Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Will Cuba Be the Next Egypt or Have Market-Based Reforms There Delayed an Egyptian-Like Rebellion?

Mary Anastasia O'Grady asks in yesterday's WSJ: "Will Cuba Be the Next Egypt?", here are the opening and ending paragraphs:

"Developments in Egypt over the last two weeks brought Cuba to my mind. Why does a similar rebellion against five decades of repression there still appear to be a far-off dream? Part of the answer is in the relationship between the Castro brothers—Fidel and Raúl—and the generals. The rest is explained by the regime's significantly more repressive model. In the art of dictatorship, Hosni Mubarak is a piker.

With very limited access, Cubans are already using the Internet to share what has until now been kept in their heads: counterrevolutionary thoughts. If those go viral, even a well-fed military will not be able to save the regime. But for now, Cubans can only dream about the freedoms Egyptians enjoy as they voice their grievances."

From Hernando De Soto's editorial about Egypt in the WSJ last week:

"As in most developing countries, Egypt's legal institutions fail the majority of the people. Due to burdensome, discriminatory and just plain bad laws, it is impossible for most people to legalize their property and businesses, no matter how well intentioned they might be.

The examples are legion. To open a small bakery, our investigators found, would take more than 500 days. To get legal title to a vacant piece of land would take more than 10 years of dealing with red tape. To do business in Egypt, an aspiring poor entrepreneur would have to deal with 56 government agencies and repetitive government inspections.

All this helps explain who so many ordinary Egyptians have been "smoldering" for decades. Despite hard work and savings, they can do little to improve their lives."

From Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez:

"In just the few months since the announcement of the expansion in the number of licenses for independent work, the results are encouraging. We have begun to recover lost flavors, longed-for recipes, hidden comforts. More than 70,000 Cubans have taken out new licenses to work for themselves and at their own risk, and thousands more are seriously considering the advantages of opening a small family business.

Despite the caution of many, the still excessive taxes, and the absence of wholesale markets, the brand new businesses have started to be noticed in a society marked by stagnation. You see them building their little stands, hanging colorful signs announcing their merchandise, rearranging their homes to accommodate a snack bar or to offer haircuts or manicures. Most are convinced that this time they are here to stay, because the system that so suffocated and demonized them in the past, has lost the ability to compete with them."

MP: Whether it was intentional or not, perhaps the Castro brothers have prevented Cuba from being the next Egypt by introducing market-based reforms that have apparently been well-received by entrepreneurial Cubans.  Even without the access to the Internet that Egyptians enjoy, the new freedom for Cubans to start small businesses may prevent the "smoldering" frustration that led to the Egyptian rebellion.   


At 2/08/2011 11:14 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"You see them building their little stands, hanging colorful signs announcing their merchandise, rearranging their homes to accommodate a snack bar or to offer haircuts or manicures."

And singling themselves out as "enemies of the revolution", who have harbored in their hearts the counter-revolutionary dream of individual liberty as evidenced by their own initiative.

I think that what is being forgotten is how much the western media in particular, and the left in general, have invested in the myth of the success of Cuban socialism. They will not come to the support of anyone working to overthrow their hero, Fidel. In fact, just the opposite, they will be ignored, and if that fails to quell the uprising they will be slandered and marginalized.

At 2/08/2011 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Egypt is collapsing because of Islam, not "oppression". When you hear Egyptians (other than the Copts, that is) complaining about oppression, what they mean is that Egypt isn't a fully Sharia-enforcing state. If it were, they would no longer be "oppressed".

At 2/08/2011 1:21 PM, Blogger rjs said...

not cuba. mexico...food prices are up 50% there too..


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