Dmitri Prieto

Chess players. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — That whole business of “partisans of federalization” is a politically correct phrase used by Russia’s official media to refer to activists (some of whom have formed armed contingents) currently fighting the Kiev government in eastern Ukraine.

To tell the truth, I’m not sure to what extent the term is adequate, as I see that, in many cases, such “partisans” don’t appear to be too enthusiastic about the idea of continuing to be a part of the Ukraine – federal or not – and I see no connection between federalism and the express wish to become part of a different country.

The history of Latin America has known many civil conflicts in which one camp has held up the banner of the “federation” and the other the slogan of “unity.” I hope that, when all is said and done, the bloodshed spilt in those wars isn’t spilt in the Ukraine – any degree of bloodshed is always excessive.

I do, however, find the federalist model attractive, particularly for countries with a diverse ethnic and cultural makeup, like the Ukraine. The model can also be useful for political communities where diversity does not come into contradiction with the existence of a single nationality, as is the case of Cuba.

During a conference on the issue of human rights held in Cardenas, Cuba, Roberto Veiga (then editor of the Catholic journal Espacio Laical), spoke of the possibility of transforming Cuba into a “republic of republics,” that is to say, a federation of municipalities. Veiga considered this a desirable option for the future that was not very feasible today, since many Cuban municipalities would be unable to sustain themselves economically.

I think I have a solution for that problem. It would consist in transforming Cuba’s large public service companies (the electrical, transportation, oil, gas, telecommunications, Internet and even tourism companies) into inter-municipal properties.

They would operate as limited companies, but decisions would be made by assemblies made up of representatives of the country’s different municipalities instead of private shareholders. Every municipality would have a percentage of the vote proportional to its population. Profits would also be distributed on the basis of this system, generating opportunities for equitable sustainability.

This way, each of Cuba’s 168 municipalities would receive equitable profits that would go directly into their budgets, on the basis of common ownership over these companies, managed through local public institutions (which would be in touch with the immediate interests of the people).

If this were developed in conjunction with a robust system of cooperatives (in the production, distribution and consumption spheres), with local development, community economies and true micro-companies, we could then speak of a successful federalization with prospects for the future.

I believe the federalist model, born in Switzerland and the United States and radicalized by the anarchists, still has a lot to teach us, even in Cuba.


Dimitri Prieto-Samsonov

Dmitri Prieto-Samsonov: I define myself as being either Cuban-Russian or Russian-Cuban, indiscriminately. I was born in Moscow in 1972 of a Russian mother and a Cuban father. I lived in the USSR until I was 13, although I was already familiar with Cuba-- where we would take our vacation almost every year. I currently live on the fifth floor of an apartment building in Santa Cruz del Norte, near the sea. I’ve studied biochemistry and law in Havana and anthropology in London. I’ve written about molecular biology, philosophy and anarchism, although I enjoy reading more than writing. I am currently teaching in the Agrarian University of Havana. I believe in God and in the possibility of a free society. Together with other people, that’s what we’re into: breaking down walls and routines.

7 thoughts on “I Support Federalization (For Cuba As Well)

  • The Ukrainian Russian rebels are directed and commanded by Putin’s regime in Russia. They are being used to carve up Ukraine and expand the new Russian empire. The Putin controlled Russian media is referring to these areas as Nova-Russia, the New Russia.

    They use the term “federalization” as a cynical ruse to cover up what is nothing more than naked imperialism. It is indeed ironic to read your comments in support of Putin’s aggressive and expansionist foreign policy.

  • Why is there a shortage of meat in Cuba? The embargo does not prevent Cuba from buying meat from the USA. Indeed, they buy millions of dollars worth of chicken from the US every year. Therefore the shortages cannot be caused by an embargo which does not prevent the sale of these products to Cuba, whether from the US or other countries.

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