Sunday, July 31, 2011

Translation: Alfredo Guevara & students 4

Here is the final instalment of my translation, slightly abridged, of Alfredo Guevara’s candid dialogue with students and staff hosted by the Faculty of Chemistry of Havana University. Guevara comments at some length on the rise of the Stalinist bureaucracy in the USSR and how this contributed to the miseducation of communist cadres in Cuba.

It’s worth noting that he does this without once mentioning Leon Trotsky, the key leader in the struggle against the bureaucratic degeneration of the Soviet state and Communist Party. This may be because Guevara is unfamiliar with the role of Trotsky in this struggle. Trotsky’s works have not been widely available in revolutionary Cuba and only recently have a few of them been published on the island. Or, it could be that Guevara felt that given decades of Stalinist demonisation of Trotsky, this is a controversy best left for another occasion. It may, of course, have been purely incidental and one should not read too much into it. What’s important is that Guevara’s analysis of Stalinism converges with that of Trotsky on key points, and Guevara makes these arguments explicitly and publicly.

If Cuba were really ruled by a Stalinist bureaucracy, as some leftists imagine, it would hardly allow a prominent public figure such as Guevara to say what he says here. Nor would such a ruling bureaucracy allow Cubadebate, a semi-official website hosted by distinguished Cuban journalists based on the island, to transcribe and publish such an exchange. In other words, Cuba’s working people have an ally against bureaucracy in the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) leadership.

Guevara also touches here on an important debate that took place in the 1960s between Carlos Rafael Rodriguez and Che Guevara on economic management in socialist-oriented Cuba, and praises the PCC secretary for Granma province, Lazaro Exposito, for his energetic efforts to clean up the city of Santiago de Cuba and provide decent dining out options at affordable prices. Rather than cloning Exposito, as his admirers suggest on a blog, what really needs to be cloned is Exposito’s work methods, says Guevara.

He begins here by answering a question put to him by Alejandro Fernandez, a professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at Havana University. Unfortunately the transcript of Fernandez’s question is incomplete because, as the transcriber notes, the recording equipment malfunctioned momentarily. This makes it difficult to follow what Fernandez was saying. His question had something to do with the distinction between the Marxism of Marx and Lenin, and Soviet “Marxism-Leninism”.

Debate Forum dialogue with Alfredo Guevara in the Faculty of Chemistry, Havana University

Part 4

(Part 3, Part 2Part 1)

Cubadebate website, June 22, 2011

Translation: Marce Cameron

Alfredo Guevara: This is a big topic. I assure you that dogmatic ideas do not prevail at the highest levels of leadership today, but for years we had a formal school of Marxism-Leninism in which Marxism was officially studied as Marxism-Leninism, that is, as a Stalinist catechism.

Many cadres have been schooled in this. Some cadres, among them some who still hold important positions, studied in the Soviet Union in schools where the curriculum was based on the Soviet manuals on Marxism-Leninism. This greatly discredited a book that had not circulated widely enough, Che’s “Critical Notes on Political Economy” – I don’t know if you’ve made a study of it – in which there’s an in-depth analysis of the Manual of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. In reality, the content of the Soviet manual was a new, falsely Marxist theory of “Marxism-Leninism”. Not because Leninist thought – which in some cases is an important aid to political thought and to the analysis of the evolution of capitalism and of imperialist power – is false, but because there are some political positions that applied to very concrete situations faced by the first country that tried to build socialism.

Certainly while Lenin was alive there was an open debate in the Soviet party and only when Lenin became ill did this debate subside. It should be recalled that Lenin died in 1923, didn’t he? OK, at the beginning of 1924. So Lenin’s last instructions to the party leadership were written in 1923. Lenin died, and the line of succession he proposed, more or less as an anxious reflection on the dangers of ... etc. etc., was not implemented. But despite appearances it wasn’t Stalin who replaced Lenin, due to Stalin’s ignorance it could be said. Lenin was replaced by a triumvirate. This happened gradually because these were struggles for power. Stalin goes about destroying those who could have been an obstacle to his absolute power until this was achieved, that’s to say, there was a transition period. But in the end, once he’d attained absolute power, he elaborated a philosophy, a philosophy that overlaps here and there with Marxism, here and there with Leninism, but it’s a Stalinist philosophy aimed at consolidating absolute power, because it may be that Stalin wasn’t as monstrous as history will portray him, but perhaps there’s a mixture of nationalism and power, because if you compare two episodes in Russian history you’ll find a close similarity between Stalin and Ivan the Terrible.

Sergei Eisenstein, the great film director who was almost the originator of cinematographic technique given his contributions to editing and form, made a film titled “Ivan the Terrible” that was censored because Stalin was portrayed in “Ivan the Terrible”, in other words Stalin ended up becoming – excuse me for going on about this a little because I’m going to relate it back to Cuba, I’m just beginning but I won’t go on too long – Stalin ended up being the great defender of Russian nationalism, that of Russia prior to the Soviet Union, and don’t forget that at the Yalta meeting [of Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill in February 1945 – translator’s note], Stalin decided to annexe all of the countries under the influence of the Soviet Union [i.e. of the Soviet Red Army], except for the Slavic countries.

At one point Lenin had said that the worst Russian chauvinists, that’s to say nationalists, were non-Russians, because Stalin was Georgian. Lenin said this and he also said something else. I’m not saying that what he said was valid, but he was a participant, a protagonist, and he clarified many things. Lenin said that the triumph of socialism – he said this before the October Revolution – that the triumph of socialism in Russia would be a barrier to the spread of oriental barbarism. Stalin was the oriental barbarian.

Unless you study and grasp the history of the Communist International you can’t understanding the early period of the Cuban Revolution, you can’t even begin to shed light on certain mistakes, among them the education that was given in the Schools of Revolutionary Instruction for a long while. These schools have a new leadership now, I’m sure they’ll change some things, though I still don’t know if they've done so.

The old Popular Socialist Party (PSP) was under the influence of the Communist International, and the International became – secretly, silently, stealthily, by means of assassinations – dominated by Stalin. This old PSP was full of good people, marvellous people of very high calibre. Some were Stalinists in good faith, and the PSP trained Stalinist cadres who formed a part of our [post-1959 revolutionary] leadership and occupied high positions in our political life.

I don’t think this is the time – maybe someone will tell me this, who knows – this isn’t the appropriate time to be dedicating ourselves to digging up this history, but the researchers have to delve into it, since history cannot remain in obscurity either. And those of us – I still feel like a professor, I’ve been a professor at this university – those of us that have an interest in these things have to make sure that the youth understand them, given that we’ve studied these problems and we’ve searched for the documentation that backs up what we’re saying.

We must convey it to you as I’ve done many times, or on certain occasions. We have to transmit this and the researchers must take it up: you won’t understand anything unless you study the International, because the International was the Communist Party International, that is, it condemned nationalism. There were many mistakes that have to be corrected, aren’t there, and because of this many things remain in the dark.

We’ve contributed two outstanding Latin American thinkers. One, Julio Antonio Mella [1903-29, a founder of the original Cuban Communist Party in the early 1920s – translator’s note], didn’t live long but he lived intensely the whole of those five short years in which he accomplished everything. He was a founding member of the Cuban Communist Party; he went to Mexico, the Latin American headquarters of the International; he was a member of the Mexican Communist Party, he worked for the International, he established the organisation in solidarity with [Nicaraguan revolutionary Augusto] Sandino, etc., etc., the Anti-Imperialist League of the Americas. He attempted, like Fidel, an expedition to invade Cuba and topple the Machado dictatorship, against the wishes of the International and the Mexican Communist Party. Where can one find out about all this? Where can one find the information about Paul Lafargue whom I spoke about earlier? Why isn't it more readily available?

Right now I’m trying to fathom, I’m coming to understand it more and more, why Paul Lafargue, who married one of Karl Marx’s daughters, the first deputy elected to the French parliament, a Cuban [by birth], why is it that we know nothing about Paul Lafargue? Ah, because the old PSP imposed ideological lines to ensure silence. We must study these things.

Raul [Castro] said that we’ve made mistakes. Why have we made these mistakes, what are they and who was responsible for them? Do any of you know – you knew there were debates, perhaps – about the profound debates on economic management between Che and [former PSP leader] Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, the two lines? Would I say now that Che was entirely correct? I don’t think so. Would I say that Carlos Rafael was entirely correct? No, but boy, was there was a debate about the economy. Che ran a cadre school for the training of managerial cadres. What manager from any enterprise, from any entity, from any ministry, has had managerial training? This is why I say that we’ve no right to be ignorant of others’ experiences.

Why are there scarcities, is everything a result of what we know? No, it’s also because of what we don't know. Because I’ve just returned, three weeks ago I was in Santiago de Cuba. My secretary pointed out to me a blog on the internet called, “Let’s Clone Exposito” [Lazaro Exposito is the Cuban Communist Party secretary in Granma province – translator’s note]. Lazaro is the new leader over there, he was also in Bayamo and he sorted everything out in Bayamo, and Santiago de Cuba is a marvel, except for transport which has not been fixed, everything is clean, everything is … you were there, weren’t you? … everything’s clean, no [old] buildings are collapsing, the footpaths are free of cigarette butts and waste paper. Let me tell you, the last time I was in Santiago de Cuba it was filthy. How did they get everyone to stop tossing cigarette butts and bits of paper on the pavement? This is an example of dignity, the recovery of dignity. It’s going to be hard given everything we've been through, but that’s how it is in Santiago de Cuba.

But I haven’t told you everything. Walk down the street in Santiago de Cuba and you can buy bread with beef steak in regular [rather than convertible] Cuban pesos. Walk two blocks further and you can eat bread with suckling pork, also sold in regular pesos. In the next block you can eat a plate of prawns, sold in regular pesos, and a lobster, in regular pesos. All this in regular pesos, and I say OK, why? Ah, let’s clone Exposito, as the blog suggests, but I’d say we should do something even better, or more critical, to complement what you’re doing, Exposito. And why Exposito? Why the devil does it have to be just one person whom we can trust in to set things right? No, let’s clone a work method, and this work method is a shipment of truth, honest and clean truth, because this is how he works. It may shorten his life, he’s still a young man.

Monsignor Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, who is naturally very alert to everything that happens in Bayamo, when Exposito was in Bayamo the Monsignor told me: “Alfredo, it’s as if we were in another country”. He talked about things there the way I’m describing Santiago de Cuba. […]

I was worried they might be teasing me, so I had to go and take a look with my doctor and my son, because as you can see I’m somewhat frail, and they told me: “Go and have a look and tell me if everything I see there is real when I’m not there.” It was real, it’s magic. And why? I know Havana has 2.2 million inhabitants and is invaded by internal migrants, but OK, it’ll be more difficult but we must clone a method. First comes the method, the plan, rigour in the planning, in the method. (Applause).

Chair: Well Professor, thank you very much, I never thought we’d be able to have you come and speak to us here. I hope it won’t be the last time given what I said in the introduction about what we’re trying to do with this debate space, which is not to create it for one occasion but to maintain it, which is the most difficult thing to achieve. And another time, when you have a bit more of an audience, when we have electricity, when all this is OK, then we’d like to invite you to come again because it’s very enriching to converse with you. We’ve brought you a little present, a very humble one, in the name of the organisers of this forum.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Translation: Guidelines debate 14, Science/Environment

Cuban biotechnologist
Here is Part 14 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.

For a small Third World country subject to a US economic siege, Cuba has notched up some remarkable scientific advances in sectors such as biotechnology, medical technology and ecologically sustainable agriculture. Cuba has also invested heavily in computer science and software development.

In biotech and medical instruments Cuba is competitive with transnational pharmaceutical companies on the world market. It shares its advances in this sector, which include the first effective vaccine for meningitis B and a host of other innovations, with other Third World countries by selling them cheap drugs and helping them build plants to produce their own medications. By necessity Cuba has had to develop its own armaments and military hardware industry. Factories run by the armed forces were the proving ground for the new system of enterprise management known as Perfeccionamiento Empresarial (Enterprise Improvement) that is being extended to the civilian industrial sector, and whose principles are incorporated in the Guidelines. 

Thanks to the emphasis given to education and training since the 1959 Revolution the country has an abundance of highly skilled scientific and technical workers and educators. A key challenge of the reform process is how to harness the full potential of all this talent and apply it to the urgent problems of industrialisation in a besieged economy battered by two decades of a deep structural crisis precipitated by the demise of Soviet "socialism" and hobbled by a bloated, hyper-centralised administrative apparatus that must be gradually dismantled. Yet Cuba has created strong bases for the take-off of its scientific and technological potential in the context of the new Cuban model of socialist development that is emerging. 

Under capitalism vast resources are squandered on warfare, commercial advertising and technological innovation that has little or nothing to do with real human needs. Scientific talent is held hostage to corporate profiteering. Many of the best inventions gather dust on shelves because they aren't profitable to commercialise or because they threaten corporate profitability, and corporate secrecy undermines scientific collaboration for the benefit of working people. By contrast, socialist-oriented Cuba is subject to none of this irrationality. The socialist revolution has smashed the barriers to scientific and technical collaboration, and innovation is directed to where it's most needed to benefit the working people as a whole.

During the post-Soviet Special Period a grassroots movement of innovators, many of them workers on the factory floor or farmers in the fields, kept much of Cuba's dilapidated industry running long after the supply of imported spare parts had slowed to a trickle. At periodic national gatherings these inventors would proudly share their inventions, and those judged to be the best won prizes. Social recognition and the desire to serve the Revolution, rather than self-enrichment, were the motivating factors.

These guidelines were amended, and new ones added, on the basis of the mass consultation process that took place in the lead-up to the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) Congress in April. As you can see, important modifications were made to include more content on ecological sustainability; the inclusion of small-scale private and cooperative forms of productive property or management of social property in the scope of the guidelines; and the participation of work collectives at the grassroots level in the application of innovation to production and services. Nearly five thousand proposals were made regarding the new guideline 139, an indication of the strong desire of workers to have more involvement in the management of their workplaces.

As usual, the modifications also make the Guidelines more understandable to non-specialists. The language of the draft document reflected the fact that it was drawn up by teams of specialists. Not surprisingly, though efforts were evidently made to present the proposals in an understandable way, it was still heavily laden with technical and legalistic jargon and "bureaucratese". The final version reads more clearly.

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.

Science, Technology and Innovation Policy


Chapter title: amended to “Science, Technology, Innovation and Environment Policy”

Broadens its scope to explicitly incorporate the environment and give a more systematic focus to the themes of the chapter, given 123 opinions in 11 provinces and the Isle of Youth.

New guideline:

Draw up an integrated science, technology, innovation and environment policy that  takes into consideration the accelerated changes in these areas and their increasing interrelation to meet the needs of economic and social development in the short, medium and long term, aimed at increasing economic efficiency and exports of high added value, import substitution, satisfying the necessities of the population and promoting its participation in the building of socialism, and protecting the environment, heritage and national culture. (129)

Included as a new general guideline. States that the new policy to be drawn up must be integral and incorporate existing environmental policy. In response to 2,775 opinions nationwide, one National Assembly deputy and the discussion at the Congress.       

122. Create the organisational, legal and institutional conditions needed to achieve a form of economic organisation and a system of generalisation that combines scientific investigation, the development of new products and services, productive efficiency and the management of exports.

Proposes studying and taking advantage of experiences, and leaves open the possibility there there may be more than one organisational form. Introduces the aspect of innovation and stresses the idea of stimulating the integral reproduction of the [research-innovation-production-sales] cycle. Incorporates part of the content of the original guideline 202, and includes universities. Given 2,414 opinions nationwide and the Congress discussion.   

123. The results achieved in the biotechnology sector, the production of advanced medical equipment, the software industry, educational technologies, and scientific and technological services of high added value, and bioinformatics and nanotechnology must be sustained and developed.  

Sustain and the develop the results achieved in the biotechnology sector, the medical-pharmaceutical industry, the software industry and the computerisation of society, basic sciences, the natural sciences, the study and application of renewable energy sources, social and educational technologies, industrial technology transfer, the production of advanced technical equipment, nanotechnology and scientific and technical services of high added value. (131)

Introduces other basic branches and strategic lines for scientific and technological development. Based on 846 opinions nationwide, that of one National Assembly deputy and the Congress discussion.

124. Sustain and develop, simultaneously, studies on adaptation, mitigation and climate change; conservation and the rational use of natural resources, in particular of soils, water and forests; and of the social sciences, which are equally necessary with regard to these objectives.      

Sustain and develop integral studies for the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of the environment, and adapt environmental policy to the new projections for the economy and society. Prioritise studies on dealing with climate change and, in general, sustainable development. Emphasise conservation and the rational use of natural resources such as soils, water, beaches, the atmosphere, forests and biodiversity as well as the promotion of environmental education. (133)

Treats the environment and environmental studies separately. Takes into consideration sustainable development, confronting climate change and the conservation and rational use of natural resources. In response to 1,085 opinions nationwide, that of a National Assembly deputy and the Congress discussions.

125. To appropriately orient industrial development, the carrying out of studies aimed at elaborating a strategic industrial policy must be institutionalised and systematised, on the basis of the dynamic tendencies of technological change, with the aim of creating the conditions for the industrial sector to assume a key role in economic growth, the capacity for innovation and structural change in the productive sector, and so that it contributes in a significant way to greater economic independence and technological sovereignty in strategic branches of the economy.        

Define an industrial policy that contributes to reorienting industrial development, and that monitors the use of existing technologies in the country with a view to promoting their systematic modernisation, taking into account energy efficiency, productive efficacy and environmental impact, and that contributes to greater technological sovereignty in strategic branches of the economy. Consider the importation of technologies, the country’s capacity to assimilate them and the support services they require, the production of spare parts, and compliance with metrology and quality norms. (135)

Stresses the importance of a technology policy that serves as a basis for the reorientation of industrial development. Responds to the problem of technological obsolescence. Specifies the issues of spare parts, metrology and quality norms. Given 110 opinions in 11 provinces, that of a National Assembly deputy and the Congress discussion.

126. In the specific case of the agricultural sector, the application of science and technology to increasing food production and improving animal health must be boosted in all links in the productive chain, reducing production costs on the basis of the production of biofertilisers, insecticides and similar products that allow for a reduction in imports and dependence on external markets for these product lines.        

In agro-industrial activity, the application of an integrated approach to science, technology, innovation and the environment in the entire productive chain will be boosted, with the aim of increasing food production, improving animal health and producer services, reduced costs, and better utilisation of machinery and inputs for national production and of the scientific-technological capacity at the disposal of the country. (136)

Covers all agro-industrial activity. Prioritises the reduction of food imports. Incorporates the content of draft guideline 187. In response to 1,960 opinions nationwide and one National Assembly deputy.

127. In general, the socialist state enterprise must create conditions for the incorporation of scientific and technological developments, where possible and necessary.  

All forms of management of economic entities will be ensured a regulatory framework that promotes the systematic and accelerated introduction of the results of science, innovation and technological development in productive processes and in services, taking into account the established norms of social and environmental responsibility. (134)

Generalises the guideline to include entities in all sectors and forms of property ownership and management. Highlights the importance of a regulatory framework that promotes the incorporation of the results of science and innovation and of environmental and social sustainability criteria. In response to 970 opinions in 14 provinces.

128. The completion and application of the legal instruments required by the System of Scientific and Technological Innovation must be worked on with urgency.

Adopt the necessary functional reordering and structural measures and update the corresponding legal instruments to achieve the integrated and effective management of the Science, Technology, Innovation and Environment System (130).

Completes the elements to be taken into account in the updating of the system. Given 618 opinions nationwide.   

New guideline:

Continue to promote social science and humanities research on the key aspects of social life, and prefect the methods of introducing the results of these studies in decision-making at all levels. (137)

Makes specific reference to the social sciences and humanities. Establishes as an objective the application of the results of these studies. In response to 935 opinions nationwide and that of a National Assembly deputy.   

New guideline:

Give greater attention to the continual education and training of technical personnel and qualified cadres that responds to and anticipates scientific and technological developments in the key areas of production and services, as well as the prevention and mitigation of social and environmental impacts. (138)  

Gathers together concepts contained in guideline 202 of the draft document. Emphasises the updating of the scientific-technological education of professionals, mid-level technicians, specialists and cadres. Given 563 opinions in 15 provinces.   

New guideline:

Define and promote new ways of stimulating the creativity of the work collectives at the base level, and strengthen their participation in the solution of the technological problems of production and services and in the promotion of ecologically sustainable methods of production. (139)

Adopts as a guideline the promotion of the management of innovation in the work collectives at the base [i.e. factory floor] level. In response to 4,976 opinions nationwide and that of one National Assembly deputy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Translation: Alfredo Guevara & students 3

Debate Forum dialogue with Alfredo Guevara in the Faculty of Chemistry, Havana University

Part 3 (Part 2 is here

Cubadebate website, June 22, 2011

Translation: Marce Cameron

Alfredo Guevara: Look, I’m someone who’s said more than once that I’ll never advise you to keep quiet, but OK, I get very comfortable speaking my mind because I’ve spent my life confronting everything human and divine, I’ve never shut up, but I’m in a privileged position because from the first day of the struggle I’ve never weakened so it’s very hard to beat me down. I’ll also say with complete frankness that I believe Fidel took it upon himself to look after me, because I’ve had to cope with the ideological directives of the Party and only once, during the Congress discussions, did I really challenge the party line, because I’ve always been very disciplined. I’ve been disciplined as I’ve had to be, internally. Only now that time has passed have I published, in my books, the political ideas that I’ve had and that I defend, and don’t imagine that I haven’t had to cop it, I’ve been hit, but not a knock-out. So I’ll say to you what I want to say: you have to stand up for what you believe in.

Now, if you’re a student and you’re thinking of becoming an intellectual, if you’re thinking about criticism and commitment, you have to play with intelligence rather than clumsiness. You don’t have to play to be defeated. This is like chess, you have to know when and how to play the move.

You began by recalling my inaugural lecture in the forum on Sartre in the Great Hall [of Havana University], I don’t know how many years ago. But do you know what? There’s someone who interests me even more, [Italian Marxist Antonio] Gramsci, study Gramsci and study him in depth, and you’ll find – remember, too, that many of his reflections were written from prison – you’ll come across his writings on the organic intellectual. One has to be so immersed, so intricately involved in society in the course of history, in the political struggle of the day, so as to wage the battle for the right to criticism – which is a right – criticism that improves things. If your criticism – and this applies to everyone – if your criticism comes from the heart of society in order to improve it, then I don’t think anyone will be able to beat you down, it will be harder for them each time.

When I talk about the progressive disappearance it’s not going to happen overnight, but the more we struggle the quicker the bureaucratic state apparatus will disappear. The state is all-pervasive, especially the bureaucratic state apparatus, and the time for dismantling it is approaching. Now, I’m going to tell you something someone may not like one bit: the bureaucratic Party apparatus must also disappear. I’m not going to talk about the Party because it’s better to wait for the Congress and the Conference, etc, events which will take place in the coming months. It must be completely de-bureaucratised.

But I’m going to relate an experience I had with the Union of Young Communists [UJC]. I’m not going to name names, but how is it possible that every time I phone certain cadres they’re always in a meeting? A meeting at eight o’clock in the morning, one at ten, another at five and I don’t know how many, it’s like this all day. So when do they get time to think, at what time do they study, when do they have contact with the other youth? It’s impossible. But it’s like this in every apparatus, it’s not as if we have to wage a struggle against meetings, it’s that we must wage a struggle for interaction with real life. I know of a respectable person, a top leader of the UJC at Villa Marista. If I go to Villa Marista I’m not going to give the name of this person, but a leader of the UJC didn’t know about the things that were happening in the street among the youth, he found out in a meeting. Look, what’s going on here? I think the first thing we need to ask ourselves is what is the UJC, what is the Party, what should the social organisations be, including the leadership of the Confederation of Trade Unions? This is the vanguard, and those who are part of it must be the best.

: Good afternoon, my name is Omar Gonzalez, I study French at the Faculty of Foreign Languages. Just now, when you were talking about ethics and morality, you said that you thought that today in Cuba there are, finally, citizens, people with the consciousness to make People’s Power the power of the people. I found it surprising that you said this, because my own experience in the society in which I live is that there are many economic problems. There are many political problems, there are the country’s enemies, all these things, but there’s a big internal problem which is precisely the consciousness of the people. I see that the people have grown up in an education system that almost promotes deceit, that when these people graduate and begin to work they steal from their workplace. The majority do it, unfortunately, for personal economic reasons and because of the education they’ve had. I see a lot of hypocrisy in the wider society and a lot of apathy, of which you also spoke. So I’m shocked to hear you say that finally we have citizens. Can you really tell me that you believe this?

Alfredo Guevara: No, I agree with you. I think we’ve been creating conditions that help, but only as a potentiality that could allow the unchaining of citizenship. For this to happen we must resolve a whole host of problems that we’re proposing solutions for, the project led by Raul [Castro] must really succeed. Nobody can raise their hand and declare themselves free of sins, that they haven’t participated in some kind of illegal activity. To steal is something else, outright theft is different, isn’t it? But since everything’s illegal, how can anyone survive? We can call it this or that, but let me say this: I’ve been able to avoid certain things, today, not always, but when I was younger, now I’m old, but when I was ten years younger, my grandchildren’s school was just around the corner from my house. You’re still a long way off this, but grandparents are always fussier than parents, so when the grandkids went off to school, which was just around the corner, I got up at 7am and waited in the doorway until they went into the school.

Well then, at 7am men and women began to come past my door with big bags selling frozen chicken wrapped in cling wrap, just like the stuff they sell in the convertible peso stores, and boxes of strawberries that I hadn’t seen for donkey’s years, in other words the most unusual things, all kinds of products. Well, I didn’t need to buy these things at the time, but there were moments in which one’s hand is forced, because if you have two grandchildren ... the chicken I didn’t have to buy, but a box of strawberries, it was extraordinary to see a box of strawberries. OK, who has clean hands in this, who didn’t take advantage of the black market, who didn’t participate in it? This is impossible, because if we’re talking about a good salary lasting less than a week, the first thing we have to do is recognise reality.

[Translation to be continued]

Monday, July 18, 2011

Translation: Alfredo Guevara & students 2

Debate Forum dialogue with Alfredo Guevara in the Faculty of Chemistry, Havana University

Part  2 (Part 1 is here

Cubadebate website, June 22, 2011

Translation: Marce Cameron

Student: Professor, I’m a fifth-year computer science student but I’ve come along to this discussion [organised by the Faculty of Chemistry]. I’ve always wanted to meet you and hear what you have to say. Now, I’m not sure about something you said. I’ve written down my question so I don’t make an ass of myself, which I’ll now read out: Professor, I’d like to know, given what our president Raul Castro has said, and what you have said about the need to graduate ever more technicians, and the policies of countries such as Canada and Germany that now offer many jobs to our young graduates, or rather they steal our brains so that we can go there and make a lot of money and so on, yet nobody has come up with any proposals or ideas for how to prevent such things, which are despicable but real, from happening. Thank you very much.

Alfredo Guevara: My goodness, that’s a difficult one isn’t it. Because when you graduate – you’re a student aren’t you? – when you graduate and they offer you a marvellous salary of 400 or 500 [Cuban regular pesos per month] and ten days into the month you’ve spent your salary and you haven’t covered half the cost of living for the whole month, and along comes a man from Canada who knocks at your door and offers you a salary of two thousand Canadian dollars, it’s hard not to think about it. The only solution is to solve the problems of this country and of daily life. When 500 pesos doesn’t get you anywhere…

I can tell you that I have other sources of income due to my being an author and because my works are published outside Cuba, but my case is exceptional, or different, and I earn 700 pesos a month. Because of my age, I’m 85, and my ideas about health, I’m not a vegetarian but I know it’s healthy to base one’s diet on vegetables. In less than ten days, in a week I can spend my 700 pesos in the agricultural market. Sure, I have family members with incomes … I receive income from outside the country, but this is only a limited percentage of the population. It’s calculated that 51% of the population, of families, receive some income from outside the country [mostly in the form of remittances – translator's note].


It’s not only the fault of the Canadians, they are partly responsible, and let’s not put the blame solely on the political weakness of the one who leaves. Let’s accept that the responsibility is one third the Canadians, one third the one who leaves and one third our own, and the Cuban state, Cuban society, must resolve the problem, the problems must be resolved urgently. And I, at this age, feel responsible for everything that has happened in Cuba, both good and bad, and I say to myself: all of my hopes lie in the de-statisation and de-bureaucratisation of Cuban society, leading to a society in which people’s creativity is unbound and is taken seriously.

There is an experience – excuse me for commenting on this, but I take an interest in everything – there is a tremendous experience that we’re not copying 100%, through there are many aspects that have already been tested. Vietnam did this and took off. That’s to say, Vietnam has 80-something million people and in Vietnam, it could be said, they broke the barriers that we’re trying to break, and this resulted in an explosion of internal capital, that is, not foreign investment capital but internal capital. We need foreign investment as well, just as they do, but the initial impetus caused an explosion of national wealth.

The first speeches of Raul [Castro as acting president in 2006-7] were framed by what even the inhabitants of Havana, the city folk, knew something about, namely that the countryside was overrun with marabú [a weedy tropical thorn scrub that is the Cuban farmer’s nightmare and has become a metaphor for neglect and decay in recent years – translator’s note] and that the farmlands were abandoned, that the land wasn’t producing, and this was opened up [i.e. the government began leasing idle state-owned farmland to producers] … there, we’re moving forward without yet producing what we need to, but in the countryside this is happening, the de-statisation revolution is proceeding very slowly. I think we must transform society, if we don’t then we’ll inevitably be prey to the theft of brains.


Participant: I’m a professor in the Faculty of Chemistry, and my question has to do with how to create a new kind of socialism, because as you said we’ve been improvising for the last 50 years, and we do see the deficiencies, that there are many problems. So we’d like to ask you in particular, because we know that you’re a visionary, that you have ideas, that you don’t fear these kinds of questions. I especially would like to ask you how you would see true socialism being constructed because, in particular, I note that the way in which the worker is employed in this system, alienated in their labour, is almost the same as that in a capitalist system. In a capitalist system you have a capitalist who appropriates the labour of the worker and gives the worker a salary; here the state does the same, the state appropriates the labour of the worker and gives them a salary. Consequently, I don’t see great differences and for me, to build socialism would be to give, or to get closer to, the earnings from work going to the worker. In other words, can you tell us a little about your idea of how to go about this, because I don’t know, it seems … it seems as if this is something we need to think about in planning a better system.  

Alfredo Guevara: I think that if we were in a society that had already been de-statised and de-bureaucratised then the state, that is, if the state were dismantled – I’m a partisan of the state, but not of this state that we have – I think that the state is an integrating institution in this period [of socialist construction] …well, I really don’t like submitting myself to those I’ve had to debate on occasion, but OK, in this period of transition, to what I don’t know because the truth is I don’t really know what communism is. And because of this I laugh at the great theoreticians of the Cuban transition because it’s the transition of folly, it’s the transition of absurdity towards a socialist society. I do see socialism, I understand it, I believe that socialism is possible. Someone will have to explain communism to me, but explain… OK, it doesn't matter, I’ll die before then, I’ll leave communism to you who come after me, but socialism, maybe.

So, what you say is valid, or I consider it to be valid for the situation we have, because who confiscates the work of the worker? The bureaucracy and absurdity, and worse still they don’t make good use of it but squander it through inefficiency, but in all fairness the state, if it were the state that it could be, doesn't exploit the worker, it’s not exploitation, it takes part of the earnings to redistribute in the form of social services, if the social services are maintained and if they’re  how to say it?  made more efficient. In any case, the social services that we do have depend to a large extent on taxes, if you want to call them taxes, now we’re going to call “taxes” what the self-employed have to pay, but in any case we’re talking about a social contribution that is later redistributed. 

I think your concern is just and the way you have described it is fair, in so far as it is squandered, because while everything is administered by an absurd and inefficient bureaucracy then it’s valid what you say, but I don’t think we can change quickly by really immersing ourselves in this [renewal] project. So this idea needs to be changed.

This project, initiated by the current top leadership and materialised as a program in Raul’s interventions – I appreciate Raul’s speeches more and I think they’re clearer than the [Economic and Social Policy] Guidelines, especially the speech marking July 26, wasn’t it? in the National Assembly. I believe that if we really implement all this then we’ll have ourselves another kind of state, that is, the de-bureucratisation and the de-statisation will allow the state to concern itself with regulating – the state apparatus that must result from elections and People’s Power – what it needs to in order to serve as a mediator through the apparatus of formal justice founded on laws, rather than through the will of individuals, and will be reduced.

I don’t think we’re talking about hatred of the state in this period of our history, it’s about giving it the form that it really needs, not this where the state is everything, the corner store is the state, this shop that steals a little of the product from you then they sell it to you on the black market; the baker who steals the flour and then the bread is no good, etc. etc. This is the state, so it should not be the state, it should be private, they should be private and nothing more … when it is privately administered you can be sure that nobody will steal a sack of flour because they’d be robbing themselves. So this is what we’re talking about, destroying this huge apparatus which has seized society, the problem is that it has seized society.

Participant: Good afternoon, my name is Michel, I’m also a professor in the Faculty of Chemistry. My question is about something that has been happening and something that the leadership of the country has thought about, or that is the slogan of the day, which is that the future will belong to the youth which are going to lead the country, which is logical, however at present there is still a big generational gap between the current leaders who, in my opinion are almost all over 50 years old, and the youth who will lead our country in the future. How much longer are we going to say that the leadership of the country is going to be in the hands of the youth, if the youth still don’t hold the reins of leadership and there is still no sign of a youth leader capable of leading this multitude of youth. Unfortunately, those that have arisen in recent years have become corrupted in one way or another, so I ask: how much confidence can the leadership of the country have in the youth if in one way or another they become corrupt? [...]

Secondly, I’d like to emphasise what you said regarding People’s Power. At present People’s Power needs more power while being less popular...

Alfredo Guevara: Both, it needs both...

Michel: Yes, but more power in this sense, as I see in the creation of the new province of Artemisa, for example, where I observe that not even three months have passed and the self-employed do as they please, and neither People’s Power nor the [Communist] Party take action in the interests of the people. So to what extent is People’s Power popular, we have the Party to represent the people, what does it do for the people and does it act in their interests?

Alfredo Guevara: On the last point you made, I don’t know anything about the new provinces. I do know that there are abuses all over the country, and when there has always been so much abuse and arbitrariness then it’s going to continue for a bit longer and we’ll have to put up with it. In any case, I think that none of the things that may be happening should lead us to condemn self-employment. OK, the word “self-employment” is a little strange, it doesn’t convey much sympathy. In Spain they’re called – and I really like this word – autonomous, and it’s true that they’re autonomous, that is, they work for themselves but they also run risks themselves, and this has to be respected, and I think it’s useful, in defending this sector, to recall - as I’ve done on other occasions but I haven’t used this argument for a while - that in the works of Karl Marx, not those that appear later in Volume II of Capital based on his notes which were written and revised by Marx himself; in his studies of the pre-capitalist modes of production the artisan appears, and the artisan is nothing more than pre-capitalist, because the artisans aren’t the only ones who make little rag dolls are they? A good baker is an artisan, a good pastry chef is an artisans, the competitive difference between two artisans is of this nature.

In the same neighbourhood or in the same block, or two blocks, is the quality [product or service] and, what’s more, the approval of the customer who prefers this flavour of a chef in a little restaurant in one block to that of another, or the specialty of the other. All these are artisans. And not only did Marx recognise that this was a pre-capitalist form of production, it’s not capitalist, capitalism comes into being with mass production and therefore commodity fetishism where commodities are overvalued, from which arises the drive to production for its own sake, which is productive, but it’s forgotten that the labour of the producer is stolen and that work is alienated. Because of this I say that we’re unchaining creativity, because a chef who works better than the other chef three blocks away will win customers through competition, s/he is a creator. OK, a good painter is also a creator, but a chef is a creator; the cabinetmaker who works the wood better than the other is a creator, etc. 

This is a principle of Marxism, what was the negation of Marxism was to persecute individual creativity, so that the chef was considered almost a delinquent; and the painter, who probably earned much more, is not a delinquent. No, no, no, we must think more and put things in their proper place.      

You speak of generations, well look, I’m of the first generation, you’re looking at the devil (Laughter). But I think it’s been good – I could be wrong but I’m going to tell you what I think – I think it’s been good, fortunate for the history of Cuba, that the remainders – we’re the remainders, the survivors of the first generation and I take on the responsibilities I do because I have no official post now, nor do I want one – it’s fortunate that the survivors of the first generation are the ones who are proposing this transformation of society.

I believe it’s been good, there are some negatives, but it’s been good to have this group of old people – you’ve been very generous in saying they’re in their 60s, we’re all older than 70 and some of us are more than 80 – have taken this initiative. It would be terrible if this generation hadn’t done so, it would be terrible for us, for history. But I think the time has come again – I said that an opportunity would be lost – the time has come and it’s up to you... after the [6th Communist] Party Congress that will be held in 15 or 20 days, and the Conference, which is when? In October, isn’t it? You don’t remember? [The PCC Conference is now scheduled for late January, 2012 – translator’s note]. These gatherings will begin to make changes in this direction. I believe it’s essential, it would be crazy to not do so, because we’re going to die... we’re going to start dropping off like ... I don’t know, I don’t want to make ugly comparisons, but we’re going to die off steadily in the coming years. Can someone who is more than 80 keep on living for much longer? Ten years more in some cases, or five years for some of our generation, this is not talked about publicly because ... we’re already out of print mentally (Laughter).

So I don’t know, I began by telling you that you’re looking at the devil because imagine, I’m in between, but I think the time has come and that the time comes unavoidably, unavoidably, dictated by biology.

Participant: Good afternoon, my name is Jorge Gonzalez Arocha, I’m a Professor with the Faculty of Philosophy, History and Sociology. I’ve heard you speak in other meetings, in other spaces, in which you've referred to the general concept of freedom, specifically to a French thinker, Jean Paul Sartre, the theme of freedom in Sartre’s thought. For us here in the Faculty, French existentialism, the theme of freedom, is a fascinating one, above all in the times we’re living in, no? To study this thought and to try to uncover within French existentialist thought and OK, in general, all this cultural context of the 1960s, to fathom clues to help us understand the present reality.

Listening to you speak today reminded me of what you said in the Great Hall [of Havana University], I think it was in 2005, in a forum for the centenary of the birth of Sartre, in which you referred to an interview of Sartre during the French May [i.e. the pre-revolutionary crisis of May-June 1968 in France – translator’s note], in which he outlines his definition of intellectual freedom, or rather, the scope of freedom for the intellectual, but the intellectual as a subject who is pulled in two directions, towards commitment on the one hand and criticism on the other, in other words one cannot see this person as being absolutely committed to a system, or to a collection of social or political norms and rules, or only as someone who is hypercritical of their reality.

My question relates precisely to this, to criticism and commitment, but above all the question of criticism in Cuba today from the point of view of the youth among us, especially, taking into account the changes – pardon me, I don’t like calling them changes, I prefer to speak of movement because to talk about change implies a level of consciousness at the level of civil society that it seems to me is still absent in Cuba at present, rather it seems to me that there are movements in the economy and timid ones politically.

With this in mind, I’d like to hear you view on the degree to which, in Cuba today, the youth can exercise a right to criticism, also taking into consideration that we confront a bureaucracy, as has been said here; we have a system that rewards ... this is a little harsh, but OK ... the dumbing-down of the youth, the dumbing-down of society, that sponsors banality, I don’t think I need to mention here the soap operas, you already spoke about them in the lecture, I don’t know, in relation to art, everything. That is, there are several conditions which in some way are influencing the lack of criticism but, at the same time, the criticism that exists is not heard, so I’d like hear your opinion on this, on the topic of criticism and the youth, and what we the youth can do to break this cycle of contradictions in which we’re immersed.

[Translation to be continued]

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Luis Sexto: Horizontal socialism

As a rule I post only what is unavailable elsewhere, i.e. my own translations and commentaries. Here is a rare exception. I've just returned from visiting family in Melbourne and will resume my translations shortly. This perceptive commentary by Cuban journalist Luis Sexto was first published on the bilingual Progreso Weekly website in both Spanish and English under the heading, "Back to the bench or keep bumbling".

As usual, Sexto's perceptive observations reveal much about the internal dynamics of the renewal process. Sexto's judgement that "the best ideology is not one that promises paradise but that builds it" sums up nicely the principled pragmatism of those who strive to carry through the renovation that has begun. As I've argued elsewhere, the basic line-up of forces is the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) leadership together with genuine revolutionaries within and outside the PCC against conservative elements, particularly those entrenched in the administrative apparatus, that resist change. To prevail in the face of such resistance requires nothing less than the dismantling of much of what Cubans call "the bureaucracy" and the simultaneous deepening of participatory socialist democracy, above all in the sphere of economic management. 

As Sexto says, "whoever does do not change his mindset and stands as an obstacle to horizontal socialism, that is, democratic and productive socialism, will have to stand aside or be displaced." The "old man" does not appear to be a reference to Fidel Castro, but to those Cubans with a conservative mentality who are an obstacle to "horizontal socialism". 

Back to the bench or keep bumbling

By Luis Sexto, Progreso Weekly website, July 12, 2011

Translation: Progreso Weekly

HAVANA - At a recent debate organized by the journal Temas (Topics) in Havana on politicization and depoliticization in Cuban society, one of the listeners asked this reporter, who was part of the panel, the meaning of the double standard. I answered with a title by José Ingenieros; it means “simulation in the struggle for life.” He countered, saying he could define it with less bombast: It is the divorce between the leaders and the led, he said.

Better to explain it as the divorce between economic structures and the aspirations of citizens, I replied. Because, ultimately, leaders and officials act as people inserted in a certain order that eventually affects human behavior. And I say this without subtracting responsibility from those who take advantage, for their own benefit, of the dogmatic and bureaucratic nature that conditions so-called real socialism.

The double standard, then, is a result of an excess of politicization that, counter to the renewal process, insists on prevailing over the consciences so that the double standard (to say what you don't think and think what you don't say) may continue as a kind of distortion of politics and ethics.

Politics, among many meanings drawn from the theory of state and law, is related to the art or science of governance. So, the political attitude of the citizens must be to accept and support the program of the ruling party and work for its fulfillment or freely criticize its inconsistencies.

So far, however, politics has been understood by us as a kind of ritual, a repetition of slogans that evaluates the commitment of people. That kind of “super ego” that hangs over people's conscience has been, in essence, the work of a total ideologization of human actions.

So, when the Government and the Communist Party today ask cadres and functionaries, even ordinary people, to change their mindset, they are proposing to change the way to deal with society, relationships, the economy, politics and law, and light a fire under “the old days,” an allusion to the people burdened by experiences and reflexes that prompt them to act and speak “as I did” or “as I said before.”

Everything in Cuba today is a renewal, a negation preceding a rebirth conditioned by the needs and certainty of the present. But habit and the interests twisted in so many years of ruling, rather than governing, refuse to fall away. And the committed observer appreciates the divorce – since we started talking about divorce – between the corrections and the solutions that are adopted, the doctrine that is disseminated and the application (somewhat reluctant and tortuous) of the project of economic upgrading that, of necessity, must pass through a reformulation of attitudes and political activism.

It would be a fateful mistake for us to forget that the survival of the ideals and achievements of the revolution, including the socialist objectives, is crystallized and entrenched in our national unity. And that it will have to coalesce within diversity and be protected by effective constitutional and legal rights.

Raul Castro seemed very confident, and spoke clearly during the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party, when he stated that national unity, so often invoked and needed in the past 50 years, is formed by the conjunction of believers, atheists, Freemasons, santeros, whites, blacks and mestizos, of all the Cubans who, seen through a glass made clear by reason and goodwill, may not be overlooked or discriminated against or privileged by their beliefs or philosophies, or by their higher or lower economic status or social prestige.

But who can change, through persuasion, the prevailing views of a state apparatus that is bureaucratized even to the manner of dress, and that, in influential numbers, is accustomed to raising its hand in token of consent, and then submitting a problem to every solution, because it feels its power is threatened if the land is divided, or if private workers or cooperatives proliferate, or if each citizen freely decides to attend or not the union meeting or the street rally, or guard duty for the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution.

What would happen, for example, if an institution were to include, among the requirements for working or enrolling in a school or university, a vow "not to profess any religious beliefs and to commit to hold the post unconditionally,” i.e., to remain there forever?

Wouldn't that institution try to delegitimize the discourse of the country's president and secretary general of the ruling party? Viewed with a critical mind, these practices would negate the true revolutionary humanism, and their extreme demands would generate a double standard. Who could stop anyone from saying that they're atheists and then lighting a candle to St. Lazarus at home?

Who doesn't know that unconditionality to men and institutions keeps freedom stuck to the ceiling and that, faced with any adverse circumstance, any questions or desire, the individuals thus imprisoned can resort only to suicide or defection?

I believe that this rejection of the declared political will to leave behind what is outdated and failed, what has been the cause of poverty, emigration or depoliticization, is a contribution of those who refuse to believe that the best ideology is not one that promises paradise but that builds it. It does not create problems but solves them in harmony, without pressure.

Cuba is still manageable, however. It does not function in chaos, despite the appearances that are magnified by enemies and minimized by friends. And this writer, in contact with hundreds of compatriots in the archipelago, can assure you that the reserves of ethics and genuine commitment are valuable enough to merit emerging to the light. The proof: Cuban society remains standing and tranquil.

But “the old man” will have to stand aside, no matter his age, because I know young people whose thought is as rigid as the lighthouse on El Morro. And we will have to accept that whoever does do not change his mindset and stands as an obstacle to horizontal socialism, that is, democratic and productive socialism, will have to stand aside or be displaced.

Cuba's main problem, as I see it, is synthesized in a baseball analogy: those who grew used to batting toward third will have trouble batting to first when tactical circumstances demand it. And the manager's book will pass sentence: back to the bench, this game is not for you.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Translation: Guidelines debate 13, Investment

Here is Part 13 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.

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.

Investment policy


109. The most important investments will correspond to the country's short, medium and long term development strategy, eradicating spontaneity, improvisation, superficiality, failure to achieve the scope of the projected investment, lack of in-depth feasibility studies and the absence of an integral approach.

The most important investments will correspond to the country's short, medium and long term development strategy, eradicating spontaneity, improvisation, superficiality, lack of fulfilment of plans, lack of in-depth feasibility studies and the absence of an integral approach. (116)
Replaces "scope" with "plans" for clarity, in response to 410 opinions in 15 provinces.

New guideline:

Technological and building maintenance activities will be prioritised in all economic sectors. (117)

Separates maintenance activities from the original guideline 110 to give it the priority it deserves, given 4,338 opinions nationwide.

110. Investments in the productive sphere will be prioritised in order to generate incomes in the short term, aimed at increasing exports of goods and services and import substitution, as well as infrastructure investments needed for the economic development of the country. Maintenance activities will be prioritised over investments.  

Priority will be given to investments in the productive sphere and services that achieve beneficial results in the short term, as well as infrastructure investments needed for the sustainable development of the country's economy. (118)

Maintenance is dealt with in the new guideline 117. The efficiency of the investment process is highlighted, services are included and the wording is improved. Given 549 opinions in 15 provinces. 

Chavez hugs his daughters Rosa and Maria after surgery in Cuba  
111. The Economy and Planning Ministry will demand greater acountability from the entities of the Central State Administration and the Provincial Administration Councils so that those responsible for carrying out investments, from conception to the evaluation of results, comply with the corresponding regulations. The investor will have the maximum responsibility for planning, execution, control, financing and implementation of their investments.[1]

Increase the levels of accountability and oversight of the Central State Administration and the [Provincial and Municipal] Administration Councils with regard to their role as key investors, to ensure that they carry out investments in an integral manner from conception through to the evaluation of results. (119)

Adds "and oversight" and deletes "provincial" to encompass the municipal level as well, in response to 1,094 opinions nationwide. The wording is improved.

112. The quality and standing of the General Territorial and Urban Zoning Plans will be boosted at the national, regional and provincial levels, as will their integration with the medium and long term projections for the economy and the Investments Plan. The use of macro-localisation as a tool for planning must be revived to ensure the depth, agility and response time of the obligatory consultation process with the Central State Administration entities and the Provincial Administration Council investors with the System of Physical Planning. Restore locality and urban planning discipline.      

The quality and standing of the general plans of territorial zoning will be boosted at the national, regional and provincial levels, as will their integration with the medium and long-term projections for the economy and the Investments Plan, taking into account the risks of earthquakes and other natural disasters. Ensure the depth, agility and response time of the obligatory consultation processes, restoring locality and urban planning discipline. (120)

The territorial aspects are better defined, and the risk of earthquakes and other natural disasters and their impact on the investment process is added. The wording is improved. Given 143 opinions in 15 provinces and the discussion at the [Sixth Communist Party] Congress.

113. Conditions will be created for a progressive decentralisation of the Investments Plan and a change in its conception, granting powers of approval to the Central State Administration entities, the Provincial Administration Councils, state enterprises and budgeted entities in response to global frameworks for sectors, branches and entities, with direct indicators of physical execution and the effectiveness of the plan, elaborating and putting into practice norms to ensure a real and agile ordering of the investment process.      

Conditions will be created for a progressive decentralisation of the Investments Plan and a change in its conception, granting powers of approval to the Central State Administration entities, the [Provincial and Municipal] Administration Councils, state enterprises and budgeted entities. (121)

"Provincial" is eliminated to also encompass the municipal level. The text is improved. In response to 160 opinions in 14 provinces.

114. Contracts will constitute a working tool in the planning and control of all phases of the investment process, principally in relation to the prices agreed to and the time-frames for execution.     

Contracts will constitute a working tool in the planning and control of all phases of the investment process, assuring the final result of the investment with the required quality and within the agreed time-frame for execution. (122)     

Adds the reference to quality and makes the wording more precise, given 1,259 opinions nationwide.

115. Systems of payment and of incentives and salary penalties will be evaluated and proposed for all those involved in the investment process, linked to the results achieved in the different phases of investment, including the new system of incentives for double shifts where conditions for this exist. (Integrated with guidelines 20, 141, 170 and 288).  

The content of the original guideline is reflected in various guidelines in other chapers.

116. Investments that are approved will, as a norm, have the capacity to pay for themselves with their own results and will have to be financed with external credit or their own funds, the reimbursement of which will come from finances generated by the investment itself, whether through higher incomes or lower costs.    

Investments that are approved will, as a policy, have the capacity to pay for themselves with their own results and will have to be financed with external credit or their own funds, the reimbursement of which will come from finances generated by the investment itself. (123)

Substitutes "policy" for "norm" to avoid confusion with norms that may be legal or some other type. The wording is improved.  

117. An order of priority for the execution of investments must be drawn up to minimise the simultaneous immobilisation of resources in projects with a long timeframe for completion. It is preferable to prioritise the planning and execution of investments with short timeframes or those that better allow for the key objectives to be realised.  

Establish a time-frame for the execution of investments that minimises the immobilisation of resources in projects with a long time-frame for completion. Prioritise the planning and execution of investments with short time-frames or those that better allow for the key objectives to be realised. (124)

The text is modified to make it more emphatic and to aid comprehension.

118. Investments with long time-frames for completion require the establishment of priorities in stages, so that each stage can function independently from the others and immediately begin to recover the financial outlay. (Maintained as guideline 125)   

119. Investments in the industrial sector, responsible for the the manufacture of capital goods and intermediaries in the national economy, must be prioritised in line with the strategic objectives of the country. (Maintained as guideline 126)   

120. The principles and methods of new management techniques for the state investment process will continue to be assimilated and incorporated, starting with the participation of International Economic Association project managers and builders in the execution of complex investments. The participation of foreign managers and builders to guarantee the execution of investments whose complexity and importance require it is highly valued. The necessary regulations will be drawn up to ensure that the positive experiences of these foreign partners are assimilated.

The principles and methods of new management techniques for the investment process will continue to be assimilated and incorporated, including those of project management and construction entities that are partners in International Economic Associations [i.e. joint ventures]. The participation of foreign managers and construction firms to guarantee the execution of investments whose complexity and importance require it is highly valued. (127)

The word "entities" is included to clarify that it refers to legal entities [rather than individuals] and the wording is improved.  

121. Evaluate the tendering process for design and construction services among Cuban enterprises, proposing and implementing measures to increase their efficiency, competitiveness and quality as required by the country's investment process.      

Evaluate the tendering process for design and construction services among Cuban entities, proposing and implementing measures to increase their efficiency, competitiveness and quality as required by the country's investment process. (128)     

Replaces "enterprises" with "entities" to allow for the possibility that cooperatives and other organisational forms of management can be considered, in response to 27 proposals in 9 provinces.    

[1] Presumably "investor" here refers to the Cuban entity carrying out the investment or an individual appointed by this entity to oversee the investment — translator's note.