Friday, January 28, 2011

Cuban Catholic magazine says no reason to fear "new rich"

HAVANA – The magazine of the Cuban Catholic Church believes that the creation of wealth and the rise of a “new rich” class as a result of economic reforms being promoted on the communist-ruled island should be accepted by society without fear, though it does represent a “challenge.”

The Web site Palabra Nueva published Friday an article by its editor, Orlando Marquez, which under the title “Without Fear of Riches” reflects on some possible consequences of expanding private employment and replacing egalitarianism with an equality of opportunities.

“The creation of wealth and the coming of the ‘new rich’ could bring the challenge of a different ethical and legal order, but widespread poverty is no less of a challenge or danger to our society,” Marquez says.

Society will be more secure when citizens achieve a standard of living consonant with their abilities and ambitions, while doing no harm to others, he says.

“To procure a wealthier country with honesty and transparency is a necessity in this world. If the conditions and resources are there, aspiring to anything less is a sign of pitiful mediocrity,” the article says.

“We might see some Cubans who are richer and others who are poorer, at least until the waters reach their level. And what a paradox, the difference could be diminished by socializing wealth by means of a tax policy that makes those who have the most contribute to those with the least,” it says.

The adjective “rich” in Cuba has taken on an “unmerited negative significance,” according to Orlando Marquez, who says that “evil is neither in wealth nor in poverty but in the way we live with these realities and in the honesty and goodness of our lives, whether rich or poor.”

The director of Palabra Nueva appears convinced that the “inevitable and difficult” adjustments being undertaken in Cuba could take the country on a better road, and warns that in the future even more reforms may be required.

“Maybe we will need new rules or further updating of the economic model, and it is very probable that we will also need a new, modernized political class driven by a healthy national pride, observing a just rule of law and without fear of wealth,” the article says.

The Raul Castro government has undertaken a plan of adjustments designed to “modernize the socialist economic model” in order to overcome the crisis that has afflicted the island for decades.

The most important measures consist of expanding private employment, the elimination of 500,000 jobs in the public sector this year, and the elimination of “unnecessary” subsidies, among others. EFE

From: Latin American Herald Tribune

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