Milena Recio

Milena Recio

Editora, periodista y profesora. En ese orden, según las horas del día que actualmente dedico a cada oficio, con sincera e íntima impresión de aprendiz.

Economy & Business: Annual Summary

2012: How many of us are there? According to the 2012 Population and Housing Census, Cuba has a population of 11,167,325: about 10,418 fewer than what was counted by the 2002 Census. About 18.3 percent are 60 or older, while just 17.2 percent are 0 to 14 years old. The census counted 3,882,424 homes. The economically active population totals 5,022,303 (54.3 percent of the total), and 78.3 percent of jobs are in the state sector. JANUARY: Round-trip travel Since Jan. 14, 2013, Decree-law 302 of Law 1312 (1976 Migration Law) has been in effect, and it is one of the legal changes that has the most impact to date not only on citizens’ rights but also on the economic dynamic, as part of the “updating” of the Cuban model. The new law, which eliminates the notorious exit permit (white card), allows Cubans to travel anywhere without any restrictions. One of the most important aspects for those who decide to emigrate to another country is the possibility of transferring their property. As of September 2013, Cubans had made 182,799 trips abroad, and more than 1,900 immigrants recovered their Cuban residency. JANUARY: Pay what you owe According to legislators, Cuba’s tax law...

Armando Nova: “In the agricultural sector productive forces are still held back”

In July 2013 the first 99 non-agricultural cooperatives engaged in the marketing of agricultural products began operating in Havana, Artemisa and Mayabeque provinces. The managers of the updating of the Cuban economic model with this measure are seeking to minimize the presence of intermediaries between the plantations and the selling places, and promote decentralized management business through this type of economic organizations. Although still there are not official public statistics about the behavior of prices in this period, researcher and economist Armando Nova has been able to notice in recent months that the prices of some products also in these new markets continue to increase. For Nova this is one of the reasons that warrant a systemic approach to the transformations that the agricultural sector has been undergoing, even before the appearance of the Guidelines in April 2011. That is precisely the focus of his essay "A new model of Cuban agricultural management" for which he received the 2013 Temas Award in the Social Sciences category, and encouraged this dialogue with Progreso Semanal, which OnCuba now reproduces. Milena Recio: Why a measure of decentralization, long awaited and advised by various analysts, does not yield the expected results? The end consumer...

A yearning for beef

Cubans born in the last 20 years are unlikely to associate their country’s physical landscape with a cow; not so with its cultural landscape. The tradition brought by the Spanish and that developed in the 20th century, “from Canadian cows and bulls to the world-record setting Ubre Blanca and the little cow Pijirigua, from Pedro Luis Ferrer’s famous guaracha,” implanted in the Cuban imagination a certain “obsession with eating a good steak or drinking a cup of milk with coffee at breakfast.”1 In 1980, the country produced 303,000 tons of beef, but in 1992, only 152,000. Cattle-raising, which crowned the Cuban economy in colonial times—before it was displaced by sugar cane—and which grew notably after 1959, collapsed after the disappearance of the USSR. The necessary supplies stopped coming. Feed had to be made self-sustaining through the use of grasses, proteinaceous trees, sugar cane, and a non-protein source of nitrogen. The industry never has returned to its former level.2 The cattle sector is also strategic: it closes agricultural cycles in general, ensuring their equilibrium. In the first semester of 2012, total cattle production shrunk by 4.9 percent compared to the first quarter of the previous year. Beef also decreased, while milk...

Foreign investment in Cuba (Infographic)

When the 1995 foreign investment law, Law 77, was passed, it was an innovation, the outcome of urgently needed adjustments to economic policy that arose following the Special Period. It sought to ease the profound crisis and to set out, using new terms, the foundations of the country’s development. But not that radically. While Law 77 makes it possible to invest in almost any sector and without any limits on capital contributions, its implementation has been at discretion and reserved. “The policy of assimilation of investment and contracts has been far from stable over the last 20 years. While there was a boom of foreign investment in the 1990s, determined by the needs of the crisis of those years, this projection changed radically beginning in 2003.” (1) Beginning in 2008, with the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines (known as the Lineamientos) probable changes to the legal framework were raised. The purpose was “to perfect regulations and procedures for evaluation, approval, and implementation of the participation of foreign investment, and simultaneously streamline the process.” Likewise, this calls for “rigorous control over compliance with regulations, procedures, and commitments contracted by the foreign party when any form of foreign investment is constituted.” (2)...

Travelling children

This summer, as all previous ones, is really when children start leaving. They have been packing their bags for days. They put in them the human and the divine: bizarre toys and chocolate breakfast, the last book he received, the umbrella of flowers - because surely it rains - the chain of gold, the irrevocable sleeping pillow ... They say goodbye to everyone, but without nostalgia. It is the only trip that is not into nothingness. They grab their luggage with an enviable resolution. They make them roll like Lamborghinis on polished slabs in the living room. They go and down the stairs while the mother bites her nails. Soon they ask for a juice and some crackers. When it's time the father fits their caps, and the mother looks at the hair buckles. They cannot avoid the "behave yourself, listen to your ...". A watered flight attendant receives with too much affectation, in short, fatuous and false. But they are big enough and know what they do. Nothing will happen: they are the travelling children, who did not fear planes and know how to go to the bathroom alone, and fast the seat belt back  . The planes are...

Cuba-Venezuela: clear skies

Just eight days after his proclamation as president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro Moro traveled to Havana on April 27 to take care personally ratify the course of bilateral relations since 2004 set by the Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement , by the then presidents Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. In his second trip abroad as President-previously he only had traveled to Peru for Unasur meeting-, Maduro was received as Chavez's political successor. It was a visit that at various times evoked the memory of the late Bolivarian leader, and allows dispelling doubts about the continuity of relations between the two countries. A team of very senior government officials from Caracas and Havana worked intensely over just two days in the signing of 51 new mutual collaborative projects and -obviously delineated - fundamental in the areas of health, education, culture and sport. At the end of the Thirteenth Intergovernmental Commission between the two countries, Maduro confirmed that it is a "historic partnership that transcends time," while his host, President Raul Castro, said the agreements honored the lines drawn by the Homeland Plan 2013-2019 of the Bolivarian government, bequeathed by the late Chavez. He also mentioned as a policy framework of these agreements the...

FIAGROP 2013

Cattle and longings

Reinaldo Funes Monzote spent all Saturday March 30 at Boyeros, retracing the Agroindustrial International Food Fair, which everyone has baptized, shortened as Agricultural Fair. It's his job. He doesn’t raise cows or saddles horses, or drives herds. He moves around shooting photos and talking, but he is not a journalist. There you could find him, trying to grasp, above all, a style, a becoming, and a culture. Because he is a historian: a chronicler interested in issues related to Cuban agriculture and enviroment.  So he went to the Fair this year again and found it full of people of Havana, and from across the country, buying, selling, having fun. It's typical. Funes, a researcher with the Antonio Nuñez Jiménez Foundation for Nature and Man, knows by heart how such events that the media cover like a weekend ride, helped, at all times, to develop cattle raising in Cuba. This activity, like sugar and tobacco, shaped our identity, and was present at all the crossroads of Cuban history. Reinaldo Funes Monzote, historian Throughout the history of cattle rising in Cuba, throughout the nineteenth century, and during the twentieth livestock shows played an important role in stimulating the...

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