Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lage's Son on Need for Reform

09/11/078 EFE (Madrid )

"Socialism Must deliever the goods"
Says Son Of Cuban Vice President.

By Mar Marin.

Havana, Sep 11 (EFE).- Socialism cannot be "divorced" from
well-being, the son of Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage says,
acknowledging the need for changes that translate the "virtues of the
revolution" into food on the table.

"The people in Cuba have to see that socialism is also material, you
can't deny human beings their material needs," Carlos Lage Codorniu,
president of the University Student Federation, said in an interview
with Efe.

"There's a need for people to feel that the virtues of the revolution
are present in the food on the table," added the 26-year-old
economist, whose father is a key adviser to acting President Raul

Socialist theory, Lage Codorniu said, "never refused to attend to
material needs."

He said that the island's government must undertake the necessary
changes for Cuban society to overcome its contradictions and become a
more fair and just society without abandoning the principles of the
1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro, now 81 and ailing.

No infallible formulas exist on how to do that because "the book on
the Cuban model is not written and nobody has the perfect formula,"
which, he said, means that a lot of importance must be given to
discussion and analysis.

"The logic of the revolution is that it doesn't obey dogmas" and it
would be "an error to stick to formulas of the past. We have to make
changes and apply new formulas," he said.

Nonetheless, "changes are never going to be principles, they would be
changes of form" rather than of substance, "because there is no plan
to change the essence of the revolution," Lage Codorniu said.

He said that an "economic offensive" is needed, meaning that wages
ought to be "high enough to satisfy the basic necessities," and that
in parallel there ought to be an "ideological offensive" that
integrates young people into the revolutionary process who grew up
during the very lean years that followed the collapse of the Soviet
Union and the end of massive subsidies from Moscow.

For Lage Codorniu, a July 26 speech by Raul Castro in which he
enumerated the country's problems and signaled the need for
structural changes showed that the revolution "has to transform
itself to keep up with reality."

"There's no reason to repent for what one has done outside of the
errors committed," he said, but "time has passed" and we have to go
beyond "the doctrine of resistance and begin the next stage."

The challenge, he said, is "to work so that the present generation of
young people can guarantee the continuity of socialism in Cuba," and
to achieve that it is fundamental that we solve the problem of
emigration which, according to Lage, is a phenomenon "more dangerous
than the counterrevolutionaries."

To resolve this and other problems of Cuban youth, the congress of
the University Student Federation agreed last December to launch a
cultural offensive, to widen access to entertainment and to bring
back studies of revolutionary doctrine.

To do that, Lage said, the federation's cadres will analyze the July
26 speech and prepare their process of internal elections with a view
to finding directors "with leadership, ability and wide approval."

Raul Castro, 76, has been Cuba's "provisional" president since July
31, 2006, when Fidel announced he was temporarily delegating power to
his brother and other trusted advisers while he recuperated from a
grave illness. EFE

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