All Power to the Militancy

Of the 605 candidates for the National Assembly of People’s Power, 576 are members of the PCC or its “youth wing,” the UJC. (CMKX Radio Bayamo)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 12 March 1018 — Far from the vaunted diversity and plurality of which the Government boasts, the composition of the National Assembly of Cuba reveals that more than 95% of the deputies who will take office on April 19 will be active in the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) or in the Young Communists Union (UJC).

Of the 605 candidates to the National Assembly of People’s Power that had to be ratified in the elections of this Sunday, 11 March, 576 are members of the PCC or its “youth wing,” the UJC. While only 29, which represent a mere 4.79% of the assembly members, do not belong to any of these organizations.

The PCC has slightly more than 600,000 militants, an amount similar to that of the members of the UJC, according to official figures. Hence, together they barely exceed one million people in a population of 11 million. If this corresponds to the presence in Cuban society of members of these organizations, the percentage would be 65.4%.

In that small minority of non-militants among the candidates for the National Assembly, there are figures such as Maria Armenia Yi Reina, the ecumenical leader of the Los Amigos Church. The 49-year-old deputy is the only woman in Parliament who is not a member of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) and the only assembly member who is not a member of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR). A rarity.

Among the non-militants is Jorge Luís Romero Herrera, a cobbler who seems to have arrived at the Assembly to meet the quota for the non-state or self-employed sector. The young man also stands out for having won a bronze medal in a boxing tournament and, curious fact, he worked as a driver in military counterintelligence.

Singer and composer Raúl Torres, lacking the acronym PCC or UJC in his biography, brings the most relevant qualifications of having created songs dedicated to Hugo Chavez (The Return of the Friend) and Fidel Castro (Riding with Fidel). This last musical theme catapulted him to Parliament after being played to the point of delirium during the funeral of the former president.

Composition of Parliament split by members of the PCC and UJC and non-members (14ymedio)

Other personalities of culture and sports such as the Havana native Digna Guerra, director of the National Choir of Cuba, the plastic artist Nelson Domínguez Cedeño who represents Morón, and the Olympic champion Yipsi Moreno on the Camagüey list, are also some among the small group of non-militants. A drop in the middle of an ocean of PCC members.

It’s enough to review the listings published in recent weeks by the official press, to note that the provinces of Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sanctis Spíritus and the special municipality Isla de la Juventud send representatives to Parliament of whom 100% of members of the PCC. They are the “dyed red” regions whose representatives will act under party discipline.

Havana, with a representation of 106 deputies, turns out to be the province with the largest number of non-members (13), followed by Santiago de Cuba, which, out of a total of 54 parliamentarians, has at least 4 are not part of either of the two political organizations. In the rest of the country the numbers are even scarcer.

With this overwhelming majority of parliamentarians with a red card in their pockets, the governing elite makes sure that the deputies are owed more to the party organization than to the National Assembly. There is no doubt about the deputies’ priorities given that the Constitution of the Republic establishes that the Party “is the superior ruling force of society and of the State” and party discipline requires absolute subordination.

Positioned to choose between two loyalties, these 596 militants will undoubtedly choose to follow the guidelines of the PCC general secretary, a position that Raúl Castro will occupy until 2021, unless an extraordinary congress is held to replace him.

Thus, among those who will choose the new Council of State and the future president loyalty and obedience will be imposed, tinged with a false diversity. If Vladimir Ilyich Lenin launched the slogan “All Power to the Soviets” in 1917, a century later Castro has reinterpreted that idea and plans to fill his last Parliament with 100% reliable deputies.


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