In This Review

Notas Sobre Economía Cubana
Notas Sobre Economía Cubana
By José Luis Rodríguez García
Ruth Casa Editorial, 2011, 160 pp

This tightly constructed, analytic memoir, whose title translates as Notes on Cuban Economy, offers a rare glimpse into the thinking of a former senior member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party. After receiving a doctorate in economics in the Soviet Union, Rodríguez served as Cuba’s minister of economy and planning from 1995 until 2009. In terse but devastating prose, he discusses the difficulties of transplanting Soviet-style planning into a underdeveloped economy in the tropics, making it dramatically evident that at least some members of the top Cuban leadership are well aware of the country’s economic shortcomings. Rodríguez recounts various cycles of tepid reform but fails to elucidate why those reforms were not pursued with greater vigor. Evincing some frustration, he asserts that questions of power and politics regularly took precedence over economics. Since coming to power in 2006, Raúl Castro has begun yet another round of economic reforms. Unlike previous attempts, these reforms appear to be gaining momentum. During Rodríguez’s years in power, the international community failed to support Cuban reformers. Now, it has an opportunity to do better.