Confirming Whether Cuba is a Democracy

Erasmo Calzadilla

The National Assembly plenary sessioned on July 23, 2012. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Every six months, during the plenary session of the National Assembly, we have the opportunity to confirm whether democracy exists in Cuba.

For me it is clear that it doesn’t. The few televised fragments present the shameful images of deputies deferring to government functionaries while imbued with a theatrical patriotism akin to a “behique” (a type of leader among the indigenous Tainos who first inhabited Cuba).

Still, looking at the world as it is, I sometimes wonder whether a system such as “ours” isn’t better for poor people than Latin American-style capitalism.

Knowing it from the inside out, sometimes I accept that it is, but on other occasions I have my doubts.

Its organized approach to natural disasters, its rational distribution of scarce resources, the possibility of avoiding extreme poverty and its massive health care and educational services are too important to be overlooked.

The problem is that dictatorships — even a “charitably benign” one — inevitably degenerate.

This is true not only in the economic realm, due to the crushing of any independent initiative, but also (and worse in my point of view) in the blow struck against the tradition of struggle – politically disarming and alienating people and perverting common sense.

Batista didn’t get old in power because the tradition of struggle was alive back in his day.

But fifty-odd years later, the combination of experiences, skills and ethical reserves that allowed us to organize ourselves to fight against that tyrant — even at the risk of one’s own life — lie virtually extinct, something we can confirm twice a year during the plenary session of the Cuban parliament.

That’s my opinion, what about yours?


Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

9 thoughts on “Confirming Whether Cuba is a Democracy

  • July 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Surely there are many other possible options between the false dichotomy of the Castro version of Socialism versus American capitalism?

    But these other options will only be possible when the Cuban people have the freedom to decide.

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