Invisible Discrepancies / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar

The Palace of Conventions during the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba. (EFE)
The Palace of Conventions during the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 21 March 2016 – The whole issue of the reestablishment and possible normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, and its climax, President Barack Obama’s visit to the island, has put into sharp relief deep ideological differences and has brought to the fore long vested interests.

Rifts have appeared in the different scenarios involved, that is, internally within the government circles of both countries and among those in opposition to their governments. To add greater more complexity to the problem, opposition to the Cuban government has two territories, the Island and the exile, and in each of them are found arguments that have been made public on numerous occasions.

In the darkest cave, where only the faintest glimmer flares, is that vague state and partisan entity that sometimes calls itself “the Cuban Revolution with the historic leadership in the front,” and that others call, “the Government not elected by the people.” Not a single member of this fraternity has made public his nonconformity with the approach to the “historical enemy”; however divergences exist and are based on real interests, though wrapped in the mystique of revolutionary slogans.

Who are those on each side? It would be irresponsible to put a couple of lists full of names here, but if we limit ourselves to the strictly materialistic point of view which says certain principles are nothing more than the justification of entrenched interests, we could venture a hypothesis.

In favor of the approach are those who presume they will enjoy some advantage in the area of business when détente arrives and conditions are conducive to jumping from the position of government official to that of business owner. There are those who already have their hands on the strings of the presumed piñata. They are the ones who envision a system change and don’t want to be left out of the game. Here we would have to include those who think that, if it is the case that the confrontation didn’t give our neighbor to the north its desired results, nor did it work for the development of the Cuba or for the promotion of its citizens prosperity.

First among those against the approach, are those who today enjoy innumerable privileges based on the existence of an enemy who threatens the system and, supposedly, national sovereignty. If the adversary makes commitments that it will no longer present a danger, the importance of these watchmen will be considerably reduced and the sources of undisputed power that they enjoy today will disappear. Those who fear being held to account for the abuses they committed will be worse off.

Obviously these motivations remain in the shadows, and those who choose to look beyond the transformations and see possibilities are echoing the slogan invented by Gorbachev in April 1985 when he repeated “More socialism!”, or grasping at the straws left them by Fidel Castro when in May 2000 he postulated that the Revolution was “changing everything that should be changed.” Others feel comfortable invoking the intransigence of Antonio Maceo – Cuba’s “Bronze Titan” from its early wars for independence – and affirm that they will not budge even one millimeter from their principles.

The real results of Barack Obama’s visit will become visible in April’s Seventh Congress of the Cuban Communist Party Congress. In the new Central Committee that will be chosen, and in the new figures who ascend to the Politburo, we will see who is winning the game in that muted struggle where no one takes off their mask. We will have to read between the lines of each agreement made, every word changed in the Guidelines, and what new words are added.