Cuba's Fake Transport Co-ops
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 18 May 2017 — In an effort to persuade
Cubans and the international left that "Cuba is building socialism,"
while seeking to convince the world that Castroism is abandoning State
Totalitarianism and also trying to counteract the relative independence
achieved by the so-called boteros, or boatmen, as independent taxi
drivers are known, the state's effort to "update the economic model"
includes the introduction of what they are calling Taxi Rutero, offering
rides at 5 Cuban pesos per trip.
They are not cooperatives, in their strict sense, because they do not
arise from the spontaneous idea of workers pooling their capital and
resources to organize production collectively and distribute
profits. Rather, they are state-owned leasing companies, called
cooperatives, that hire vehicles to the drivers who are given some
advantages, such as low gasoline or oil prices, and who are paid daily
but must hand over everything they collect. More or less what they have
been doing with the urban buses in the capital lately.
Now, faced with the state's inability to deal with the boteros, it
decides to invent "taxi cooperatives" which are nothing more than a
version of the bus cooperatives, featuring cars
Now, the state is confronting its inability to deal with the boteros
who, faced with inflation generated by bureaucratic policies and their
problems getting fuel, decided to raise prices and launched a kind of
strike when the state imposed a price cap. So, instead of negotiating
with them and finding solutions that solve the problem for the good of
everyone, the state decides to invent "taxi cooperatives" which are
nothing more than a version of the bus cooperatives, featuring cars.
The system is more or less the same. In state cars, with state gasoline
and state spare parts, a car is rented to a strike-breaker – the new
scabs – for one thousand Cuban pesos a day, and then they are paid 800
Cuban pesos a month; an almost unbelievable arrangement that could only
have been invented by the "state cooperatives."
The cutting edge of the new "cooperatives" is clearly directed against
the boteros, setting a price of 15 pesos for a ride that the private
drivers charge 20 to 25 Cuban pesos for.
This is not a solution to the transportation problem, this is an attempt
to crush the boteros, because Cuba's intolerant state system does not
know how to and has no interest in negotiating with people, with the
workers, it only knows how to impose.
Something similar has been done with service "cooperatives," such as
cafes, shoe repairers, household appliance repairers and others, in old
unsustainable state entities. In practice, they have leased the premises
and equipment, without ever being offered the property and with the
subsequent activities subjected to countless state controls. It's a
lie. There is nothing "cooperative" about it.
It has already become common for the Castro's Stalinist and
antisocialist state to label their para-state inventions cooperatives.
These misrepresentations come from the early years. Then, under the
personal leadership of Fidel Castro, the sugar cane cooperatives were
created, without giving them the land. The system of sugarcane
cooperatives showed signs of increasing independence, controlling their
own finances, creating the village shops, and forcing the Sugar Industry
Ministry to pay for the cane they cut, plus they had their own militias
and bought the machinery they needed with their own money.
When Carlos Rafael Rodríguez was appointed president of National
Institute for Agrarian Reform (INRA) in February 1962, he dissolved the
sugarcane cooperatives in the middle of that year's harvest, to create
"farms for the people," and thus to convert those in the cooperatives
into wage laborers. He handed over their lands to Che's Sugar Ministry
(MINAZ), and thereby destroyed the monetary-mercantile relationship
between agriculture and the sugar industry.
Later, when it became clear that the agricultural farms were not working
with wage labor, they invented the Basic Units of Cooperative
Production, UBPC, cooperatives in name only because the workers
continued to receive salaries from the State. These salaries were linked
only to meeting the "Productive Plans," not to the actual market
results, and the plans were developed by the state with the requirement
that they deliver the production the plans "committed" them to, to a
collection system where the prices were set by the buyer (i.e. the
state). A complete farce.
Sometimes we give the socialists the benefit of the doubt. Has this
arbitrary management of the concept of cooperativism led us to the point
where its manipulators have no idea what a cooperative is? Do they do it
to try to fool the uneducated politicians who abound everywhere? Or is
it part of a plan to discredit the original socialist idea of Karl
Marx's self-managing cooperativism?
Whatever the answer is, it is, at the very least, detestable.
Source: Cuba's Fake Transport Co-ops – Translating Cuba -