Between Transfusions / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, 13 April 2016 — It is no surprise that the Cuban communist party is sick. The run-up to its 7th Congress unleashed a campaign of “transfusions” in a effort to revive it. These included excerpts of old speeches from the front pages of Granma that addressed the subject, opinion pieces and even short editorials on the same topic and lastly an item with the suggestive title “Without the Party the Revolution Could Not Exist.”

A revolution is a process that lasts for a certain period of time. It is certainly not eternal nor does it drag on for fifty-seven years. The Cuban Revolution lasted, more or less, until 1975 or 1976, when it became institutionalized. After that, it was just a government, the government of the Republic of Cuba. To continue referring to it as “revolutionary” is nothing more than an ideological addiction.

When the Revolution came to an end, the party began losing importance. Today young people have no interest in it. Adults support it out of opportunistic convenience and some old people out of inertia.

Its big problem is that it has never acknowledged its mistakes nor apologized to the Cuban people for them. It maintains a triumphalist attitude, boasting of its “achievements” and “successes” which are often simply the result of previous “bloopers.”

For example, it talks of leading a populist campaign against economic mistakes but fails to mention it is responsible for those same mistakes. Similarly, it does not take responsibility for the persecution of those who think differently, for the persecution of homosexuals and the religious, for the creation and continued existence of rural labor camps, for ludicrous agricultural plans that destroyed the farming and livestock sectors, for sending Cubans off to take part in foreign wars, for the many restrictions that have been in force for years, for controlling access to information, for public acts of repudiation, for physical assaults on citizens, for arbitrary judicial actions, for unjust executions and many other excesses.

In spite of all the frenzied propaganda, the Cuban Communist Party is as old as it so-called “historic leaders” and beset by the same inevitable ailments that come with the passage of time. If it hopes to survive, it will have to undergo a complete overhaul, casting aside its dogmatism and fanaticism, and adapting to the times, which no longer seem to be about long-held resentments and age-old hatreds but rather respect and peaceful coexistence. At least that is what interests the new generation, who are tired of all the hollow rhetoric, endless misery and lack of any real opportunity.