Fidel Castro Refuses to Discuss Upcoming Communist Party Congress / Reinaldo Escobar

Fidel meeting with the students. Reuters.

If I were a Communist Party militant, I would be shocked and disappointed to see that Fidel Castro, meeting with a group of students for four hours, gave himself the luxury of suggesting that the solutions to Cuba’s problems had been dictated by him five years ago, on November 17, 2005, without any mention that the Party has just presented a platform for a new model of socialism that will be discussed at its Sixth Congress.

True, the event announced for April 2011 will be something less than a Party Congress, lacking a central report where what has happened in the last three years is critically analyzed, lacking a commission to air appeals, lacking a renewal of terms, and lacking any ideological approach or analysis of the world in which we live. True, a formal call hasn’t even been publicly issued, only a simple announcement — as if it were an incidental matter — in the midst of a ceremony marking the anniversary of the treaties with Venezuela; and obviously nothing will be said about civil rights or political openings. All that is true, but to snub the event by not even mentioning it, when it is assumed to be the priority of all Cuban communists, that tops everything.

The comandante admitted that his work in recent weeks has been focused on other issues, such as his interview with Michel Chossudovski, the elections in the United States, the world crisis, the G-20 Summit in Seoul, the APEC Summit in Yokohama, and the upcoming NATO Summit in Portugal… the Guidelines for the Congress? “I pass,” as they say in the game of dominoes.

A student at the Tourism Faculty had the immense ingenuity (hopefully it was wisdom) to say that the students were engaged in a study of the Guidelines and to remind him that he was the first secretary of this organization. His brother was probably following the live meeting on screen and must have been rubbing his hands in suspense. I imagine him with his eyes closed, praying to his gods, or to the spirit of their common mother, while anticipating the desired phrase, something as simple as: “Yes, of course, the Guidelines are the key,” or perhaps: “You should know that we worked very hard on this and that I am in agreement with everything.” But no. With a smile known well to those who have been humiliated by his pride, he said only, “I am not here as the First Secretary of the Party,” and clarified that he had already finished with that long ago.

Those who should be delighted are those who have asserted for some time that relations between the brothers are in crisis. Perhaps that is why it couldn’t be done before the Conference charged with choosing a new Central Committee, and perhaps it is one of the reasons they have managed to limit the debate at the Congress to the subject matter of a thematic committee. So there is no commitment to share or challenge the alarmist approach of the Maximum Leader, who will have to postpone the date of his prediction about an imminent nuclear war as many times as he has been obliged, in 50 years, to postpone the advent of the construction of socialism.

This article originally appeared in Diario de Cuba on November 22, 2010.