The word change, in the sense of modification not exchange, appears in our discussions more frequently every day.  There are people who are hoping for change, others who are satisfied that some changes occur, and still others who do not want to change anything. For each of them, here is a disquisition on change.

All change goes in one direction and happens with a certain depth and speed.

The direction: In twenty-first century Cuba the only direction in which I think there could be change is, in the economic sphere, toward the market; and in politics, towards democracy. In the opposite direction, in either of the two areas, there is hardly any room to move.

Depth: In both tracks, economic and political, one could take small steps (the Chinese or Vietnamese models of twenty-first century socialism), or go as far as hard neoliberalism or savage capitalism.

Speed: Anything could happen in 48 hours or be delayed 20 years. Too fast would be traumatic, too slow would be disappointing.

Assuming one accepts the theme of the discussion – “changes are necessary” – and agrees there could be a broad consensus with regard to the direction of both, the debate should focus on the depth and speed.

Superficial and slow is not worth the pain; fast and deep seems crazy.  Superficial and fast would prove insufficient in the long run.  Slow but deep seems attractive, provided it is neither too much of one or the other.  It only remains to define the changes, draw up the route, and prepare the time line.