Cuba, China, and the Long March to the Market
As Cubans weigh the risks and benefits of reform, their leaders have publicly recognized the appeal of China’s previous experience. Gradualism, experimentation, and the incorporation of market forces into encompassing state programs are principles that resonate in Havana. The chapter examines the uneasy evolution of Sino-Cuban relations from Cold War–era ideological foundations to twenty-firstcentury economic pragmatism. Official accords still encompass practically all aspects of Sino-Cuban interaction, from energy and transportation to tourism and cultural exchange. Tight regulations have insulated Chinese electronics, automobiles, and appliances from Cuba’s ubiquitous informal sector and enabled the phased liberalization of associated markets. But state micromanagement has also impeded creative partnerships between independent actors, limiting opportunities for investment, employment, and social exchange. The chapter concludes that political conditions will need to relax in step with economic reforms if the Cuban state is to earn the trust and compliance of its citizens.
Pérez Brito, Arnaldo. 1953. Vocal performance of “Chino Li-Wong,” by Armando Orefiche. Recorded by Armando Orefiche and His Havana boys on Vintage Cuba no. 79 EP Almendra.