Cuba and the Economic Crisis

6-16-09, 11:14 am

Many place its origin in the bursting of the real estate bubble in the United States; others, in excessive consumerism. Whatever its origin, just like global warming, the economic crisis has expanded worldwide and no one has been able to escape.

The current economic debacle has been compared to the crisis suffered by the capitalist system in the 1930s and continues to extend with unpredictable force and reach. According to conservative estimates, it is blamed for the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

In its beginnings, many optimists talked about the possibility that the situation would be limited to the financial apparatus and that countries, and even regions, could free themselves from the global impact.

Today, specialists and events conclude that there does not exist anything that can avoid the expansion of the crisis.

Cuba is not an exception. Aimed at protecting the economy and easing the negative effects on the social sector, the country is forced to eliminate the gaps between consumerism and production while applying strategies that will allow saving more than investing.

Hurricanes and the fall of international prices of several of the island’s main exportable products, alongside other aggressions headed by the half-century of US economic blockade, demand restrictions in consumption, and strict control and measures to stop energy waste.

As such, the country has implemented a series of energy-saving measures for state companies that curb the unnecessary use of air conditioners, freezers, lights, etc. In the nation’s capital, several production and service entities have recently been sanctioned for not implementing these measures.

Havana uses 25 percent of the electricity generated in the country and the state sector is the main consumer; hence it is also the focus of energy saving measures.

The enforcement of these actions should not fall on the Electric Company and Energy Councils, but be seen rather as a social responsibility in support of the government strategy to save households from feeling the impact of the crisis.

In Latin America, 38.5 percent of the population live in poverty. Of the 205 million Latin Americans, 53 million are currently suffering from hunger and 16 percent suffer chronic malnutrition.

Despite the crisis and Washington’s economic blockade against Cuba, no one will be abandoned. But it is important to tighten our individual and collective belts and use our intelligence to keep the lights on.