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Stogie News: Market-Oriented Reforms for Cuba?

2 Oct 2007

It has been well over a year since we first reported that Fidel Castro was relinquishing the reins of his communist regime to battle an “intestinal crisis” and cope with “imminent death.”

Fidel CastroNot unlike his track record of nearly 50 years of political stability, the embattled Cuban dictator has outlasted all our predictions and, as far as we know, is still breathing some 15 months later. Clearly, we here at are better at writing about cigars than prognosticating about intestine-related medical complications.

But just because Fidel is still alive doesn’t mean he’s ready – or ever will be again – to take back control of the island nation. El Presidente hasn’t made a public appearance in over a year, and the video released last week shows him frail and lacking that certain zest you expect from a totalitarian leader who’s responsible for countless human rights violations.

So we turn our attention to his brother, Raúl. In August, I wrote, “It’s true that we can’t expect major reform from Raúl – who has been at his brother’s side from the beginning – anytime soon, but many foreign policy experts believe he is more pragmatic than Fidel, and therefore more open to economic reforms.”

Castro’s death certainly will not instantaneously lift America’s decades-long trade embargo, but Cuban economic and political reforms will go a long way towards that end. In that spirit, here’s the recent buzz on Raúl from some major media outlets.

1. Latin Business Chronicle: “Cuba will initiate some degree of economic reform – including more space for private economic activity – during the coming year…[Raúl] stated a need to examine and expand the practices that work in the agriculture sector, which would imply an expansion of private farming, where productivity is highest. He called for increased foreign investment. He called for ‘structural changes’ which, in Marxist terms, could imply a change in property relations and a selective shift away from state ownership.”

2. Reuters: “Raúl Castro has repeatedly called for more debate and constructive criticism. He also demanded studies from experts on reform proposals to raise productivity, including on the state’s ownership of the economy, which exceeds 90 percent.

3. Houston Chronicle: “The younger Castro, 76, said last week that Cubans shouldn’t be afraid to speak their minds about economic reform, saying they should do so ‘with bravery, with sincerity, without many illusions that we are magicians and are going to resolve problems.’ Raúl Castro is said to be impressed by China’s market-oriented reforms.”

These encouraging market-oriented reforms, at this point, are only speculative in nature. Still, Americans who wish an end to our hypocritical trade embargo can’t help but feel optimistic.

Patrick A

Tags: cigars

16 Responses to “Stogie News: Market-Oriented Reforms for Cuba?”

  1. Mac and Nudo Tuesday, October 2, 2007 at 10:36 am #

    Excellent article. I’d like to point out, however, one not-so-selfish reason for hoping for Cuban reforms: the poor people of Cuban desperately need them.

    Any cigars we get out of the deal would just be icing on the cake. 🙂

  2. Karl Tuesday, October 2, 2007 at 4:00 pm #

    Despite the embargo, looks like you guys have been able to review a fair number of Cubans here.

  3. Hussein Roshdy Tuesday, October 2, 2007 at 4:11 pm #

    I think it is very low to wish death that openly on someone, whoever he is. And you are talking about the man like he is Satan, when god knows you at the US have done what Castro, Saddam and Kim cannot do combined.
    God bless Fidel, may he live more and more to piss you off more and more.

  4. Hussein Roshdy Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 4:27 am #

    Thank you Furious. I will still be buying more Cuban cigars to support Cuba and Castro.

  5. furious Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 8:17 am #

    I only have three words for you, Hussein:

    Screw you, asshole.

  6. Patrick A Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 9:50 am #

    Furious: I appreciate your vehemence towards Hussein’s nonsensical rant but, in my experience, it’s best to ignore those who are blindly irrational. Since they cannot be swayed by reason, let them reveal their own unfortunate and tragic shortcomings without provocation.

    As for Cuban cigars, it’s clear purchasing and smoking them will not halt the inevitable forces for economic and political change that are brewing in the communist nation. Raúl seems to understand slightly better than his brother that free enterprise and liberty are the only lasting paths to prosperity.

  7. Hussein Roshdy Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 8:56 am #

    Hello Patrick A, I see you are the one who wrote that poor article. Don't you think it is very rude and un human to wish death on someone the way you did up there??

    Or is the "evil communist" thing you Americans have, like you are the "good" ones and everybody else is an evil spirit.

    The "we are good, they are evil" mentality most Americans suffer from is shown at it's best in this poor article.

  8. furious Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 10:55 am #

    Agreed on all counts, Patrick. Sometimes I let my emotions get the better of me when I read drivel like that.

  9. Patrick S Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 4:39 pm #

    Perhaps you should read the article again before you continue to post comments. So far your comments have made little sense and don’t seem to be based on what is actually written.

  10. Hussein Roshdy Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 8:38 pm #

    Okay, I will read it one more time.

  11. Hussein Roshdy Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 8:40 pm #

    Okay, I kind of take back some of what I said earlier, but still, the article talks of Castro as a dictator “violating human rights”, when I don’t see the USA that much cares about human rights unless when it suits its needs.

  12. Hussein Roshdy Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 8:41 pm #

    And don’t get me wrong, I still am supporting Cuba and buying Cuban cigars.

  13. Hussein Roshdy Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 8:43 pm #

    You claim to be democratic, but you aren’t. May I know why was that embargo on Cuba? Because they chose a way other than your capitalism??

    If you were democratic, you’d accept people the way they run their countries, but no, you want everyone to be like you are, or else boycott him. Dictatorship at it’s finest.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Cigar Command » Saturday Smokin’ Summary - 10/6/07 - Saturday, October 6, 2007

    […] The Stogie Guys discuss the future of Cuba’s future market reforms. […]

  2. Stogie News: Castro Finally Stepping Down? - Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    […] lift America’s decades-long, hypocritical trade embargo, but Cuban economic and political reforms from a more pragmatic Raúl will go a long way towards that […]

  3. Stogie Commentary: Re-Evaluating the Embargo - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    […] With Fidel Castro stepping down, a new chapter begins in the long and complicated history between the U.S. and our island neighbor. Raúl Castro, Fidel’s brother and successor, will not instantly end the despotic regime, but there are indications that he is more open to market reforms and is considered more pragmatic. […]