Citizen Consultations on Cuba’s Future

Cuba’s top leaders, Fidel Castro, Juan Ramon Machado Ventura and Raul Castro at the 7th Communist Party Congress in April, 2016.  Photo:

The meetings will analyze documents of the 7th Communist Party Congress

HAVANA TIMES – Millions of Cubans are summoned from today until September 20 to discuss the documents adopted last April at the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), texts considered of “vital importance” to the country’s future, dpa reported.

Discussions will focus on finding a consensus among the population on the economic and social model for the country in the coming years. However a discussion on the political model is not contemplated as keeping the PCC as the only permitted party on the island is a given.

The content of the document “is synthesized in the Vision of the Nation, defined as a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable country”, says a Granma newspaper editorial on Wednesday.

The people invited to the discussion of the documents will be the members of the PCC and the Union of Young Communists (UJC), together with representatives of the official mass organizations and “broad sectors of society.”

The PCC Congress is the most important political body on the island and the documents mark the political, social and economic life of the country, says Granma.

Before the Congress took place in April there were many criticisms made because the documents were not discussed beforehand, neither by the Party members and much less the general population, something that did take place before the previous PCC Congress held in 2011.

Initially, the text of the VII Congress documents was prepared with the participation of university professors, researchers and academics, along with communist leaders and officials.

Subsequently, the documents were discussed at meetings of the 17-member Politburo, the decision making body of the Party, and reportedly approved unanimously by the Congress made up by a thousand delegates.

Starting today, citizens will discuss two texts, that of “Conceptualization of the Cuban Economic and Social Model for Socialist Development” and the “National Economic and Social Development Plan through 2030.”

In order to facilitate access to the documents the Party printed 680,800 copies in a 32-page tabloid to be distributed without cost and another 200,000 to be put on sale.

“Faced with this broad national discussion there will be no shortage of enemies, skeptics and those indecisive to echo the slander campaigns made from abroad against the Party and the Revolution, by those who dream of returning to a society subject to the desire of the Yanks,” noted Granma.”

The opinions expressed in the meetings will be recorded and the final version of the documents will be submitted for final approval of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and then sent to the National Assembly to grant them legal status.

22 thoughts on “Citizen Consultations on Cuba’s Future

  • With or without the basil?

  • Your gross generalization includes a number of errors.

    1. There are many African Americans and Hispanic Americans in the US Congress, democratically representing their constituents. The white representatives also represent their constituents, whatever their race might be.

    2. The US is not a two-party system. There are many political parties in the US from the far right to the far left and everything in between.

    3. The “paralysis” of congress is a feature, not a flaw. It is by design that congress cannot ram through partisan laws. They are obligated to work together and pass laws which have the broadest possible support. This is the very essence of democracy.

    4. Neither Hillary more Trump have been officially nominated yet. But you are right, neither of them are fit for public office.

  • Joke of the year entry!

  • Raul: “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli”.
    Machado: “Si, Comandante.”
    Fidel: “I like cannoli…”

  • The US system is accurately called a Constitional Republic, which includes regular multiparty democratic elections. It is not a 2 party system, it’s just that 2 parties are larger than the other smaller parties. Bernie Sanders used to run as a candidate for various Socialist parties but now that the Democrats have drifter further to the left, Saunders decided to run on their ticket.

  • In asking about what conclusions I draw about the state of democracy you make what I consider to be an error in concluding that the US elections are necessarily representative of democracy. I have repeatedly expressed my views in these pages about the two-party US system and the Constitution which was relevant 200 years ago, but in my view needs much revision.
    I am still mystified by your 281 reference! Where? when? with regard to what?
    Also what is Sri g ?
    The dictionary to which I referred costs well over $100 and is described by the Oxford University Press itself as: “The foremost authority-the most comprehensive coverage of current English” It comprises some 2,152 pages and is thumb indexed.
    You are correct in saying that dictionaries do not tell us what to think, but if each of us is to place our own definition upon the meaning of a word, discussion is meaningless.
    However, as you obviously think that my sources of information are inferior to your own, I pass and leave you to bask in self contentment.

  • First of all, no I do not think a one-party state conforms to my. vision of democracy as a goal, no way. That agreed, we could have a fruitful discussion.of what ingredients do matter most. Singapore is a very successful country which misses some elements of that vision

    I start with that because I want to note your choice of dictionary is NOT the authoritative OED but an alternate more popular publication. and if it still has new on the front page it is not the latest edition of that either, though that might still include this unusual definition I read mine online by subscription because that’s the way ‘the’ OED works.

    This does not make your choice of source wrong and mine right, as some might say . It’s a curiosity that they differ so. It reinforces my point that dictionaries can’t tell us what to think. . The OED version I have tells us that democracy long ago had a negative connotation. rather like mob rule
    At their best dictionaries can only sum up the consensus of the day

    You use the number 281 elsewhere in the comments page, not me. I singled it out because it’s Sri g but also irrelevant. I thought most of the discussion you started was like that, a diversion from. difficult and important questions. However maybe I got over-exercised about it because I had to agree with the tone.

    The interesting questions to my mind include : what do people think is democracy, not what some book says, and what will be good for any given country.? Given the spectacle of the US elections what conclusions do you draw about the state of democracy? Can there be a good democracy with vast inequalities of wealth and power ? Why have post-communist states in central and eastern.europe often now turned anti-democratic? They do not include, to me, Fidel Castro’s infirmities.

  • or, “Where did Machado leave his hard hat – you know the one he wears for the ‘photo ops at the sugar plants.”

  • No Judith I did not quote from reading online.
    I quoted directly from the New Oxford Dictionary of English published by the Oxford University Press. For your satisfaction, I will add the complete definition to that initial part which I already gave:
    “(count noun) a state governed in such a way: a multiparty democracy. control of an organization or group by the majority of its members: the intended extension of industrial democracy. the practice or principles of social equality: demands for greater democracy.
    ORIGIN late 16th cent: from French democratic, via late Latin from Greek demokratia, from demos ‘the people’ + kratia ‘power, rule’.”
    If you do not accept the Oxford English Dictionary definition of English words, is that because you know of a better source, or because you don’t always find that it concurs with your own understandings? Somewhat akin to the differences between Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?
    But, what is 281?
    My views of the Castro family communist regime are I hope rather stronger than mere contempt. Their power and control over the people of Cuba is far in excess of that. I watched much of the 7th PCC Congress on TV when at home and observed no indications of any changes being anticipated prior to 2030. What did you think?

  • Carlyle. you must have a. very different edition of the OED than I do. Capitalist appears nowhere in the one I read online from my library.

    Not that I endorse the idea that a dictionary is the ultimate arbiter of meaning of such a complex concept, and I assume you do not either. It’s a useful input to quote it, but what’s distorting your vision here in this column? I ignored the childish and unpleasant humour and the fact your arithmetic on 281 was obviously wrong. But what gives here? Showing contempt for us as well as the Castros? When I see this I am tempted to discount all your evidently believable and important tales of everyday life. ‘The 13th chime of the clock which calls into question all the previous 12’

  • It is one thing Terry to read ‘Granma” but entirely different to believe it as the official organ of the Communist Party of Cuba. But the Propaganda Department of the PCC would be pleased with your support.

  • The Oxford English Dictionary is a correct source of the word democracy not patrick velasquez or CErmle, it says:

    “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives: a capitalist system of parliamentary democracy.”

    It took a long time for the Castro family communist regime to understand the meaning of democracy and that is why they have now ceased to use the word as it is in conflict with thei practice of dictatorship, repression and oppression.

    A peculiarity of the US system is that it is two party. That is not the norm in parliamentary democracies, but an aberration. Obviously, Mr. Bernard Sanders now would have liked to have a third party – socialist. But in a long and fairly ineffective political career, failed to support the concept until reaching old age.

  • The Cuban people have not had a say in their future since 1959. Why would they be able to now? Fidel’s expression in the photo above pretty much says it all.

    …Oh, and by the way, you had mentioned in a previous post as to how all the store shelves in Cuba are stocked. Did you happen to read the story on the home page titled “Cuba, Where “It’s Nobody’s Fault”? See the pictures? Read the article? I noticed you had not bothered to comment there.

  • So the part about the stoma bag is okay with you or you just don’t know what it is?

  • The citizens will determine the future. This is grassroots democracy in action. This is a People’s Government.

  • I like that question, “What is a democracy?” Wait, I know. It’s a paralyzed U.S. Congress of mostly white, rich geezers that don’t represent about one-third of the U.S. population that’s non-white. Or how about: Democracy is a two-party system, one of which nominates a former (corrupt) president’s wife and the other nominates a racist, crooked “businessman” with no political experience. I hope your sick jokes about older people wearing diapers come back to haunt you losers.

  • “Faced with this broad national discussion there will be no shortage of enemies, skeptics and those indecisive to echo the slander campaigns made from abroad against the Party and the Revolution, by those who dream of returning to a society subject to the desire of the Yanks,” noted Granma.” Amen to that.

  • Fidel: “I thought that she said that she was 18 years old.”
    Raul: “Me, too.”
    Machado: “Ay dios!”

  • I’m thinking more like :
    Fidel…Did I empty my stoma before I left, I can’t remember?
    Machado….I told him to check before we got in the van.
    Raul. …It’s not the stoma I smell. Did you change your diaper?
    (It’s a joke okay? I know Machado rides in his own van)

  • An odd democracy. First the vote and then the consultation.

  • Why not a competition for an appropriate caption for the picture of Fidel Castro, Machado Ventura and Raul Castro who between them total 281 years on this planet?

    Dan and John Goodrich together will doubtless enter: “Three wise men”
    Moses may enter: “Cloud Cuckoo Land”
    My own entry is: “What is democracy?”

    Any other entries?

  • The tragic comedy of the monarchy Castros brother. 25.5 % of Cuban people voted with our feet leaving the island. This is another theatrical move to tell the rest of the world they have democracy even when people of Cuba only can vote for one party, the Castro’s party

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