Yenisel Rodriguez Perez

Havana's Metropolitan Park. Photo: Jorge Luis Baños

HAVANA TIMES, Dec 30 — It’s now a proven fact that all power has the property of growing like a snowball. But for a long time there have also existed ways to restrict this. Through the liberal approach, the solution lies in the separation of powers into the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

Many of the official political rules and traditions in Cuba were instituted in the second half of the 20th century with the emerging revolution of 1959.

The great dangers that threatened the revolution required extraordinary measures, though these were explained as temporary.

When the political context shifted towards other less radical forms of revolutionary defense, with the elimination of what little remained of active internal opposition, the leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba and the government merged in many aspects and in an unrestricted manner.

Authority became concentrated and the bending of democratic and constitutional rules was justified with phrases like “we have the truth” and “we have everything under control.”

All this was directed by the highest governing bodies, which in turn were not regulated by any control mechanism to protect against the further concentration of political power. What was important was that there existed a popular revolutionary power.

So how did it happen that in a peacetime situation, the dictatorship of the proletariat — aimed above all at liquidating the resistance of the bourgeoisie — became the dictatorship of the upper echelon of power?

Concretely, how did it become “the teacher” and “the leader”?

Did this mean that the leadership of the party should become a special body of power above all institutions of government?

Should the party leadership turn into a special body of power above all other bodies?

If the Central Committee is a special body of power, how is it controlled or restricted?

Can its resolutions be contested as unconstitutional?

Who is responsible in case of the failure of an enacted measure?

The tepid economic reforms currently being implemented are not disposed to promote future reforms oriented towards the socialization of political of power.

Today, more than ever, this concentration of political power is becoming more dangerous due to the lack of bodies of control over the political power of the Communist Party of Cuba and the state.

The relative mismatch between economic change and political change in Cuba is generating new cultural paradoxes.

What we have is a relaxed form of capitalist logic exercised in a political setting that merely rearranges monarchical Latin America traditions, ones which include the unquestioned respect for any hierarchical power, unconditional subordination to the chiefs, disregard for rights and freedoms, and many others.

In this circumstance, what criticism, openness, real and effective popular participation in the political aspects of economic reforms can one speak of in the future or the short-term?

In terms of political reforms, these are being made more explicit within the scope of social change in Cuba.

This explains the frequent flirtations by authoritarian regimes with economic reforms in times of state contraction and disregard of political “policies.”

Let’s make ourselves the political complements of the current economic reforms.

Let’s consciously take away all the power possible from the military-bureaucratic elites of our country.

Let’s manage ourselves the emerging economic freedom won in day-to-day experiences, seasoned with contiguous political sovereignty.

Paths up and paths down, carrying with us, all workers, the two-horned bugle of economic and political burdens.


Yenisel Rodriguez

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

One thought on “What’s Above Political Power

  • Excellent article – finally a complaint *with* suggestions for making Cuba a better place than it is now.

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