Thursday, December 30, 2010

The fall of the Berlin Wall did not signal the fall of Communism

International Communist Meeting Calls for United Front

Written by Christian Gomez
Monday, 27 December 2010 20:30

Back in 1991, as newspapers around the world heralded headlines that read “Communism Falls” and the “End of Communism,” Gus Hall, the then-head of the Communist Party USA, quoted Communist Manifesto co-author Friedrich Engels saying: “If current events are negative, focus on the long-range.” Hall passionately declared “Communism is not dead.”

Twenty years later and an ocean away, Hall’s declaration has found meaning among today’s current disciples of Marx, Engels, and Lenin. December 3 to 5, 2010, marked the 12th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties, held in the city of Tshwane, South Africa.
The three-day international conference was hosted by the South African Communist Party (SACP) and was attended by “102 delegates representing 51 participating Parties from 43 countries from all continents of the world,” which came together under the theme of “The deepening systemic crisis of capitalism,”
according to the SACP website.

The Communists declared their objectives as being for the “defence of sovereignty, deepening social alliances, strengthening the anti-imperialist front in the struggle for peace, progress and Socialism.”
Building on the analyses previously outlined at the 2008 Sao Paulo and 2009 New Delhi international Communist meetings, they asserted that “despite pre-2008 capitalist illusions to the contrary,” the current global economic crisis was the byproduct of the “systemic tendency,” which “capitalism cannot escape.”

From the ruins of capitalism, they pledged themselves to go back to their respected countries “in a common struggle for socialism which is the only alternative for the future of humankind.” Furthermore, they vowed to “resolutely fight anticommunism, anti-communist laws, measures and persecution; to demand the legalisation of CPs where outlawed,” and to “defend the history of the communist movement, the contribution of socialism in advancing human civilisation.” Among other things, all the delegates present pledged their solidarity for the release of the Cuban Five, members of the DGI (Cuban intelligence) who attempted to infiltrate anti-Communist Cuban-American organizations in the United States. The Five were arrested and convicted in Miami on charges of espionage and conspiracy to commit murder. In addition to their support of the Castro government, the international Communist attendees also agreed to support the claims of the North Korean government, declaring that there is “enough evidences to endorse the declarations of Pyongyang that it had nothing to do with the sinking of the Cheonan-vessel last summer,” as stated by the communist Workers Party of Belgium, which was also in attendance at the meeting. The Workers Party of Belgium continued to take swipes at “imperialist” U.S. military efforts abroad. Pointing to the U.S. 7th Fleet as being part of a U.S. ploy “geared towards the weakening and encirclement of China,” the Workers Party of Belgium concluded that “North Korea is not the final target — it’s China.” Aside from condemning the United States and uplifting its enemies, the meeting also served as a platform for various speeches from the various participating countries.

Among the attendee were elected officials such as MP
Sergey V. Gordienko of the Communist Party of Ukraine, which currently supports initiatives for Ukraine to join the Customs Union. Aside from Gordienko, who addressed the conference, The Times of South Africa also reportedaccording to the Guardian. that South African President Jacob Zuma made an appearance and gave a speech. Zuma, elected as a member of the African National Congress (ANC), is a self-described socialist who has received the “backing from the unions and the Communist party,” in South Africa, The Times quoted President Zuma as urging a call for unity: “A majority of communists part ways because once they believe in something they have a culture to believe in it seriously. Unity is crucial.”

President Zuma’s call for Communist unity was well received and reechoed amongst the many foreign party delegates present.
The Communist Party of Brazil relayed Zuma’s message,
declaring: “Given this situation, the PCB is proposing to build an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist front, which can cope with the difficulties of organizing workers, to overcome the hegemony of the bourgeoisie and carry forward the revolutionary process in Brazil and worldwide.” The same message was reiterated by the Communist Party of Canada, which identified itself as having “long spoken of the necessity for such a global democratic and anti-imperialist front of struggle, to defend national sovereignty, to maintain regional and world peace, and to counter imperialism’s economic and military aggression around the world.” In addition to Zuma’s remarks, G. Marinos, member of Politburo of the Communist Party of Greece, addressed the conference. “We are not any of party,” Marinos declared, “Communist parties and we have a specific mission. We must organize the working class struggle, class struggle to overthrow the system operator in each country and building the new society, the socialist-communist society.”

Marinos added that the “need for revolution, the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of the new communist socio-economic formation is determined by the balance of power developed in one or another historical moment but by historical necessity of resolving the fundamental contradiction between capital and labor, the abolition of the exploitation of man by man, the abolition of classes.”
Looking back at the “overthrow of socialism in Soviet Union and other socialist countries,” which occurred from 1989-1991, Marinos declared that the time has come to correct that mistake, asserting that with the current economic global crisis as the pretence that now is the “time of transition from capitalism to socialism.” The solution, according to Marinos and the Communist Party of Greece, is for communists to come together and foster the revolutionary overthrow of existing governments in order to “abolish all private property” and to place the means of production under the regimentation of the state in the form of a command economy. Less individualism and total government control of the economy is the communist proposal to relieve the global economic crisis, which, they claim, is the direct result of capitalism gone wild in the West.

Marinos and the ideas of the Communist Party of Greece were well received by the other foreign Communist and Working Party members present. Taking this into account, it comes as no surprise that Athens, Greece, was named the location for the 13th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties, to be held in 2011.
The fall of the Berlin Wall did not signal the fall of Communism; it may have retreated but it has not fallen — it is poised to continue its march toward world revolution, and is committed to the overthrow of republican government and free-market capitalism.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's the slavery, stupid....

150 years ago: The election of Abraham Lincoln touches off secession crisis

By Shannon Jones
24 December 2010

Lincoln in 1860

On December 20, 1860, six weeks after voters of the United States elected Abraham Lincoln as the 16th president, South Carolina seceded from the union. Other Southern states soon followed, leading within little over five months to the outbreak of the American Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in US history, and ultimately to the freeing of four million slaves.

The Southern slave-owning class viewed the election of an anti-slavery administration as a mortal threat. Though not an abolitionist, Lincoln was an opponent of slavery and determined to use all means at his disposal to stop its spread.

“A Party founded on the single sentiment of ...hatred of African slavery is now the controlling power,” wrote the Richmond Examiner of Lincoln’s election. The New Orleans Delta declared no one can any longer “be deluded...that the Black Republican Party is a moderate party. It is in fact essentially a revolutionary party.” (1)

In the ensuing secession crisis Lincoln played a critical role, coming to express the growing public sentiment for resistance to the ever more provocative actions of the southern slavocracy and the policy of capitulation pursued by the outgoing administration of Democrat James Buchanan.

In moving to break up the union the South carried out what noted Civil War historian James McPherson of Princeton University called a “pre-emptive counterrevolution,” using a term he borrowed from historian Arno Mayer. “Rather than trying to destroy the old order, a pre-emptive counterrevolution strikes first to protect the status quo before the revolutionary threat can materialize.” (2)

In other words, sensing that the tide of historical development was moving against it, the southern planter aristocracy chose to instigate civil war rather than accept any restrictions on slavery, the source of its power and wealth. It would not be the last attempt by a retrograde social order to employ violence in order to evade the verdict of history.

The mayor of Vicksburg, Mississippi called secession “A mighty political revolution which [will] result in placing the Confederate States among the independent nations of the earth.” (10-3n)

McPherson replies, “What were these rights and liberties for which Confederates contended? The right to own slaves; the liberty to take this property into the territories; freedom from the coercive powers of a centralized government.” (4)

Or as Massachusetts abolitionist Edmund Quincy wrote in December 1860, “We are on the eve of the oddest Revolution history has yet seen. A Revolution for the greater security of Injustice and the firmer establishment of Tyranny.”(5)

The election of Lincoln brought to a head the sectional struggle over the question of slavery that had been left unresolved by the American Revolution. Far from gradually dying out, as the revolutionists of 1776 had hoped, after the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 slavery expanded rapidly in the early decades of the 19th century. The Democratic Party, founded during the administration of Andrew Jackson (1829-1837), became the political vehicle for the most rapacious section of the Southern planters. It sought not the status quo, but the expansion of slavery across the Americas.

The slavocracy, acting through the Democratic Party, advanced ever more provocative pro-slavery policies, increasingly inflaming public opinion in the free states. In 1846 the Democratic administration of James K. Polk instigated war with Mexico in a land grab aimed at opening to slavery vast new territories to the west. When, in 1850, California was admitted to the union as a free state, the South responded by forcing a punitive fugitive slave law through Congress requiring citizens to actively assist in the capture of runaways.

Stephen Douglas

In 1854 Illinois Democrat Stephen Douglas crafted the Kansas-Nebraska Act, with explosive results. Kansas-Nebraska repealed the Missouri Compromise, which had banned slavery in the territories of the Louisiana Purchase north of latitude 36 ° 30’. Instead, it allowed voters in the territories to decide the question of slavery, the doctrine of so-called popular sovereignty. It marked a decisive break with long established precedent, for the first time removing all federal restrictions on the spread of slavery into the territories.

The immediate result was the development of armed conflict in Kansas, where pro-slavery forces attempted to terrorize opponents of slavery. In one of the most notorious incidents, a pro-slavery militia burned the anti-slavery capital of Lawrence. These outrages inflamed sentiment in the North. Abolitionists supplied arms and money to anti-slavery settlers in Kansas to meet the attacks blow for blow.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act brought Abraham Lincoln back into politics. In 1848 Lincoln had retired to his Illinois law practice after one year in the US Congress, where he had unsuccessfully joined an effort to pass legislation barring slavery in the lands annexed during the Mexican-American War. Lincoln soon emerged as an eloquent and forceful opponent of the expansion of slavery.

Kansas-Nebraska led to a radical realignment of political forces. The old Whig Party, which had been based on sectional compromise, collapsed. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party became more and more divided along sectional lines.

The Republican Party, founded in 1856 on a platform opposing further concessions to the slavocracy, united anti-slavery Whigs and anti-Kansas-Nebraska Democrats. It polled 1.3 million votes in the presidential election of that same year. Lincoln joined the Republican Party and campaigned for its candidates.

The Dred Scott decision of 1857 added to political tensions. Dred Scott, a slave, sued for his freedom on the grounds that he had lived for an extended period in Illinois and the Wisconsin territory, where slavery was illegal. In a reactionary and provocative ruling the Supreme Court held that Scott had no standing to sue since blacks were not citizens and had no constitutional rights. Further, the court declared that Congress had no right to restrict slavery in the territories.

Lincoln and Douglas

Lincoln came to national prominence in 1858, when he ran as the Republican candidate for the Illinois Senate against Douglas. A series of debates with Douglas attracted large audiences and newspapers in the east carried transcripts of Lincoln’s speeches.

While Lincoln insisted he had no intention of rolling back slavery where it already existed, he called slavery, “a moral, social and political wrong.” In his “House Divided” speech Lincoln declared that “this Government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.” He hoped, “the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction.” (6)

Lincoln at this point did not advocate social equality for blacks. Still, his views were in advance of majority opinion of the time. He held that Thomas Jefferson’s insistence that “all men are created equal” contained in the Declaration of Independence applied to blacks as well as whites. “The negro is included in the word ‘men’ used in the Declaration,” he declared. This “is the great fundamental principle on which our free institutions rest.” He continued, “In the right to eat the bread, without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and he is the equal of every living man.” (7)

It was Lincoln’s unequivocal insistence that the principles elaborated by Jefferson applied equally to all that won the undying enmity of the Southern planters. They were not satisfied with Lincoln’s pledge that he would not interfere with slavery. The South demanded that slavery be declared a positive good.

Lincoln speaking at Cooper Union

In his famous 1860 address at Cooper Union in New York, which set him on the course to win the Republican nomination for the presidency a few months later, Lincoln, rhetorically addressing the South, declared, “Your purpose then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, in all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.”

He asked rhetorically the question, “What will satisfy them?”

He answered, “This and only this: cease to call slavery wrong and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly—done in acts as well as in words.”

The Republican convention met in May in Chicago at the newly constructed Wigwam. New York Governor Seward expected to win on the first ballot. However, many in the Republican Party felt Seward could not be elected because he was not popular outside of the East. Opponents of Seward launched an effort to block his victory on the first ballot, nominating a host of “favorite sons.” The Chicago Tribune launched an all out editorial campaign in support of Illinois native Lincoln, whose humble origin—he had been born in a log cabin and worked as a flatboatman and rail-splitter—stood out in sharp contrast to Seward, who was identified with eastern banking interests.

On the first ballot Seward failed to achieve a majority of 223 votes, winning 173 ½ votes, to Lincoln’s 102, with 147 ½ going to other candidates. Lincoln’s total rose to 181 on the second ballot. Lincoln then obtained a majority on the third ballot, after his supporters won the support of delegates backing Ohio Governor Salmon P. Chase.

The Republican platform called for a ban on slavery in the territories. It also appealed to small farmers, with a plank calling for passage of a homestead law, giving free land to anyone willing to work it.

While anti-slavery forces united behind Lincoln, the slavery question split the Democratic Party along sectional lines. Southern Democrats walked out of the April nominating convention when they were unable to impose a radical pro-slavery platform and, in particular, the demand that slavery be permitted in the territories and protected there by the federal government. The Douglas Democrats were not prepared to go that far, holding to the doctrine of popular sovereignty.

John C. Breckinridge

The Democrats reassembled in Baltimore in June, where Northern delegates nominated Douglas with a simple majority. Southern delegates again walked out, this time calling their own convention in Richmond, Virginia where they nominated John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, vice president in the administration of James Buchanan.

A further fracture in the ranks of Lincoln’s opponents occurred when former Whigs nominated the aging John Bell, a wealthy Tennessee slave owner. Attempting to straddle the Republican and Democratic camps, Bell took no position on slavery, calling only for the preservation of the union.

Campaign polarized

The presidential campaign of 1860 was the most polarized and tense in American history. In the North the contest was between Douglas and Lincoln; in the South, between Bell and Breckinridge. The Republicans did not even attempt to field a ticket in 10 Southern states, where their speakers would have likely faced physical attack.

When, early in the campaign it became apparent that the split in the Democratic Party would probably result in the election of Lincoln, near hysteria gripped large areas of the South. The press spread rumors of abolitionist plots to arm slaves. Those suspected of Northern sympathies were hounded and even lynched.

Increasingly, talk spread of the South breaking up the union in the event of a Republican victory. Lincoln refused to be intimidated by threats of secession, rejecting requests to make conciliatory overtures to the South.

As the fateful election approached the Charleston Mercury warned, “The terrors of submission are tenfold greater even than the supposed terrors of disunion.”(8)

In the final polling Lincoln won a plurality of 40 percent of the popular vote. He carried every free state except New Jersey. This translated into a comfortable victory in the Electoral College, because of its winner-take-all system of apportionment. Lincoln won 180 electoral votes, to 72 for Breckinridge, 39 for Bell and just 12 for Douglas, who, despite his poor showing in the electoral college, came in second in the popular vote, polling 1.3 million votes to Lincoln’s 1.8 million.

Opponents of slavery celebrated the Republican victory. The noted African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass declared that Lincoln’s election meant the slave power no longer would rule the nation. “Lincoln’s election has vitiated their authority, and broken their power...More important still, it has demonstrated the possibility of electing, if not an abolitionist, at least an anti-slavery reputation to the presidency.” (9)

The reaction in the South was swift. “They know that they can plunder and pillage the South, as long as they are in the same union with us,” wrote a New Orleans newspaper reacting to Lincoln’s victory. “They know that in the Union they can steal Southern property in slaves, without risking civil war, which would be certain to occur if such a thing were done from the independent South.” (10)

The day after the election the South Carolina state legislature, called into special session by the governor, voted to set December 17 as the date for a special convention to consider secession. The legislatures of Georgia and Mississippi soon followed.

Following a unanimous vote for secession on December 20, South Carolina called on other southern states to join it in the formation of a “great slaveholding confederacy, stretching its arms over a territory larger than any power in Europe possesses.”

In the North financial markets panicked over fears of Southern borrowers repudiating their debts. For his part Lincoln, at least publically, refused to admit that the South seriously intended to break up the union. “Things have reached their worst point in the South and are likely to mend in the future,” Lincoln told a Philadelphia newspaper just days before the South Carolina secession convention. (11)

At the same time Lincoln refused to entertain proposals from some Republicans for political concessions to placate the southern slavocracy, declaring he did not want to put anything on record making it “appear as if I repented for the crime of having been elected, and was anxious to apologize and beg forgiveness.” (12)

Under the procedure set down in the American constitution, although elected in November, Lincoln would not take office until March. In the meantime, the lame duck Buchanan administration temporized and evaded responsibility in the face of the mounting secession crisis. In an address to the last session of the 36th Congress on December 3, 1860, Buchanan insisted that Congress had no “power to coerce into submission a state that is attempting to withdraw.”

Buchanan denounced the Republicans for provoking the South with anti-slavery agitation and counseled the Republicans to support a constitutional amendment protecting slavery in all the territories.

Meanwhile, Democratic Senator John J Crittenden advanced a proposal containing six constitutional amendments and four Congressional resolutions aimed at placating the South. It promised to permanently protect slavery where it already existed, including the District of Columbia. It would have extended the Missouri Compromise line westward, with slavery federally protected south of the line.

Lincoln’s early opposition to the Crittenden proposals, and indeed, any further compromise with the slavocracy, proved decisive in stiffening popular resolve to oppose the demands of the South. Initially some Republicans, most notably Seward, were inclined to accept the Crittenden amendments. However, as the seriousness of the secession threat became ever clearer, public opinion turned against the policy of capitulation to the slaveowners and a broad sentiment began to emerge for resistance. In this process Lincoln came to play a crucial role.

“No concession by the free States short of surrender of everything worth preserving and contending for would satisfy the South” Lincoln told Illinois Republican Orville Hickman Browning, stating his opposition to the Crittenden proposals. (13)

Attention soon focused on the fate of the few forts in the South that were still in federal hands. Whether or not the federal government decided to defend these forts would determine if it was serious about opposing secession.

April 14, 1861: The Confederate flag is raised over Fort Sumter

Acting on his own initiative a few days after the South Carolina legislature voted for secession, the commander of the garrison of Fort Moultrie in Charleston decided to move his troops to the more powerful and less exposed Fort Sumter on an island in the middle of Charleston harbor. Meanwhile, Lincoln passed word to General Winfield Scott, commander of the US army, to hold or, if necessary, retake the fort.

For its part the states of the Deep South showed little interest in compromise over secession. “No human power can save the union, all the cotton states will go,” wrote Jefferson Davis on December 30, 1860. (14)

On February 4, 1861 delegates from seven states of the lower South met in Montgomery, Alabama to form a government, issuing an appeal to the remaining slave to states to join them.

While the Buchanan administration sat passively by, the Confederate states seized federal property within their borders: customs houses, post offices, mints, arsenals and forts.

During the winter of 1860 eight slave states in the Upper South still held back from joining the Confederacy, prompting some within the Republican Party to urge a policy of waiting, lest hasty action provoke their secession.

In his inaugural address, Lincoln spoke in conciliatory terms, again offering to protect slavery where it already existed. At the same time he pledged to “hold, occupy and possess” federal property in the South and collect duties and imposts. However, the wording left it somewhat ambiguous whether or not this would involve the use of armed force.

Events soon forced Lincoln to act. In South Carolina the commander of Fort Sumter informed Washington that he only had a few weeks of supplies left, after which time he would have to abandon the fort. To the Confederates Sumter was a particularly odious symbol of federal authority—it had resisted all calls to surrender. The Confederacy was now attempting to starve out the garrison, ringing the harbor with artillery and blocking resupply.

Lincoln had the choice of either attempting to resupply the fort, which threatened to spark armed conflict, or hand it over to the Confederacy. Within his cabinet Lincoln found little support for resistance. General Scott also wanted to abandon the fort. Despite this opposition, Lincoln made the principled decision during the last weeks of March that Sumter had to be defended.

Public pressure also mounted on the administration to fight. Many Republicans were angered at suggestions that Sumter might be surrendered to the rebels. “If Fort Sumter is evacuated the new administration is done forever” read a typical letter from a citizen. (15)

While Lincoln was aware that the resupply effort had little chance of success, he ordered that an attempt be made, realizing that defeat in battle was preferable to the demoralizing impact on public opinion of capitulation without a fight. In any event, the South struck first, attacking Fort Sumter on the morning of April 12. The fort surrendered after a 34-hour bombardment.

The attack on Sumter had an electrifying effect on the North, rallying the public behind Lincoln. On April 15, Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion and summoned a special session of Congress. Civil war had begun.

The war provoked by the South only hastened the collapse of the slave system. While initially waged by the North as a war to preserve the union, it became transformed, in the words of Lincoln, into “a remorseless revolutionary struggle,” resulting in one of the greatest and most rapid overturns of private property in history. It ended with the liberation of four million slaves, worth some $3 billion at the time, over $1 trillion dollars in today’s terms. Karl Marx wrote, “Never has such a gigantic transformation taken place so rapidly.”

The Sesquicentennial of the election of 1860 is being observed at a time when American society is perhaps more sharply polarized than at any time since the period prior to the Civil War. If anything, the blindness, greed and rapaciousness of the American and global financial aristocracy puts into the shade the old southern slavocracy.

The system of capitalist wage slavery is threatening mankind with ever-greater poverty, environmental disaster and catastrophic wars. The yoke of private ownership of the means of production is strangling the productive forces of mankind. Only the struggle for socialism by the working class offers the people of the world a way forward. To carry out this great task the working class must assimilate the lessons of history. As in 1860, only through revolutionary struggle can the working class, the vast majority of humanity, free itself from the bloody chaos of capitalism.


(1) James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, (Oxford University Press 1988), p. 233
(2) ibid. p. 245
(3) ibid. p. 240
(4) ibid. p. 241
(5) James McPherson, The Struggle for Equality, Abolitionists and the Negro in Civil War and Reconstruction, (Princeton University Press second paperback edition 1995), p. 29
(6) ibid. p. 11
(7) James M McPherson Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, (Oxford University press, 1991), p. 52
(8) ibid. p. 250
(9) James McPherson, The Struggle for Equality, Abolitionists and the Negro in Civil War and Reconstruction,( Princeton University Press second paperback edition), p. 26
(10) Allen C. Guelzo ,Abraham Lincoln Redeemer President,( William B Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1999), p 250
(11) ibid. p. 253
(12) ibid. p. 254
(13) ibid. p. 255
(14) James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, (Oxford University Press 1988), p. 254
(15) ibid. p. 269

Where are we advancing?

The 1917 Russian Revolution and 21st century socialism

[The following is an abridged version of a talk presented to a Sydney Direct Action forum on November 6. Doug Lorimer is a member of the national executive of the Revolutionary Socialist Party.]

Waving a copy of Lenin’s book The State and Revolution, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told the 772 delegates assembled on November 21, 2009, for the opening session of the First Extraordinary Congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela that he agreed with the book’s central message: that it is necessary “to create a new revolutionary state from below that is a real mechanism for the construction of socialism of the 21st century”. Chavez recommended that the delegates read Lenin’s book as a theoretical guide for how to accomplish this task.

The State and Revolution is perhaps the most famous of Lenin’s writings. Written during the revolutionary events of 1917, it takes the form of an extensive commentary on the works of Marx and Engels on the Marxist theory of the state and the tasks of the proletarian revolution. Its central message is the necessity for the working class to create its own class organisation of state power in order to replace the capitalist social order with socialism, a classless society of associated producers

Russian capitalism

At the beginning of the First World War, tsarist Russia was the world’s sixth largest national producer of industrial goods, and like the other major industrial powers at the beginning of the 20th century, it had entered capitalism’s imperialist stage, in which the various branches of production are dominated by monopolistic associations of capitalists, by a small number of big capitalist corporations - what US bourgeois commentators have subsequently called “corporate capitalism”. The rate of monopolisation in industry and banking in Russia was higher than in France and Britain, being behind only Germany and the US.

In his 1917 book Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Lenin observed that Russia was a country “where modern capitalist imperialism is enmeshed … in a particularly close network of pre-capitalist relations”. While tsarist Russia had entered the war as an imperialist power, with imperialist goals, 80% of its population were peasants. Serfdom, which held the peasantry in bondage to the aristocratic owners of large estates, had been annulled only 56 years earlier, in 1861. Its abolition remained more juridical than real. The great majority of peasants remained landless and crushed by debts to the big landowners.

Russia was also a major colonial power, having an empire that, in population, was the third largest in the world — after Britain’s and France’s. Russia’s colonial possessions, however, were not overseas territories, but countries on its borders on the Baltic Sea, in eastern Europe and in central Asia. Since the great majority of the populations within Russia’s colonial empire also consisted of peasants, the struggle for their national liberation was closely tied to the peasants’ struggle for land.

1905 and the army

In a January 1917 lecture in Zurich on the 1905 revolutionary upsurge in Russia, Lenin said that the combination of advanced capitalist industry with the serf-like exploitation of the peasantry had determined the peculiarity of this upsurge, which he later described as a “dress rehearsal” for the successful October 1917 revolution. Lenin pointed out that the 1905 revolution “was a bourgeois-democratic revolution since its immediate aim … was a democratic republic, the eight-hour [work] day and confiscation of the immense estates of the nobility — all the measures the French bourgeois revolution in 1792-93 had almost completely achieved. At the same time, the [1905] Russian revolution was also a proletarian revolution, not only in the sense that the proletariat was the leading force, the vanguard of the movement, but also in the sense that a specifically proletarian weapon of struggle — the strike — was the principal means of bringing the masses into motion and the most characteristic phenomenon in the wavelike rise of decisive events.”

Lenin went on in his lecture to observe that in 1905 the “combination of the proletarian mass strikes in the cities with the peasant movement in the rural areas was sufficient to shake the ‘firmest’ and last prop of tsarism. I refer to the army.” Elaborating on this key point, Lenin said: “The workers and peasants in military uniform were the soul of the [military] mutinies. The movement spread to all sections of the people, and for the first time in Russia’s history involved the majority of the exploited. But what it lacked was, on the one hand, persistence and determination among the masses — they were too much afflicted with the malady of trustfulness — and, on the other, organisation of revolutionary [socialist] workers in military uniform … At any rate, the history of the Russian revolution, like the history of the Paris Commune of 1871, teaches us the incontrovertible lesson that militarism can never and under no circumstances be defeated and destroyed, except by a victorious struggle of one section of the national army against the other section.”


Due to rising discontent among the workers and peasants with Russia’s participation in the first inter-imperialist war, in February 1917 a mass worker-soldier revolt in the then capital of St Petersburg (at the time named Petrograd) brought down the tsar’s regime. It was replaced by an unelected Provisional Government made up of liberal politicians within the tsarist regime’s advisory legislature (the Duma). The worker-soldier revolt also led to the formation of a potential alternative government, the elected soviets (councils) of workers’ and soldiers’ delegates, supplemented by factory-based workers’ militias, The Red Guards.

The refusal of the Provisional Government to withdraw Russia from the imperialist war and to implement a radical agrarian reform enabled the Russian Marxists organised in the Bolshevik Party headed by Lenin to win a majority in the soviets of the two main urban and industrial centres, Petrograd and Moscow. On November 6, 1917, the Petrograd soviet organised a mass-supported insurrection that overthrew the Provisional Government. The next day, the Petrograd soviet handed over power to the All-Russia Congress of Soviets, which elected a new cabinet, the Soviet of People’s Commissars, headed by Lenin.

The new Soviet regime, officially designated the Workers and Peasants’ Government, began with measures to meet the immediate needs of the workers and peasants - withdrawal from the war; support for active peasant participation in abolishing the semi-feudal landed estates; support for the right of national self-determination for the non-Russian nations within the now dissolved Russian Empire; and workers’ control over the capitalist managers of industrial production. The latter measure was seen as a transitional step toward the creation of a workers’ administration of industry when the new government was ready to take over the ownership of industry.

However, the Russian capitalists and big landowners soon resorted to full-scale civil war. Beginning in the northern summer of 1918, Britain, France, Japan and the US invaded Russia with 155,000 of their own and allied troops. The invading armies provided material support to the counter-revolutionary White armies organised by the Russian capitalists, former tsarist generals and the former owners of the landed estates. Increasing industrial sabotage by the capitalists forced the Soviet government to carry out sweeping nationalisations of industry under a crude centralised administration that at least could supply the needs of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army.

Economic policy

After the Soviet regime won the 1918-20 civil war, a substantial retreat from this emergency policy, known as “War Communism”, became necessary. The New Economic Policy involved major concessions to market relations and the leasing of smaller industrial enterprises to Russian owners of capital and the formation of joint ventures between the Soviet state and foreign capitalists. Theses on the NEP adopted by the 1922 congress of the Bolshevik-initiated Communist International recognised that such a policy was not something peculiar to the conditions of Soviet Russia coming out of the civil war. The theses stated: “It is perfectly clear that a lengthy epoch must necessarily elapse between the capitalist regime and complete socialism; and that during this epoch the proletariat must, by making use of the methods and organisational forms of capitalist circulation (money, exchanges, banks, commercial calculation), assert an ever increasing control of the market, centralising and unifying it and thereby, in the final analysis, abolishing the market in order to replace it by a centralised plan…”

At the time of the initiation of the NEP inApril 1921, Lenin advised the Communists of the newly formed Soviet republics of the Caucasus to “refrain from copying our tactics”. He noted: “Oil, manganese, coal … and copper are some of your immense mineral resources. You have every possibility to develop an extensive policy of concessions and trade with foreign countries … This must be done on a wide scale, with firmness, skill and circumspection, and it must be utilised to the utmost for improving the condition of the workers and peasants, and for enlisting the intelligentsia in the work of economic construction. What the republics of the Caucasus can and must do … is to effect a slower, more cautious and more systematic transition to socialism.” Lenin added, “We fought to make the first breach in the wall of world capitalism. The breach has been made … You, Comrades Communists of the Caucasus, have no need to force a breach ... You must … learn to build the new with greater caution and more method.”

This is the general approach that the Venezuelan working people’s government headed by President Hugo Chavez has taken in its efforts to build a “socialism of the 21st century”. Chavez had led an uprising in 1992 by 6000 soldiers against the neoliberal policies imposed on Venezuela by US imperialism and Venezuela’s capitalist government. He won the 1998 presidential election with 56% of the popular vote.

Building mass movement

With Venezuela lacking the vibrant mass social movements that exist in many other Latin American countries, Chavez’s first act as president in February 1999 was to launch Plan Bolivar 2000, which aimed at creating a joint civilian-military mass movement for social change. It united the country’s 60,000 military personnel with the civilian poor in an effort to tackle some of the economic and social needs of urban poor neighbourhoods, such as building water supply and sewage systems, and repairing roads.

In 2001, Chavez began a campaign to bring the country’s nominally state-owned oil company, PDVSA, under his government in order to use its revenues to eradicate poverty rather than enrich US oil corporations and Venezuela’s capitalist oligarchy. On April 11, 2002, a US-backed military coup was led by army commander in chief, General Efrain Vasquez. Chavez was taken prisoner, held incommunicado, and an employer-military dictatorship installed. This was headed by Pedro Carmona, chief of the Fedecameras employers federation, who immediately closed down the National Assembly and the Supreme Court, repealed the hydrocarbon law and ordered the police to shoot any protesters. During the coup hundreds of Chavez supporters were rounded up and imprisoned.

Prior to the coup, the growing confrontation over who would control PDVSA had begun to radicalise the political outlook of the masses, including the junior officers and ranks of the army, who had been recruited among the families of the poor majority. Against the coup, hundreds of thousands of poor people poured out of the neighbourhoods and surrounded the presidential palace and military barracks. The armed forces split along class lines. A soldier-civilian poor mass insurrection smashed the capitalist-led coup regime on April 13 and restored Chavez as president. In the months that followed, the Chavez government dismissed from the armed forces 70 generals and admirals and 340 other military officers who had supported the coup.

Free of capitalist control

While in form the defeat of the coup meant simply the restoration of the Chavez government, in content it meant that the government now rested on armed forces that were independent of the capitalist class’s control. From then on, Venezuela had a government that had the capacity to act in the interests of the working people. Through what is now referred to by the Chavistas as the “April Revolution”, the working people of Venezuela had won the battle for democracy.

The reliability of this new state power to act in the interests of the working people was demonstrated a few months later, when the capitalist oligarchy launched a “strike” within PDVSA in an attempt to cripple the country economically and force the Chavez working people’s government out of power. In December 2002 the top capitalist managers of PDVSA sabotaged the company, reducing oil production from 3 million barrels a day to 150,000. They were joined by 18,000 middle and lower managers and well-paid technicians.

Five days after the bosses’ lockout began, more than 2 million workers and small farmers from across the country flooded the streets of Caracas to support the Chavez government. The lockout was broken by a government-directed campaign waged by oil production workers and an army purged of its pro-capitalist officers. They took control of PDVSA installations and restarted its refineries. By the end of January 2003, the Chavez government had taken control of PDVSA, which in revenue terms was Venezuela’s and Latin America’s largest company. Nearly all of the 18,000 managers and highly paid technicians involved in the sabotage were sacked.

Social gains

Taking control of PDVSA transformed the reach of the government. PDVSA not only had massive revenues, but its staff and offices also provided the working people’s government with the equivalent of a new civil service to administer government programs. With assistance from the Cuban socialist state, the Chavez government’s “social missions” have brought substantial social gains to Venezuela’s working people - the eradication of illiteracy; a 49% reduction of the number living in poverty; a 63% reduction in unemployment; the highest minimum wage in Latin America; free education through university level and a doubling in the number of students; an expanded free health system with 10 times the number of primary health professionals and five times the number of clinics as before; improved nutrition through the setting up of 15,000 subsidised food markets. Some 2.5 million hectares, or 40% of privately owned landed estates, have been expropriated and turned over to agricultural cooperatives.

Since the expropriation of PDVSA, the Chavez government has gone on to take over the commanding heights of the economy. According to the US State Department website’s February 2010 Background Note on Venezuela: “The Venezuelan government dominates the economy. The state oil company, PDVSA, controls the petroleum sector. Government companies control the electricity sector and important parts of the telecommunications and media sectors. In 2008, the government nationalised cement and steel producers, as well as select companies in the milk and meat distribution sectors. In 2009 it nationalised assets in the oil (including assets owned by US oil services companies), chemicals, tourism, agribusiness (including a processed rice plant owned by a US company), retail, and banking industries.”

Popular power

While the Chavez government still operates within the formal framework of the capitalist parliamentary system with its inherent bureaucratism, it is promoting the growth of an alternative system of popular power: the communal councils, which each organise 200-400 families, number more than 20,000. They bring direct democracy into daily life.

Chavez understands that socialism cannot be brought about by government decree. It requires the prior development of the class consciousness, political organisation and administrative skills of the working class. This is why Chavez has given special attention to building the United Socialist Party of Venezuela as the voluntary mass political force necessary to carry through the transition to socialism. His government has also sought to promote workers’ control of the newly nationalised enterprises, despite the opposition of the pro-government UNT trade union federation, which until July this year falsely saw the setting up of workers’ councils in factories as a threat to the unions. This year the government has promoted public discussion of a new labour law that aims to introduce workers’ control into both state-owned and private enterprises.

Also, the role of communal councils is to be strengthened, beginning on the city-wide level. In February, Chavez wrote in his weekly newspaper column: “The time has come for communities to assume the powers of state, which will lead administratively to the total transformation of the Venezuelan state and socially to the real exercise of sovereignty by society through communal powers”. He has argued: “The Bolivarian Militia, as well as community councils, are expressions of the new communal state, an integral part of the new structure of the communal power we are building.” The Bolivarian Militia now numbers 120,000 workers, small farmers and students.

Chavez has also argued that “the best and most radically democratic of the options for defeating bureaucracy and corruption is the construction of a communal state”. As Lenin observed in The State and Revolution, referring to Marx’s writings on the 1871 Paris Commune, the communal state was the political form “at last discovered” by the revolutionary proletarian movement within which the emancipation of labour could be achieved. This is the theoretical foundation and line of march that guided the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and today is guiding the Bolivarian socialist revolution in Venezuela.

First draft of the Cuban Communist Party PCC) Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution

Cuban Party Congress Discussion Document

Translator's note: Below is the full text of the first draft of the Cuban Communist Party PCC) Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution.

These draft Guidelines are the basis for public debate in the lead-up to the PCC's 6th Congress, to be held in April 2011. Starting December 1 and concluding at the end of February, millions of Cubans will discuss and debate this resolution in their workplaces, universities, neighbourhood committees, the armed forces, through the letters pages and commentaries in Cuba's revolutionary press, in Communist Party base committees and, of course, in the streets.

The results of this discussion and debate, in which the party leadership has urged everybody to say what they think in a spirit of open dialogue, will be incorporated into a second draft of the resolution that will be presented to Congress delegates in April.

Usually, such documents are quickly translated into half a dozen languages by official Cuban translators. As far as I'm aware, no such official translations have been forthcoming, probably because of the length of this detailed resolution. Yet this resolution is so important that I took on the task of translating it into English myself. I'm not a qualified translator, so I am indebted to Paul Greene, who took the time in the middle of moving house to correct the translation. Paul is a professional translator who worked for 10 years in Cuba, translating for publications such as Granma and official Cuban documents.

Please note that this is NOT an official translation, and if such a translation does appear you should refer to the official one. However, we are confident this translation is accurate enough for our solidarity purposes.

While the document is long, and some of the content is somewhat technical, it is well worth reading in full. Much has already been written by commentators outside Cuba on this resolution. Unfortunately, it seems that many such commentators, particularly those that try to cast the PCC leadership's intentions in a cynical light, have not bothered to read the resolution closely, or have read into it things that aren't there (such as the restoration of capitalism by stealth).

In the interests of clarifying what is being discussed and debated on the island, I urge Cuba solidarity activists to take the time to familiarise themselves with this document. If you have any suggestions for how the translation can be improved, please let me know.

Marce Cameron

Australia-Cuba Friendship Society

Sydney, Australia

Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution

Revolution is having a sense of the historical moment; it is changing everything that must be changed; it is full equality and liberty; it is to be treated and treating others as human beings; it is emancipating ourselves by ourselves and through our own efforts; it is defying powerful dominant forces within and outside the national and social milieu; it is defending the values in which we believe at the cost of any sacrifice; it is modesty, disinterest, altruism, solidarity and heroism; it is to struggle with audacity, intelligence and realism; it is to never lie nor violate ethical principles; it is the deep conviction that there exists no force in the world capable of crushing the force of truth and ideas. Revolution is unity, independence; it is to struggle for our dreams of justice for Cuba and for the world, which is the basis of our patriotism, our socialism and our internationalism.

Fidel Castro
May 1, 2000

The economic battle constitutes today, more than ever, the principal task and the key ideological work of the cadres, because on this depends the sustainability and preservation of our social system.

General Raul Castro, closing speech to the 9th Congress of the Union of Young Communists,
April 4, 2010


In proposing economic policy guidelines, in the framework of the 6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, it is necessary to make an evaluation of the state of the economy and the problems to resolve, taking into account the principal events and circumstances, both external and internal, since the last Congress [in 1997].

With regard to the external factors, the international context is characterised by the existence of a systemic structural crisis that is simultaneously an economic, financial, energy, food and ecological crisis, with a greater impact in the underdeveloped countries.

Cuba, with an open economy and dependent on its external relations, has not been exempt from the impact of this crisis, which is expressed in price instability of the products it exchanges, in the demand for its export products and services, as well as greater restrictions on the possibilities of obtaining external financing.

Between 1997 and 2009, variations in the prices of exports and imports resulted in a net loss for the country of 10.149 million pesos in comparison to 1997 prices. On average, the purchasing power of goods exports declined by 15%.

Also, the country experienced the tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade that has been imposed uninterruptedly by the US for half a century, a situation that has not been changed by the present administration of that country, and that has resulted in great losses.

However, since the end of 2004, new possibilities of international collaboration opened up for Cuba in the framework of the Bolivarian Alliance for Our America (ALBA), which boosted sources of income from the provision of services, fundamentally medical services to Venezuela and other countries of the region. At the same time, commercial and financial relations with other countries among the most important of which are China, Vietnam, Russia, Angola, Iran, Brazil and Algeria increased substantially.

Climatic phenomena in this period caused great economic damage. The losses from 16 hurricanes from 1998 to 2008 amounted to $20.564 billion dollars and those from droughts amounted to some $1.35 billion between 2003 and 2005; to which must be added losses that occurred in 2009 and 2010, which are yet to be quantified.

Internally, there have been factors such as low efficiency, de-capitalisation of the productive base and of infrastructure, the aging of the population and stagnation in population growth.

Beyond the objectives proposed in the Economic Resolution of the 5th Congress, in this period it was necessary to reorient some policies to confront complex problems derived from the external environment, as well as those resulting from the internal environment.

On the other hand, as for the functioning of the economy, there was greater centralisation of the allocation and use of hard currency from 2003.

From 2005 the limitations of the economy to reduce the current account deficit of the balance of payments, bank deductions on foreign transfers and the high degree of debt maturity became apparent; all of which meant a great tension in economic management. This led to the adoption of several measures:

Strengthening of institutionalism, including the reorganisation of the state and government;

Emphasising the concept that the economic plan must be adjusted to available resources;

Prioritising growth and diversification of exports and import substitution, designing special programs and measures to achieve this among the most important of which are closed financing schemes that permit the use of hard currency in a decentralised way;

Revision and reorientation of investment policies to better integrate them and avoid immobilisation of resources and other inefficiencies. Alongside this, the available external credit was redistributed towards objectives that had a positive short-term impact on the balance of payments;

Renegotiation of external debt repayments;

Transformations in the structure and functioning of the agricultural sector. The publishing of Decree Law 259 on the handing out of unused state farmland in usufruct aimed to boost food production and reduce imports.

Additional measures for energy savings, including those linked to organisational aspects, such as the reorganisation of freight transport;

Initiating a strategically important group of industrial investments with regard to the future development of the country; With the objective of lightening the burden on the state of some services it provides, experiments were begun; these included the substitution of workplace dining halls and worker transport for other arrangements, and the renting of barber shops and taxis to employees in these activities.

Even with the adoption of the above measures, given the existing complex panorama they have not resolved the principal problems which limit the performance of the economy, for which it will be necessary to:

Make use of land that is still unproductive, some 50% [of farmland belonging to the state], and increase agricultural yields;

Look for alternative sources of financing to stop the process of the de-capitalisation of industry and of the productive infrastructure of the country;

Eliminate "inflated payrolls" in all economic sectors and restructure employment, including through non-state formulas, applying a labour and salary policy for surplus workers that eliminates paternalistic procedures;

Increase labour productivity, elevating discipline and the stimulus of salaries and bonuses, eliminating egalitarianism in the mechanisms of income distribution and redistribution. As part of this process, it will be necessary to remove unnecessary gratuities and excessive personal subsidies;

Recover the export capacity of traditional items; increase sustainably and diversify exports of goods and services, as well as reduce the high dependence on imports with a view to reverse the external financing situation;

Entrust greater powers, within the framework of the plan, to firms, and effectively boost the initiative of the territories [provinces and municipalities] to enhance their economic development in a sustainable manner;

Carry out studies on the elimination of monetary duality.

Economic management through the planning system has been centred fundamentally on the problems of the external sector, which, together with the insufficient integration of the objectives of the plan, has contributed to perpetuating disproportions and the lack of correspondence between the plans of firms with that of the national economy. The Ministry of Economy and Planning dedicated its time fundamentally to the search for short-term equilibrium between what was necessary at each moment and the available resources, which ultimately led to it not playing the role that corresponds to it as the governing body of the economy.

For the next five years, economic policy must resolve the above problems based on the projection approved for this period.

Economic and Social Policy Guidelines

The economic policy of the new stage corresponds to the principle that only socialism is capable of overcoming the difficulties and preserving the conquests of the Revolution, and that in the updating of the economic model, planning will be supreme, not the market.

In the economic policy that is proposed, socialism is equality of rights and opportunities for the citizens, not egalitarianism. Work is both a right and a duty; [it is] the personal responsibility of every citizen and must be remunerated according to its quantity and quality.

Beginning with the current conditions and the foreseeable international scenario, economic policy will seek to confront the problems of the economy through two types of solutions, which must be congruent with each other:

Short-term solutions, aimed at eliminating the balance of payments deficit, which enhance the generation of external income and the substitution of imports and, in turn, respond to the problems of greatest immediate impact in economic efficiency, work motivation and income distribution, and create the necessary infrastructural and productive conditions to permit the transition to a higher stage of development;

Longer-term, sustainable development solutions that permit a high degree of food and energy self-sufficiency, an efficient use of human potential, a higher level of competitiveness in traditional production areas, and the development of new forms of the production of goods and services of higher added value.

Flowing from the above, the following guidelines have been drawn up in each of the spheres of economic and social policy.

I. Economic management model
General guidelines

1. The socialist planning system will continue to be the principal means to direct the national economy and must in turn be transformed in its methodological and organisational aspects to accommodate new forms of management and guidance of the national economy.

2. The management model must recognise and stimulate along with the socialist state enterprises, which are the principal form of the national economy mixed capital enterprises, cooperatives, lessors of state-owned land in usufruct, lessors of state facilities, self-employed workers and other forms which may contribute to increasing the efficiency of social labour.

3. In the new forms of non-state management, the concentration of ownership in legal or natural entities shall not be permitted.

4. The structural, functional and organisational and economic changes to the enterprise system, the budgeted entities and the state administration in general will be carried out in a programmed way, with order and discipline, on the basis of the approved policy, which necessitates a training process in all of the structures which facilitate their implementation.

5. Planning will include not only the state enterprise system and Cuban mixed-capital enterprises, but will also regulate the relevant non-state forms, which implies a transformation of the planning system towards new methods of the development of the plan and of state control over the economy.

6. The separation of state and enterprise functions will proceed through a gradual and ordered process, in which the fulfilment of the established norms is fundamental to achieve the proposed goals.

7. It will be necessary to achieve an enterprise system made up of strong and well-organised firms, and create new organisations of higher-level enterprise management. General rules will be drawn up for these organisations.

8. The increase in the powers of the enterprises will be accompanied by a greater level of responsibility for control over the material and financial resources they manage.

9. Supply markets that sell at wholesale prices, without subsidies, will be developed for the enterprise system and budgeted sector, cooperatives, lessors, usufruct farmers and self-employed workers.

10. The fulfilment of contracts between economic entities, with regard to the quality of the negotiation process and their drafting and signing, will be required as a key performance indicator.

11. The powers and financial instruments to be used by enterprises to direct, organise and carry out the production of goods and services will be clearly defined.

12. The internal finances of enterprises cannot be the subject of intervention by outside bodies; this can only be done through the legally established procedures.

13. Enterprises [will] decide on and administer their working capital and investments up to the limit specified in the plan, and according to the regulations that will be established.

14. Control over enterprise management will be based principally on economic-financial mechanisms, in place of administrative mechanisms, removing the existing burden of controls on enterprise activity.

15. The increased responsibility and power of the enterprises makes the strengthening of their system of internal control indispensable for achieving the desired results with regard to the fulfilment of their plans and goals with efficiency, order, discipline and the strict observance of legality.

16. State enterprises that demonstrate sustained financial losses, insufficient working capital, that cannot honour their contractual obligations, or that obtain negative results in financial audits, will be summoned to a process of liquidation, complying with what is established in this regard.

17. Enterprises, as a rule, will not receive budgetary financing to produce goods and services.

18. Enterprises after paying taxes and complying with other commitments to the state, and having fulfilled the established requirements may create funds from their surpluses for development, investments and worker incentives.

19. The incomes of the workers of an enterprise will be linked to the final results obtained.

20. To contribute to local development, enterprises will pay a centrally determined territorial tax to the Municipal Administration Councils [of Peoples Power] in which their firms operate.

21. Subsidies for losses will be eliminated. Enterprises will contribute part of their after-tax surplus towards a compensation fund for financial imbalances held by the higher-level enterprise management body.

22. Enterprises will be able to independently decide the number of workers on their payroll.

23. Within the framework of the pricing policy of the competent body, enterprises will decide flexibly and transparently the prices of the products and services they offer, and may lower them when considered necessary.

24. Research centres that serve the production of goods and services should be part of the enterprises or higher-level organisations of enterprise management, wherever possible, in a way that effectively ties their research work to the respective production.


25. [Cooperatives] will be based on the free association of the workers that comprise the cooperative. They may be owners of means of production, lessors [of state property] or may use such property in permanent usufruct.

26. The General Rules of Cooperatives should specify that cooperative property cannot be sold, rented or leased to other cooperatives or non-state forms of production.

27. Cooperatives [shall] maintain contractual obligations with other cooperatives, enterprises, budgeted entities and other non-state forms, and sell directly to the public according to their approved social objective.

28. Cooperatives, on the basis of what is established in their general rules, [shall] determine the incomes of their workers and the distribution of profits, and pay state taxes and required contributions [e.g., social security].

29. First-order cooperatives may voluntarily agree with other cooperatives to constitute second-order[3] cooperatives with juridical personalities and inheritance rights, with the objective of organising common processes (of production and services) and buying and selling together with the view of achieving greater efficiency.

Budgeted system
30. Budgeted entities fulfil state and government functions and others, such as health care and educational services. This does not define their social objectives, but rather their obligations and responsibilities.

31. The number of budgeted entities will be reduced to the minimum that guarantee the fulfilment of the functions assigned them, with the prime criterion being the maximisation of savings on personnel and for the state budget with regard to material and financial resources.

32. Budgeted entities to provide productive services or for the production of goods will not be created. Budgeted entities that can finance their costs from their own incomes and generate a surplus will become self-financing, while fulfilling the duties and responsibilities assigned to them, or they will be converted into enterprises.

33. Budgeted entities that are only able to cover part of their expenses with their incomes will be given approval to have part of their costs financed from the state budget.

34. The management system governing the organisational, economic and oversight functions of the budgeted entities will be drawn up, simplifying their accounting.

35. The Provincial and Municipal Administration Councils will fulfil state functions and will not intervene directly in enterprise management.

36. The relationship between the state functions carried out by the provincial and municipal administrations and those of the Organs of the Central State Administration will be defined, making clear the boundaries, links and work regulations and methodologies that will apply.

37. The development of local projects, especially those related to food production, must work towards municipal self-sufficiency, where the principle of financial self-sustainability will be an essential element of this effort, in harmony with the objectives of the national economic plan.

38. In this endeavour, the Municipal Administration Councils will play a fundamental role in the execution of these projects.

II. Macroeconomic Policies
General guidelines

39. Achieve better coordination between the objectives of the national economic plan and the design and scope of monetary and fiscal policies.

40. Achieve external [financial] equilibrium, beginning with a favourable balance of payments current account[4], sustained by the behaviour of the real economy that allows for the compensation of the imbalance in the financial account.

41. Guarantee the maintenance of an appropriate relationship between accumulation [i.e., investment] and consumption, and define the rate of accumulation needed, taking into account the process of recapitalisation that the economy requires. In addition, it is essential to establish a more effective relationship between consumption on the basis of incomes from work and the social consumption funds.

To guarantee the production of goods and services:

42. Labour productivity growth that surpasses growth of the mean income of the workforce.

43. A sustained increase in economic efficiency that will allow for the progressive reduction of the levels of assistance provided by the state.

44. An appropriate link between the expansion of social services and the dynamism of the sectors that produce goods and services that increase the material wealth of the country.

45. A sustainable medium and long-term relationship between the imported component of the productive processes and the economys capacity to generate hard currency incomes.

Monetary policy
46. Ensure an adequate focus on short, medium and long-term monetary planning oriented to achieving internal and external monetary equilibrium, not in an isolated way but in an integral fashion.

47. Establish appropriate rules for monetary issue and opportunely employ the indicators that allow for its regulation.

48. Develop an efficient inter-bank market that allows, among other things, the creation of a more rational and well-founded system of interest rates, and enhance the use of monetary policy instruments (such as administrative control of credit, obligatory deposits by commercial banks in the central bank, the regulation of interest rates and loans to financial institutions) to manage periodic monetary disequilibria.

49. Apply a credit policy with the basic objective of providing assistance to those activities that stimulate national production, generate incomes in hard currency or substitute imports, and others that guarantee economic and social development.

50. Study the interest rates of savings accounts, the creation of capitalisation accounts and savings accounts for specific projects, and access to personal credit for the purchase of goods and services.

51. Provide necessary banking services, which include the granting of credit to the non-state sector of the economy to contribute to its adequate functioning.

52. Manage monetary policy to regulate the amount of currency in circulation and the levels of credit, based on what is established in the plan and using the instruments defined above, with the aim of contributing to the achievement of monetary and exchange rate stability, and thus orderly economic development.

53. On the demand side, the correspondence between the growth in the amount of money and the circulation of retail merchandise, as well as the possibility of guiding this relationship in a planned way in the medium term, will continue to be the key instrument to achieve monetary and exchange rate stability in this sector; this being a necessary condition to advance towards the reestablishment of the functioning of the socialist law of distribution (from each according to their ability, to each according to their work).

Exchange policy

54. We will advance towards monetary unification in a process that will depend fundamentally on the growth of labour productivity, the effectiveness of the mechanisms of distribution and redistribution, and the availability of goods and services. Because of its complexity, this will demand a rigorous preparation and execution on both the objective and subjective planes.

Fiscal policy
55. Fiscal policy must contribute to a sustained increase in economic efficiency and the revenue coming into the state budget, with the aim of supporting public spending at levels that maintain an adequate financial equilibrium.

56. The tax system must be developed in its progressiveness and scope to make it more effective as a mechanism to redistribute income, while making a positive contribution to policies aimed at the improvement of the economic management model.

57. The tax system will be based on the principles of universality and equity with regard to the tax burden. There will be higher taxes on higher incomes to contribute to the mitigation of inequality.

58. A culture of taxation and social responsibility for the complete fulfilment of tax obligations by citizens and entities will be cultivated to develop the civic value of contributing to the maintenance of social spending and high levels of fiscal discipline.

59. Social spending will be within the framework of the real possibilities of the financial resources generated by the country's economy, and it will be rational so as to guarantee planned levels of activity without affecting quality.

60. There shall be the continued application of fiscal stimuli and the study of other measures that will contribute to the elimination of subsidies to exportable financing and to those that substitute imports, maintaining the latter while keeping the current official exchange rate. Preferential tariff structures and discounts will continue to be prioritised when it is considered appropriate to do so, based on the principle that export financing as well as production that substitutes imports must be profitable.

Pricing policy

61. The pricing system must be the object of a comprehensive review to enable a correct measurement of economic activity, stimulate efficiency, increase exports and substitute imports, and eliminate subsidies and undue gratuities.

62. The centralised character of policy decision making and the degree of planning of the prices of products and services, which the state has an interest in regulating, will be maintained.

63. Mechanisms that allow greater flexibility for enterprises to set other prices will be established. This will include regulations to ensure that the interests of the country prevail over those of enterprises, sectors and territories without covering up inefficiencies; based on foreign trade prices, all of which will require a strengthening of control.

III. External economic policy
General guidelines

64. Guarantee the comprehensive application of commercial, fiscal, credit, labour and other policies to ensure the desired results of Cuban foreign trade in the development of exportation and the substitution of imports in the briefest timeframe possible.

65. Work with maximum rigour to strengthen the credit ranking of the country in its international economic relations through the strict fulfilment of contractual commitments.

66. Continue giving maximum attention to the ethical conduct and technical preparation of the cadres responsible for promoting the international economic interests of the country, and favour the decentralisation of enterprise decision-making along with the strengthening of the economic, financial, technical and legal preparation of the different negotiating teams and groups.

67. Apply the principle that those who negotiate do not decide in all activities undertaken by the country in the sphere of international economic relations.

Foreign trade

68. Increase and consolidate revenue through the export of goods and services, for which solutions will have to be found to all those aspects of an internal nature which today constitute obstacles to exportation; create a real interest in exportation at the level of the country and base the most important and strategic decisions on objective and updated studies of the market.

69. Diversify the destinations of exportable goods and services, as well as maintain the priority and attention given to the social principles of the country and achieve greater revenue stability.

70. Diversify the structure of goods and services exports, with preference to those with greater added value and technological content.

71. Broaden and consolidate the mechanisms of international pricing as a way to protect and promote revenue from the international commercialisation of nickel, sugar, petroleum, coffee, cacao and other products whose characteristics permit this.

72. Develop an integral strategy for the exportation of goods and services, particularly professional services, which includes the creation of an appropriate legal framework and efficient commercial structures, with the capacity to promote joint ventures with foreign capital that guarantee the optimal use of the potential created by the country.

73. Prioritise, in the exportation of goods and services, the sale of technological projects and solutions involving the sending of individual workers. Develop external commercialisation programmes for comprehensive computer developments and applications.

74. Create and develop a strategy to guarantee new markets for the export of medical services and products of the medical pharmaceutical industry.

75. Recover and develop seafood export markets for lobsters and prawns, as well as review current commercialisation schemes to make them more flexible.

76. Ensure, in enterprises and entities linked to exports, that all goods and services destined for international markets conform to the highest standards of quality.

77. Prioritise, in export activities, the comprehensive provision of the necessary resources in all the links of the value chain to guarantee the planned levels of exports. Design the organisation of the corresponding approaches to ensure this.

78. Achieve greater rationality in the country's management of imports through the reorganisation of enterprises that carry out foreign trade activities and through a better assignment of product classifications to achieve effective utilisation of the country's purchasing power.

79. Increase the efficiency of the importation process, among other factors, through the development of the wholesale market and especially the reorganisation of consignment activity.

80. Promote an accelerated process of import substitution that guarantees the maximum possible utilisation of all capacities at the country's disposal in the agricultural and industrial sectors and in human resources.

81. Work systematically, in enterprises that import machinery and equipment, to identify the capacity to fabricate these lines nationally. On this basis, promote agreements of mutual benefit between Cuba's machine industry and foreign manufacturers with which they have relations. Through such technology transfer, technical assistance and other means, there tends to be a gradual substitution of imports, especially spare parts and components.

82. Promote international machine industry cooperation agreements and modify the structure of exports, favouring metallurgical production and services.

83. Design and establish mechanisms to channel the demand for imports arising from the non-state sectors of production and make possible the realisation of potential export funds.

84. Eradicate, in the entities that deal with foreign commerce, deficiencies due to the lack of analysis of contractual prices and international market prices, poor utilisation of memoranda of intent that underpin commercial decisions, improper formulation and negotiation of clauses and key specifications in contracts, and insufficient control over the fulfilment of contractual parameters and clauses that protect the interests of the country.

Debt and credits

85. Energise the process of foreign debt restructuring with maturity in the short, medium and long term that affect the functioning of the national economy. Design and apply strategies for the flexible restructuring of debt repayment and conclude these processes in the briefest possible timeframe to allow growing and sustained economic performance that opens up access to new financing.

86. Guarantee that commitments made in debt restructuring are strictly complied with.

87. Ensure that external financing is included in the National Economic Plan and does not constitute a source of deterioration in the external financial situation of the country.

88. Establish a policy for the coordination of new credits and their rational use, as well as for the management and control of the country's debt levels. Revise the existing regulations and enact new ones aimed at ensuring the fulfilment of this policy.

Foreign investment
89. Continue promoting the participation of foreign capital, as a complement to national investment efforts, in those activities of interest to the country and in relation to projections for economic and social development in the medium and long term.

90. Ensure that the attraction of foreign capital satisfies diverse objectives, such as access to advanced technology and management methods, diversification and broadening of export markets, import substitution, the contribution of medium and long-term external financing for the construction of the productive objective and/or working capital for its operation.

91. Improve regulations and procedures for the evaluation, approval and instrumentation of the participation of foreign investment. Rigorous control over the fulfilment of regulations, procedures and contractual commitments by the foreign partner will be established through an International Economic Association.

92. A time limit must be established on those joint-venture enterprises or constituted international economic associations that fail to start operating within the anticipated timeframe and their fate must be decided, avoiding the indefinite consumption of resources and increasing inefficiency.

93. Promote, through the establishment of an International Economic Association, the obtaining of added revenue for the country in addition to salaries, taxes and dividends through the lending of diverse services and supplies by national enterprises.

94. Favour, in the process of promoting investments, the diversification of participation by entrepreneurs from various countries.

95. Create and continuously update an investment portfolio of projects for possible negotiation with foreign participants.

96. Promote the creation of Special Development Zones that allow for increasing exports, import substitution, high technology projects and local development, and that will contribute to new sources of employment.

97. Ensure that economic activity of the international economic associations correspond to the projections in the National Economic Plan.

98. Evaluate existing associations/joint ventures with foreign capital and make any necessary adjustments in such a way that they are adjusted to the requirements of the country.

99. Analyse, among alternatives for financing via foreign investment, those industries that, while not producing exports, are indispensable to ensuring other production essential to the economy or in the substitution of imports.

100. Promote, always with economic justification and when beneficial, the establishment of external enterprises and alliances that favour the better positioning of Cuba's interests in external markets.


101. Favour international collaboration in which Cuba receives and provides according to the national interests, and ensure that all activities are included in the National Economic Plan such that the coherence of these activities is assured.

102. Improve and supplement the legal and regulatory framework, both for the provision of economic and scientific-technical collaboration that the country gives and receives.

103. Continue developing international solidarity through the collaboration that Cuba offers, and establish the necessary financial records and statistics that will allow the required analysis, especially of costs.

104. Consider, to the extent possible, compensation for solidarity collaboration that Cuba provides, at least for the costs.

105. Promote multilateral collaboration, especially through the UN institutions, that brings financial resources and technology to our country in accordance with national development priorities.

106. Prioritise, in relation to international collaboration organisations, materials and technical assistance in the development of diverse sources of renewable energy.

Economic integration

107. Give priority to participation in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), and work quickly and intensely for coordination, cooperation and economic complementarity in the short, medium and long term, for the achievement and deepening of the economic, social and political objectives it promotes.

108. Continue active participation in the economic integration of Latin America and the Caribbean as a strategic objective, and continue participating in regional commercial integration initiatives in which Cuba is involved; these include: the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Association of Caribbean States (AEC), PetroCaribe and others; and continue strengthening the unity of its members.

IV. Investment policy

109. The most critical investments will respond to the short, medium and long-term development strategy of the country, eradicating spontaneity, improvisation, superficiality, and lack of scope, depth in feasibility studies and integrality in the undertaking of an investment.

110. Investments will be oriented with priority given to the productive sphere to generate revenue in the short term. These will be directed towards increasing exports of goods and services, the effective substitution of imports, as well as towards those infrastructure investments necessary for the development of the country's economy. Maintenance activities must be prioritised before making investments.

111. The Ministry of Economy and Planning will demand more from the Organs of the Central State Administration and the Provincial Administration Councils regarding comprehensive attention to their investment process, from initial conception to the final evaluation, complying with the respective rules. The investor will have the greatest responsibility for planning, execution, control, financing and the implementation of their investments.

112. The quality and status of the General Territorial and Urban Zoning Plans will be elevated at the national, regional and provincial levels, as will their integration with medium and long term economic projections and the Investment Plan. The practice of determining the most appropriate location [Spanish: macrolocalizacin] will be reintroduced as a working tool in planning to ensure depth, agility and response times in the required consultative processes of the Organs of the Central State Administration and the Provincial Administrative Councils with the System of Physical Planning. Territorial and urban discipline shall be reinstituted.

113. Conditions for achieving the progressive decentralisation of the Investment Plan and a change in its concept will be promoted, conferring powers to approve investments to the Organs of the Central State Administration, the Provincial Administration Councils, enterprises and budgeted entities on the basis of global frameworks for sectors, branches and agencies. Indices of the physical execution and effectiveness of the plan, as well as the development and implementation of norms, will be employed to ensure an ordered functioning of the investment process that is real and flexible.

114. Contracts must constitute a working tool in planning and control at all stages of the investment process, principally in relation to agreed prices and timetables for execution.

115. Systems of payment, salary bonuses and penalties must be evaluated and proposed to all subjects in the investment process and linked with the results achieved in the different phases of the investment, including the new system of double shift bonuses, where the conditions to apply this exist.

116. Investments that are approved, as a norm, will demonstrate the capacity to recoup themselves through their own operations and must do this with external credit or their own capital. Their reimbursement will be effected through revenue generated by their own investment, either through increasing income or reducing costs.

117. An order of execution of investments must be established that allows the minimisation of the simultaneous immobilisation of resources in projects with a long maturation periods. As a matter of priority, it is preferable to plan and execute those projects with the most rapid response or that improve the integrality of key objectives.

118. For long-range objectives it is necessary to establish priorities in stages, which can begin functioning independently of the rest and can immediately begin to recoup the investment.

119. Investment projects in the industrial sector, creating capital goods and intermediaries for the national economy, must give a prioritised response to the strategic objectives of the country.

120. The principles and functions of new management techniques for the investment process will continue being assimilated and incorporated in state investments as well as through the participation of project managers and builders in International Economic Associations to deal with complex investments. To guarantee the execution of investments whose complexity and importance warrant it, the participation of foreign builders and project managers will be carefully assessed and regulated as needed to ensure the correct utilisation of these personnel and the assimilation of positive experiences.

121. Evaluations will be made of bids for design and construction services related to Cuban enterprises, proposing their regulation and implementation to boost the efficiency, competitiveness and quality required in the country's investment process.

V. Science, technology and innovation policy

122. Create the organisational, legal and institutional conditions to achieve a type of economic organisation and a system of generalisation that combines scientific research, the development of new products and services, efficient production and export management.

123. The results achieved in the sphere of biotechnology, the production of advanced medical equipment, the software industry, educational technologies, and scientific and technological services of high added value will be sustained and developed; as will bioinformatics and nanotechnology.

124. Sustain and develop, also, research regarding climate change adaptation and mitigation, the conservation and rational use of natural resources, particularly of soils, water and forests; and of the social sciences, which is equally necessary in this regard.

125. For the correct orientation of industrial development, studies aimed at the formulation of an in-depth strategic industrial policy must be institutionalised and systematised on the basis of the dynamic trends of technological change. This will have the aim of orienting the industrial sector to be able to assume its proper role in the growing economy, with a productive sector capable of innovation and structural change so that it makes a significant contribution to boosting economic independence and technological sovereignty in strategic branches of the economy.

126. In the specific case of the agricultural sector, the application of science and technology must be promoted to increase food production and improve animal health in all links in the productive chain, decreasing production costs through the production of bio-fertilisers, insecticides and similar products that allow a reduction in imports and dependence on the external market in these lines.

127. In general, socialist enterprises will have to create the conditions to promote the integration of scientific and technological advances into the productive process where possible and necessary.

128. Urgently required work must be done to complete and apply the required legal instruments for the articulation of the System of Scientific and Technological Innovation.

VI. Social policy
General guidelines

129. Continue preserving the achievements of the Revolution, such as access to medical attention, education, culture, sports, recreation, retirement pensions and social security for those who need it.

130. Recover the role of labour as the fundamental means of contributing to the development of society and to the satisfaction of personal needs and those of families.

131. Guarantee the systematic and sustained increase in the quality of services offered to the public and redesign current policies according to economic possibilities.

132. Continue improving education, health care, culture and sports, for which it is essential to reduce or eliminate excessive costs in the social sphere.


In preschool, primary and secondary education work must be done to:

133. Continue advancing in the quality and rigour of the process of teacher education and achieve a better utilisation of existing capacities, through the construction of mixed centres that guarantee the formation of the different levels of education in correspondence with needs. This implies adjusting the size of centres and achieving a better use of the work force.

134. Create in every territory the teaching personal needed to respond to the needs of the educational institutions at the various learning levels.

135. Strengthen the role of the teacher in the classroom and ensure that audiovisual equipment and materials which complement teaching work are used correctly.

136. Gradually reorganise the school network, maintaining in secondary schools the indispensable minimum of intern students and reducing costs through arrangements for transport, food and other necessities.

137. Adjust the levels of activity in primary education, taking into account the demographic situation [i.e., low birth rate].

In higher education, work must be done along the following lines:

138. Graduation in the various fields of study will be in relation to the needs of social and economic development.

139. Boost the rigour and effectiveness of the educative process to increase efficiency of the cycle (the percentage of graduates in relation to university admissions five years prior).

140. Change the structure of instruction in educational fields by increasing by 50% those at the mid-levels and proportionally reducing those at the higher levels in these specialties.

141. Update the training and research programmes in universities in line with new technology, and increase rates of graduation in technological and basic science fields accordingly.

142. Reaffirm that the conditions created for workers to study are based on the principle that such study must be done in their free time and through their own efforts.


143. Enhance the quality of service provided, alongside savings through the efficient use of resources and the elimination of unnecessary costs.

144. Reorganise the territorial basis of services and efficiently use technology at their disposal. Enhance clinical diagnosis and utilise complementary studies rationally, especially those of the most costly technology. Consolidate and require the use of protocols for illnesses.

145. Continue using educational opportunities to discourage self-medication by the public, and implement other measures that contribute to the rational use of medicine.

146. Give maximum attention to the development of natural and traditional medicine.

147. Strengthen promotional and preventative actions that reduce or prevent the appearance of non-transmissible chronic illnesses and their consequences.

148. Adjust the training of newly admitted students in medical specialties , essentially in health care technologies, to the needs of the country.


The development and promotion of physical culture and sports in all its manifestations will be prioritised as a means of educating and contributing to the integral development of the citizenry, for which it will be necessary to:

149. Concentrate attention on the mass practice of sport and physical activity through the reorganisation of the sports system and the restructuring of its network of sports centres.

150. Boost the quality of the instruction of athletes and teachers, as well as promote rationality in expenditures on the organisation of events and competitions.


151. Continue developing artistic education, creation, art and the capacity to appreciate it; as well as the defence of identity and the conservation of the cultural patrimony, all of which must be done while ensuring the effective use of available resources.

152. Generate news sources of income, evaluating all the activities that can be transferred from the budgeted sector to the enterprise system.

153. Rationalise artistic instruction and the training of art instructors.

Social security

154. Reduce the relative contribution of the State Budget in the financing of social security, which will continue to increase along with the growth in the number of retirees. Therefore it will be necessary to continue expanding the contribution of state sector workers and applying special conditions on the non-state sector.

155. Give particular attention to the study and implementation of strategies in all sectors of society to address the high levels of population aging.

Employment and wages

156. Ensure that wage policies guarantee that each worker receives according to their work, and that this generates quality products and services.

157. Prioritise the application of wage increases to those jobs that generate hard currency (or result in it's saving), produce food and other indispensable consumer goods, and work that contributes to the investment process. Special attention must be given to stimulating the incorporation of scientific advances and new technologies in production, on the basis of the real results obtained through their application.

Modify the structure of employment, reducing inflated payrolls and expanding work in the non-state sector; for this it will be necessary to:

158. Expand the scope of self-employment, not only as an alternative employment option but as a contribution to increasing the availability of goods and services. Apply a tax structure that guarantees that self-employed workers contribute according to their incomes.

159. Develop job placement procedures based on the principle of demonstrated suitability, contributing to the elimination of paternalistic practices. Stimulate the necessity to work and reduce expenditures in the economy and the State Budget.

160. Plan the training of a qualified workforce in relation to current needs and the country's development, for which it is necessary to correct present deformations in the structure of training high-level specialists, mid-level technicians and qualified workers.

161. Strengthen the role of wages in society, for which it will be necessary to reduce unnecessary gratuities and excessive personal subsidies, while establishing compensation for those who need them.

162. Implement the orderly elimination of the ration book system as a form of distribution that is regulated, egalitarian and subsidised, and which favours both those citizens who need it and those who do not, therefore encouraging people to exchange and resell these products, [thus] stimulating a black market.

163. Maintain social dining halls in the sphere of social services, in the centres of health and education that require them. It is necessary to improve methods of protecting the nutritionally vulnerable or at-risk population.

164. Maintain workplace dining halls where essential, ensuring the sale of these services at non-subsidised prices.

165. Guarantee that the beneficiaries of the protection offered by social assistance are people who really need it because they are unable to work and cannot count on the support of their families. Eliminate benefits that can be assumed by people or their families, and adjust others that are presently offered in relation to increases in benefits and pensions in recent years. In parallel, all social work must be integrated through a single coordinating centre.

VII. Agro-industrial policy


166. Progressively contribute to the countrys balance of payments through this sector. [The nation must] cease being a net importer of food and decrease the high dependence on financing that today is covered with revenue from other sectors.

167. Adopt a new management model in accordance with a greater presence of non-state forms of production that will have to sustain themselves through more effective utilisation of monetary-commercial relations, delimit state functions from those of enterprises as a means of promoting greater producer autonomy to boost efficiency and to make the gradual decentralisation towards local governments possible.

168. Adapt current legislation in relation to transformations in the productive base to facilitate its efficient and competitive functioning, and decentralise the system of economic and financial management. Apply reliable instruments of control and information.

169. Grant independence to the different forms of cooperatives from the intermediation of state enterprises, and gradually introduce integral services cooperatives in agro-industrial activity at the local level.

170. Adjust agricultural food production to demand and the transformation of commercialisation, elevating quality and contractual obligations so that the parties fulfil their obligations; limit centralised distribution to those lines linked to the national balance of payments; give a more active role to market mechanisms in relation to other production.

171. Restructure the current system for the commercialisation of inputs and equipment in correspondence with the new food production scenario and the financial mechanisms that will be implemented, allowing productive entities direct access to these resources through the network of stores to be approved for this purpose in the territories.

172. Modify the system of collection and commercialisation of agricultural products through more flexible forms of management that contribute to reducing losses in the production chains; simplify links between the primary producer and the consumer, and increase benefits to improve the quality of products provided.

173. Prioritise, in the short term, the substitution of imports of those foods that can be produced efficiently in the country. The resources to stimulate this must be concentrated where there exist the best conditions for their effective deployment, with the aim of increasing yields and productive efficiency; at the same time, the application of the results of science and technology must be enhanced.

174. Organise food production in those activities that generate external incomes or that substitute imports, applying a systematic focus or a production chain that takes into account not only primary production, but all links that revolve around the agro-industrial complex. These chains will be developed with the system's own resources through net export revenue or from savings via import substitution. In the organisation of other food production, a territorial focus must predominate, above all, directed towards self-sufficiency at this level, with an emphasis on the execution of the urban agricultural program, which must be extended to the whole country.

175. Appropriately link agricultural production centres with the processing industry, with the aim of guaranteeing the supply of food to large cities, for export and the internal hard-currency market.

176. Continue reducing the amount of unutilised farmland and increase yields through diversification, crop rotation and polyculture. Develop sustainable agriculture in harmony with the environment while promoting the efficient use of plant and animal resources, including seeds, varieties and technology, and maximise the use of organic composts, bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides.

177. Achieve similar productive yeild on land granted in usufruct as those in the cooperative and small-farmer sectors, where the producers will not be salaried employees but will depend on their own incomes. Prices of the majority of products will be determined by supply and demand and, as a norm, will not be subsidised.

178. Give special attention to the development of profit [sic] and other activities that incorporate value in agricultural products, improve their quality and presentation, save on transport and the costs of distribution and warehousing, integrate small food processors at the local level with large-scale industry, with a view to maximising the availability of food on the internal market, including exports and the substitution of imports.

179. Revive the national citrus fruit industry and ensure the efficient commercialisation of its products in international markets.

180. Develop an integral program to promote the planting of forests, prioritising the protection of watersheds, particularly those of reservoirs, hydro-regulatory fringes, mountains and coasts.

181. Give special attention to the reorganisation of the labour force of this sector, adopting measures that stimulate their continuity and the incorporation of new workers.

182. Organise the workforce into collectives, achieving the correct link between people and the land and the final results of work, thereby boosting the productivity of agricultural workers and improving their incomes and quality of life.

183. Develop an integral system of training in relation to structural changes, aimed at the education and retraining of workers in the fields of agronomy, veterinary science, industrial technology, economics, administration and management; within which will be included training related to cooperative and environmental management.

184. Concentrate investments among the most efficient producers, taking into account territorial characteristics and links to industry, with priority given to irrigation and the reconditioning of agricultural and industrial equipment necessary to absorb increased productivity and achieve greater efficiency.

185. Reorganise irrigation and agricultural machinery services to achieve a rational use of water, hydraulic infrastructure and the available agricultural equipment, combining the use of animal traction with advanced technology.

186. Guarantee specialised banking services for the agricultural sector to assist producers, facilitating financing and control over its use.

187. Achieve more integrality in the development of science and technology, integrating it efficiently with the productive base, improving scientific-technical services offered to producers.

188. Update and carry out programs aimed at the preservation and rehabilitation of natural resources that are used (soils, water, forests, animals and plants) while training producers in ecological management and rigorously applying established regulations and penalties for their violation.

189. Effectively develop the municipal food self-sufficiency program supported by urban and suburban agriculture.

190. Execute the suburban agriculture program with the efficient utilisation of farmland surrounding cities and towns, with the lowest possible costs in terms of fuel and imported inputs, employing their own local resources and ample use of animal traction.

191. Execute the gradual transformation of the food/agro-industry, including its local development, based on better utilisation of raw materials and the diversification of production.

192. Apply management systems for food quality in correspondence with the established norms and the demands of customers.

193. The sugar agro-industry will have as its primary objective of increasing the production of cane in a sustained manner. The relationship between sugar mills and sugarcane producers must be improved as this industry develops. At the same time, diversify production taking into account international market conditions, achieving the best use of the mills and derivative plants.

194. Gradually increase the production of sugar and its derivatives to achieve hard currency revenue that will allow for the financing of the total costs of production, plus the value of the investments carried out, so that this industry makes a net contribution to the country. The behaviour of sugar prices on the international market will have to be taken into account when determining the sale price of sugarcane and sugar.

195. Advance the creation and rejuvenation of sugar industry derivative and by-product plants, prioritising those that produce alcohol, animal feed, bio-products and others.

196. Achieve a rational use of coastal fishing resources and increase productivity and efficiency of this sector, principally in aquiculture, while improving technological discipline, the adequate mastery of genetics and fish-raising practices. Generate net external revenue to finance the importation of industrial inputs that the country cannot produce.

VIII. Industrial and energy policy

Industrial policy

General guidelines

197. Orient industrial development fundamentally towards promoting exports, reducing the imported component.

198. Foster an appropriate technical infrastructure for standardisation, metrology, quality control and the certification of industrial property.

199. Reorient industrial production in the short term with a view to meeting the requirements of the market for the necessary inputs for the different forms of production (in particular cooperatives and self-employed workers); as well as developing the supply of equipment for small-scale production, in particular to assist the development of local industry, with new types of machinery that are easy to use and maintain.

200. Give priority attention, in the design of the investment process, to the environmental impact associated with industrial development, particularly in the chemical and petrochemical sectors and with nickel, cement and other construction materials.

201. Intensify the process of restructuring and resizing industrial training centres, promoting the rational concentration of dispersed capabilities.

202. Prioritise the training of technical personnel and qualified cadre, as well as collaboration between entities that participate in scientific-technological activities, the execution of research and development programs and environmental impact mitigation.

Guidelines for the main branches

203. Consolidate the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry as one of the activities with the greatest export capacity of the economy, and incorporate new products into the national market to substitute imports.

204. Boost technological sovereignty in the development of telecommunications infrastructure for telemedicine, and promote the development of new technological platforms in neuroinformatics, cognitive neuroscience, neurotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics and telemedicine.

205. Improve the position of the nickel industry in markets, raising the quality of its products and reducing its costs.

206. Rapidly execute projects underway for the exploitation of small mineral deposits, particularly for the production of gold, chrome, copper and zinc.

207. Make investments in the electronics and info-communications industries that can sustain and develop what has been achieved according to the economic possibilities of the country.

208. Create organisational structures that integrate the processes of financing, research and development (R & D), production, engineering and technical support of products and services with high export potential.

209. Develop the capabilities for [industrial] design, integrating them with leading enterprises in the sector.

210. Strengthen technological research and monitoring capabilities, as well as the policy of registering patents and industrial property in Cuba and in the principal destination markets, achieving international certification of products and processes.

211. Continue the development of the Cienfuegos Industrial Complex that will supply high value products such as ammonia, urea, liquefied gas and PVC plastic.

212. Increase the production of fertilisers with the redevelopment of the countrys nitrate and ammonium plant; the rehabilitation of the granulated fertiliser plant in Matanzas, promoting the use of nationally produced raw materials such as phosphorate and zeolite. Advances will be made in the substitution of herbicide imports.

213. Develop the production of new tires, fundamentally for agriculture and transportation; achieve the rehabilitation of the retread centres, increasing their installed capacity and expanding the capacity for cold recaps.

214. Develop the container and packaging industries with an integrated conception of their activity.

215. Develop, in the construction materials industry, products of higher added value to satisfy the demands of the country's priority investment programs (firstly industrial projects, tourism and housing) and sales to the public, as well as to increase exports.

216. Carry out investments in the ferrous metallurgical industry to expand capacities, reduce energy consumption, diversify the production of long-rolled steel and shaped metals; and to improve their quality, consolidate the steel-wire productive chain and upgrade the production of its derivatives.

217. Promote the intensification of recycling activities, such as closed-cycle industry, which will require its recapitalisation and re-outfitting.

218. Undertake a process of restructuring and reorganising the mechanical industry from dispersed capabilities in various ministries, carrying out investments to renovate machine tools and equipment that is technologically outdated and in poor technical condition (to the degree economically feasible).

219. Increase its exports, diversifying markets and making full use of the possibilities of South-South trade, including the development of strategic links for integration, cooperation and industrial complementarity.

220. Undertake, in the short term, a process of reorganisation and restructuring of the enterprise system in the light industrial sector to permit the elimination of oversized structures and payrolls, and required technical-productive and managerial changes.

221. Modify the management model of local industry, making its operation more flexible and thereby allowing the development of artisanal production and the fabrication of consumer goods in small quantities or custom-made, such as in the provision of repair and maintenance services. This includes the expansion of opportunities for non-state activities.

Energy policy

222. Increase the national production of oil and accompanying gas, developing known deposits and accelerating geological studies aimed at finding new deposits, including the exploration works in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Gulf of Mexico.

223. Boost oil refining capacity, achieving volumes that allow a reduction in imports of oil derivatives.

224. Significantly increase the efficiency of electrical generation, dedicating the necessary attention and resources to the maintenance of plants in operation, and achieve high indices of spare capacity in the thermoelectric plants and in the [decentralised] clusters of electrical generators.

225. Conclude the programme of installation of the fuel oil generator clusters and give priority attention to the installation of combined cycles in the Jaruco, Calicito and Santa Cruz del Norte plants.

226. Maintain an active policy in the setting of electricity loads that avoid or diminish maximum demand and reduce their impact on generation capacities.

227. Pursue the programme of the rehabilitation of electrical networks and the elimination of low-voltage zones, achieving planned savings through the reduction of losses in the distribution and transmission of electrical energy.

228. Maximise cogeneration and tri-generation wherever possible, particularly in the generation of electricity by the sugar industry through the use of bagasse and sugarcane, as well as forestry residues, creating the conditions to cogenerate in the inactive phase of the sugar industry, both in refining and distilling.

229. Maximise the use of the various sources of renewable energy: biogas, wind, hydroelectric and others will be used; prioritising those that will have greater economic benefit in the short term.

230. Realising the potential for savings identified in the state sector will be prioritised, and work will be done to tap the efficiency reserves in the residential sector; including the revision of current tariffs so that they fulfil their role as regulators of demand. In the new production frameworks be they self-employed workers or cooperatives a non-subsidised electricity tariff will apply.

231. Give special attention to energy efficiency in the transport sector.

232. Conceive of new investments for the efficient use of energy, with adequate procedures for supervision.

233. Improve the work of planning and control of the use of energy carriers, broadening the range and quality of efficiency indicators and established consumption indices.

234. Project the work of the education system and the mass media in enhancing the quality and integrality of the policy focused on energy conservation and the efficient and sustainable use of energy.

IX. Tourism policy


235. The fundamental objective of this sector is the direct capturing of hard currency from outside the country through a competitive position in the tourism market.

236. Increase Cuba's competitiveness in the market through the improvement of the quality of services and the achievement of an appropriate coherence in relation to quality/price.

237. The forms of commercialisation and promotion will be improved using the most advanced technologies, as well as diversifying the source markets and resuming high growth rates.

238. Achieve increased numbers of arrivals from more countries, access new segments of the market and rapidly create new products for offer.

239. Diversify complementary accommodation packages with new options that distinguish them from the competition in marinas, boats, golf courses, real estate, adventure and eco-tourism, theme parks, cruise ships, culture and heritage, health tourism and others.

240. Expand destinations within Cuba, including those on the south coast. In the sphere of promotion, carry out a transformation in the administration and allocation of destinations and techniques to use, both in the institutional realm and in enterprises; prioritise the use of the internet in getting across what distinguishes our tourism in relation to the competition and additional offers, and achieve greater effectiveness of the tourism offices and enterprises outside the country, so that they are more cost-effective.

241. Non-state activity in accommodation, food services and other tourism services will continue to be developed to complement what is offered by the state.

242. Consolidate an integral self-financing scheme for tourism, with the objective of achieving its assured and efficient functioning in all aspects of the tourism industry. In particular, it will be necessary to study supply mechanisms for tourism entities that take advantage of the potential of all productive forms at the local level.

243. Develop, as part of the municipal initiative of the territories, attractive tourism offers as a source of hard currency incomes. Study each urban or rural population surrounding the tourism poles, and design equestrian, countryside, rural tourism, eco-tourism and other activities.

244. Energise and push forward the development of national tourism through the creation of offers that allow the better utilisation of the infrastructure created.

245. In the investments carried out, achieve the planned efficiency indicators, reducing costs and spending without affecting the quality of service; apply new forms of contracting of the workforce; broaden the application of automated management systems.

246. Boost the participation of national industry and services in the resources used in the operations and investments of the tourism industry, to contribute to the development of other branches of the economy.

247. Prioritise the maintenance and renovation of tourism infrastructure.

248. Consider what tourism support infrastructure it is necessary to create, and the maintenance and renovation of existing infrastructure. Also, as tourism is a sector that makes significant use of environmental conditions, policies that guarantee the sustainability of its development must be applied. Implement measures to diminish water consumption by tourists, increase the use of renewable energy sources and the recycling of the waste generated in the provision of tourism services.

X. Transport policy


249. Continue the recuperation, modernisation and reorganisation of transport, with the objective of improving the quality and efficiency of freight and passenger transportation services, through the rational use of all resources, especially energy, providing the most economic option.

250. Deepen the balance of freight moving capacity in the country, prioritising the use of the most efficient means of transport. In this sense, the order of priority shall be rail, coastal shipping and specialised transport firms.

251. The development of transportation activity must be self-financing over time through energy savings obtained as a result of investment policy and the replacement of the fleet.

252. Increase, in land transport, the share of the specialised fleet as a proportion of total transportation, both in road and rail transportation; rail will improve its index of freight traffic and increase a return on investment with the necessary integrality.

253. Plan the expansion of "door to door" freight transportation methods.

254. Prioritise railways in the road network improvement program, which requires integration of the country's investment program and a joint effort between those entities linked to the construction, maintenance, use and preservation of the road network.

255. Organise transport in the coastal shipping lines, providing fixed itineraries where feasible.

256. Develop the national merchant fleet as an important support for the country's foreign trade and the reduction of freight costs.

257. Boost the efficiency of maritime port activity through an increase in rates for the unloading of ships, eliminating payment for dead freight, and make better use of ship capacities.

258. Work on the re-equipping and modernising, including dredging where necessary, of the country's key ports that serve as hubs for foreign trade, as a means to improve the attention given to ships and to increase the efficiency of maritime-port activity.

259. The gradual development of port infrastructure will have to be carried out in step with the availability of international financing, whose repayment will be associated with freight invoicing and container storage.

260. Carry out port infrastructure investments with the comprehensiveness that permits improvements in the efficiency of loading and unloading operations; reduces the time of unnecessary container storage; increases their rotation; and allow for appropriate warehousing logistics.

261. Achieve an efficient investment program in the development of ports and of operational services in Mariel, which will be decisive in the recuperation of port infrastructure, equipment and operational capacity.

262. Give special attention to new frameworks, in the form of cooperatives or other formulas of social participation in passenger transport activity, that result in an increase in quality and the capacity to respond to the demand for these services, according to the characteristics of each territory.

263. Rail transport will be increased and transportation times will be reduced, as will proportionally the numbers of passengers who travel by bus.

264. Organise and prioritise the attention given to, and the quality of, technical services for the maintenance and technical availability of the means of transportation, including those of the non-state sector.

265. The civil aviation service for passenger transportation nationally and internationally must assume a growth path related to tourist arrivals, tourism activities and national demand, utilising the national fleet with a greater percentage of occupancy.

266. Reduce waiting times and procedures in airport services, which are linked to a higher quality of service.

267. Increase air cargo on the basis of a better utilisation of the specialised fleet directed firstly at offering services that bring in hard-currency revenue and work towards a competitive service for the export of Cuban products.

XI. Construction, housing and water resources policy



268. Continue improving the capacity of the country's building and housing sector, given its importance as an instrument in efficient planning of investments and their associated resources.

269. Boost the efficiency of construction projects employing systems of payment for output, applying double shifts where feasible, increasing the performance of technological and non-technological equipment and introducing new construction technologies, particularly in projects linked to tourism.

270. Consider the creation of specialised nationwide enterprises for construction projects such as golf courses, dolphin aquaria, marinas, spas, theme parks and aquatic parks that are closely linked to the tourism infrastructure.

271. Conclude the study of construction prices in the short term for their modification and implementation, with the aim of measuring the real cost of construction

272. Adopt new organisational forms in the construction sector, such as cooperatives and the hiring of self-employed workers.


273. The maintenance and conservation of the housing stock must receive priority attention, including the adoption of non-state forms of management to solve the housing problems of the population, as well as the growth in the commercialisation of construction materials.

274. Special attention must be given to housing programs at the municipal level, starting with the existing construction materials in each locality and the technical means available to fabricate the necessary materials.

275. Action will be taken to prioritise the construction and repair of housing in the countryside, taking into account the need to improve living conditions and the factors that make these activities more complicated in rural areas. The objective will be to contribute to and complement the stability of the agricultural food production workforce.

276. The construction of new housing must be organised on the basis of the adoption of new means that include a significant proportion of individual effort as well as other non-state means. Promote the introduction of new methods and the use of construction technologies that save materials and work effort, and that can be easily adopted by the public. Regulate the construction of communal areas in multi-family buildings that due to their degree of required technical expertise and complexity cannot be carried out individually by the owners, who must in all cases contribute to their cost.

277. Satisfy, through the construction materials industry, the demand for investments and building maintenance and maximise the export of the most competitive materials, as well as the sale of construction materials to the public at the lowest costs without subsidies.

278. Apply flexible formulae for the leasing, buying, selling and renting of housing, to facilitate the solution of housing demand on the part of the public.

Water resources

279. The water balance constitutes the planning instrument with which to measure the efficiency of state and private consumption with respect to the availability of this resource.

280. The water supply program will continue to be developed with large-scale investments to much more effectively address problems caused by drought and [to promote] the rational use of water in the whole country, increasing the proportion used for agricultural irrigation.

281. The program for the rehabilitation of networks as well as water and sewer lines linked to housing will be prioritised and expanded with the objective of reducing the loss of water in the medium term, with a consequent reduction in energy consumption [to drive water pumps] and an increase in water recycling.

282. Attention will be given to stimulating a culture of the rational use of water, while studying the reorganisation of water service charges, including sewerage, with the objective of gradually reducing subsidies as well as gradually decreasing wasteful use. Regulate the mandatory measurement of [water] use and of payment by state and private customers.

XII. Commerce policy


283. The conditions in which the economy will function, with the diversification of the forms of management of social property and of the participants in the processes of production and service provision [i.e., the expansion of the small-scale cooperative and private sectors], require a restructuring of commerce [internal trade], both wholesale and retail.

284. The structure and organisation of retail trade must be oriented to the diversification of the quality and variety of products and services offered to satisfy the demands of distinct segments of the population and their purchasing power. This is one of the factors that will give incentives to workers.

285. Until monetary unification has been achieved, there will continue to be a two-tiered system of retail trade, offering products differentiated by their quality or characteristics in the existing network of convertible currency stores, and boosting the quality of those offered in regular Cuban pesos.

286. Design a supply policy for the country that takes into account the participation of national producers and the efficient management of imports. Within this, define the forms of wholesale distribution, including those that respond to the new non-state entities of production and services, as well as the scope and characteristics of the retail network.

287. Introduce non-state forms of management, particularly in the case of food services.

288. As a policy for the development of consumption, the consumption of animal protein, clothing and footwear and the sale of electrical goods, construction materials, furniture and household items, among other products, must be prioritised.

289. Restructure the selection of goods and services, revising the retail prices of products that form a part of the family shopping basket [allocated via the ration book], towards their unrestricted sale, without subsidies, in regular Cuban pesos.

290. Structure the provision of goods and services to the public in relation to effective consumer demand. Revise the current prohibitions that limit commerce.

291. Exercise effective control over the management of purchases and the rotation of inventories in the entire commercial network, both wholesale and retail, with a view to minimising losses and the tying up of resources.


[2] A cooperative is an economic organisation that is a juridical personality with inheritance rights created to produce goods and services useful to society, assuming all expenses incurred from its income.
[3] Union of various cooperatives by mutual agreement.
[4] Exports of goods and services, minus imported goods, plus dividends, remittances etc.

Translation: Marce Cameron . Corrections: Paul Greene . The Spanish original can be downloaded from ] *

Spanish original: