for properly and used efficiently, as in other areas. There's also the suggestion that "where possible, compensation to at least cover the costs of the solidarity collaboration offered by Cuba" be negotiated. I'd read this as saying that those countries that can afford to may be asked to make a greater contribution to the costs, while those countries that cannot will continue to benefit from Cuba's commitments. The strategic importance of ALBA is also underlined in the Guidelines. 

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.  

Cuban doctor treats cholera patients in Haiti

101. Ensure that the international collaboration that Cuba receives and offers is in the national interests, and that all such collaboration is included in the National Economic Plan in such a way that integrality is assured.

Ensure that all the international collaboration that Cuba receives and offers is included in the National Economic Plan in such a way that integrality is assured. (108)

Improves the wording. 

102. Improve and complement the legal and regulatory framework, both for Cuba's provision of economic and scientific-technical collaboration and for that which the country receives. (Maintained as guideline 109)

103. Continue developing international solidarity through the collaboration offered by Cuba and establish the necessary economic and statistical records to allow for the required analyses, especially of costs. (Maintained as guideline 110)

104. Consider, where possible, compensation to at least cover the costs of the solidarity collaboration offered by Cuba. (Maintained as guideline 111) 
105. Promote multilateral collaboration, especially through the UN institutions, that channels financial and technological resources to our country in line with the national development priorities. (Maintained as guideline 112)

106. Prioritise, in our relations with international collaboration organisations, material and technological support for the use of various sources of renewable energy.
(Maintained as guideline 113) 

107. Give priority to participation in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), and work with speed and intensity to achieve and deepen the economic, social and political goals promoted by ALBA through coordination, cooperation and economic complementarity in the short, medium and long terms. (Maintained as guideline 114)

108. Continue to actively promote economic integration with Latin America and the Caribbean, as a strategic objective. Keep participating in the regional commercial integration schemes to which Cuba belongs: the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Association of Caribbean States (AEC), PetroCaribe and others, and continue strengthening the unity of their member states. (Maintained as guideline 115)

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