April 9, 2012
Andy Gomez, The Miami Herald
One of the reasons I went to Cuba during the pope’s visit was to see and hear from men and women of all ages what they thought of the current economic, political, and social conditions. As an academic that deals with this subject each day, it is very hard to continue to build future scenarios and make predictions without seeing it firsthand.
There is no question that Cuba’s economy is in shambles. The economic reforms introduced by the government have had very limited success. Yes, there are more small businesses that you find in the urban areas catering mainly to tourists. But there is very little activity in the rural areas. This is creating a problem for the government as people migrate to large cities looking for better opportunities.
I visited a number of cultural centers and churches that are offering courses and training on how to start a small business. I was very impressed with their methods and techniques. How much of this activity they can sustain will depend on the success of these businesses. However, these are not the type of economic reforms that will restructure a country’s economy. Cuba is no where near this process....