What Russia’s Model Could Do for Cuba

Rogelio Manuel Díaz Moreno

Vladimir Putin greets Raul Castro at the Kremlin on May 7, 2015.  Foto: TASS
Vladimir Putin greets Raul Castro at the Kremlin on May 7, 2015. Foto: TASS

HAVANA TIMES — A wave of pro-Russian culture seems to be bathing Cuba’s current official discourse. Journalists and ideologues from our major official newspaper, Granma, write words of praise for the Euro-Asian giant, while politicians work to tighten relations with the country. It is therefore worthwhile to revisit some of the consequences of the new romance between the bear and the palm tree.

First and foremost, the material (or “Marxist”) reasons. Russia pardoned Cuba’s foreign debt, enough money to buy a couple of the country’s provinces, if not more. Very few details about the underlying negotiations and the conditions of such a generous gesture (which consisted in investment facilities, for the most part) were made public. What else was negotiated (something only the big-wigs know) remains to be seen. Business agreements, credits, strategic expansion facilities and many other things are being developed along the way.

After relations between Cuba and the United States began to be re-established on December 17 last year, this process has only hastened its pace. The Russian hierarchs do not want to lose the advantages they have secured in the stampede of competitors that has already been unleashed.

From a pragmatic point of view, the situation could prove favorable for our country and people. If the world’s merchants are competing for our favors, we can secure greater returns. But developments also suggest yet another major con and deception in the works.

There are those who maintain that, from the Left, one ought to assume a pro-Russian stance. Cuba’s government supporters adorn this new rapprochement with idealized expectations reminiscent of the Soviet era. But, on the one hand, Soviet socialism left a lot to be desired and, on the other, whatever may have existed in the past is gone without a trace. There is a Left in Russia, true, and there is also a communist party, but they are both in the opposition.

As comrade Fidel Castro recently referred to Marxism-Leninism, we will try and interpret Russia’s situation today from that perspective. Today, Russia is yet another imperialist power. This is a simple reality, almost a truism. Russian millionaires abound in all their shamelessness and invest the money sucked out of their country in luxury properties in the West. To make this possible, millions of people near the Kremlin sank into abject poverty. Inter-imperialist contradictions of the kind Karl Marx knew well arise between Russia and Western powers, assuming the form of conflicts over markets, resources and spheres of influence.

With respect to the country’s alignment with either of the two bands, the leader of the October Revolution would condemn it as a betrayal of the working class, as he did in his article about Russian social democracy and the World War.

I invite readers to have a look at a very serious indictment of the contradictions of capitalism in Russia. The Gini coefficient measures inequality in society. The higher the value, the greater the socio-economic differences between rich and poor. The Gini index for Russia is higher than that of nearly all countries in Europe. It is higher than that of the European Union and of paradigmatic neoliberal countries such as Great Britain and Spain. In a table available in Wikipedia, listing countries from the most egalitarian to the most unequal, Russia comes in 103rd place (of a total of 160 countries). The Gini index for the United States is a little worse, but that isn’t saying much.

It is also outrageous to invoke the memory of those who died in the struggle against fascism. The tens of millions of Soviet citizens from the republics that made up the USSR at the time died in defense of something very different from what exists in Russia today. They would probably have called traitors those who today seek to usurp their immortal prestige.

In the hypothetical multi-polar stage that our government supporters like to portray, there is no difference between aligning oneself with this or that imperialist State. All options there are reactionary and counterrevolutionary. The true socialist option consists in joining the working, exploited, combative and progressive classes in all those states.

When people extoll the Russian State, I tend to get goose-bumps. Is that where our system is heading? Some time ago, Fidel Castro himself admitted he had made a mistake in believing one could profess to know how to build socialism, and the political and ideological leadership backed him on that pronouncement. Could it be they now know what it’s all about, and they are going to impose the McPutin version of Moscow on us?

18 thoughts on “What Russia’s Model Could Do for Cuba

  • Try it with vodka straight… Only good caviar.. and no crackers egg or onion… that’s cheating

  • Just for the record, in my personal experience, caviar is accompanied by champagne by people with educated palates. I admit that it is possible that peasants of your acquaintanceship do as you describe – perhaps to get ‘Fire’ in their uneducated bellies. Similarly and again in my experience it is normal to be baptised with water – but I am prepared to believe that peasants in your circle are baptised with frozen chilled vodka. In my view the production of vodka spoils good potatoes.

  • Caviar is consumed with frozen chilled vodka striaght… You silly peasant

  • Go to it!
    If I were offered caviar I would prefer to wash it down with champagne, don’t fancy distilled potatoes.
    I thought that the good looking Russian women had all got married to US men through matrimonial companies? So, I cannot vouch for the quality of those remaining under the rule of McPutin.

  • Y not… I heard caviar is good with chilled vodka nd women are hot ;))

  • If you live in the US and don’t understand the difference between the Russian and the US political systems, time to get out your bike and canoe and go off to visit the USSR.

  • No, this is “only” because the US has a non-communist system.
    In essence Cuba is run by a Stalinist oligarchy and in the US at least everyone has a voice.

  • That is only bc US is isolated from hostile actors geographically. In essence US is run by the finanical oligarchy and God help you if you ever rub them the wrong way homes…

  • Putin was at the centre of the group of former KGB officers and Communist Party officials who planned and organized the transition of the USSR as a Marxist-Leninist state into neo-fascist state ruled by a powerful and extremely wealthy oligarchy. In the last days of the Soviet Union, they transferred the considerable cash reserves of the Communist Party to offshore banks. Their intention was to keep the money out of the hands of Gorbachov and Yeltsin, and to fund their eventual return to power. The plan worked.

    So if you’re wondering what Raul & Vladimir discussed during their recent chat, it’s probably about how they did. Regime survival is utmost in Raul’s mind. The elite which rules Cuba now want to stay in power after the last vestiges of Marxism-Leninism are dropped.

  • Analyser should inform himself of some facts before resorting to his standard anti-US blather.

    According to Transparency International the US ranks #17 in the list of countries ranked by corruption (lower number meaning less corruption). #1 is Denmark. Canada is 10th, Cuba is #63, China is #100 and Russia is way down the list at #136. Somalia & North Korea are tied for most corrupt countries on earth, at #174. I notice that Cuba’s allies Syria (#159), Angola and Venezuela (tied at #161) are especially corrupt states.

    In the US, corruption is seen as a problem adversely affecting their political system. In Russia, corruption IS the political system.

  • No, I am referring to the Stalinist elite that is the inevitable result of the so-called communist system.

    Read the book: “The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Lider Maximo” by Juan Reinaldo Sanchez with Axel Gyldén.

  • A much bigger middle class, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, independent courts, ……. I could go on for a while.

  • For all of our flaws, corruption in the US does come close to the corruption in Russia.

  • Putin recognised:
    1) Cuba has not and is unlikely to have in the future the resources to meet its debts.
    2) Demanding payment would be to admit that the debt although supposedly to the USSR was actually to Russia as they controlled the USSR.
    Congratulations to the author for coining the word McPutin!

  • Transparency International estimates the annual cost of bribery in Russia at $300 billion, roughly equal to the entire gross domestic product of Denmark, or many times higher than the Russian budgetary allocations for health and education. Capital flight totaled $335 billion from 2005 to 2013, or about 5 percent of GDP. But then in 2014, with the ruble and oil prices tumbling, it reached more than $150 billion—a figure that has swollen Western bank coffers but made Russia the most unequal of all economies, in which, 110 billionaires control 35 percent of the country’s wealth.

    So yes, Russian model is over much the thing for Cuba, as far as Castro and his cronies think.

  • Sounds more like a stars and stripes ‘elite’ you are referring to.

  • How is this different from US model?

  • Russia offers the way out for the Castro elite: a neo-Stalinist system with a super-rich oligarchy.

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