Oscar Fernández

Oscar Fernández

Ten points to better advance

Probably in no other country in the world will its population dominate as much what is defined in its National Classifier of Economic Activities as in Cuba. The Council of Ministers has just given the green light to an important change of concept regarding the regulation of the private sector: allowing everything that is not prohibited. And for this it has used this classifier. What was announced on February 5 should be interpreted with optimism. It is an important point in favor of this reform process that began ten years ago, and whose development has been hijacked on more than one occasion. Although the legal norm is not yet in place, a first version of the list with restricted activities has already been published. What is the most positive in this? A much greater scope is created in the legal framework, which will allow the mobilization of productive capacities that have been underutilized until now, or that operated outside the law. If the small private sector had previously managed to develop its projects within extremely narrow frameworks, now the possibilities have multiplied manifold. However, for this change to really allow the deployment of all our economic potentialities, and not only...

Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.

Partial dollarization of Cuba’s economy vs monetary reunification

It took off in 2020. A bad year was left behind, the precise evaluation of which requires an almost act of divination, given the total lack of data provided publicly by the authorities. For the first time in a long time an official GDP growth estimate is not given, which, although I don’t share as a leading indicator of economic development, at least it conveys an idea. Several events significantly affected the performance of 2019. To the insufficiencies of the internal economic policy to boost the domestic productive potential are added the new and very severe restrictions imposed by the United States administration, which limited the availability of fuels, affected visitor flows, and reinforced the atmosphere of distrust for foreign investors, among other effects. However, it cannot be said that it has been a year of inaction on the part of the Cuban government, nor that its efforts have been reduced to “cyclical” survival. In parallel, some measures with an impact on economic life were unleashed. For example, there was a close to 68% increase in the average salary in budgeted entities; and a set of small transformations towards greater decentralization in state enterprises was introduced. But, without a doubt,...