By Pedro Campos
HAVANA TIMES — In the most classic sense of the word, the counterrevolution is that which prevents the advance of revolutionary measures in Cuba’s political and economic spheres and keeps the country from making progress.
What is the counterrevolution, specifically? Where is it located and what power does it truly hold?
Are we speaking of the “counterrevolution” that the bureaucracy has always equated with the traditional opposition, which calls for the restoration of democracy and full respect towards human rights, or is it the other, objective, real and palpable process which prevents the resolutions of the Communist Party itself from being implemented?
The issue won’t be treated with the profoundness it requires by the government.
Whoever wants to identify this counterrevolutionary process can do so by answering a few simple questions (which aren’t limited to those below).
Who prevents the development of the self-employed sector and insist that it be regulated by laws that seem taken out of the 15th century?
Who refuses to authorize autonomous cooperatives and forces applicants who wish to open an independent cooperative to request permission from the Council of State?
Who keeps State companies from enjoying real autonomy in terms of handling their assets and paying their employees according to their work?
Who keeps State companies from distributing part of their profits among workers, as proposed in Fidel Castro’s History Will Absolve Me (where he called for the redistribution of 30% of the profits among employees), so that these may have better incomes, work more happily and develop a true sense of belonging?
Who forces farmers to hand over part of their harvests to the State at ludicrous prices and apply abusive taxes on the sale of products freed from these commitments, thus de-incentivizing agricultural production?
Who forces tobacco growers to sell their leaves to a single buyer and do not authorize any added value, who imposes monopolistic prices on farmers, like the Tobacco Law in colonial times did, causing an uprising among tobacco growers?
Who stands in the way of foreign investment, needed for the development of major sectors of the economy, as well as mid-sized and small businesses, be these State-run, private or joint ventures?
Who maintains an absurd, counterproductive tax law that corrupts individuals and inhibits economic and social development, forcing producers and service providers to pay as much as 50% of their incomes if they earn over two thousand dollars (the equivalent of 50 thousand Cuban pesos)?
Who forces all of us who pay taxes to direct our payments directly to the State treasury and prevents a part of these to remain at the municipal level, to be administered in accordance with local needs, as identified by residents?
Who denies representatives of the People’s Power Councils, the only ones directly elected by the people, any real power, as people have been saying for over 20 years?
Who prevents any changes to Cuba’s electoral law and constitution, changes that would allow voters to elect their municipal mayors and provincial governors, the president of the republic and provincial and national members of parliament, through a direct and secret vote?
Who makes it impossible for the representatives of the provincial assemblies, and the National Assembly as such, to be directly elected by the people?
Who prevents any direct and close relationship between national representatives and those who vote for them, denying the electorate direct accounting by these representatives?
Who prevents local People’s Power entities from having any real impact on financial and other types of entities and institutions in their jurisdiction and keeps all decision-making mechanisms centralized and out of reach?
Who keeps local People’s Power bodies from dealing with the repair of streets and sidewalks, the maintenance of schools, hospitals and public spaces in their respective jurisdictions?
Who forces the employees of foreign companies and doctors and professionals who offer services abroad to keep a small part of the salaries they receive and destine the rest to the State coffers?
Who denies the people transparent accounting systems, such that they will have a sense of how much the country takes in and how this money is invested or spent?
Who maintains the two-currency system, paying people in a devalued currency and charging them in a hard currency on the par with the US dollar?
Who maintains monopolistic control over the hard currency market and set prices that are prohibitive for most average Cubans?
Who denies Cubans the right to freely exchange, sell and buy what we produce as individuals?
Who denies Cubans the right to buy and sell abroad (with customs regulations and a moderate tax as the sole applicable mechanisms for this)?
Who maintains laws that deny Cubans the right to reside abroad as long as they want?
Who denies Cubans residing abroad or holding two nationalities the right to invest in their country of origin?
Who denies Cubans full access to the Internet?
Who keeps cell phone and Internet prices high and prevents mass access to these?
Who prevents Wi-Fi services – today expensive, awkward and even dangerous for users – from being accessed directly from home, through servers accessed through telephone lines?
Though I could go on forever, I will conclude with this question: Who makes it impossible for an article of this nature to be published in Cuba’s official newspapers, or for it to be read or analyzed on Cuban television by the author, or to be debated on by panelists at a round table?
In short, dear reader, arrive at your own conclusions about the counterrevolution that has paralyzed the country.