Cuba’s Comptroller’s Office: From Administrative Control to Popular Control

The Controller General of the Republic, Gladys Bejerano Portela. (Networks)

14ymedio bigger 14ymedio, Elías Amor Bravo, Economist, 27 April 2023 — Cuba president Díaz-Canel’s intense agenda didn’t prevent him from holding a review meeting with controllers and auditors, and in particular with Señora Gladys Bejarano, once a star of the firmament of the Cuban communist economy, and now perhaps, at her lowest hour. Sra. Bejarano is the head of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic and the National Audit System, the main instrument of the regime in the “fight against corruption” of the many that exist.

At the meeting, Díaz-Canel highlighted “the accompaniment and support they have given to the direction of the country in all the tasks that have been proposed” and thanked “the effort, dedication, responsibility and commitment; proposing new things, how to get ahead, how to find solutions to our problems” to the managers, specialists and young people of that organization and to the audit areas of ministries, national entities, companies, local bodies of the People’s Power and other branches that participated in the event.

For Díaz-Canel it is important that the Comptroller’s Office seek for each measure approved by the regime “an interpretation of how to control the implementation of those measures so that they take effect.” But shouldn’t this task be carried out by the one who proposes the measure, that is, the government? Or is it that the basic principles of good governance are ignored by the leaders of the regime? It is not strange that, measure after measure, they all fail. This is a good example.

Next, Mrs. Bejerano gave a report on the challenges and projections for the performance of the entity she presides over in this exercise, presenting a mixed bag, very much in her style.

First of all, she wants to stop the loss of staff in the system. Controllers are leaving for the United States, Europe and Latin America. She knows that their experience and qualifications can help them get work as auditors in consultancies where they can earn six figures a year and not suffer the deprivations of communism. No wonder Mrs. Bejarano complains of a diminishing workforce.

Secondly, she called for the promotion of a culture of prevention and control in administrations and increased rigor in confronting manifestations of indiscipline, illegality and corruption in the field of administrative management. She offered to be at the head of the repressive mobs that communists like so much. It seems the Comptroller’s Office should exist for something else.

Third, she asked to update and optimize the self-control routes of the administrations and reduce the aspects that have to be checked. That is, work less for your organization, and if possible, look the other way if problems appear that can create some difficulty for the hierarchy. No. That’s not how you should play.

Fourth, she mentioned the realization of the next National Check of Internal Control, which evaluates the economic results; the quality of prevention and control actions; and the increase in speed in the processing and response to complaints and requests of the population, among other objectives. The truth is that little is known about those annual checks. It would not be a bad thing if the results of the work were disclosed.

Díaz-Canel, very much in his role, said he met young people in all the provinces willing to work in the Comptroller’s Office. In fact the UJC [Young Communist League] was present at the event and once again extended itself in its successful “innovative capacity, from the concept of creative resistance” to apply it to the daily task of the auditors. Díaz-Canel knows little about audit work.

At the close of the meeting, Díaz-Canel pointed out the high ideological training of those who make up the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic and the National Audit System. Maybe that’s why they have difficulty retaining professionals who are fed up with so much ideology. He spoke about the negative consequences of the ’blockade’, which in his opinion has generated a context conducive to the increase of social indiscipline, illegalities, crime and corruption.

And he added, “in the face of imperialist logic, let’s impose socialist logic” supported by creative resistance, the completion of tasks and making it happen by the participation and dialogue of the workers. When it seemed that he was saying goodbye, he resorted, as it could not be otherwise, to the subject of his doctoral thesis, the paradigm of government based on science and innovation, social communication, computerization and digital transformation, which he asked to be applied to the activity of the Comptroller’s Office. And all this, without forgetting the “battle against corruption, against simulation, against shamelessness, and against double standards,” putting “socialist morality and honest and creative work first.”

A radical speech, of angry positions, far from reality and which  shows the enormous weaknesses of Díaz-Canel and the model he tries to defend at any price. The obsession with confronting corruption is greater than the corruption itself that has been installed in society, which, as we have highlighted in this blog, has a lot to do with the apparatus of administrative and legal rules of the Cuban communist system. Now Díaz-Canel not only wants to apply it to the Comptroller’s Office but also to popular control, and thus he announced that “people are needed to control and make the processes more transparent.” Hold on, curves are coming.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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