HAVANA TIMES, Feb 1 — We Cubans were hopeful, though skeptical. It was believed that because of the wave of “change” taking place in the country, the First National Conference of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) was going to come up with real proposals aimed at reshaping political and social life on our island.
According to the leadership, “extensive discussions from the base traced the objectives and tasks for implementing the resolutions of the Sixth Congress, especially looking at the ‘Guidelines of the Economic and Social Policy’.”
The conclusions from the conference were the responsibility of the first secretary of the Central Committee of the PCC and president of the country: Raul Castro.
It was disappointing to me, and I think for many other people – even those who were there raising their hands in approval and thus completing the picturesque image of unanimity to which our eyes are accustomed.
We listened to Raul’s speech, emerging from rhetoric with the tone of “What do you expect?” or “You guys can forget anything different!
He accentuated the irrevocable nature of the socialist model as the only practical option for our nation, recalling that it was the vast majority of the people who approved the referendum for that concept to remain embedded in our constitution (an event that deserves a separate commentary).
Moreover, he affirmed that the multiparty system is part of demagogic representative democracy, where only a few people make the decisions about the destinies of the many (forcing me to wonder what’s the difference with what we currently have, or are we still going to keep arguing for our curious electoral system).
In his remarks, the president placed a strong emphasis on the mercenary media campaign of the so-called “free press,” which acts in the service of the enemies of the revolution, as well as its intention to present a distorted image of our nation.
I wondered to myself, “What’s coming after this? What new methods are they going to use to combat the alternative press?”
Why is it necessary for us to have courage to express our thoughts openly and always in first person, even when we know that ours are the unwitting thoughts of many people? Why if we don’t harangue against anybody or anything? What’s the big deal if all we ask for are logical changes in which the citizen’s right to freedom of expression prevails? Why then are we branded mercenary good-for-nothings?
I know fully well that certain groups are directly financed from Miami, and that these operations sometimes promote news that doesn’t do justice to the truth and often borders on defamation.
But that shouldn’t mean tossing the free press into the same bag. That term “enemy” is always used for anyone who disagrees partially or fully with what is imposed by the government. Such people are attacked in a manner that is offensive, disrespectful, humiliating and always filled with animosity.
This is exceedingly evident with the pro-government commentators on articles in HT who never express their disagreement with respect to any matter or give a justification for their positions. Instead, they pronounce only imperatives, distant examples that are always far-fetched and overflowing with offensive phrases.
The unsurpassed dogmatism suffered by these “communist” fundamentalists eliminates any possibility of dialogue. People are denied the right of reply before one single party, one single opinion.
There was, however, a new proposal for term limits: two consecutive five-year terms. Still, it’s already known who will be elected and reelected as this period of time is more or less the time they have left to live or remain lucid.
As my grandmother would say, it was to be expected.