by Alejandro Armengol
HAVANA TIMES — Though defined as the revolutionary vanguard of Cuban society, the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) has never played such a role.
For decades, Fidel Castro was the main obstacle to the normal functioning of the PCC. When he had no choice but to hand power over to his brother, there was the possibility that Raul Castro would choose to change this situation, albeit gradually and without endangering the country’s power structure through such changes.
Not even that has come to pass.
Beyond the “Guidelines” (closely studied for a short while), the changes to the membership of the Central Committee and Politburo spoken of time and time again (also for a short while) and repeated statements to the effect that the Party’s role in society had to be extended, the transformation, aims and scope of this political structure has remained very limited.
Perhaps the most important development is that, now, some of these limitations are at least acknowledged, though there is no talk of failure and cadres continue to “struggle against defeatism.”
According to the Party’s website Cubadebate, following the 13th Plenary Session of the PCC Central Committee held in December of last year, a meeting that “reviewed the base documents for the 7th Party Congress” (to be held in April this year), it was announced “that, over the past five years, 21% of the 313 Guidelines have been implemented, while 77% are in the process of being implemented.”
So many figures and so few real achievements; they haven’t managed to implement a fourth of what they agreed to. So many roman numerals – a throwback to the Soviet era – are screaming for an “update” to the four winds.
It would be more entertaining for us if the Party substituted its roman numerals with Chinese symbols, such that it could declare its last plenary session was the number of the peacock and its next congress will be held under the figure represented by a snail.
Without a doubt, it is far more suggestive to regard the last meeting held at the close of 2015 as a ruffling of feathers, and that the gathering in April announces a sluggish pace, progress that leaves a sticky and even repulsive trail behind. It’s clear that what we are being offered is entertainment, postponement and indolence. The discouraging part is that these Chinese numerals go all the way up to 100. Yikes!
One of Raul Castro’s priorities has been the creation of instruments and structures that will allow the regime to survive the demise of its founders. This translates into replacing Fidel Castro’s entire chain of command with a hierarchy of trustworthy officials and distributing, not just cushy jobs, but economic privileges and entities that will allow those at the top to remain in power indefinitely and on the basis of hereditary channels. While his brother distributed government positions, he distributes businesses.
It was Raul Castro who, at the close of 2010, declared that “the 6th Party Congress must be, by dint of the natural law, the last in which most of us who make up the first generation will take part in.” He was referring to those who overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959.
“The time we have left is short, the task immense…I think we are duty-bound to avail ourselves of the moral authority we have before the people to clearly trace the path to follow,” he added.
In a little over two months, a similar gathering is to be held and the tired and hackneyed promises to be repeated. We can’t predict how long politics will continue to cheat biology, but we can be certain this year will be decisive for Cuba and that, if Revolution Square does not take advantage of the door opened by the current US administration, it will not only mortgage the island’s future once again, but that of its descendants as well. The latter is their problem; the rest is everyone’s problem.
(Originally published in Spanish by Cubaencuentro.com)