Communism crashing, Cuba to fire half million workers

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by crgarcia, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. (AP) Cuba announced Monday it will cast off at least half a million state employees by mid-2011 and reduce restrictions on private enterprise to help them find new jobs - the most dramatic step yet in President Raul Castro's push to radically remake employment on the communist-run island.

    Castro suggested during a nationally televised address on Easter Sunday that as many 1 million Cuban workers - about one in five - may be redundant. But the government had not previously laid out specific plans to reduce the work force.

    The layoffs will start immediately and continue through the first half of next year, according to the nearly 3 million-strong Cuban Workers Confederation - the only labor union allowed by the government.

    To soften the blow, it said the government would increase private-sector job opportunities, including allowing more Cubans to become self-employed, forming cooperatives run by employees rather than government administrators and increasing private control of state land, businesses and infrastructure through long-term leases.

    The statement, which was published in state-controlled newspapers and read on government-run radio and television, said because of the sheer number of workers involved, the layoffs would come slowly, but that they would affect all government sectors.

    It did not say which parts of the economy would be retooled to allow for more private enterprise. The union said that the state would only continue to employee people in "indispensable" areas where the labor force is historically insufficient, such as in farming, construction, industry, law enforcement and education.

    In August, Castro warned that layoffs would be coming and said Cuba would expand private enterprise on a small scale, increasing the number of jobs where Cubans could go into business for themselves.

    Still, Monday's announcement shows his government is moving to pair back state payrolls far faster than expected.

    "Our state cannot and should not continue supporting businesses, production entities and services with inflated payrolls," the union said, "and losses that hurt our economy are ultimately counterproductive, creating bad habits and distorting worker conduct."

    It added that Cuba would overhaul its labor structure and salary systems since it will "no longer be possible to apply a formula of protecting and subsidizing salaries on an unlimited basis to workers."

    Instead, Cubans will soon be "paid according to results," it said, though few details were provided. Castro has said repeatedly he sought to reform the pay system to hold workers accountable for their production, but the changes have been slow in coming.

    Currently, the state employs 95 percent of the official work force. Unemployment last year was 1.7 percent and hasn't risen above 3 percent in eight years - but that ignores thousands of Cubans who aren't looking for jobs that pay monthly salaries worth only $20 a month on average.

    In exchange for the low salaries, the state provides free education and health care and heavily subsidizes housing, transportation and basic food.

    Castro's government has moved to embrace some small free-market reforms. Earlier this year, it handed some barbershops over to employees, allowing them to set their own prices but making them pay rent and buy their own supplies. Authorities have also approved more licenses for private taxis while getting tough on unlicensed ones
  2. Half a million is a lot of people as Cuba only has a population of about 12 million
  3. Banjo


    He'll give them all an inner tube , a nautical chart showing the way to Fla., a plastic oar and a fish taco.
  4. nkhoi

    nkhoi Moderator

    the hallmark of problem solving. :D
  5. cool

  6. in a related story:

    CNN breaking news:

    "The price of boats in Florida went up 20x as 30% Floridians are scrambling to sneak into Cuba"
  7. Hello


    Fidel Castro Admits Cuban-Style Communism 'Doesn't Even Work For Us Anymore'

    What the hell has gotten into Fidel? First, the long-time antagonist of Israeli foreign policy took a big whack at Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, demanding that he "stop slandering the Jews."

    Now, in a new interview just published online, Fidel seems to flat out admit that the fruits of his revolution aren't exactly flowering in full these days. "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," he says to The Atlantic Magazine's Jeffrey Goldberg. Say WHA?!!

    First, a little back story. Both extraordinary Fidel stories come from Goldberg, who incredibly was called out of the blue a few weeks ago from the Cuban Interests Section in Washington with a simple and shocking message: Fidel read your last article and wants to meet you in Havana in a few days.

    Goldberg -- presumably after picking his jaw up off the kitchen table -- hopped a flight out of Miami and was dining with el commandante en jefe a few hours later.

    The results of Goldberg's Cuban trip -- a pair of blogs published today and yesterday -- reveal a very odd turn for the dictator-in-chief. Castro wasn't exactly in top physical shape, Goldberg writes, needing two bodyguards who "appeared to have been recruited from the Cuban national wrestling team" to prop him up at the elbows.

    But Fidel also ate vigorously, drank red wine, and talked at length with a seemingly strong mind. He proposed last-minute trips to watch dolphin shows and joked about fighting with Khrushchev back in the day.

    In Goldberg's most recent post, Castro seems to admit that his vision of Cuban Socialism isn't working on the island nation anymore. Goldberg, as you might expect, had to make sure he'd heard el jefe correctly.

    Julia Sweig, his friend from the Council on Foreign Relations, gave this take on the admission:"He wasn't rejecting the ideas of the Revolution. I took it to be an acknowledgment that under 'the Cuban model' the state has much too big a role in the economic life of the country."

    And yet, at the same time Castro seems to be slowly taking back the power he ceded to younger bro Raul a few years ago after his devastating stomach illness. Just last weekend, he spoke to a huge crowd while wearing military fatigues for the first time in years.

    So, we ask again: What the hell is going on in La Habana? This much is certain -- Fidel is less dead than ever.
  8. that sucks, i dont want cuba to change, another western clone
  9. #10     Sep 21, 2010