The Next Congress? Or the Last? / Miriam Celaya

Any Cuban who followed the media on Tuesday, November 9th might have concluded that the Communist Party has suddenly gone underground. At least that should be impression when finding out the news that, next April 2011, the VI Cuban Communist Party Congress, which has been organized in great secrecy, will be the held. To add to the sense of unreality, the announcement took place within the frame of the celebration of the “Act for the Tenth Anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement for Cuba-Venezuela Cooperation” (¿?), and with no previous mediation for an official discussion among the membership base to establish the proposed members and the agenda for the Congress.

It has been reported that, this time, the one-party will have one theme, and only one, for the most momentous conclave, “the update of the economic model and social development of the country, whose guidelines — already developed by the paramount chiefs and ready to be digested by the lower membership and the rest of the “masses” — have been published in a booklet which, undoubtedly, was also developed in secret. One should, therefore, ask: can there seriously be a debate on Cuba’s economy without discussing the failed policies (and shod) which have put us in a state of terminal crisis? Is it possible, when tracing the economic patterns, to exclude the critical social situation in the country and to find ways to design their solution? It is clear that the government intends to use the swamp fires, flowing in the form of Chavista subsidies, from that cadaver called ALBA to divert attention from the problems at root level afflicting the nation. On the other hand, we don’t know if a delicate theme will be decided or if it will remain pending until another occasion: Will the First Secretary remain in office or will we have a “new” octogenarian ideologically renovating the model? Or, better yet, will there be elections in this sui generis Congress?

Another satirical touch that can lead to confusion is the provision of a copy of the brochure by the Cuban President to the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez. Is he a member of the Cuban Communist Party? Does this man by any chance have the right to know, before the Cuban people themselves, the “Guidelines of Economic and Social Policy” that will supposedly chart this country’s destiny over the next five years? After thirteen years without holding the most important meeting, and without the renewal of its top leaders, in clear violation of the statutes of the organization, communist activists have been publicly excluded from its preparation: a just reward for their proverbial servility. After all –- the owners of the ranch in ruins might say to themselves — they always nod and applaud.

But, without a doubt, this time, the political farce that still clings to leadership here have exceeded their limits significantly; it is no longer possible to follow the desperate juggling of the heads of the three-ring circus. However, vigilance is needed, because not one thing of what is happening is by chance. The old dinosaurs are hiding some agreement with their South American pet. Something that may have to do with a new injection of petrodollars that will allow them to soften the blows on the Caribbean plantation slaves, at least for a very short period of time; perhaps the possibility to evade international pressure momentarily by a childish demonstration of proficiency. Time bought with this piggybank called Venezuela that the aspiring dictator continues to gouge at will. The Venezuelan people must have paid dearly for the little pamphlet which, in a false gesture of symbolic submission, the lesser Castro will surrender to Hugo Chavez!

Translated by Norma Whiting

November 11, 2010