By Erasmo Calzadilla
I’ve been traveling around various towns and talking with people over the past several days. What I’ve found is that although a few months have passed since the expulsions from key government posts of two relatively young leaders, Carlos Lage and Felipe Perez Roque, this is an issue that remains alive in people’s consciousness.
The stories that I have heard, many of them contradictory, could easily fill a book. The problem is that imaginations soar when they lack firm ground to rest.
The senior-level political leadership of the country must have noticed that these firings did more harm than good, because recently they decided to present a video of their version of everything that occurred. However, it’s exclusively for members of Cuba’s communist party.
In addition to being offensive, I find this decision mistaken.
In the first place, those individuals who fell into disgrace were not acting as leaders in party positions, but in government. That means that they responded to the National Assembly and therefore to the entire people – not directly to the Cuban Communist Party (PCC).
The explanation for their removal must, therefore, be to the entire population, so that all can judge the supposed violators with clarity, like in a legal process or any other action in which drastic measures are taken.
Such secrecy serves only to raise even more suspicions – suspicions that the process was carried out unjustly, suspicions that it was a mere power struggle, and suspicions that the accused are no worse than their accusers.
Likewise, the PCC is not a Jehovah’s Witness sect but is the de facto government of this country; and shouldn’t be the source of privileges with regard to the information that it controls. Rather, it should be an institution of responsibility and obligation to the people that it governs. Among these is the obligation of transparency in each one of its steps in decision making.
Otherwise, if this were not the case, then we would have to speak of a dictatorship of the party over the workers and not one of the workers over the bourgeoisie. This is worsened by the fact that such a party – the sole one under the Cuban constitution – would be shown as not choosing its members in a popular manner, but through decisions that concern them alone.
I believe they are making a serious error indeed, but at the same time this has engendered something very positive: it is marking the difference between the people and the party in terms of benefits, information in this case.
They are forcing people to awake from a political naiveté that has already lasted too long, and I find that very good. It would be preferable that they rectify themselves in time; otherwise it will be worse for them.