Cuba and The Commu-Capitalist Reality of Today

The Sickle

If you were to ask any Cuban a question about their country, the likely answer would be, "It's complicated!" Do people get the same salary regardless of what they do? It’s complicated! Why are there two currencies? It’s complicated! Has the Revolution been successful? It’s complicated! Since the triumph of the Fidel Castro-led Revolution in 1959, the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba has been, well, complicated, and has been constructed as a battle between capitalism and communism. Our policies toward the island have been motivated by the desire to fiercely defend our capitalist state and destroy the communist state that the Cubans established. Cuba policies towards the U.S. have responded in kind, and have been promoted as communist protection from the capitalist enemy to the North. It is perhaps surprising, therefore, that Cubans practice capitalism in their daily life. In fact, the new constitution (approved in February) acknowledges the important role that private capital will play in the country’s future, and allows “private property” for the first time since the country became a communist state.

 

In this Olio, we will examine the myriad manifestations of capitalism in a 60-year old communist country. We will also discuss how the Cuban state is creating opportunity and responding to the Cuban people’s disenchantment with their communist economy. Concerns over capital accumulation and its impact on civil society and equity guide new Cuban regulations for private businesses, and we will spend some time discussing several examples of how Cubans navigate the new commu-capitalist reality. By the conclusion of this Olio, you will agree… it’s complicated!




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.




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