Recently, BBC journalist Fernando Ravsberg found an invitation in his Facebook from a group of Cubans who raised the call “Let’s Clone Exposito” (referring to Lazaro Exposito, a leader who they attributed as being responsible for the partial economic recovery of a few cities in eastern Cuba).
I decided to write an article relaying what I know about this individual and to comment on the need for leaders on this island to be as connected and attached to their people as he is.
Contrary to Ravsberg, I believe that the cloning of Exposito would be more harmful than beneficial for the development of this society. I’ll tell you why.
In the first place, Lazaro Exposito is not a leader who was voted into office by the people; rather, he is a core “cadre” member of the Communist Party (PCC), which has supported him and permitted him certain liberties and initiatives that are prohibited of others.
Perhaps this is because of his relationship with Castro…who knows? I’ve known several district heads personally, who —in addition to their having emerged from their own communities— were in fact democratically elected by their constituencies. They presented extremely modest initiatives in terms of the resources necessary to improve conditions, but they’ve never had the same backing as Lazaro to put them into practice.
Like Lazaro, ordinary people battle against everything that is poorly done. However, in Cuba there is this insane system of double command: a popular one (which is accountable to the people) and a party-based one (which is accountable to the Party’s secretary-general). Is it by chance that support is given via the second one and that it is the face of Lazaro that is known through the media?
Whatever the cause behind all this, the message is clear: It is party leaders and exemplary administrators, such as Tavo at the Coppelia ice cream complex, who are solving the economic problems of Cuba.
If this lesson is not being intentionally orchestrated to impact on the public, it is in any case creating the image of a man who can perform a million marvels.
My demented imagination suggests to me that perhaps they are preparing —with premeditation— for the next president or something like that, though I could be wrong. But what’s certain is that with the promotion of this party-based messiahism, work is being done for the continuation of the system of top-down, authoritarian, paternalistic and undemocratic government.
Lazaro may be very connected with his people, but it’s not enough for them to oversee his work, for them to request accountability for his functions, for them to investigate his handling of resources or to remove him of his position when they to consider that appropriate.
I’m of the opinion that the more glory Exposito achieves, the more this will delay the general population from realizing that the sole worthwhile road is that of self-government. I only wish an alarm would sound every time a new face appeared behind which they can hide the same old thing.