December 20 2021
In the day of debates this Sunday, among the deputies to the National Assembly of People’s Power, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, reflected on strategic issues, especially for the Cuban economy.
Lessons learned from the past year
In the Economic Affairs Committee, Díaz-Canel put into context the lessons learned from this year, marked by the covid-19 and by the blockade, exacerbated with 243 sustained measures that try to suffocate us, provoke an internal situation and generate a social outbreak to overthrow the Revolution.
He also pointed out that if we were to experience the pandemic or a similar situation again, we would surely do things differently, even though the country’s response was remarkable, due to the talent of the people, our scientists, and the health system.
This, he assured, is possible with the completion of the vaccination, which already covers 84.7% of the population with a complete schedule, and, in the same way, the application of the booster dose must be advanced promptly.
The need to work differently
With these aspects in mind, he stressed that the approach of the Budget Plan for 2022 must be different from how we have traditionally worked. He highlighted the importance of understanding that the continuation of the process of economic revival which has begun to manifest itself –even when a complex situation of shortages and shortages still persists – requires that the achievements of the confrontation with COVID-19 must be sustainable and not reversed.
He warned that it is urgent to specify this plan and the Budget Law. If we are forced to return to isolation, to physical distancing, to stop economic and social activity, the proposed indicators cannot be met.
The measures contained, he indicated, are aimed at improving the situation of our economy; it is not that they will solve all the problems, but they will make it possible to advance in a more effective way to the solution. This, in turn, must be combined with everything that we have been promoting in relation to the concept of People’s Power, of defending that exercise with more democracy and participation, as Fidel taught us.
Strengthening Popular Power from the bottom up
He pointed out that it is necessary to work on strengthening Popular Power, recognizing that this comes from the bottom up; from the communities to the municipality, from the municipalities to the provinces, and from the provinces to the country.
Many times, he commented, our actions are guided by the fact that we have become accustomed to decisions coming from above and then we apply them. “When we do that, there are many links in the middle, and we slow down the processes, and also the solutions.”
The proposal of the Plan and the Budget focuses on the need to give powers to the municipalities, stressed the President of the Republic, so that they exercise the autonomy which the Constitution recognizes, thereby addressing problems that have to do with the treatment of the situations of vulnerability in communities.
For there to be democracy and participation, spaces must also be maintained so that the population can discuss, propose, and assess the various situations that surround it, he said.
He argued that there are accountability assemblies, those of the Party nuclei, the office of the delegate of People’s Power with his electors, in addition to the digital mechanisms that have been opened thanks to the process of computerization of society.
The Head of State gave a special look to an essential issue: economic inflation. He specified that it must be understood that part of this problem is because the supply is less than the demand, and that today that demand is concentrated in medicines and food, and that this must be promoted. All this in the midst of the pandemic and an intensified blockade, with sustained subversion.
Faced with the challenge of increasing the supply, he reflected on the approval, last April, of 63 measures to promote agricultural production, which arose from meetings with the base, with producers, to learn about their main concerns. The measures also addressed investments in renewable energy sources, in order to keep changing the country’s energy matrix and to depend less and less on the import of fuels, which will strengthen sovereignty.
In another vein, he commented on the causes that have influenced the rise in some prices in the state sector. One of them, he explained, has been the inefficiencies of the companies whose actions went against the pocket of the population.
Domestic and foreign trade
The First Secretary also focused on the improvement of domestic trade, seeking more quality in services, transparency in management and diversifying offers. At the same time he called for improvement in the development of electronic commerce and the expansion of home delivery.
When we design an efficient control system with popular participation, the problem of corruption ends, and the same happens with the violation of prices and embezzlement, said Díaz-Canel.
In the same way, he insisted, that we have to diversify the mechanisms of foreign trade and foreign investment, in order to make them more agile; as well as perfecting the banking system.