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Four years after calling for structural and conceptual changes, Raúl Castro finally unveiled a roadmap of substantive economic reforms. Over the next 18 months, at least a million workers will be laid off from the bloated state sector. Alternative forms of earning a living – self-employment, cooperatives, leasing of land or physical space, among others – are being authorized as old constraints on these alternatives are rescinded. From the perspective of ordinary Cubans, these reforms – called an actualizaciόn, or an update of the economic model – were long overdue. Yet, in hindsight, the slow-paced process can be explained, not in terms of the need for time to “identify” Cuba’s economic problems which have been known for decades, but by Raúl Castro’s emphasis on la institucionalidad, the need to channel decision making through institutions. His brother left a chaotic state apparatus which first needed mending before an elite consensus on the reform package could be forged. Cuba is entering a situation without precedent: this package is likely to run its own course without the Comandante (Fidel Castro) stopping it. By 2015, Cuban society will probably look different than today, featuring unprecedented inequality and living standards that are on the rise.


"The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this report (paper) are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy or decision unless so designated by the official documentation.

Funded by the National Defense Center for Energy and Environment (NDCEE), ID W91WAW-09-D-0022, delivery order number 0616. "



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