Unity in the Cuban Revolution

Elio Delgado Legon

Cuba’s National Assembly in session. Photo: Roberto Suarez /granma.cu

HAVANA TIMES — Some people criticize the fact that there aren’t disagreements and debates in the Cuban Parliament because someone is against some law or article being approved. On the contrary, once every opinion has been given and amendments have been put forward, legal documents are unanimously approved. Far from being reprehensible, this unanimity communicates the unity that exists in the Cuban Revolution.

Cuban president Raul Castro has repeatedly stated that he is against false unanimity, that anyone who disagrees with something should speak out and give reasons for their point of view. Generally-speaking, documents and laws that are approved in Parliament are discussed and analyzed in committees, where specialists and experts on the subject at hand take part. Therefore, when a document reaches the National Assembly’s plenary session, only minor corrections are made and then it is unanimously approved.

Compare this situation with parliaments (both unicameral and bicameral), where real battles takes place, including disorderly quarrels, because the many factions and political parties that exist don’t all share the same objective of defending its people’s interests. Instead they defend personal, class or party interests, which is inevitably going to produce friction and disagreements, between themselves and those who are really looking out for the wellbeing of the people who elected them.

The Cuban Revolution, since its early days in 1868 against Spanish rule, has positive and negative examples which can illustrate the importance of unity in its development and consolidation. The lack of unity during the Ten Years’ War (from 1868 to 1878) led this struggle to fail, when one of the generals signed a peace agreement with the Spanish army, without having achieved any of the objectives of that war, which forced the other generals, led by General Antonio Maceo to protest against the so-called Pact of Zanjon, although they weren’t able to uphold their struggle for very long and were forced to leave Cuba and move abroad.

A positive example was Jose Marti creating a party to organize and lead the war, where unity was the decisive factor to win the war in just four years, during which the exhaustion of Spanish troops was made clear and victory could be seen on the horizon. It was only the US army’s meddling that prevented the Cubans from taking power, who only received humilliation and discrimination and they also had to put up with Cuba being occupied by another army and watch on as Puerto Rico’s independence movement was also thwarted.

Nothing more can be said about unity in Cuba from 1902 and 1958, a time period characterized by corrupt governments and bloodthirsty dictatorships, which plunged the country into ignorance, insalubrity, extreme poverty and underdevelopment, ills which Fidel Castro mentioned in his defense speech during the trial for the Moncada Barracks attack, published under the title “History will absolve me”.

Since 1959, when the Revolution triumphed against Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship, leader Fidel Castro’s clear vision was focused on achieving unity of all the forces who took part in the armed struggle, and he managed to do this gradually, until a party was created (following Jose Marti’s example) to lead the Revolution and this party has a solid unity where everyone is fighting and working for the same objective: to develop the country and give its people a dignified and prosperous life.

Of course, Imperialism’s government gets upset at the fact that our Revolution has been successful and does everything it can to stand in its way. And like in every progressive movement, there are always reactionaries who oppose it and play into the hands of the enemy and Cubans are no exception to this rule and unfortunately, there are people who play this sad role, consciously or unconsciously. They don’t want to be called “counter-revolutionaries” and have invented other nicknames, but no matter what they are called, the fact is that they are opposing a revolution which has managed to achieve a unity which could serve as an example for other nations and which, in spite of everything, has its future guaranteed, thanks to this unity.

Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.