The most controversial topic in the pre-Congress public debates was the proposal to eliminate the ration book system through which Cuba's socialist state distributes a monthly quota of highly subsidised basic consumer goods to all citizens. Nearly 55,000 opinions were expressed on this theme.
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.
151. Continue developing artistic education and creation, the capacity to appreciate art, the defense of Cuban identity and the conservation of cultural heritage, all of which must be achieved with the effective utilisation of the available resources.
Continue promoting the defense of Cuban identity, the conservation of the nation’s cultural heritage, artistic and literary creation and the capacity to appreciate art. Encourage reading, enrich the cultural life of the population and foster community outreach to satisfy spiritual needs and strengthen social values. (163)
Improves the text and includes the promotion of reading, the enrichment of cultural life and community outreach as means to satisfy spiritual needs and strengthen social values. That related to the effective utilisation of resources is transferred to the current guideline 143. Given 1,635 opinions across the country and the Congress debates.
152. Generate news sources of income, evaluating all activities that may be able to be transferred from the budgeted sector to the enterprise system. (Incorporated into guideline 143)
153. Rationalise artistic instruction and the training of art teachers.
Continue boosting the quality and rigour of professional art instruction, and adjust graduations in the various specialities to the needs of the provinces and municipalities and those of the flagship national groups [e.g. Cuba’s national ballet company – translator’s note]. (164)
Highlights the importance of quality and rigour in the training of art instructors in correspondence with needs and eliminates the apparent contradiction with draft guideline 151. In response to 216 opinions nationwide.
154. Reduce the relative contribution of the state budget to the financing of retirement pensions, the costs of which will continue to rise due to the increase in the numbers of retirees, which makes it necessary to continue broadening the scope of state-sector employee contributions and the application of special payment regimes for contributions from the non-state sector. (Maintained as guideline 165)
Give special attention to studies and the implementation of strategies in all sectors to deal with the rapidly aging population. (Maintained as guideline 144)
Included in the general guidelines given its impact on society and the number of sectors and activities involved.
Employment and salaries
Facilitate the incorporation of working-age people who are capable of working into the workforce so that they can contribute to the objectives of society and satisfy their personal needs. (167)
Underscores the interests of the socialist state in ensuring that all those of working age who are capable of working are incorporated into the workforce, and the importance of this policy.
156. Ensure that wage policies guarantee that everyone is remunerated according to their work, and that this policy results in quality products and services.
Ensure that wage policies guarantee that everyone is remunerated according to their work; that this policy results in quality products and services; that it results in increased production and productivity; and that a real correspondence is established between wage incomes and the ability to satisfy the basic needs of workers and their families. (170)
Includes the necessity for work to result in increased production and productivity, and for wages to cover the basic needs of workers and their families. In response to 6,670 opinions nationwide.
157. Prioritise wage increases for jobs that generate convertible currency incomes or that allow for savings in convertible currency expenditure; the production of food and other indispensable consumer goods and the development of the investment process. Special attention must be given to stimulating the introduction of scientific advances and new production technologies on the basis of the real results obtained via their application.
Gradually increase wages and salaries, initially targeting activities of greater efficiency and workers whose labour is of particular economic or social importance. (171)
Redefines the priorities for the gradual application of wage increases. In response to 7,276 opinions nationwide.
Modify the structure of employment, reduce inflated payrolls and increase employment in the non-state sector. For this it will be necessary to:
158. Expand self-employment as an alternative form of employment that contributes to increasing the supply of goods and services. Establish a tax regime that ensures that the self-employed contribute according to their earnings.
Expand employment in the non-state sector as an alternative form of employment, on the basis of the new forms of the organisation of production and services that are to be established. (168)
Includes all forms of non-state management [of social property, such as cooperatives] as sources of employment and deletes the reference to taxes, since taxation is dealt with under Fiscal Policy.
159. Develop processes of workforce availability [a Cuban euphemism for termination of employment – translator’s note] based on the principle of demonstrated suitability [for retaining a position], contributing to the elimination of paternalistic methods. Stimulate the necessity to work and reduce economic spending and state budget expenditure.
Devise a nationwide process of workforce reorganisation that, based on the principle of demonstrated job suitability, contributes to the elimination of inflated payrolls and paternalistic practices in order to stimulate the necessity to work and reduce expenditure by economic entities and state budget outlays. (169)
Reformulated for a more integral approach to the reorganisation of the workforce and its aims.
160. Project the training of skilled workers in correspondence with current demand and the country’s development, for which it is necessary to correct the present imbalance in the training of top-level specialists, middle technicians and skilled workers.
Project the training of skilled workers in correspondence with current demand and the country’s development, for which it is necessary to correct the present imbalance in the training of top-level specialists, mid-level technicians and skilled workers. (172)
The term “middle technicians” is replaced by “mid-level technicians”.
Gratuities and subsidies
161. Strengthen the role of wages in society, for which it will be necessary to reduce undue gratuities and excessive personal subsidies, establishing compensation mechanisms for those who need it.
Eliminate undue gratuities and excessive subsidies based on the principle of compensation for those who need it and subsidising people, rather than products, as a rule. (173)
That relating to incomes derived from work is added to the current guideline 141. The need to subsidise people rather than products is specified.
162. Implement the orderly elimination of the ration book [i.e. the egalitarian distribution of highly subsidised basic consumer goods], as a standardised and egalitarian form of distribution at subsidised prices, that benefits both citizens who need it and those that don’t, inducing people to barter and resell products, thus stimulating a black market.
Implement the orderly and gradual elimination of the ration book as a standardised and egalitarian form of distribution at subsidised prices. (174)
Adds the reference to the gradualness of the process of eliminating the ration book, which will be achieved by creating the conditions that ensure stability in the levels of production and supply of basic goods at non-subsidised prices that are affordable to all citizens. In response to 54,979 concerns throughout the country. The last part of the draft guideline is deleted in response to 925 opinions nationwide.
163. Maintain the provision of free meals in the sphere of social services in the health and education centres that require them. It is necessary to improve the means of protecting the vulnerable or at-risk population in terms of food security.
Maintain the provision of free meals in the sphere of social services, prioritising the health and education institutions that require them. Improve the means of protecting the vulnerable or at-risk population in terms of food security. (175)
Based on the Congress analysis, the wording is improved and the priority of health and educational institutions is established.
164. Maintain workplace dining halls where necessary, ensuring that they provide meals at non-subsidised prices. (Maintained as guideline 176)
165. Ensure that only people who really need it, because they are unable to work and cannot count on the support of their families, receive welfare. Eliminate benefits that can be assumed by welfare recipients themselves or their families, and adjust others that are currently provided in correspondence with the increases in benefit entitlements and pensions in recent years. At the same time, all social work must be integrated via a single coordinating centre. (Maintained as guideline 166)
Included in the guidelines on Employment and Salaries given its content.