Julio Carranza

Julio Carranza

Economista cubano. Consejero Regional de la UNESCO de Ciencias Sociales en América Latina y el Caribe.

Research and innovation in Cuba

Innovation and its real possibilities for the Cuban economy: the whole and the parts

It is beyond dispute that research and innovation are essential factors in the economic development process of any country. It is important that governments promote it, finance it and make it part of the national strategy. However, this cannot occur in a vacuum or simply as general national structures guided by government commissions, etc. It must be part of a process integrated into strengthening the business fabric, as part of what the enterprise needs to advance in an environment of competition, collaboration and incentives, as well as the general conditions and services necessary for investment. Without the reform of the business system, as part of the comprehensive transformation of the economy, fundamentally of the state enterprise (not so that it stops being public, but so that it stops being inefficient), the role of innovation in real productive processes will always be very limited. There is abundant proof of this fact. Various Cuban economists have systematically insisted on the need for a comprehensive reform of the economy as a sine qua non condition so that all other factors that drive the economy towards development can operate effectively. This is also the case with science-based innovation. Cuba has demonstrated its capacity for...

private sector in socialist system

The list and its problems

As I have commented previously, I believe that the expansion of spaces for the exercise of self-employment is a step in the right direction of the economic reform under way in Cuba, this includes, on the one hand, the principle that each project proposal will be assessed for its approval with a broad criterion, and on the other hand a list, which has just been announced, of some 124 activities that are prohibited. I would like to share some general comments from reading this list, although in order to express a more rigorous opinion, the activities included would have to be analyzed one by one. The first thing that I think is necessary to point out is that the criteria used for the inclusion or exclusion of the different activities in these prohibitions are not clear or explicit. This seems to me of the greatest importance because it would allow a more accurate, conceptual and coherent discussion in this regard. From a first review and taking into account that the official classification criteria are not exposed, in my opinion there are activities whose limitation is totally justified in the context of the socialist system that must be preserved, others whose...

Photo: Claudio Peláez

The current monetary situation and its implications

Help us keep OnCuba alive here In previous texts I have expressed and now with greater evidence, that a CUC is simply the same as 24 CUP, directly tradable between them. Therefore, in that sense the monetary duality is only formal. What’s new and complicated is that the CUC no longer seems to be convertible (that is, the last C would be left over) and therefore it could be easily eliminated, it’s already like the “appendix,” that is, it was useful for something, but it no longer has a necessary function. The issue now is not the monetary sign but the exchange rate between the CUP and the dollar (or between the CUC and the dollar making the adjustment, it doesn’t matter, because the latter is in practice 24 CUP―unless its value is changed if so decided to eliminate it and change it to a new rate for those citizens who have savings in CUC―but at this moment the CUC is, I insist, is simply 24 CUP). Now, on the one hand, for the population and without the tax, the exchange rate is 24 CUP for a dollar or 1 CUC for a dollar, but this is only in...