“The Proof is in the Pudding”: The FAR and the Economy

  • Hal Klepak
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


The FAR are accustomed to unusual challenges, and they are just as accustomed to being involved in one way or another in the economy. Yet, never have those challenges faced been broader or more dramatic than those they see in their current massive involvement with the economy. The tasks at hand may indeed be larger, broader, and more crucial than in the past, but they are not by any means new. The Ejército Rebelde from the earliest years of the struggle became involved in procuring food and weapons, raising some of the former, and making some of the latter.


Armed Force Special Period Security Service Security Force Senior Officer 
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  1. 1.
    There is an interesting American contemporary account of these zones in Grover Flint, Marchando con Gômez, Havana, Ciencias Sociales, 2002, pp. 202–216.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Here again, at the risk of being repetitive, it is essential to keep in mind that even in this era of relative professionalism the FAR were never separated entirely from a role in the economy. See the list of dates of founding of several FAR-linked enterprises in Domingo Amuchâstegui, “Las FAR: del poder absoluto al control de las reformas,” Encuentro con la cultura cubana, XXVI/XXVII, autumn-winter 2002–2003, pp. 133–147, especially pp. 140–141.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Poor economic performance is likely to have been partly a result of the growth in the size and deployments of the FAR. In the 1970s, the armed forces budget grew much faster than did the economy as a whole. See Susan Eckstein, Back to the Future: Cuba under Castro, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 198.Google Scholar
  4. 13.
    See Juan Carlos Espinosa, “Vanguard of the State: the Cuban Armed Forces in the Transition,” in Problems of Communism, XLVIII, 6, November/December 2001, p. 23, and Latell, “The Military,” p. 15.Google Scholar
  5. 22.
    As usual such figures can be tricky. See Frank Mora, “Raul Castro and the FAR: Potential Future Roles in a Post-Fidel Cuba,” unpublished paper, 2002, p. 17 and Latell, “The Military,” p. 19.Google Scholar
  6. 32.
    Cathy Booth, “Fidel’s Brother Sets up Shop,” Time, November 14, 1994, pp. 40–41.Google Scholar
  7. 34.
    On this matter, see Carmelo Mesa-Lago, Are Economic Reforms Propelling Cuba to the Market?, Miami, North-South Center Press, 1994, p. 70.Google Scholar

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© Hal Klepak 2005

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  • Hal Klepak

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