Fidel Castro and his One-Party “Democratic” System

By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez

Fidel Castro was the creator of the one-party system in Cuba.

HAVANA TIMES — We Cubans will go through the electoral process now in October with the election of neighborhood representatives, which will end in February next year with the selection of the new national Government. A lot of government propaganda has been created about the subject, highlighting the alleged democratic nature and the “virtues” of Cuban socialism and its political model.

Fidel Castro, the late Commander in Chief, was the main architect in designing this political system which established the Revolution into power. His ideas were given priority when it was created and it truly is a piece of art, for better or for worse.

Just like Guillot became famous for his innovative method of beheading prisoners, Fidel deserves recognition for his exclusive model of stripping the people of their sovereignty, which is even graceful to some extent.

On March 19th this year, Granma published a set of questions and answers about Cuban political and electoral systems. And in a main box, under the heading “Why is Cuba a one-party state,” there was a summary of some of Fidel’s opinions about his controversial concept of democracy without plurality; taken from one of his speeches to the National Assembly of People’s Power.

He said: “(…) the multiparty system is an instrument of imperialism to keep societies fragmented and divided into 1,000 pieces. ,… A country that is divided into 10 pieces is an ideal country to dominate and subject. This is because there is no national will as the nation’s will is broken up into many pieces. The people’s efforts  are divided into many pieces. Intelligent minds are all divided; they are divided by the constant and never ending struggle between the fragments of society.”

To start with, “Imperialism” is perfectly understood to be those developed capitalist powers who economically dominate, have political privileges on the international political scene and impose military pressure on the rest of the world’s more disadvantaged countries.

However, capitalist powers, who Fidel accuses of needing the multi-party system to subjugate other countries, not only recommend political pluralism, but also practice it. Such an argument is completely unfounded.

It’s normal that they recommend something that they have already proven to work well. Also, when you know something is a “success”, you are afraid of an ideology being disseminated which threatens this. The truth is that people generally appreciate, defend and are more proud of living in a democracy than of living under a Communist dictatorship.

After five decades of Revolution (with media manipulation, indoctrination, national confinement, experiences of what Communism is, etc.) Cubans take one step outside of Cuba and defame the Cuban system, they disown the Revolution.

However, it’s rare to see a US citizen, a European, Brazilian or someone from any other capitalist country with a democracy, in a better or worse off state, who defames their system and democratic model of politics. They might criticize, but they don’t put it down. They value it like a significant social good. These facts are worth more than a thousand words from any politician who lacks any practical foundation.

Societies aren’t all completely homogeneous in everything, and they are even less so when it comes to politics. Naturally, they are divided into lots of different parts, without ceasing to be a whole which defines and identifies itself.

And if the right of citizens to organize themselves into allied groups and defend their common rights within them isn’t recognized, democracy doesn’t exist. With a one-party state there will always be a dictatorship, because anyone who thinks or wants something different will be subjugated. Not by the “Imperialism” that the Comandante refers to, but rather by the political party in power, which he defends and praises. That’s the truth of the matter.

The quote continued: “…I believe that unity is essential in a society that must face the problems of underdevelopment and develop under the difficult conditions of today’ s world.”

We can deduct from this quote the fact that Fidel believed in a multi-party democracy but not for third world countries, due to its adverse context. But, we need to put this concept of “unity” under the magnifying glass. A one-party political system has never meant unity in any of the countries where it has existed. It means dictatorship, imposition, stripping the people of their sovereignty and crimes against those who oppose it. It’s a formula which has caused more problems than it has resolved.

And the quote ended with these words: “…I am firmly convinced that one party is and must be-for a long historical period, no one can predict how long this form of political organization in what our society needs…”

First of all: maybe he is admitting, without wanting to, the fact that multiple parties is the final objective and the one-party state is temporary, without knowing when the most convenient time to change would be. For a lot of Cubans, maybe the majority, that time is now.

But, who has the power to decide this change? It should be the people, who are sovereign, but it isn’t because of the political design that the late leader passed down to us. Only the party itself is capable of doing this, because it robbed the people of their sovereignty and it has complete control of everything.

This evil system is awfully absurd, just as absurd as these theories which try to back tyranny. Democracy is what Cuba and any other country in the world needs to move forward. It doesn’t promise to fix everything, as if it were a magic wand; but it’s the premise, the starting point and the final objective.

Whoever tells you otherwise is an opportunist, even though they are dressed up as a good Samaritan. There isn’t any other formula.

26 thoughts on “Fidel Castro and his One-Party “Democratic” System

  • China and Vietnam both adopted capitalism and abandoned Marx/Leninist practice. Fidel Castro openly criticized both countries for their political change.

  • China & Vietnam success contradict your arguments.

  • There are publicly financed elections in some US municipalities’ elections, financed by the local govt= cake + eating it. Quite unfortunately, most often, the “State” is controlled, lock, stock and barrel, by the private, corporate money. Not a democracy. I don’t think that true democracy is at all compatible with capitalism. It has always been subverted to the will of its inevitable and unavoidable accumulation of wealth.

  • Obviously Dan in your eyes and mind, socialism is actually communism and as Fidel Castro explained in ‘Granma’ he did not recognize any difference but called it “Socialismo”.
    One of the most amusing facets of socialism ‘thinkers’ is that no two seem to agree upon its description and all maintain that it has never actually been practised. It in consequence remains very much ‘pie in the sky’.

  • With respect Ryan, in the free world money is not controlled by the State, but by the people. If there were no private money for political parties at elections, there would be no money at all for that purpose. You can’t have your cake and eat it!
    In the Canadian system only contributions from individual donors can be used and with the strictly applied limits I described.

  • If Ryan you are suggesting that the countries of Eastern Europe which were enslaved by the USSR, would prefer to revert to communism, why don’t they?
    I recall when visiting a businessman in West Germany about 1 hour south of Hamburg, being taken to a new plant which he had built on a former collective farm in East Germany. As a policy to encourage the liberated East Germans, he had appointed one, a woman university graduate as manager. When we visited the plant, she immediately showered him with questions. I asked him about that as we drove away and he told me that she would call him every day asking him for decisions. His response he said, was to tell her to take decisions as that was her role, and he would live with them. But he explained that having been educated under the communist system, taking decisions was incredibly difficult for East Germans as they had only ever followed instructions, not given them.
    The land of the collective which under the communist system required the construction of two massive multi-unit blocks of flats to house a very large number of ‘workers’, was being farmed more productively and efficiently by five West Germans. The flats which were similar to those in Alamar, were empty. The staff and I met many of them, were all very happy with becoming part of the free capitalist world.
    The plant itself if not the best food processing plant in Europe, was certainly a serious contender and all the product met ISO 9001 standards.
    On our way for our visit we passed through one of the former check-points of the Iron Curtain which you may recall the Soviet Union constructed to keep the people of Eastern Europe imprisoned and upon which many of them died endeavoring to escape from repression.
    As for the Russian part of the USSR, it is self-evident that never having experienced democracy but only forms of autocracy and dictatorship, there is acceptance of Putin as the equivalent of a dictator or Tzar.

  • How much do you love the success of capitalism in the former Soviet Union? Everybody there is so thrilled with the glorious changes since 1990. 🙂

  • Bernie did not register “enough” votes because the “Dem/Repub” system cheated to make their previously anointed candidate of choice the nominee. I don’t think political campaigns should get any private money- it leads to easily to the corrupt system we now have. Public financing, yes, with rational limits on campaigning. And the rich paying their fair share to maintain the public good. But the oligarchs in charge of the Congress won’t let any of that happen. Business indicators of a good economy do not mean the economy is healthy for the people.

  • The reality is Ryan that Mr. Sanders did not get enough votes, but he certainly gained a lot of free media attention.
    I am not an admirer of the US political system which leaves much to be desired.
    Perhaps you would agree with the Canadian system under which financial contributions to political parties are limited by law and companies are under the same restrictions as individuals. Once the set limit on individual contribution per annum is reached, no more may given.
    My view remains that the US Constitution is antiquated and requires much revision, but that is for Americans to decide.
    It is interesting that during the Presidency of Mr. Clinton, the economy of the US was pretty healthy. The expression “socialist character” can mean almost anything.

  • CErmle, it is obvious that comprehension is not your strong point. You state:
    “Educated people do not vote for “capitalism”.
    So tell us CErmle, how do you account for the growth and evident success of capitalism in free democratic countries, compared with the evident necessity for socialism/communism to be enforced?
    Your speciality is criticism, you contribute nothing. Does that reflect a lack of educational opportunity or just plain ignorance. I note again that you know nothing of Cuba and have obviously never visited the country.

  • Just how crass can you be CErmle? As usual you criticize and contribute ZERO!

  • OK Dan, so apart from the much vaunted indoctrination educational system and the medical system based upon the UK Beveridge Report of 1942, both of which have been in place for fifty years, try giving just two or three examples of evidence of other decisions taken “with the eye towards improving the general welfare”. Other than those now being criticized by Raul Castro for their operation of private businesses, Cubans incomes have remiained static for many yeares, whilst the prices in the shops, all of which are operated by GAESA have increased.

  • And you need to go and live in Cuba as cuban no only economicly but condemned to not descend and say anything against the cuban dictatorship, without being call mercenarie, worn, or scum. A family in power for over 50 years and over 25 % of the Cuban population in exile.

  • Sure. If you say so. But go and ask the 76 000 Cubans homeless in shelters for over twenty years.

  • Bernie is a liberal. He can only be characterized as “Socialist” in American’s eyes.

  • This author is apparently aware of the scholarly study – I forget the details, but it had impeccable credentials – in which it was determined that in the USA policy decisions align almost 100% to corporate interests – not the voters. Most people realize this at some level, and know that it is far from the one man, one vote ideal. Conversely, in Cuba although there may be a Nomenklatura, most decisions are made with the eye towards improving the general welfare.

  • Educated people do not vote for “capitalism”. Who are you kidding, my friend. You need to take another look at your theory.

  • Sen. Joseph McCarthy would have loved your analysis, but we all know how off kilter old Joe was, don’t we.

  • And look how the “two-party” system shut down the ground swell of support behind Bernie; he never stood a real chance against the machinery of the capitalists. Corporatist control, what passes for “democracy” in the US, will not give up its grip on governing for its own benefit: thus the rise of the police state here. One party with two heads, controlled by business, by wealth; very little difference between the two parties (look how the great Bill Clinton destroyed the social net). We have a one party dictatorship of the oligarchy; a capitalist dictatorship of benefits for the rich, repression for any that stand in its way. Its focus is not to benefit the working class. I think the only true democracy is of a socialist character.

  • There is no intention whatever Steady Eddie that the Communist Party of Cuba under the Presidency of Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez and with Minister of External Affairs Bruno Rodriguez Parilles and the former Minister for Economic Affairs Marino Murillo as hencemen will forgo the one-party dictatorship policy.
    There is however one major problem. Communism does inevitably end up in dictatorship. That means that only one person holds the power and control.
    It would be naive in the extreme, to think that those who are in high positions in the current heirarchy are unaware of that fact or to think that there none of them seek that power of dictatorship. Diaz-Canel appears to be a shoe-in for the political leadership. However, the economic power lies in the hands of Raul’s son-in-law General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Callejas as Head of GAESA controlling over 80% of the economy and secondly there is Raul’s son General Alejandro Castro Espin who controls security including the CDR.
    Raul Castro has not as far as I am aware, said at any time that when he resigns as President in February 2018 that he will also resign as Head of the military. Diaz=Canel, Bruno Rodriguez and Marino Murillo are not military men, the two Generals obviously are.
    Raul is getting on in years and there is no guarantee that he has time in hand. Especially if he dies soon, there could be a real power battle.
    Forecasting the future is always risky – especially that of communist dictatorships – look at Russia’s history. But equally, what appear to be political certainties are also dubious.
    That’s my ‘go’ at answering your question, but no doubt the enthusiastic supporters of the regime who write here, will have their own.
    Only time – which is ever growing shorter – will tell.
    Of one thing you can be certain, there will not be open free elections enabling the people of Cuba to determine their own future – that takes multi-party democracy!

  • After Raul is gone what are the prospects that will mark the end of Fidel’s “long historical period” of one-party rule?

  • Criticism of the US system as you describe it Ryan Ross is interesting. Perhaps you can explain the meaning of:
    “No other party has ever, in modern times with very few exceptions, had any significant chance to defeat either major party in big state and national elections.”
    As was demonstrated by Senator Bernard Sanders, he as a declared socialist was able to challenge for election as the Democratic candidate for the US Presidency. Mr. Donald Trump was successful in challenging for both the Republican Party nomination and Presidency, although his history was one like Perrot of supporting Reform.
    Both the Republican and Democratic parties have ruled in the Congress, the Senate and the White House.
    In Cuba, no such alternatives exist! It is a one party dictatorship.
    When given a right to vote with choice, people vote for capitalism and democrary, not for communism, repression and dictatorship.

  • Even Winston Churchill recognized that parliamentary democracy has its faults Ryan Ross. But if one has concern for individual liberty of thought and action and if one has concern for humanity, then parliamentary democracy is far far preferable to the repression, inhumanity and removal of human rights that are supported by communist adherents.

  • Communism cannot compete with freedom and liberty. It can only exist in political power by the imposition of repressive dictatorship, removal of human rights and tight restriction of information.

  • Honest question: what country truly has a democratic form of government? So obviously not the US. I submit that the US has a capitalist form of government rather than a democratic form, because the capitalist aspect subverts its democratic aspect completely, if covertly. Where is the model this writer can point to?

  • “However, capitalist powers, who Fidel accuses of needing the multi-party
    system to subjugate other countries, not only recommend political
    pluralism, but also practice it.” Bulls$@. The US has a mono-two party system, with both the major parties serving the interests of the ruling elite corporate class but giving lip-service to two-party democracy. No other party has ever, in modern times with very few exceptions, had any significant chance to defeat either major party in big state and national elections because they have an historic grip on the machinery of government and elections.

Comments are closed.