The Brake Mechanism / Reinaldo Escobar #Cuba


Listening yesterday to the General President in his discourse before the Cuban parliament, I got the impression that the so-called “process of reforms” will continue on its course without backtracking, but it will do so without the depth and speed required.

Raul Castro again complained about the existence of a mentality stuck in the methods of the past, something he had done in his speech before the 5th Plenum of the Central Committee as well as at the last extended meeting of the Council of Ministers.

It is surprising that a person who holds in his hands all the resources, all the legal power, and even the moral authority to change things, presents himself as a victim of phantasmagoric way of thinking that doesn’t allow him to move forward as needed.

An example of this situation is the slowness demonstrated in renewing the cadres. Last January, the 1st National Conference of the Cuban Communist Party, which was required to renew the Central Committee, declined to act and passed a kind of vote of confidence (and at the same time a mandate) for the Central Committee to renew itself by 20%. They have already held at least two full sessions since the Conference and nothing has been said about renewal.

In the days of Perestroika Mikhail Gorbachev and the ideologues on his team created the term “brake mechanism” to identify the recalcitrants who didn’t want to change anything. If the Island’s “go slow” faction continues to impede reforms, sooner or later Raul Castro will be forced to go over to the opposition, or to stage a Fujimori style Auto-Coup.

The unfinished business which, in my opinion, prevents any progress, is centered on the issue of Political Reforms. As long as they don’t deactivate the repressive character of the regime, as long as they don’t decriminalize political dissent, as long as they don’t allow and promote freedom of expression and freedom of association, Raul Castro will have to continue plowing with the old and tired oxen who just don’t understand the direction of the new furrows.

I know I am being extremely generous, or perhaps I’m just being sly to show that in this car even the most insignificant screw forms a part of the annoying brake mechanism.

14 December 2012