Eduardo Barreiros and the Recovery of Spain

That's the new and interesting Hugh Thomas book about the leading Spanish businessman of the 20th century, Eduardo Barreiros.  Barreiros entered into car manufacturing, but with the Cuban government as his business partner:

Luis Morente, more subtly, thought that the Cuban government wanted to use Eduardo to see whether Communism could collaborate with capitalism as it has done in recent years in China.  Businesses that were half-private, half-state-controlled (empresas mixtas) followed.  But there were innumerable difficulties: first, the government would select personnel to work with Eduardo according to their political position; second, the "second-rank executives" often found themselves being analysed by their subordinates; absenteeism was not denounced and indeed not considered as such; in Pinar del Rio, workers had to be allowed off to work in the tobacco harvest; incentives and productivity played no part.  The party, the Bank of Cuba, the unions, the provincial government were always intervening; energy supplies were irregular; parts were delivered very slowly; no one cared if supplies deteriorated before delivery; and in 1988, after a hurricane, the factory was flooded.  All these things needed Eduardo's continual attention.

It should be noted that, relative to the standards of the Cuban economy, the venture was a success.


Comments for this post are closed