My Friend the Communist

By Pedro Pablo Morejon

The headquarters of the provintial Communist Party

HAVANA TIMES – He’s a communist, but we are friends. We don’t have to be the best of friends because friendship varies to many degrees. This can range from a person who you like, who you’ve only exchanged a few words with, to the person who knows a lot about you because they share these things with you and you think of them as a brother/sister.

He also isn’t a communist through and through. At least in my view of him, which isn’t free of bias. Because communist… well, I don’t know anybody in Cuba who is a real communist.

He is a low-level Cuban Communist Party official in my province, and I’ve known him for years. Ever since he used to walk, and even though I’m not a psychologist, I know his profile. He comes from a humble family, isn’t especially talented, nor could he be called a bad person. Rather he is a friendly and simple man.

I have always seen a great willingness in him to help others. I don’t believe he does this because of demagogy. As I’ve already written, I’ve known him for years. Maybe he has some privileges. I don’t feel like I have the right to judge him.  He is one of those people you would put into the “indoctrinated” category.

We have spoken lots of times, although I never openly expressed my ideas. However, I’m guessing he imagines what they are. Especially after we ran into each other at that farce of a public debate, held regarding the draft Constitution. It was “approved” in the end by the majority of the population in a referendum.

He acted as one of the members of the Party duo that chaired that debate.

I knew that any proposal to amend core aspects of the Carta Magna would be in vain. The suggestions would never be accepted, since the document came from a totalitarian regime. 

My proposal

Nonetheless, I decided to propose some amendments, out of civic duty rather than pragmatism. These would be in keeping with a Constitution that is truly democratic.

  1. Removing Article 5 of the Constitution where the governing nature and the Communist Party’s ruling political force is outlined.
  2. Adding in Article 42, that in addition to the right to not be discriminated against for one’s sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ethnic origin, skin color, religious beliefs, disability, national or regional origins, Cuban citizens would also not be discriminated against for their political beliefs.
  3. The direct election of President of the Republic, in the running with other candidates.

It goes without saying that my proposals fell on deaf ears. I was told to write them down on a piece of paper. This, after clumsy reasons on why the “Party” must continue to be the ruling political and superior force in society. I imagine my communist friend was left stunned. He wasn’t expecting me to make such a proposal.

But we’ve run into each other on more than one occasion since then, when he gives me a lift. He never mentions that day at the meeting.

I can’t see members of the so-called Revolution, but who haven’t committed abuse or crimes, as enemies. I see them as Cubans who, for whatever reason, took up this ideology. Unfortunately, these are still many.

Whether we like them or not, they are still fellow citizens, just like my friend is.

Read more diary posts by Pedro Pablo Morejon

11 thoughts on “My Friend the Communist

  • Dani, the Communist Party is Cuba is usually far more subtle in how they stifle opposition. The “dungeon” option remains but they also use other tactics. They refuse entry into Cuban universities. They reject promotions in government jobs and fail to renew licenses for private businesses. The Party, albeit small as a percentage of the population is all- powerful in Cuba. Non-party members rarely rise above the middle class. But, as you suggested, the dungeon remains an option.

  • Sandra Lally makes very good points. I note that the comment states a ‘segment’ of Cuban-Americans. This is absolutely correct. trump is desperate for votes from traditional old school Floridian Cubans. But these days he cannot be so sure of the votes of a younger generation of that demographic.
    There are many Cuban-Americans who most certainly would not give their support to rabid ultra right conservatives such as the likes of trump.

  • ¿Qué le pasa a ese segmento de los cubanoamericanos en Florida que siente a Trump, un conocido mentiroso patológico, un hombre que pone bebés en jaulas, un hombre que denigra a los discapacitados, las mujeres que no son de ¨su gusto ¨ y alguien que ADMITE que él respeta y admira a Putin, Xi y otros líderes autoritarios. Su propia hermana, que anteriormente fue juez federal, dice que es repugnante y no apto para dirigir. La mayor parte de su personal designado, los generales y el personal de la Casa Blanca, renunciaron disgustados después de descubrir que no era un líder apto. A los cubanos en Florida que le tienen miedo a Biden, entonces no vengan nunca a Canadá … tenemos medicinas gratis y muchos servicios gratuitos para ayudar a los pobres, ancianos y discapacitados. No le gustaría nuestro país o nuestro Primer Ministro Trudeau porque a sus ojos somos socialistas malvados, al igual que muchos países bálticos e ingleses como Inglaterra, Australia, Nueva Zelanda. ¿Eres tan ignorante del mundo? A los cubanos que ven más allá de la maldad de Trump, un racista, hable con sus compañeros floridanos y demuéstreles que Canadá e Inglaterra no son sociedades malvadas que carecen de libertad de ningún tipo. So Floridians who like Trump, note that this article talks of communism, not democratic socialism. Educate yourselves please! He lied to you all about the COVID .. his own words caught on tape!

  • dani, how come Pedro cannot demonstrate? Can you guarantee that MININT will not catch up with him?

    As for changes in the constitution, you obviously fail to understand that in Cuba, the word of the dictator is law – and it was he, Raul Castro, who wrote the current constitution, the previous one being written by his big brother Fidel. Both clarified that Cuba was a one party – the Communist Party of Cuba – state.

    One of my friends in Cuba, is the President of the CDR on our block – I keep close to him on a daily basis! My wife aids him with free secretarial services.

    One day you may understand how Cuba and communism operate!

  • Carlyle.

    According to you and Moses someone asking for a change to the constitution would be immediately thrown in the darkest dungeon never to emerge. How come the author doesn’t mention that happening to him?

  • Stephen writes that: “There are many Cubans who are communist. There are many who are not.”

    The actual figures are 7% members of the Communist Party of Cuba and 93% who are not.

    Even many of those who are members have joined for the monetary advantages.

  • I would concur with many of Stephen’s points.
    I have dear friends who are communists, conservatives, anarchists, socialists etc.
    And I try to agree or disagree on a point by point basis.
    Likewise I have friends who are Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics and even followers of ‘the Occult’……
    I don’t think anyone has a monopoly on the truth (although some may think they have).
    Stephen mentions that people who have differences should make the effort to get on with each other.
    Totally agree. If everyone took a little more time to understand the culture and points of view of others, the world would be a much better place…….

  • A Communist. A Republican. A Democrat. A Conservative. A Liberal. A Socialist. All these terms represent a political ideology that some people subscribe to and define themselves. There is nothing right nor wrong with believing and subscribing to the tenets that each of these political ideals stand for.

    In Cuba as Pedro pointed out he has a friend who happens to believe in the communist way of running a country. Nothing wrong with his friends political views. One may ask how did his friend obtain his political views. Was he indoctrinated from early childhood to believe such an ideology is the best ideal form of government and that any other form is to be despised and not tolerated? Some may say that that is exactly what has taken place in Cuba in the last 60 plus years.

    There are many Cubans who are communist. There are many who are not. Unfortunately those who are not do not enjoy the same privileges as those who are members of the ruling Communist Party.

    Young children in school are taught, again some may say indoctrinated, that the Cuban Revolution was the best thing that happened to Cuba after 1959 and since the revolutionary leaders all came from the same communist ideological spectrum and are praised as heroes it only makes sense to learning children that communism is a good thing – perhaps the ideal.

    As they grow older and begin to see, and now with the proliferation of the Internet, though limited, how the rest of the world operates politically, Cubans begin to question whether having only one political system on the island is beneficial to all. They see and experience the outcome of living under such a system that simply ignores other political viewpoints or as Pedro experienced having publicly expressed his few Constitutional amendments and having his proposals fall on deaf ears.

    For the majority of communists at the debate to which Pedro was a participant, they no doubt saw any opposing views as “foreign”, not to be entertained because after all they have been taught from early childhood that the current communist political system is the best ideal and anyone contradicting what the majority agrees to is to be suspect and to be ignored.

    Pedro has no animosity against his friend who chaired the debate. He knows where his friend is coming from in fact Pedro postulates: “He is one of those people you would put into the “indoctrinated” category.” His communist friend has some privileges; he is not a bad person; his communist friend is a simple and friendly man.

    That friendliness and his description pretty well describes many Cubans that many tourists initially encounter at the luxurious hotels strewn all over the island yet I doubt any tourist would refer to their hosts or hostesses as “communists” because outside of Cuba a “communist” carries a very negative connotation. One could argue that any foreigner – tourist – coming into Cuba has been indoctrinated into believing the worse of a specific political ideology.

    One only has to read any American history and Canadian history, particularly in Canada during the Winnipeg General Strike, and witness how ordinary workers striking for decent pay and health and safety issues were mislabeled “communist” when in fact these workers were simply standing up for their legal rights and in the final analysis they definitely were not communists much to the chagrin of the political leaders of the time.

    So, what is in a name, a political ideological belief? More often than not, a friend, a colleague, as Pedro says, a fellow citizen, whether we like them or not, we all have to get along in a civilized, respectful manner.

  • MacDuff I have Still after more then 7 years & much time in Cuba Trying to Understand Communist Thought or way of Life. One Big Happy Family & again I just do not see that big happy Family any where in Cuba, Get what you Can, One for all thinking. & Take all you can. They Call it many different names & I could only see Corrupt Communist Controls every where. Asking a good friend why he had to go to Angola, If I did not go he said we would not be here Talking. What was the meaning of that reply, I Later Learned Where he Came from & Why there is much Pain in Cuba. I have Communist Friends & they envy everything I come from they have explained, Just being able to Work for a wage that some day they have a good Home for there Family.

  • Yes, there is a Communist Party in Canada and they even run the odd candidate in Federal elections. Their percentage share of the free democratic vote is in the order of 0.02% The US similarly has a Communist Party – a known member of which contributed to comments in these pages about 4/5 years ago. Never underestimate the level of activity of communists and so-called “fellow travellers”. Like those holding evangelical religious views, they constantly seek to convert.

  • Another Good Read that brings Question I had to Check out on Line. Has there ever been a Communist party in O Canada, Low & Behold 1921 & Not Far from where I grew up. Guelph Ontario.

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