Cuban Who Wants New Party Returns

Eliecer Avila. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — The young Cuban computer whiz, Eliecer Avila, who rose to fame as a student leader when he publically questioned Cuban immigration policy with Ricardo Alarcon, former president of the National Assembly, returned to the island today.

During his tour of several countries, including the United States and Sweden, Eliezer announced his intention to start a new political party in Cuba, something strictly illegal on the island, where the Communist Party is the only one allowed.

According to the “Cuba in Miami” website, Eliezer was welcomed at the Jose Marti airport by Cuban security agents that for several hours held him and checked all his belongings, while his family and some friends waited for his release out of customs.

“They took me to a room without saying much”; they seized my books and literature of political content. Eliecer said he had brought interesting material to study, but immigration officials told him he wasn’t qualified to do so, something only for official analysts.

“It was a thorough search, I had never seen anything like it, Each garment, every paper, every journal, they took out everything and put it on a table to analyze it,” said Avila.

Critical blogger Yoani Sanchez is also expected later Thursday on a flight from Madrid after her 100-day global tour.

14 thoughts on “Cuban Who Wants New Party Returns

  • So if the problem for Cuba is, as you note, the lack of a “political culture necessary to create a sustainable democracy”, then wouldn’t the best first step be to allow for new Cuban political parties to form, to allow for freedom of speech and freedom of association? By starting now, while the current regime is still functioning, Cuba could successfully transition over time to a true democracy.

    The alternative, which seems to be the policy for 54 years, is to suppress all dissent in order to keep the regime in power.

    You know, I know, …even Raul Castro knows, that the Cuban regime as it is currently constituted won’t last long after the passing of the brothers. They will get one last shot at transition when the first post-Castro leader takes over. If he fails to offer significant political reform, then the path forward will be destined to result in the systemic collapse you warn of.

    The only alternatives for Cuba are democratic political reform or systemic collapse. I would prefer democratic reform.

  • In an interview that Eliecer gave in Brussels, he stated the strategy of the regime during his employ with the Ministry of Information in defending what they perceived were attacks on the Revolution was to do exactly as you suggest. In other words, if I write that the buildings are falling down in Havana, the apologist should accuse me of being a “US-paid troll”. If I criticize the extent of corruption in Cuba, the apologists should say I make them sick. It is a curious strategy indeed.

  • I post here to express my opinions on a subject, Cuba, which interests me intellectually and which I care about morally. I do not come here to, as you say, “brawl” with Luis or ac. It does happen however, that with nearly every comment I post I am targetted with a personal attack by one or more of the regime apologists. That habit reveals much about the intellectual and psychological profile of the typical leftist: ignore the issues, attack dissenters and always try to change the subject to how bad the USA is.

  • I don’t. You project that on every topic. No critique of the Castro regime is mentioned without you bleating, ” But the USA…”

    That is the false dichotomy the Castro’s have used for 54 years to justify their monopolization of power.

    Do you know what’s really funny? If you really did believe the Cuban system was superior the the US system, you would go live in Cuba. But you don’t really believe it. You just like to pose as the revolutionary while living a far better life in America than you know is possible in Cuba.

  • I agree with you 100%, ac, that the main issue in Cuba is the widespread poverty and lack of economic output.

    I appreciate all your comments.

  • Although I’m proud to be on the side of ac and Luis in their brawl against the tag-team of Griffin/Moses, I would like to interject a bit of substance to the fray.

    The relevant question is not “whether” a new party ought to be formed in Cuba. It is the substance of the “program” around which it ought to be formed.

    What is the program which Eliecer is proposing? No one is asking this; and yet, this is the important, central question at hand.

    If the party he envisions has as its program the abolition of ownership of the land and other instruments of production by the Cuban state, then this proposal is the thing around which our discussion ought to revolve.

    His program would then have to project fundamental changes to the Cuban Constitution because, unless I’m mistaken, this constitution makes the status quo legal and permanent.

    For some reason however, the discussion is revolving around whether Eliecer should have the right to organized a new party.

    The primary question of programmatic content is like an elephant in the room which no one wishes to acknowledge or address. Why?

  • Pushing democracy is not solely US propaganda. (although Americans tend to be more vigorous in its promotion) Likewise, you always resist those who wish a more democratic future for Cuba. What exactly is it that you DO want? More of the same?

  • Exactly, a third way is possible, but highly unlikely given the potential toxic nature of the Cuban political landscape after a collapse of the current government. And as I mentioned in my reply to Griffin below, the main issue is that the Cubans themselves lack a political culture necessary to create a sustainable democracy.

    And we discussed the same point before, not EVERYTHING is better than what they currently have. Their MAIN issue is not political rights, but widespread poverty from the lack of economical output. But at least their current government provides a security network that inadequate as it might seem at times, it works. The alternative (at least at short term) is the same poverty without it plus all risks inherent to a collapse of their society (chaos, civil war, lawlessness, shutdown of government services -firemen, cops, postal workers and in the case of Cuba 80% of everything else)

  • If ‘they don’t need the US’, why the heck do you keep on pushing typical US Secretary of State propaganda here and supporting the aggressive position of the US on Cuba? It is all empty blah-blah-blah ‘good vs evil’ all the time. You make no sense.

  • How about a third way? Cubans are quite capable of developing their own form of democracy independent of either US influences or the legacy of their own past. I agree it will be hard to resist the dollars and the influence it buys once Miami Cubans are permitted to participate as ‘expats’ in Cuban elections. In addition, there is no lack of would-be Cuban “Presidents-in-waiting” who are well-financed and waiting to pounce on a naïve Cuban electorate starving for the excitement of campaigning and public debates and kissing-babies and all else that goes with open elections. Still, despite the risks of corruption and ballot-box abuses, ANYTHING is better than 54 years of the same two guys making all the decisions.

  • Once again, you attempt to frame the discussion as “Either Fidel or the Yanquis”. Sorry, but that false dichotomy is getting pretty tired.

    The Cuban people are quite capable of building their own free and democratic system. They don’t need the US, they don’t need the Castros and they don’t need non-Cuban leftists telling them how lucky they are living in a dictatorship.

  • Nope, real democracies looks like extraordinary renditions, enhanced interrogations, irregular judicial procedures, erosion of rights (including selective denial of rights without cause), open bribing of lawmakers, and so on.

    Democracy has became a hollow word without any real meaning and a mockery of what it supposed to be, with people increasingly becoming more alienated from the political power that has devolved from serving the will of the majority and the nation to the serve the self-interests of lawmakers and pressure groups.

    If they want a fresh start, I’m afraid they must start from the scratch. The kind of democracy they can import from their neighbors is not something I would like for myself, but the point is moot, since the only real options they have are precisely that dysfunctional kind of democracy or keep their own ways.

  • In some respects, Eliecer poses a greater threat to the Castro regime than Yoani Sanchez.

    Yoani is challenging the monopoly on information, troublesome to be sure but also manageable as the Chinese government has shown. By starting a political party, Eliecer is challenging the monopoly of the Communist Party on political and military power, putting a lie to the oft-made claim that Cuba is simply a different type of democracy.

  • The regime fears people like Eliecer Avila. That is why they harass them with searches like this. Eliecer understands that from now on he will be followed, his phone tapped and his home watched.

    And the apologists of the regime will tell us this is what real democracy looks like.

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