Cuba’s Ruling Party Looks With Relief on China’s Communist Party Congress

The Cuban government sees a reliable ally in China, whose present Congress is a sign of continuity and stability. (EFE / How Hwee Young)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 18 October 2017 — When the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, with its hammer and sickle as the dominant element in the decor, opened in the Great Hall of Peking in Beijing, the Cuban government breathed a sigh of relief. Havana is betting that the partisan meeting guarantees the continuity of the system in the Asian giant and puts the power of the United States against the ropes.

Raul Castro’s government needs the Chinese Party’s conclave to consolidate Beijing’s leading role internationally and for “the Chinese solution” to renew the air of the communist utopia in the face of the “advance of neoliberalism.” The motto of Chinese President Xi Jinping, “a modestly affluent society,” is reflected in the version here of “a prosperous and sustainable socialism.”

With these expectations, national orthodoxy felt at ease with the opening speech of Xi Jinping, who proclaimed to 2,300 delegates that in the next five years they will continue the same policies as in his first five-year term, although more markedly so, and that there will be no space for divergence.

This last point is reassuring to the island’s Government, which has copied many of the Chinese repressive methods, especially those related to internet control, censorship of digital sites, and creating a large army of cyber cops to control or influence the opinions of the internauts.

The island’s government has copied many of China’s repressive methods, such as internet control, digital censorship, and creating a large army of cybercops

However, the most important thing for the Cuban Communist Party is to be able to count on its Chinese counterpart amid a changing international landscape, looking ahead to Raul Castro’s pending departure from the presidency this coming February. Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House, and his backtracking in the diplomatic thaw between both nations, also forces looking in another direction, especially with a Venezuela that every day sinks more deeply into economic problems and political volatility.

The stable ally is China, whose present Congress is a sign of continuity and stability, a power far enough away not to pose a threat to sovereignty and ready to speak up for Havana in international forums. It is a country that ventures to sign economic agreements with the island, though without the magnanimous generosity of the former Soviet Union.

The current relationship between the two regimes is marked by a certain amount of amnesia that makes them forget that years ago the Chinese were not seen in these parts as allies, but as a danger to the cause of communism. Today’s friends were rejected until very recently.

In early 1965, Fidel Castro denounced the distribution of political propaganda by the embassy of the People’s Republic of China among high commanders of the Armed Forces and, a few months later, the Cuban leader ranted against the Asian nation over the decline in its rice sales to the Island.

In 1977, Castro said in an interview with CNN that Mao Zedong “destroyed with his feet what he had created with his head over many years,” an act that “one day the people of China and the Communist Party of China will have to recognize,” he predicted.

After decades of estrangement in the relationship, Havana and Beijing again approached each other in 1989

After decades of estrangement in the relationship, Havana and Beijing again approached each other in 1989 and six years later Fidel Castro made his first state visit to China. References to the disagreements were erased from official books and publications.

Nowadays it is difficult to find in any library one of those manuals prepared by the Communist Party of Cuba in which it called Maoism a “counterrevolutionary current.” The Soviet-produced documentary titled The Long Night Over China has also conveniently gone out of circulation.

This week, when several Chinese-language students approached the Chinese embassy to request published documents about the XIX Congress, they were not even invited in. They were just told that they should make an appointment in advance. In addition to that incident, ordinary Cubans have hardly raised their expectations of what will come out of the Congress in Beijing.

In general, Cubans are convinced that the Chinese wall will not collapse like the Berlin Wall and that the reforms brought about by the current congress will not bring democracy to that country. For its part, the Plaza of the Revolution knows that the island will not have an ally like the Soviet Union, but Raul Castro is relieved to confirm that he is not alone on the planet.

Crime or Combat? The Death of Che

Ernesto Guevara shortly before his death in La Higuera, Bolivia, in 1967. (DR)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 5 October 2017 — Half a century after the death of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, the official narrative of what happened on October 9, 1967 in La Higuera, Bolivia has significantly changed.

After repeating for decades that Che was murdered in a school in that South American country, the Communist Party’s propaganda media, and in particular the official Party newspaper Granma, have rebaptized the event “The fall in combat of the Heroic Guerrilla.”

The variation is no small thing if one takes into account that dying during an armed confrontation, in addition to having a more heroic character, implies that the deceased was not a victim, but an active participant in a conflict. At the stroke of a pen, government propaganda has opted to discard the version of a crime and highlight the military epic, thus withdrawing blame from those who ordered the trigger to be pulled. continue reading

Had he not died in those bellicose circumstances, Guevara might have celebrated his status as a nonagenarian on June 14, although others say that he was actually born on May 14. Like every human being turned into myth, his biography is plagued with contradictions and dark areas, controversies and half truths. Even the dates of his arrival and departure from this world are under discussion.

Perhaps if he not died in La Higuera, the Argentine would have ended his days in the boring offices of some ministry or would have been ousted from power in one of the purges that took place over the last half a century. In any case there would not be so many legends about his life today, nor would any films have been made idealizing or stigmatizing it.

Without those rifle shots fired at 1:10 pm in that small classroom, the man in that emblematic photo where he is seen with long hair and a gaze lost in the distance would not have become a twentieth century icon. He would not fill the shelves of the souvenir shops or stare out from the shirts of so many young people.

With slight variations, all accounts agree that on October 8, 1967 Guevara was captured and one day later, without having been subjected to a judicial process, he lost his life at the hands of a Bolivian soldier who carried out the orders of his Government. He was unarmed and wounded.

Other versions directly or indirectly blame the CIA, especially the Cuban Félix Rodríguez, alias El Gato.

At the Summit of the Americas held in Panama in April 2015, Cuban official media reported that Rodríguez was there to meet with some of the island’s opponents who attended the event. Among other insults from the ‘shock troops’ organized by the Plaza of the Revolution at the Summit, Cuba’s human rights activists were accused of having traveled there “to embrace Che’s murderer.” Now this individual appears to have been exonerated from homicide by the grace of the pro-government press.

Cuba continues to insist on commemorating the death of Guevara on October 8, as Fidel Castro mentioned in the first official information about his death. That is the reason why this Sunday a common program with symphonic works, poems and songs will be presented in several concert halls of the country.

In the city of Santa Clara, where the memorial is located with the remains of the other Cubans who fell in the guerrilla war in Bolivia, recalling the date will be the central act. None of those present will dare to question the significant change in the official version of events surrounding the anniversary.

Chronicle Of A Failed Nomination

Roberto Santana Capdesuñer, independent candidate from Holguín. (Courtesy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 26 September 2017 — Located between two bays, the Holguin municipality of Antilla is among the smallest of Cuba. In District 3, young Roberto Miguel Santana Capdesuñer aspired to be a delegate at the Nominating Candidates Assembly, but a mixture of chance and likely bad intention prevented it.

Santana, 27, has been collaborating for two years with the platform #Otro18 (Another 2018) and has become coordinator of the initiative in the provinces of Granma and Holguín. In order to make a living, he obtained a license as a food seller, but the inspectors pursued him with the fines until they made his “life impossible.”

He then got a job at a state-run restaurant where he kept the accounts. However, they soon dismissed him on the grounds that he was not reliable because he was not revolutionary. Fed up with feeling segregated for not sharing the ideology of power, he decided to throw himself into activism. continue reading

Santana talks about the situation of his town with the same pain that he would recount his personal sufferings. “Our main problems are housing, food and lack of medications. In our pharmacy there is a list of 120 drugs which are missing,” he says.

The port of Antilla, which previously gave life to the place, is no longer operating and there is only one tobacco factory and a corn mill.

Like most Cubans linked to the political opposition, Santana has been the subject of police citations, arbitrary arrests, searches of the house where he lives, confiscation of his belongings, interrogations and, above all, a systematic campaign to discredit him.

Along with the risks, his attitude has also placed him in a leadership position among his neighbors. “Many people come to tell me their problems because they see in me an alternative, something different and that fills me with satisfaction,” he tells this newspaper. “There are more people who put their trust in me than those who see me as an enemy.”

In the current electoral process, the Nominating Assembly of his area was scheduled for September 7, but was suspended without fixing a new date due to Hurricane Irma. After a few days, the nomination process began again throughout the municipality, with the exception of District 3 where the activist resides.

Santana recalls that on Monday, September 18, he was advised that they could see his daughter at the pediatric hospital in Holguín. That same night he went there with his little four-year-old Lauren, and she was immediately admitted, he says.

The haste to hospitalize her came as a surprise to Santana, who on other occasions found that “there is a long wait for that.” At seven o’clock the next day he received an urgent call to inform him that the people in charge of calling the meeting were telling the voters that the Assembly would be held in an hour.

Trapped in the provincial capital, two hours from his village, the aspiring delegate saw his candidacy dissolve. The neighbors who were in a position to propose him thought that his absence was a sign that he had given up standing for election. The work he had done for more than two years and waiting for that moment came to nothing.

He later learned that no citation to come to the meeting was delivered to his mother-in-law’s house where he lives with his wife. “At that time there was no transport between Holguín and Antilla and even if I had had a car of my own it would have taken two hours to get there,” Santana laments.

Of the 200 voters in the district only 70 participated in the Assembly, according to what several residents told 14ymedio. An irregularity that contradicts the electoral rules, which require that “the massive presence of the voters of the area be verified beforehand,” before the meeting begins.

“They took advantage of the fact that I was facing a family problem to call the meeting just one hour ahead of time,” claims the activist. In his mind, the idea that State Security was behind such haste took shape. “It was unethical, a real trick,” he said.

Contingency and arbitrariness conspired against Santana that night to prevent his being chosen as a different delegate. “Not like others who want to serve as puppets to the government, sheltered behind the wall of the Communist Party, but as a counterpart in favor of the people of the neighborhood,” comments the frustrated candidate.

For the moment and under the current Electoral Law, the young activist will have to wait at least two and a half more years to try again.

The Intellectual and Power, More Than an Epistolary Relationship

’Love Letters to Stalin’, by Juan Mayorga, is being performed at the Argos Theater in Havana. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 25 September 2017 — When leaving the Argos Theater after the performance of Love Letters to Stalin, a good part of the audience needs to shake their heads. Like someone waking from a nightmare, there will be those who, for long minutes, fear that the monsters from the dream might appear around the next corner.

The play, with the original text by Spaniard Juan Mayorga, brings to the stage the drama experienced by the writer Mikhail Bulgakov (born Kiev, 1891) given his tense relationship with the Soviet Government. The author of novels such as The White Guard became known on the Island thanks to his book The Master and Margarita (1926), which could only be published 26 years after his death.

The piece, directed by Abel González Melo, tackles the thorny issue of the interaction between intellectuals and power, a bond that is stretched thin when rulers exercise strict censorship and the freedom of the artist is mired in the marshes of politics. continue reading

Although complacent art, which sings praises to tyrants, rarely survives the fall of dictatorships, the script suggests that the irreverent pay a high personal and editorial cost to transcend the sterilizing whims of power. In the words of the protagonist in Love Letters to Stalin: “An artist who is silent is not a real artist … How can I write songs to a country that for me is like a prison?”

In the small theater on Ayestaran Street the audience watches the scenes in which Bulgakov writes letters to the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (1879-1953) denouncing that performances of the play The Purple Island have been prohibited. The writer also complains that the play The Days of the Turbins was barred and that Zoe’s Apartment was removed from the listings.

“I do not have the courage to live in a country where I can neither represent nor publish my works. I am writing to you so that you will return to me my freedom as a writer or expel me from the Soviet Union with my wife,” he cries in his letter.

According to Bulgakov’s biographers, Stalin responded to this letter in 1930 with a telephone call. In the scene in which the sound of the ringing phone is heard, the actor Alberto Corona – who represents the writer – jumps for joy and embraces his wife, played by Liliana Lam. Full of glee he shouts: “Comrade Stalin has called me!”

Desperation leads Bulgakov to the delirium of imagining, standing in his living room, the unmistakable figure of the dictator, who is given life by the actor Pancho Garcia, winner of the 2012 National Theater Award. (14ymedio)

However, the communication remains unfinished due to technical problems at the moment when Stalin was about to schedule a personal encounter with the artist. From that moment, the novelist and playwright does nothing more than write new missives and stay home waiting for the phone to ring again. “All I have written is a child’s play if I compare it with a letter to Stalin,” he says.

Desperation leads Bulgakov to the delirium of imagining that he sees, standing in the middle of his living room, the unmistakable figure of the dictator, brought to life by the actor Pancho Garcia, winner of the 2012 National Theater Award.

The specter of Stalin that dialogues with the writer is not only that iron man who orders the death of his fellow combatants, but also the magnanimous chief who feels “surrounded by the incompetent” and who wishes to sit down and converse with an uncomfortable intellectual to hear his views about the future of the country.

A Stalin who, at the same time, shows his darker side. A rogue who “has almost driven our friend Zamiatin crazy, and has succeeded in getting Maiakosvki to commit suicide,” says Bulgakov. The innocent idealization of that Stalin also represents the writer’s last hope of becoming accepted without having to give up himself.

The need to prove that he is not on the side of enemies, his love of the country where his writing is nourished, and growing unease because his work is pushed aside, weave the fall of the Russian writer. A descent into the abyss of ostracism, from which only a pact with the censor could save him.

“I suspect that in Cuba in 2017, some of his phrases and situations will be heard and observed as they have not been anywhere else,” said the author, Juan Mayorga. Comparisons between that USSR and a Cuba where, for years, critical authors were penalized with an exclusion from the catalogs of published books, a ban on travel and the execution of their reputations.

The staging of Love Letters to Stalin in a theater in Havana reopens the debate on the consequences of decades of censorship and control over cultural production and over the island’s intellectuals. From Fidel Castro’s Words to the Intellectuals, to the arrest of graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, all the stories of exclusion or submission of an artist parade in the minds of the spectators.

Thus, Bulgakov becomes at times Virgilio Piñera, Heberto Padilla and Maria Elena Cruz Varela. For moments he also longed to be closer to the authorities and enjoy the status of a novelist pampered by institutions, in the style of Manuel Cofiño, Miguel Barnet or Abel Prieto. Only to finally discover in his own experience that authoritarians do not seek writers but propagandists; they prefer slogans over literature.

Aimara Peña: “I want to hear what the citizens have to say”

Aimara Peña, a spiritual activist who will stand as a candidate for the elections. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana 16 September 2017 — Aimara Peña was a little over 16 when she enrolled in a degree to qualify as a primary school teacher, but in the last semester of the course she was expelled from the Pedagogical University of Sancti Spiritus for her incipient political activism.

Now, the young woman seeks to represent her constituency as a delegate to the People’s Power. To achieve this, she will have to be proposed at one of the nomination meetings for candidates in the Las Pozas community, where she lives with her husband and two children, aged four and nine.

Peña has extensive experience in the reporting of human rights violations, the exercise of citizen journalism and work as an independent librarian. Works that have allowed her to know the exigencies of her neighbors. continue reading

Six kilometers from the provincial capital, Las Pozas, with 2,000 in habitants, has bus service only until six in the afternoon and lacks private carriers to alleviate the situation. The activist intends to seek a solution to this problem if she is elected.

Aimara Peña joined the Network of Electoral Facilitators whose main purpose is to ensure that citizens – ones with the will to represent the true interests of the population – occupy positions in these basic structures of People’s Power.

“The idea of ​​being a delegate always appealed to me,” explains the young woman who, at just 27, decided to run “to show that the work we do as activists is completely legal.”

With her attitude she also wants to motivate those people whom she energized to participate in the electoral process. “They are afraid and some are also undecided, so I wanted to set the example.”

The spiritual activist is dedicated “to listening to everything citizens have to say.” She believes that “at present the functions of the delegates are very limited despite being public figures in direct contact with the population and the only one that Cubans elect [directly].”

Peña is convinced that his main duty “is to help make the role of the district delegate a truly important one.” Until now the authorities use it as a channel to transmit information to the people but the delegate must work to “demand from the government what the people want,” she explains. “We have to start reversing that equation.”

Peña knows what she is facing. Although she has not received direct threats so far, not even an “unofficial visit,” she has received signals that the Party and Government organs are trying to deal with her candidacy by spreading negative rumors about her.

Something that does not kill her dream: “I think I have all the qualifications to present myself, and at least until now they have respected that, I hope that during the assembly, which still has no fixed date, things continue as before.”

In the Nominating Assembly, voters will have vote by an open show of hands and the fear of reprisals can have a negative effect.

“To some extent, many people close to me feel a little fear, because this is a decision that also involves the family, but my parents and my husband support me, they have been a pillar to strengthen me,” says the enthusiastic young woman.

If, in addition to being proposed, she manages to get the majority of hands to raise for her in that assembly, the name of Peña will appear on a ballot. Her photo and biographical data will be displayed in the same electoral district where a ballot box will collect the sentiment of the 754 voters of Pozas’s District 23.

“A lot of people will be afraid to raise their hands in my favor in the assembly, but once that barrier is overcome, the chances will be greater with the secret ballot.” She doesn’t doubt that if her name reaches the secret ballot in the next round her neighbors will vote for her. “All this, what I have been working for so long, will bear fruit,” she said.

The Strength That Weakens Us

Line to buy unrationed bread after the passage of Hurricane Irma through Havana. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 14 September 2017 — The passage of the devastating Hurricane Irma along the northern coast of Cuba and the subsequent recovery process have underscored the strength of a powerful state and the fragility of a deprived citizenry.

In each of the 14 provinces affected, from Guantanamo to Artemisa, substantial resources were mobilized almost immediately to restore power and communication networks, to reopen blocked roads and to collect solid waste. Following the order issued from the highest governmental body, priorities were established to restore the accommodation capacity of affected tourist centers and to make hospitals and schools fully operational.

Inside the thousands of houses hit by the fury of the winds or flooded by the penetrations of the sea, the drama unfolds at a different speed. In each of them, insignificant in appearance, are the possessions treasured by a housewife in her kitchen, clothing, mattresses, old furniture inherited from ancestors, appliances, and a long list of personal belongings, acquired through unimaginable sacrifice; everything that was once irreplaceable, has suddenly become unrecoverable. continue reading

The almighty state presents itself as generous with what it considers essential, so it “advanced” the monthly quota for the rationed market and sells food “at reasonable prices” in the most vulnerable areas. But speaking in legal terms, the state “does not know” what the citizens obtain through the intricate roads of the black market, nor is it aware of the backpack sent by a relative in Miami, shoes bought in the hard currency market, the television delivered by a mule who traveled from Panama or the computer sold by a neighbor before leaving the country.

Many losses cannot even be declared because of the fear of becoming a confessed recipient of goods acquired by illegal means.

Another aspect that emphasizes the fragility of those affected is the huge difference between the real cost and the legal price of the properties. What the buyer paid for a house or car can be 2000% higher than the value officially recorded for it, so that when quantifying the total damage or destruction, the true damage caused to the victim is never reflected.

In a nation of the dispossessed, the resilience of individuals and families affected by natural disasters depends on what the all-owning state assigns to everyone under the rules of distribution imposed by egalitarianism.

Those who, by one means or another, have achieved economic empowerment do not have a guarantee that assures them prompt reparations for the damages. This emerging middle class, which rose after Raul Castro’s timid reforms, is marked by the concept of self-sufficiency, which means that everyone must face the risks of entrepreneurship as best they can by themselves.

It will soon be reported that the hotels in the keys are even better than they were before Irma passed through, that air-conditioned buses filled with foreigners are already circulating along the causeways, and that all the airports are in service. What will never be known is how many snack bars, repair shops, restaurants and privately rented homes have disappeared.

The power of the state should not rest on the fragility of its citizens.

The New Electoral Guardians

A woman participating in the municipal elections in Cuba is saluted by two schoolchildren as she deposits her ballot. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 4 September 2017 — The Cuban elections have several publicized trademarks, among them the presence of children dressed in the school uniform to guard the polls. These Pioneers* confirm with a salute when the voter deposits their vote, in contrast to the armed soldiers who in the Republican past prevented the theft of the ballot boxes.

For four decades, the presence of these Pioneers has become a favored image of photographers and a symbolic gesture, in its double meaning of a signature act or uselessness. It is clear that no one is going to manipulate the ballots since all the legitimized candidates represent the interests of the only permitted party. continue reading

This September 4 is the first step in a process that will end on February 24, 2018, when Cuban citizens will find out who has been designated to fill the seats of the Council of State, particularly its president. This Monday the process starts as a “pilot experience” in a single constituency of each of the country’s 168 municipalities. Voting will take place in the other constituencies during the month of September.

The Government is concerned that these candidate nominating assemblies will allow an unwelcome candidate to make it through. Not only do they fear an opponent who belongs to an anti-government organization, but in a secluded district someone might appear who has the reputation of not applauding with sufficient enthusiasm.

To prevent such a thing from happening, the allegorical appeal of the Pioneers as guardians of the ballot boxes is of little use. With plenty of time in advance, a harsh-demeanored seguroso—State Security agent—will have visited anyone who intends to run independently.

It will not be necessary to show the ‘instruments’ to the nonconforming, it will be enough to warn of the fatal consequences that such daring might bring. Someone will remind them that they have a grandparent admitted to the hospital, a child who hopes to be a college student some day, a brother who is applying for a license to be self-employed, or a pig that fattens in their yard without permission.

If the threats do not take effect and the disobedient show up to be proposed in the nomination assembly, the work will be finished by the militants of the zone’s Party nucleus, who will have been schooled in the darkest corners of the biographies of the intrepid candidates.

Without modesty or shame they will point out some baseness such as “if he has been unfaithful to his partner, how can he be expected to be loyal to his constituents”; or mention that he buys on the black market or never shows up to perform voluntary work. Finally, the duly warned participants will be asked by a public show of hands whether the discredited aspirant will be nominated as a candidate.

On this occasion a new resource will come into play. The youth brigades of the 9th Congress of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) have programmed their agenda of activities precisely during the time period in which the nominating assemblies are held.

The initiative, which aims to carry out volunteer work and tour historical sites in tribute to the great CDR event, counts among its efforts “to support the assemblies where the people propose their candidates,” and everyone knows what this means. As Red Guards they will be watching over the purity of the proposed from the very genesis of the process.

The ballots will only bear the names of the most obedient and when the time comes to deposit them in the polls, the innocent Pioneers will have nothing to worry about.

Translator’s note: Cuban children are initiated into the Communist Party’s Pioneer movement in early elementary school and continue until adolescence, when they are expected to join the Young Communist League. The Pioneer’s motto, shouted by the children at school assemblies, is “Pioneers for communism: We will be like Che!”

Miguel Díaz-Canel Commits An Electoral Crime

Banner: (…) It is necessary that these elections be superior to all others. It is necessary that these elections show what the Revolution is, and the strength of the Revolution (…) We All Vote! (Yusmila Reyna / Twitter)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 28 August 2017 — A video posted on social networks shows the first vice president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, concerned that critical activists with the Communist Party (PCC) will become candidates in the next elections. The “favored youngest son” of the power elite does not hesitate to propose actions to block the opposition candidates, thus committing a crime under the current electoral law.

The official alludes to six projects that are running “counterrevolutionary people as candidates for People’s Power delegates.” If the dissidents “become delegates, they will reach the Municipal Assembly and could reach the Provincial Assembly,” he warns. If they enter Parliament “it would be a way of legitimizing the counterrevolution within our civil society.” continue reading

Not satisfied with these assertions, Diaz-Canel insists on violating the law that regulates elections in the country, confessing to his audience, made up of cadres of the PCC, that “we are now taking every possible step to discredit this, so that people sense there is a risk. ”

The “favored youngest son” of the power elite does not hesitate to propose actions to block the opposition candidates, thus committing a crime under the current electoral law

Coincidentally, last Thursday the newspaper Granma reported on the actions that are considered crimes against the process. Among them is to violate article 171 of the legislation, which states that “every elector will only take into account, in order to determine which candidate he will cast his vote in favor of, the candidate’s personal circumstances, prestige, and ability to serve the people.”

The rules in force are strict: “The propaganda that will be offered will be the dissemination of the biographies, accompanied by reproductions of the image of the candidates.” No individual or organization is entitled to add details about any programs they support, their political tendencies, or any other publicity, to these few elements.*

The ruling party also insists that the party does not nominate any candidate, an assertion that has just been denied by Diaz-Canel when he reveals that the organization will discredit opponents or, and it’s the same thing, will post negative propaganda against them and boycott their candidacy.

The absence of electoral campaigns has been offered up years by the Government as one of the basic principles that differentiates the Cuban electoral process — which is “alien, in principle, to all forms of opportunism, demagogy and politicking” — from contemporary international political practice.

Behind the scenes there are other powerful forces: intimidation of the electorate, vigilance of State Security and tight monitoring by the Party

Beyond Cuba’s borders, campaigns of this type are based on two essential components: highlighting a candidate’s values ​​and discrediting political opponents. Unfortunately, on too many occasions the competition between programs takes second place, while personal attacks and insults prevail, intended to insure that “people have a perception of risk” of what would happen if the candidate being attacked is elected to a public position.

On the island, the Popular Power elections are presented as the upper echelon in democracy as they do not appeal to clashes between antagonists, television debates and advertising paraphernalia. However, behind the scenes there are other powerful forces: intimidation of the electorate, vigilance of State Security and tight monitoring by the Party.

Many citizens dreamed that the upcoming elections, which will end with Raul Castro’s farewell to the presidency, would be governed by a new electoral law that would allow election campaigns between different parties. Rather than relying on such changes to be driven by the powers-that-be, initiatives like #Otro18 (Another 2018) and Candidates for Change set out to promote them from the bottom up.

The fear of losing political control has, however, prevented such transformations and has led Diaz-Canel to commit an electoral crime. It is paradoxical that what the current law considers an infraction is what opponents are demanding be included in a future electoral law: the ability to run a political campaign, to present proposals, and to publicly discredit the adversary.

*Translator’s note: Briefly, election campaigning is illegal in Cuba. Candidate biographies are drafted by the Communist Party and posted, with the candidate’s photo, on a single sheet of paper in a window in the candidate’s district. In the rare instance of a candidate not approved by the party making it through the first round, the official biography will make assertions along the lines of “the candidate is a counterrevolutionary who accepts funds from foreign sources.” An example of such a biography can be seen here.

License to Kill

Several young people remain beside the remains of a vehicle, at the scene of the attack last Thursday on Barcelona’s La Rambla. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 21 August 2017 — The most complex ethical dilemma facing a human being is to make the decision to die or to kill. Faced with this conflict, there are those who justify themselves by arguing that only by taking a life can they defend their family, their patrimony, the sovereignty of a nation, ideological principles or religious beliefs.

The terrorist attacks of the recent years have been committed mostly by Islamic fundamentalist groups convinced that “the infidels” should be eliminated wherever they are. The perpetrators of these acts are willing to sacrifice themselves to the cry of “Allah is great” as they leave a trail of civilian casualties.

There is no novelty in these hate crimes. In Spain itself, where last week a truck hit dozens of people, more than half a century ago Republicans shot the priests and the Falangists killed the poet Federico García Lorca, accused of being a communist and a homosexual. In 2004, in a single day, on 11 March, terrorists killed 193 passengers on four trains in Madrid. continue reading

The revulsion in the face of the attack on Barcelona’s La Rambla now becomes energetic but not unanimous, because revolutionaries find it hard to condemn such actions. The reason for this timidity is simple: Marxist ideology is based on the philosophical principle that the elimination of the opposition — by means of violent action — is the only formula for solving an antagonistic contradiction.

In his well-known Message to the Peoples of the World, published in April 1967 in the journal Tricontinental, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara defined in a radical way the sentiment that should accompany every revolutionary soldier: “Hatred as an element of the struggle; a relentless hatred of the enemy, impelling us over and beyond the natural limitations that man is heir to and transforming him into an effective, violent, selective and cold killing machine.”

As if he is advising the jihadists of today, the guerrilla concluded his recommendation warning, “We must carry the war into every corner the enemy happens to carry it: to his home, to his centers of entertainment; a total war.” A phrase that fits with the scene of the pedestrians who were walking along, last Thursday, on the Paseo Marítimo in Cambrils, unaware that the terrorists were preparing to turn their stroll into tragedy.

Revolutionary morality justifies murder and can be used by members of any political or religious sect. There is no difference between killing in the name of social justice, the supremacy of a race, or the imposition of a faith. Hate is intrinsic to the Marxist dialectic because, in the face of the “other,” the position that promotes this ideology does not come to accept it, but to annihilate it. Where the two do not fit, the solution is not to enlarge the space but to eliminate the excess.

Revolutionaries suspect that if they renounce this maxim they will lose the power they obtained by force, and that by showing themselves too tolerant they weaken their authority. A guerrilla, although disguised in the suit and tie of a statesman, knows that he cannot undermine the legitimacy of the armed struggle or violent acts, because they are part of his ideological DNA, they are in each of the chromosomes of his political actions.

These radicals, once they have society under control, undertake another form of extermination against their political opponents. They cut off their economic autonomy, prohibit their free association through laws, prevent them from expressing themselves in the media, and enact laws that penalize their disagreement. They are socially murdered.

The attempt to impose a single religion is similar to that of implementing the doctrine of a single party. In both cases, the promoters of fundamentalism are willing to denigrate, silence and kill “the infidels.”

The Teachings of ‘Don Castro’

Fidel Castro, born 91 years ago, has been reduced to slogans that Cubans pay no attention to as they pass by them. (EFE / Ernesto Mastrascusa)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, 14 August 2017 — With so much secrecy, so much myth and legend, it is not even known for sure if this August 13 was the actual date of the 91st anniversary of Fidel Castro’s birth. His life was so surrounded by exaggerations and lies that even the moment he was born and the name with which he was registered are open to question.

However, beyond any doubt, the day was propitious to reflect on the legacy of the former Cuban president, an imprint that has been reduced in officialdom’s Conceptualization of the Socialist Model to “his concept of Revolution” and the stubborn “conviction that yes we can achieve victory” with our own efforts. continue reading

That concept of “Revolution” – which is presented as his political will – is so ambiguous that it can be taken both as a result obtained and as a goal to be achieved. This theoretical hodgepodge is evidence of the lack of depth of the author’s thinking and his tendency to political opportunism, which allowed him to create slogans to encapsulate different moments.

Official media reproduce such a definition as a method for achieving dissimilar goals, the final fruit of a process or a tangle of moral values ​​close to the commandments of good behavior. However, in the absence of the violent component – which typifies any academic definition of Revolution – lies its main failure, to which is added the absence of the class approach that could be expected from a Marxist-Leninist.

The main teaching Fidel Castro has left us, which teachers warn their students they should pay attention to because “it will be on the test,” is voluntarism. The Commander-in-Chief instilled the idea that whomever is willing to defend a position at the risk of his own and others’ deaths, becomes invincible.

It does not matter if the cause to be defended is erroneous or valid. The cardinal rule, according to this theorem, is to accept a goal with unlimited enthusiasm and persevere in its realization at whatever price necessary.

Examples are the eradication of all vestiges of private property during the Revolutionary Offensive of 1968, the 1970 sugar harvest which attempted to yield 10 million tons of sugar, the idle effort to genetically transform livestock,or the purpose of combining study with work in the forgotten Schools in the Countryside. Along with these is a long list in which we should mention the energy revolution, the municipalization of universities and the extension of the cultivation of moringa.

Intensive grazing brought to Cuba by a French scientist, construction ‘microbrigades’, consecration in scientific research centers, special programs of rabbits, geese or buffalo, the doctor for 120 families, all called by the name ‘Plan Fidel’ and many other initiatives carried the personal imprint of one who considered himself an indisputable specialist on any subject he was superficially interested in.

Nothing and no one could stop Fidel Castro, except his own indiscipline and the sudden reluctance that came over him when he discovered some new object of obsession.

A monument recently erected in Crimea to his memory says that “victory is perseverance,” a bitter reminder that Fidel Castro was the worst disciple of his own teachings. He was only consistent in the act of never admitting that he was defeated, as defined in his favorite motto: “turning the setback into victory.”

Athletes may be able to inherit their legacy to win a competition seemingly against them, but in politics and economics it is nefarious to obsess over an apparently miraculous solution.

One should not persevere in the error, is also what we learned from Fidel Castro.

The Private Sector is the Victim of the Government’s Double Speak

A private restaurant in Havana. (EFE)

14ymedio biggerReinaldo Escobar, Havana, 5 August 2017 — The brake announced last June has just materialized. By canceling the awarding of licenses in several areas in which people have been allowed to work for themselves, and stopping the award of new licenses in several others, the government has confirmed fears about the advance of the private sector, and put at risk the small spaces of efficiency won by the population.

This week the Official Gazette published the decision to not grant new authorizations for this form of non-state management “until the perfection of self-employment is concluded.” This formula hides a misleading term — perfection — too subjective to be the object of legislation.

Fears are also growing before what remains to be achieved. Both the last Council of Ministers as well as the recently concluded session of the National Assembly, made clear that there is a package of regulations directed at the self-employment and cooperatives sector that will be announced in the coming months. continue reading

Many business owners fear losing their investment if draconian requirements are applied to them, but those principally affected may be the consumers. They are facing the risk that the good service and better quality that the private sector has achieved in areas such as food service, lodging, appliance repair and transportation, among many others, could be a thing of the past.

This week’s decision was preceded by official statements about illegalities and tax evasion. It is expected, then, that the upcoming regulations will aim at prioritizing the fight against violators, rather than seeking solutions such as the establishment of wholesale markets, commercial import permits or tax incentives.

Punishment and penalization seem to be the only ways in which the Cuban government deals with its citizens. On detecting irregularities the only way the government resolves them is with coercive measures, such as suspending the issuing of licenses, an increase in the number of inspectors, or the demonization of the economic prosperity achieved by the most successful.

This confrontational attitude shows that autonomous forms of management continue to be a necessary evil for the ruling party, while the figure of the small businessman remains an antagonist of the “New Man,english beach blue flag status

” which was once intended to be created. The enemy does not land on the coast or found opposition parties, but offers tasty pizzas at home, manages beauty salons and opens websites to promote its services.

The government is trapped in a contradiction. On the one hand the government wants to prevent the private sector from growing too fast, but it exhibits the sector as an example of the progress of the reforms promoted by Raúl Castro. At the end of the first half of this year, the growth of those engaged in self-employment, with 567,982 workers, has been used in international forums and debates as a sign of openness and development.

However, that figure may be affected in the coming months. When the licenses returned by those who were disappointed and failed to succeed exceeds the number of licenses issued for new affiliates. It is easy to predict a decrease or at least a paralysis in the volume. Stagnation and the duration of this slowdown will have negative repercussions on the exercise and influence of the private sector in the national economy. A digression that could cause enthusiasm to decline and paranoia to grow.

The Dark Side of Voter Registration in Cuba

Voter lists that are posted in public places include the name of each voter, their last names, date of birth and personal address. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 27 July 2017 — The starting point for the Cuban electoral process is undoubtedly the disclosure of the voter register, the list of all those who have the right to mark a ballot at the polls. The preparation, public character and possible omissions of these lists decisively influence the course of the whole process.

The electoral commissions of each constituency creates this listing starting from something with a vague legal character known as the “Book of Registered Addresses.” A document that, as a general rule, is managed by the person in each precinct in charge of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) Vigilance Front.

The book has multiple functions, from serving as the basic voter list, to functioning as a control mechanism to prevent people who don’t have that address on their identity cards from living in a particular building. For years, the register from each CDR has been used as evidence to fine, evict and deport to another province, residents alleged to be illegal. continue reading

From this collection of names to what are clearly police matters, a process that should have a merely civic focus is entertwined.

One of the least known features of the island’s electoral system is precisely this lack of a permanent and independent entity that is responsible for registering voters and that deals with all the formal aspects of an electoral roll. Instead of that, it remains in the hands of a notoriously political organization like the CDRs.

In the announcements made by the official press on the elections, this detail, of transcendence importance, is ignored. The fact that, at the base of the People’s Power one can trace the signs of ideological control over this governing body, is not something that the media controlled by the Communist Party want to shine a light on.

Every time elections are called, the commissions that bring them to fruition begin to form, and after fulfilling their functions they dissolve. This process is a substitution for the National Electoral Councils with elected members that exist in other countries, and that answer to the voters and possible observers.

The 1992 Electoral Law gives the Council of State the responsibility to designate the National Electoral Commission, which, in turn, appoints members in the provinces. These make up the municipal commissions that select the members at the district and precinct level. They are the ones who choose the members of the Electoral College for each precinct.

As in a sequence of Chinese boxes of which no trace will be left, each of these commissions is dissolved as soon as the voting is over. They will only be constituted again, presumably with other members, when the Council of State calls for new elections.

In each municipality, the Registry of Voters is prepared with those who have the legal capacity to exercise the right to vote. The Law is ambiguous when it expresses that the citizen is registered, without specifying whether they do it of their own volition or if, without being consulted, they are included in the list.

A few days before the polls are opened, the printed voters lists are posted in public places. Next to the name of each voter, one can read their date of birth and personal address. In all the years that this method has been in use, few have commented on the violation of privacy represented by the disclosure of these private data.

The information is displayed for at least 30 days to provide an opportunity to correct errors or request the exclusion or inclusion of a person. A demand that can be made by the interested party, their representative, or an immediate family member.

There are very few cases of citizens who request to be excluded by on the basis of some kind of political disagreement. In fact, those who have some inclination to opposition are often erased from the lists because they did not vote in the previous elections. To demand the right to be registered is the only way that abstention is recorded in case of not voting in the elections.

Beginning on September 21, while residents of a neighborhood line up to buy bread or the latest products arriving in the ration market, the will see these election registers. Few of those who look for their names on these lists will

Instead of questioning the creation of the lists, the majority of voters will take advantage of them to discover that Roberto’s second dame is Filomeno, or that the single lady on the fifth floor just turned 50. They will find out that Yolandita was registered at birth under the name Ricardo, and that Teresa’s husband is not registered at his wife’s address. And so political control will have connected its first link.


A Group Of People With Disabilities Organizes Outside The Cuban State

Architectural barriers are a constant in the life of the Cubans that makes life impossible for many people with physical disabilities. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 24 July 2017 — In a crowded bus, two women discuss who is entitled to the disabled seat. While one carries a cane, the other shows an ID card from the Cuban Association of Limited Physical Engines (Aclifim), an official entity with more than 74,000 associates that sets ideological requirements (i.e. fidelity to the government) to maintain membership.

Aclifim, along with the National Association of the Blind (Anci) and the Cuban National Association of the Deaf (Ansoc) call themselves Non-Governmental Organizations. However, complaints about their political bias led a group of activists to create a support group for people with disabilities without any conditions.

The Cuban Inclusive Culture Network, created last year, faces a difficult challenge in a country where much remains to be done for the social integration of people with disabilities. Added to this is the lack of legal recognition that allows its members to work under legal protection. continue reading

Juan Goberna, one of its founders, woke up one morning and was not even aware that it was daylight. After several operations that failed to restore his sight, he decided to start using a cane. In those early days in the dark he approached Anci hoping to take a Braille course and receive a computer program that read texts aloud.

Accompanied by his wife, Goberna arrived at the NGO’s office in the municipality of Central Havana with his identity card in his pocket, five pesos in stamps and a certificate that declared him “legally blind.” “What revolutionary organizations do you belong to?” asked the clerk filling out his form.

The activist still shows indignation when he remembers the scene. “I told her I did not belong to any and from there everything changed,” he explains to 14ymedio. The official informed him that his case had to be referred to the Ministry of Justice to verify if he belonged to any “human rights” group.

Two weeks later they told him that he could not be a member of Anci because the statutes do not allow the disaffected in its ranks. After several attempts and appeals to different entities claiming his right to membership, Goberna has only had silence for answer.

Last year luck smiled on him. During a trip to Peru, organized by the Institute for Political Freedom (IPL), the idea arose, along with other activists, to create an independent entity to “visualize the difficulties faced by people with disabilities and promote a change of thinking towards them.” The organization does not discriminate against anyone because of “their physical, sensorial, intellectual, cultural or ideological characteristics.”

Today, the network has 15 active members and has managed to have representation in several provinces. In September of last year, some of these pioneers attended the VIII International Congress of Persons with Disabilities, held in Medellín, to learn about the work developed in different countries of the region.

The Network collects testimonies from people who are in a precarious situation and are victims of institutional or family neglect and has also identified at least six cases of violation of the right to join Anci, Aclifim or Ansoc for ideological reasons.

Last Saturday, during their last meeting, the members of the independent group proposed to disseminate the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which Cuba is a signatory and whose content is scarcely known on the island. In addition, they want to disseminate updated concepts about disability, accessibility and inclusive culture, among others.

For Susana Más, an independent journalist and member of the Network, “it is unacceptable that people working in the media, intellectuals and artists who are supposed to be up to date in the use of language, work outside these concepts.” The reporter opts for a “sensitization campaign” around the term “person with disability, instead of disabled.”

Relative to the NGOs set up by the government, The Inclusive Culture Network does not consider itself an opposition organization or an enemy entity. “What we would most like to do is to cooperate with these entities, not in the spirit of disqualification or competition, but as something complementary,” insists Goberna.

For the moment, the Network is dedicated to highlighting attitudes and denouncing the existence of architectural barriers, so that those with a disability are not seen as sick, and for those around them to shed their discriminatory prejudices, indifference or pity.

The biggest difficulty they have encountered so far is the negative attitude of the institutions they go to in search of information or to file complaints: the first thing they are always asked is whether they are authorized or if they belong to an official entity.

By Show of Hands

A man exercises his right to vote in the elections to the Popular Power in Havana. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 21 July 2017 — In recent weeks, the official media have spared no space to explain the details of the Cuban electoral system, which they call “the most democratic in the world.” However, the infographics, data and explanations published so far neglect details that “firmly maintain” the mechanisms to avoid surprises.

Between September 4th and 30th the candidates for delegates of the People’s Power will be nominated. The process will occur in the different areas which together make up the 12,515 districts distributed across the 168 municipalities of the country. On this occasion, it is the first step in Raúl Castro’s departure from power in February 2018. continue reading

The call for citizens to participate in these assemblies is traditionally issued by the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) Organization, with a clear political origin and a strong ideological affiliation. From wall signs, personal reminders, to written citations, all are a part of the strategies to call people to vote.

In the days leading up to the meetings, the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) militants who live in each zone meet to agree on the positions depending on the directions that come from the higher levels. In these meetings they are warned how they should act in case any disaffection toward the Revolution is proposed, and which candidate enjoys the PCC’s sympathy.

Only voters of the district have the right to propose and be proposed in the assemblies of each area. In order to do so they have to ask for the floor, speak in the order granted to them and briefly explain the reason for their proposal. The nominee must show his agreement with being proposed and only then will he or she be put to a vote.

All voters may express their opinion for or against the candidate and the vote is made directly and publicly, in the same order in which each candidate was proposed. Each attendee has the right to vote for only one nominee and in the event of a tie a new nomination is initiated.

When the Electoral Law in its article 83 remarks that the vote is “public,” it minimizes one of the most important keys of the electoral system of the Island and that make it more controllable by the powers that be. At that initial stage of nomination, voters must express their preference by show of hands, that is with their faces uncovered. In a country full of masks and fears, few dare to show their neighbors a preference for a critical citizen.

When in one of these assemblies an elector proposes a candidate with a reputation of being politically uncomfortable, he knows that, immediately, the militants of the neighborhood will request the floor to discredit the nominee. The mechanism of “cauterization” of any nomination that does not conform to the tastes of the ruling party will be activated immediately.

In the midst of the meeting, a member of the PCC will warn in a loud voice, “this man is in the pay of the empire,” and someone else will speak up to express his doubts because someone “who feels himself to be Cuban votes in favor of this mercenary…” The performance seldom has to be carried out, because the instinct for self-preservation dissuades the majority of voters from suggesting a dissident for delegate.

They find it so difficult to encounter someone who, from dissenting positions, aspires to be a delegate, or to find another who dares to propose one to the assembly. How many will raise their hands in favor of a dissident after the militants make it clear they do not like the nomination? Almost nobody. This simple trick will have ensured the first and most important purge of the electoral system.

To ensure the minimum secrecy required by the vote, it would be enough to distribute a simple piece of paper among each of the participants so they could write the order of their candidate preferences. But that would add the privacy that the ruling party wants to avoid at all costs.

This variant would have the added value of eliminating the chance that someone, in the midst of counting the raised hands, violates – consciously or otherwise – the provision that allows each person to vote for only one candidate. In short, it would smooth out the process and make it more democratic and effective.

Not for nothing, was the elimination of voting on the nomination of candidates by a show of hands one of the proposals most repeated by those who believe that the current electoral process would be governed by new legislation as promised by Raul Castro in February 2015.

Changing what looks like a detail of slight importance, a methodological pedantry, would open a space for the plurality of citizen participation; it would allow us to express ourselves without fear on a critical topic: the presence of different thinking among the base.

Keeping the first piece of the Cuban electoral framework as it is now is only a way of perpetuating the fear that harms the civic action of a good part of the population. It is precisely the suppliers of this fear who prefer to leave things as they are.

It Is No Longer Forbidden To Get Rich In Cuba

The MarAdentro paladar (private restaurant) in Havana. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 19 July 2017 — The most controversial point of the Conceptualization Of The Economic And Social Model has been changed with discretion and without public announcements. The concentration of property and wealth that was prohibited in its first version, is only regulated in the final document, released after the last session of Parliament.

The change of formulation, which is of major importance, has passed without pain or glory in the national and foreign press. However, that relaxation entails a victory for the reformist forces within the official apparatus. A triumph that paves the way for the mid-sized private company on the island.

The definitive version of the Conceptualization has few essential differences when compared to its first proposal released in May 2016. The “most discussed” document in the nation’s history has become old to the extent that the internal and external reality outstrips it in momentum. continue reading

Perhaps the fear its becoming irrelevant led its drafters to prefer the present tense to formulate precepts and principles for future application. A grammatical style that has confused more than one naïf, who took what they dreamed of achieving and projected it as already done.

To avoid pressures, the managers of the document also clarified that it isn’t about a “finished and static template,” but rather an “active and perfectible pattern.” This condition avoids dogmatic interpretations, but it also gives the Conceptualization a very comfortable elasticity for those who implement it.

Despite the vagueness of certain concepts, one of the statements in the text provoked strong arguments from the beginning. Item 104 of the original version read: “The concentration of property and wealth in natural or legal persons is not allowed.” A bucket of cold water for the entrepreneurs.

During the months that the document was discussed at Communist Party headquarters and among other chosen ones, no other matter provoked more debate. Some warned of the dangers of categorically denying this accumulation of wealth, and others pointed to it as the end of the present system. The latter just lost the game.

The new version softens the prohibition and clarifies that the concentration of property and material and financial wealth in non-state natural or legal persons will be regulated. The change in nuance shows that pragmatism prevailed above orthodoxy.

However, there is also no carte blanche so that a citizen can create a restaurant franchise or purchase numerous homes for rent. The Conceptualization is not deprived of the excessive scrupulousness of the official discourse that praises humility and stigmatizes the prosperous, but nor does it allow itself to be owned by those who promote strict egalitarianism.

If in the initial version of a starring element of the text was the absence of the concept of “exploitation of man by man,” whose eradication is the main objective of the socialist system, now it continues to be present through a euphemism.

In Cuba, “ownership by non-state ownership and management of part of the surplus of the work of contracted persons is allowed,” it reads; but immediately clarifies that “socialist relations of production prevail.” Something very different from what happens in “social systems based on the exploitation of the work of others,” according to this new version.

With its patches and changes, the Conceptualization has ended up being a demonstration of the different tendencies of those who participated in its final development. A sequence of ideas to please both reformers and conservatives, to sit well with both dogmatists and innovators. The editors intuited that Thomas More did not get his head cut off for writing Utopia, but for being disloyal to the King.

The concept of privatization that is presented in its pages is a good example of these contradictions. It talks of “temporary transfer of ownership or management of certain means of production owned by all the people to non-state economic actors” and goes on to warn immediately that such a transfer should not “compromise the principles of our socialism.”

To calm those who fear the distribution of the pie, the document pointed out in its first version that the state retains the capacity for strategic decision or domination over these means. Something softened in the final version, where it “maintains the exercise of the principal powers that correspond to him by virtue of the status of representative of the owner.”

The changes in the text show the fluctuations in the coming course and also its anchors in the past. The current Conceptualization presents as “particularly relevant antecedents” the Programmatic Platform born from the First Congress of the Communist Party and the Program of the Cuban Communist Party that was issued in 1986. At first, however, the document only recognized as precedent “History Will Absolve Me.”

The nuances introduced in the new version are the result of what has happened in the last year: the death of former President Fidel Castro, the crisis of the leftist governments in Latin America and the coming to power of an unpredictable actor in the United States. The document that was born to be letters chiseled in marble now looks like an elastic canvas full of patches and gaps.