Cuba (MNN) — Cuba has announced
plans to help its struggling economy that could cost a million state employees
According to the Cuban labor
federation, the first half will be cut by March 2011. It's a drastic plan meant to boost the private sector through self-employment and private
enterprise. Under the new rules, private
employers will be allowed to employ workers for the first time.
However, it's a plan that's
destined for failure, says Patrick Klein of Vision Beyond Borders. "What will happen is that we'll see people start
to starve to death in Cuba. I don't
think it will revive the country because there's nothing there. The people have nothing."
The state-run economy has been in
crisis for years, but over the last two years Cuba also saw a decline in exports
and tourism. The 48-year-old U.S. trade
embargo also hampers growth, a fact that is not lost on the Castro regime.
Klein agrees, "I'm sure that
Castro and his brother will blame the U.S. They've blamed us for all their
problems this far. The people know that
it's not America. They're figuring out
that it‘s not us, that it's Fidel."
The Cuban people are struggling to
survive on impossibly small rations, which has led to a thriving black
market. Basic items are in short
supply. VBB has been building a
partnership there. Their teams make regular
visits to the indigenous church.
"We've carried in all kinds of
supplies: medical supplies, clothes,
Bibles, just any supplies we could get in to them. They're just so grateful for
the help, but there's nothing in the country."
Helping Cuba can be both
exhilarating and frustrating. Klein
explains, "We did take vegetable seeds in a couple of years ago. We got through customs, and we were able to give
them to the believers out in the villages. After we left, the government came
to them and said, ‘These seeds are contaminated from America to destroy our crops.' It was just like taking food out of the
mouths of the people."
The layoff move is the biggest shift
in the private sector since the 1959 revolution, and Klein thinks it could make current
problems worse. Desperation and injustice could spark unrest. Hope is the commodity in shortest supply.
That's where the Gospel comes
in. Klein says, "We have a pastors'
support program where we sponsor pastors: we have people sponsor them on a
monthly basis for $25 a month. That
helps supplement the pastor's income. We currently have about 75 pastors being
supported, but there are hundreds more pastors that could use the help."
Current conditions are priming the
field for harvest. And it's the best time to
respond. "In the first six months of the year, they saw over 19,000 people
come to Christ. People have lost their hope in the government. Communism
doesn't work, so they're open to the Gospel."
You can help. One of their partners says, "Please pray for
Cuba, that God will have His way in that country." Click here for more.