14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 28 March 2016 – Just 18 days before the start of the 7th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), the Party’s newspaper Granma tries to explain in an editorial dated this Monday the reasons why it is not envisioned, on this occasion, that there will be “a process of popular discussion similar to that undertaken five years ago on the Guidelines for the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution.”
The editorial in the official organ of the PCC says that questioning the absence of a debate, “is in no way not open to criticism… much less so when it comes from people genuinely concerned about the work of the Party and the destiny of the country.” Then it immediately emphasizes that over the last six decades almost all “the big decisions have invariably been taken in consultation with the people.”
The note coincides with the publication of an open letter to Raul Castro written by the official journalist Francisco Rodriguez Cruz, in which he communicates his concern and dissatisfaction with “the lack of discussion” of the central documents of party meeting. The Party militant says he has raised these questions on several occasions without having received “any direct or convincing answer.”
Rodriquez Cruz proposes postponing the event for “just three months” to “dedicate the months of April and May to discussing the central documents of the Congress with the entire Party membership, and also with the rest of the Cuban population.” This reporter for the weekly magazine Workers apologizes if the missive published is “mistaken in method” and could be considered “an unforgivable lack of discipline.”
However, the party authorities brandish, as their principal argument for not having opened a public discussion on the agenda of the conclave, the fact that the work of the Congress, this time, is to “finish what was begun, to continue the implementation of the popular will expressed five years ago, and to continue the direction charted by the 6th Congress.”
Near the end of the editorial the titles of six documents are revealed that will be considered in the most important Party event. The first three are the assessment of the performance of the economy in the 2011-2015 five-year period, the fulfillment of the Guidelines and the updating of them for the 2016-2021 period.
The remaining three documents that Granma believes do not have to be discussed with the population are the long awaited conceptualization of the Cuban economic and social model of Socialist development, the economic and social development program to 2030, and the evaluation of the completion of the work objectives approved at the First National Conference of the Party in January of 2012.
The 7th Congress is unequivocally presented as a continuation of what the Communists agreed on five years ago, with the declared purpose of “constructing a prosperous and sustainable socialism,” as least as indicated in the article published this Monday under the title “Less Than a Month From the Party Congress.”
Nothing is said about having to renew the Central Committee (chosen in the 5th Congress almost 19 years ago), nor is there reference to the consequences of reestablishing relations with the United States, nor is there any forecast related to the eventual repeal of the embargo.
There is no mention of the Party’s position on such important issues as the announced new Electoral Law, or the need to introduce changes in the Constitution of the Republic. As a warning, it has been made known from the pages of Granma that the Guidelines will not be changed, only updated, and outside of them nothing else is worth being discussed.