ABSTRACT

Introduction In the economic realm, an important feature of the Cuban revolution has been numerous, frequent shifts in policy. Over 30 years there have been six stages of economic organization, with varying degrees of change: (1) 1959-60, the liquidation of capitalism; (2) 1961-63, the failed attempt to introduce the pre-1965 Soviet centralized-planning, command economy model; (3) 1964-66, debate over and test of alternative socialist economic models (Guevara’s idealistic, mobilizational, moral economy model versus the 1965 Soviet timid economic reform model); (4) 1966-70, the failed application of the Guevarist model with radicalized features and other Castroite adaptations; (5) 1971 until the mid-1980s, the shift to, and gradual application of, a moderate version of the preGorbachev Soviet economic reform model - the System of Direction and Planning of the Economy (SDPE); and (6) since the mid-1980s, the ‘Proceso de Rectificacion’ (Rectification Process: RP), a reversal of the previous direction, away from decentralization and the use of market mechanisms.1 The length of the first four stages averaged three years but the fifth was the longest: 15 years. Cuban economic shifts have been more frequent and dramatic than in most other socialist countries with the exception of China.