By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez
HAVANA TIMES – Socialism is not a monster, and capitalism isn’t a knight in shining armor. Or vice-versa. We are being bombarded with extremist positions on both sides. If capitalism was perfect on its own, the Holy Grail of human happiness, then we wouldn’t need to think about a better world.
Nor would the Left, which projects the socialist ideal or progressivism in general, if it had the same political space as liberalism. They were just minority groups like the Fascists or the Communists, in particular. This indisputable reality just goes to prove that something’s missing in the capitalism/representative democracy equation. Social balanceis missing, most certainly.
Capitalism is the most efficient economic system that’s been invented until today, the rest is still experimental or science fiction. Anyone denying this reality is either alienated or betting on utopias. Like former Uruguayan president Jose Mujica was right to interpret, that getting rid of it without having another one that is proven to be better on hand, is madness, suicide, and even stupid I might add.
We might never be able to get rid of it because it uses humans’ natural ambition to generate wealth with spontaneous incentives that are always renewed. We may always have to push altruism, which is less natural and more “human”, as a conscious attitude, of compensation and balance.
Democracy isn’t synonymous with capitalism, nor is dictatorship synonymous with socialism. There have been capitalist and socialist dictatorships, but of course, left-wing dictatorships resonate more because they should be the solution and they end up becoming a greater problem, it’s true. They are also more totalitarian.
We in Cuba have had the bitter experience of a socialist dictatorship for 62 years after a capitalist dictatorship of less than seven years, which really explains what’s happening on the island today. We are living proof that it’s easier to get rid of a capitalist dictatorship than it is a socialist one.
However, beyond dreams, passions and right and left-wing utopias, ignoring the Communist Party’s totalitarian control, failing to gauge its force properly and its political base in Cuba, is a very costly mistake when it comes to making projections and having any real chance of succeeding. Putting “total decimation of the PCC”, or the current system, on the same priority level as political democracy, economic freedom, and full human rights, and sometimes even above this, is nothing but a political blunder.
The best path is proposing all kinds of change and pushing for them together and separately, at the same time. Always making it clear that the main objective isn’t to destroy the PCC, just its hegemonic dictatorship that is so harmful to our country.
The “all or nothing” idea is suicide and slows down the real change Cuba needs, we are living this and suffering because of it. It pretty much voids it. The emotional and psychological imperative of making them pay for hardship and repression is almost as loud as many opposition members’ wish for democracy and freedom. This is a barrier to political effectiveness with the population and the need to win over international support, which is always extremely important.
However, emotions in politics are almost always a mistake. Pragmatism means doing everything possible to achieve the most important and pressing objectives. The most pressing thing right now is to move the country towards a political democracy, with economic freedom and full human rights, slowly, step by step if need be, or all of a sudden, which would be wonderful, as long as we don’t think of it as a premise because then it becomes an obstacle.
It doesn’t seem that the PCC will be overthrown or wiped out in the near future, pressuring them into moving towards a democratic market socialism is more likely. This, “with Cuban peculiarities”, where we can evolve towards a more solid political democracy. It’s better for our people to gradually move towards a wholesome democracy, improving living conditions, than wait, hungry and poor, for the stifling strategy to work so that the PCC (whose leaders live well) finally surrender.
A door will open to economic freedom with democratic socialism open to the market, and this in turn will finally give the Cuban people wellbeing and allow them to fully enjoy all of their human rights. Step by step. This would be a dignified exit for the PCC, making a renewed socialist project viable, no longer resisting the changes Cuba needs.
This wouldn’t be the best path depending on a person’s fancy, but because our people can’t wait forever, they need change now, a solution right now; change and the struggle for a Better Cuba shouldn’t accommodate individual desires, ideology or passions, nor desires of speedy justice. There is no justice built upon the foundations of a people’s prolonged suffering, and this goes for both sides of the political spectrum.
It’s hard to do this, it’s true. All of the arguments put forward to disagree with this, are true. There are no doubts. But other alternatives are even more uncertain, difficult, and unfeasible. A thousand times over. So, it would be wise to support what is the least bit difficult.
There are no opportunities for development, justice, prosperity and social peace with the continuation of the radical/socialist PCC model; nor are there any real possibilities on the horizon of the PCC being wiped out by the opposition or by an eventual social oubreak or sedition of the highest ranks, (events which are always unpredictable): so the best path to take is the one that offers the most possibilities, knowing how important moving forward is.
Our people will support what they consider makes sense, is feasible and has potential. We are neither confused nor blinded by the enemy, we aren’t complicit sheep of our disgrace either, we just need the right direction to move in, the right guide towards a Better Cuba. Wherever it comes from.