". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cuba moves to decentralize state-run agriculture

You can see the story here, by Marc Franck, from Reuters.

A pull from the longer article below:

[ HAVANA - Communist Cuba has begun decentralizing the state-dominatedagriculture sector in what appears to be the first major move by new President Raul Castro to improve efficiency and cut bureaucracy.

At meetings across Cuba, farmers are being told decisions ranging from landuse to resource allocation and sales will no longer be taken at the 17-floor agriculture ministry in Havana but at the local level, farmers who attended said. In addition, local municipal offices will be streamlined and will take more into account the activities of private farmers and cooperatives, not just state farms, they said. Cuba watchers say this will provide more leeway for private initiative to raise food output, Raul Castro's top economic priority since he began running the country on a temporary basis in mid-2006.

"This represents a major shift from a vertical to horizontal approach and a change in bureaucratic mentality from a national to territorial one," a local agriculture expert said on Monday, like others interviewed asking not to be named." They are moving decision-making closer to the producers and recognizingthat the private sector with just a fraction of the land produces 70 percentof our produce," he said. ]


Phil said...

Interesting news. I get the impression that the small scale agriculture already taking place in urban settings is de facto decentralised anyway. Perhaps the regime saw this, acknowledged the wky remained above their heads, and okayed it elsewhere.

I do hope this is a prelude to more democratisation, and not code for reintroducing market relations by the backdoor.

Frank Partisan said...

Raul is by the time he's finished, without necessarily meaning to, create a priveledged, anti-communist class of farmers.

Foxessa said...

I'm not so sure, since the 'farmers' spoken of here are the representatives of the cooperatives.

There's nothing said here of privatizing the land; it's about decentralizing the acquisition of necessary supplies and so on.

Cuba's got a lot of different microclimates. What works in Camaguey will not work in Bayamo, for instance. Plus the largest agraian region is in the east, which makes getting to Havana to deal with problems and general business difficult.

I've spent a fair amount of time in some of the agricultural regions, and have been on various cooperatives and so on. The farmers are incredible in what they've managed with so little. Cuba's agricultural regions are hand manicured in many ways.

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

Also I grew up on a small family working farm, emphasis on the WORK of Working. It's generally been noticed that I see things in Cuba that many others don't notice re agriculture, because I know what I'm seeing.

Even at religous ceremonies when complimenting the practicioner upon the beauty of the chicken, s/he recognizes I'm not just saying that, but I could see what a magnificent rooster he is.

If that has any relevance or not, though, well, ¿quien sabe?

Love, C.

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

By the way, most agriculture in Cuba is in private hands already. Fidel learned from the disasters of Lenin and Stalin and left the small farmers still in charge of their own farms -- over 170,000 of them. Which explains the hand manicuring. They are marvelous with their land and animals.

Love, C.