HAVANA TIMES —A slogan for mobilizing people in the US and the rest of capitalist world identifies the less than 1 percent of the population — composed of multi-millionaires — that possess the real political-economic power and that use this to decide everything important in those countries.
The Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (April 2011) adopted the “Guidelines for Economic and Social Policy,” which according to that body should rule the destiny of Cuba. These Guidelines were not put to the vote by the whole party or to a popular referendum; rather, they were voted on by few hundred delegates at the party congress – a number that doesn’t make up 0.05 percent of the country’s population.
This was done in the name of Article 5 of the constitution, which recognizes the lead role of the Communist Party in Cuban society. Nonetheless, this contradicts the spirit of that document and is in flagrant violation of the sovereignty, democracy and republicanism reflected in the constitution as a whole.
Moreover, that one article contradicts the specific letter of the law expressed in several articles, of which we can point to the following:
– Article 1 states: “Cuba is an independent and sovereign socialist state of workers, organized with all and for the good of all as a united and democratic republic, for the enjoyment of political freedom, social justice, individual and collective well-being and human solidarity.”
– Article 3 points out: “In the Republic of Cuba sovereignty lies in the people, from whom originates all the power of the state. That power is exercised directly or through the assemblies of People’s Power and other state bodies which derive their authority from these assemblies, in the form and according to the norms established in the constitution and the country’s laws.”
Today the entire political-economic-social system is based on “the leading role of the Cuban Communist Party,” which operates according to democratic centralism, where centralization takes precedent over democratization, consequently a small ruling elite determines and decides everything, not just in the party, but in society as a whole.
It is not by chance that those people who hold the main positions in the government and the Council of State also hold the central positions in the party.
It is from this center of leadership that come all the laws (in the form of executive orders), which are then discussed and approved by the National Assembly. No law is subject to referendum, as should be done in a system of true direct democracy.
But how representative is the National Assembly? The National Assembly is composed of less than 1,000 individuals, less than 0.01 of the population. Of its candidates, 50 percent are nominated from “above” and 50 percent from the electoral commissions controlled by the party in the provinces.
Though it is recognized as having legislative initiative, in practice the members are there only to rubber-stamp what is ordered from above.
Currently it is this National Assembly, with its quasi-appointed members, that elects the Council of State and the president of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers. The people do not do this through direct elections.
Therefore, I can say categorically that in Cuba too, less than 1 percent of the population decides the fate of more than 11 million Cubans, the more than 99 percent of the rest.
It’s difficult under the current circumstances to establish a way to reverse this situation. Whatever is done should be attempted through peaceful means and through dialogue and negotiation.
The sectarianism and obstinacy of the party-government is preventing this from taking this route, unlike the democratic and socialist left, which isn’t tied to dogmas, prejudices or exclusion. It is an advocate and a proponent of national dialogue without exclusions.
In this respect, we recall that it was our colleague Felix Guerra (the poet, writer, journalist and forever communist) who in March 2009 called for a national congress.
Likewise, it was our colleague Felix Sautie (who is a journalist, economist, theologian and also a forever communist) who in 2007 wrote a book titled Socialismo y reconciliación en Cuba. Una mirada desde adentro” (Socialism and Reconciliation in Cuba: A Look from Within).
If we want that 99-plus percent of the population to participate in the decisions concerning their destiny, if we want the socialization and democratization of the economy and politics (the revolutionary process) to move forward — thereby reducing the chances for a return to the disgraced regime and an even more vulgar and foul form of capitalism — then there is no choice remaining for the non-dogmatic left than for us to promote this ourselves.
We must implement that dialogue “with all and for the good of all,” since the government-party is not accepting the challenge.
Allowing the right to spearhead the critique of the bureaucratic neo-Stalinist model, the struggle for dialogue, respect for the rights of all Cubans, for the democratization of the political system, for freedoms of expression and association, for free access to the internet, for freedom of choice by Cubans and for confronting the arbitrariness of “state socialism,” would be to guarantee the restoration of private capitalism, bourgeois democracy and the end of Cuba’s attempt at socialism.
For those who don’t understand, a number of citizens drafted and signed the “Urgent Call for a Better and Possible Cuba” so that we could prevent that from happening.
To contact Pedro Campos, write: firstname.lastname@example.org