14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 26 June 2021 — One of the most common practices in the Cuban education system, to guarantee that students pass the grade, occurs a few days before the exams. The teacher writes on the blackboard, or dictates for the students to write in their notebooks, the most important points of their subject. With his eyes open wide, he warns his students: “Pay attention, this is going to be on the test!”
The chemical formulas, mathematical equations, historical facts, literary works, the dark corners of geography that were not lucky enough to appear in that summary, will be condemned to oblivion.
The enthronement of this “pedagogical resource” seems to have extended to the ideological work environment of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). The simplification of the summaries makes the task easier for those who only pretend to be aware of what they need to answer to meet approval.
In the most recent meeting of the Political Bureau of the PCC, Rogelio Polanco, a member of the secretariat and head of its ideological department, released “a document that summarizes the ideas, concepts and guidelines extracted from the Central Report to the Eighth Congress, the closing speech and the documents approved in their work committees.” The compilation is available through an application on the Apliks official portal.
More than 40 days after the end of the communists’ great event, the Guidelines of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution and the Conceptualization of the Cuban Economic and Social Model of Socialist Development, which were supposedly updated in the Congress, still have not been published. Instead, they present a document that “summarizes” what was said in a couple of speeches and the resolutions issued by the working commissions.
The new text was revealed to 2,600 executives throughout the country on May 22 and will be subject to debate, first before the membership and later before the rest of the population. As explained by the first secretary, Miguel Díaz-Canel, this will help each one to interpret what is continuity and what is unity, and how both principles are defended. “If we don’t do it like that, we wouldn’t understand the Eighth Congress,” he concluded.
The presumption that a summary of what happened in the event is necessary to understand what it consisted of, reflects the little confidence that party leaders have in the ability to read their own membership and the people in general, or the little interest of the leadership in which the details that may arouse doubts or suspicions are known.
Is there any reason not to “declassify,” in its final version, the text so often proclaimed as “the theoretical, conceptual and action guide for the construction of socialism in Cuba”? The reading of the resolution on this subject is reduced to a few obvious points, such as that “Cuban society is in the historical period of construction of socialism, which the Communist Party of Cuba – unique, Marti, Fidelista, Marxist and Leninist – reaffirms its leading role,” and others of similar theoretical value.
The same question can be formulated in relation to the updating of the Guidelines for the 2021-2026 period, which were initially prepared at the Sixth Congress and modified at the Seventh.
The resolution on the guidelines informs us that the current version consists of 201 points and that so far 30% have been implemented, 40% are in implementation and the remaining 30% are in the proposal and approval stage. None are quoted verbatim and there is only access to general comments related to the importance of the socialist state enterprise, the need to produce more food and replace imports, in addition to continuing to prioritize the development of science and not neglect social justice.
Could it be that there was no consensus and the update of both documents was not even completed? Or are the people “not politically prepared” to understand certain concepts?
In his speech during the meeting, Miguel Díaz-Canel summarized the catechism in two words: unity and continuity. And in a space-time philosophical acrobatics, he declared: “Generational continuity is a fundamental part of unity.”
In oblivion will remain, as too abstract, the laws of socialist economy, historical materialism, the precepts of scientific communism and even those uncomfortable definitions of property that they do not know how to write in programmatic documents.
What it is going to prove is that: “Everyone, pay attention to the oldest ones,” even if it seems conservative or reactionary.
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