Reinaldo Escobar, 1 June 2017 — With its usual unanimity, the National Assembly of People’s Power, on Thursday, supported the documents submitted to it by the Council of State. The extraordinary session put the final stitch in the straitjacket that the Communist Party of Cuba (CCP) is placing on the Parliament and other organs of power for the coming years.
Since Wednesday, the committees gathered at the Havana Convention Center have expressed their support for the Conceptualization of the Cuban Social Economic Development and Social Model and the updating of the Party Policy and Revolution Guidelines for the period 2016-2021.
The final versions of the documents were presented to the deputies, after a long process of debate that included modifications, additions and deletions. The Third Plenum of the Central Committee had given them the green light in mid-May, and all that was left was for the members of the Eighth Legislature to raise their hands to ratify their support.
In the Constitution of the Republic, where the powers of the Parliament are specified, it is not established that the Members have the obligation or the assignment to analyze documents issued by the PCC, nor those that the Council of State presents before them.
The absence of a healthy and democratic division of powers that the country suffers has become more visible in the last hours, with the act of parliamentary meekness that has meant that the non-partisan entity supports the documents emanating from the structures of a militancy.
The absence of a healthy and democratic division of powers that the country suffers has become more visible in the last hours, with the act of parliamentary meekness
So as not to overstate the confusion about responsibilities, the government chose the verb “to back,” rather than “ratify,” “vote” or “approve,” for what happened on June 1. In the selection of the word, the formal character of what happened was evidenced, for under no circumstances would the deputies have had the power to disapprove the documents.
If anyone had a question about parliamentary autonomy first vice-president, Miguel Díaz-Canel was responsible for dissipating it when he stressed that “everything that is approved here comes as recommendations prized by the higher echelons of the Party.”
When the Party “submits to the consideration” of the National Assembly its programmatic guidelines, it is not subordinating itself to this supreme body of state power, but using it as a docile executor of its policy. It makes the legislature the implementer of the narrow limits which Raul Castro wants to leave as a frame for the political class of the country before vacating the presidential chair next February.
Not in vain, the General stressed in his closing speech of the session that the documents backed by the legislature will permit “changing everything that should be changed,” but at “a speed that allows us to reach consensus.” An affirmation with which he reiterates his preferences that the transformations happen “step by step” or “gradually,” but in which he also reveals his fears.
When the Party “submits to the consideration” of the National Assembly its programmatic guidelines, it is not subordinating itself to this supreme body of state power, but using it as a docile executor of its policy
But the unanimity reached in these two days is not that strong either. In several of the speeches, the deputies made clear the distance between the theoretical postulates that were established as inviolable laws in the construction of socialism, and the times in which the island is living. Under the apparent uniformity lies the clash between entelechy and reality, plans and results.
In several historical moments and national instances in which this tension has manifested itself, the Solomonic – or chameleonic – formula has been called on to be able to continue to say that the country is guided by Marxist-Leninist doctrines, but shaded with “our own realities and experiences.”
The dominance of social property over the means of production and the exercise of power by a single party are the two pillars on which the whole program is dispersed in guidelines, conceptualizations and programs. However, there is no longer talk of eliminating the exploitation of man by man, nor is the superior society aspired to defined as “Communism.”
The National Assembly expects another bitter drink, because the Party does not legislate, at least directly. The PCC will have to instruct the deputies to determine the amount of wealth that citizens will be able to accumulate, and whether the redistribution of resources generated in non-state forms of production will be accomplished by way of taxes or confiscations.
At that time, the parliamentarians will be pushed to sew fine stitches and to reinforce with them the guide to action left to them by “Castroism.” It will be the last chance this organ of the Popular Power has, before becoming a total ventriloquist of the Party.