The Counterrevolution That Has Paralyzed Cuba

By Pedro Campos

Against the wall. Photo: Juan Suarez

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?

Havana’s Prado walkway. Photo: Juan Suarez

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?

Retiree selling peanuts to get by. Photo: Juan Suarez

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.

8 thoughts on “The Counterrevolution That Has Paralyzed Cuba

  • Yes, we have some language issues. Dictator types hijacked “Socialism” along time ago to use as just another means of taking control. I believe in the power of the individual. That all types of central control needs to be checked and balanced. It requires an advanced system as the few always want to rule the many. Some times it is with raw power and some times with dependency culture like the left in America.

    As to Cuba, the first thing they need is not a robust democracy. The first step is to get an economy of producing things going. This requires the systimatic introduction of freedom of market place so individuals can increase productivity of society in ways that a barter system from medial ages will never, ever be able to accomplish. Protection of people, security, property rights, rule of law are all things the state can help. But it means giving up control of small things. To some level, they have started. But much more is needed.

  • We agree on substance but disagree on the terminology.
    The Soviet system was STATE CAPITALIST .
    As with free enterprise (U.S.-style) it too was run from the top and for that reason cannot be called socialist.
    To be socialist in the classic sense of the term and at the base of that socialism must be a bottom-up democratically run workplace.
    Democracy is central to both socialism and communism and any other system that is not democratically run is something else and in the case of the Soviets, Chinese, Cubans,etc that something else can only accurately be termed state capitalism.
    In the end democracy is central, that is. UNLESS one believes that people need to be told what to do by superiors as you, Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Castro do and did.
    You really should reconsider your low opinion of humanity and trust them to do what is right when democracy gives them that opportunity.
    Again, unless democracy would seem to be a potential disaster in your thinking.
    As an anarchist I believe democracy to be the natural state of humanity.
    As did Kropotkin, Bakunin, Bookchin.
    For all: if you’d like an authoritative definition of socialism , I strongly recommend going to You Tube and requesting “Chomsky on socialism’
    His is the most cogent explanation I’ve seen .

  • The Soviet Central Control Socialist model has failed the world over. Not just Cuba. Parts of the Cuban model can continue, but not central control of means of production. Social redistribution works better with a funding mechanism. Taxes to fund investment in public goods, defense, medical, insurance are all compatible with a productive sector. The state can pass laws to regulate fair treatment of workers without need for direct control. Direct control of means of production is a disaster.

  • The Cuba economic system cannot be said to have failed unless and until it fails AFTER the U.S. embargo is lifted.
    Failure is a relative term.
    Cuba is the only Latin American country without childhood nutrition specifically because of its socialist-style means of food distribution.
    Poverty is an integral part of capitalism : a system that centers on concentrating wealth and decidedly not in taking care of all the people.
    Be careful what you wish for.

  • Time for Mr Castro and cronies to step aside and permit the Cuban people to choose which road they wish to follow for a more prosperous future. Mr Castro has been a man for his time but now he can retire and enjoy his elder years and leave the running of the country to someone else. Return to your home town Mr Castro and enjoy retirement!

  • Change is coming. The people have had enough of a failed economic model.

  • Incredibly brilliant and for me eye opening. Well done Mr. Campos, well done indeed!!!

  • Who? That’s an easy one. THE CASTROS.

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