14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 19 April 2021 — A cursory glance at the central report to the Eighth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba could be reduced to the fact that the most significant were the limits imposed on the reforms and the disappearance in the text of any allusion to Marxism-Leninism, underlined by the absence of images of Marx, Engels or Lenin in the gallery of the Convention Center.
Raúl Castro was precise when he pointed out that the private practice of certain professions and private commercial importation “in the spirit of establishing a non-state system of internal trade” would be among those limits that should not be exceeded “because the consequences would be irreversible and would lead to strategic errors and the very destruction of socialism and therefore of national sovereignty and independence.”
He reiterated the urgent need to maintain the “unique” character of the Communist Party that according to him “guarantees and represents the unity of the nation” while redefining the role of civil society recommending that it was necessary “to revitalize its actions in all spheres of society and update its functioning in correspondence with the times we live in …” and, just in case, he emphasized: “It is necessary to increase revolutionary militancy and intransigence and strengthen its contribution to ideological work, the confrontation with the subversive plans of the enemy and the creation and consolidation of values.”
He warned about the growing presence on the internet of opinions contrary to the Government and consoled himself by stating that “the streets, parks and squares do and will belong to the revolutionaries and that we will never deny our heroic people the right to defend their Revolution.”
With these thunders, no one dreams of openings to the market or to democracy, although Marx, Engels and Lenin no longer appear in the iconography nor are their postulates mentioned as a catechism in Party documents.
Anecdotally, it is worth noting the veiled announcement that Marino Murillo seems to have fallen out of favor, given the criticism of the performance of the Permanent Commission for the Implementation and Development of the Guidelines, which, according to the report, “failed to organize, in an adequate manner, the participation of the different actors involved in the implementation of the Guidelines and assumed functions that exceeded the mandate given by Congress…”
As if he were responding, with his customary ambiguity, to those who predict that he will remain in the shadows, Castro made two things clear: one, his decision not to accept proposals to remain in the higher organs of the party organization, and another, that “while I live I will be ready, with my foot on the stirrup, to defend the Homeland, the Revolution and Socialism.”
Another detail that should not be overlooked was his insistence on recommending Miguel Díaz-Canel as his probable successor who, according to “the assessment of the Party’s leadership,” has been carrying out his position as president with good results.
Shortly before asking his audience to applaud the president, the army general mentioned that Díaz-Canel “before a call from the Commander-in-Chief, voluntarily performed military service in antiaircraft defense units to assimilate the new technique, after graduating as an electronic engineer from the Central University of Las Villas “
Without wishing to deny the general or the version given by his recommendation, it should be clarified that the referred “call from the Commander in Chief” to join the ranks of the “strategic weapons” occurred on March 13, 1962, when Díaz-Canel still had not completed two years and his entry into the Antiaircraft Rocket Troops (TCAA) was not voluntary, but obeying the law of military service in 1982, when “the new technique” was approaching obsolescence.
There are three aspects to analyze in this congress: what will happen with the guidelines, what will be the final version of the conceptualization, and the list of the new members of the Central Committee and the Political Bureau. As boring and sterile as it may seem, we will stay tuned.
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