BBC: Cuba's long-term plan is "working"
By David Jessop - BBC news
The complex survival strategy developed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 is now resulting in rapid economic growth and is providing the strength and stability necessary to change relationships.
As noted in this column before, Cuba has experienced steady economic progress since 2003.
Cuba's recorded economic growth in 2006 was 12.5 per cent and it is forecasting that this will continue at slightly lower levels for the next two to three years.
While this figure reflects a local formula, a deduction of three to four per cent brings it into line with standard international calculations of GDP but still leaves it on a par with figures for China or Argentina.
Statistics produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit suggest that Cuba's tight economic controls are working, that it has inflation in check and is addressing eighty per cent of its medium and long-term commercial debt.
Another indicator of success is that it has become highly selective about inviting in external investors.
What this suggests is that the island is effectively globalising its economic relations and achieving significant room for manoeuvre without requiring the involvement of either Europe or the US.
How Cuba is achieving this should be an object lesson to the rest of the Caribbean about the purpose of sovereignty and its exercise.
Rather it is to suggest that history may well show that the failure to focus on any of the real issues that provide continuity and political legitimacy in Cuba will be why 'western' policies have failed to obtain traction or leverage and why gradual economic success and a desire for stability may now enable Cuba to pursue engagement on its own terms.
David Jessop is the Director of the Caribbean Council