The Commission on Defense and National Security, an Alejandro Castro Corporation / Juan Juan Almeida

Alejandro Castro Espín (R) and Abel Enrique González Santamaría (L)

Juan Juan Almeida, 16 November 2015  — Bound by a peculiar loyalty based on the quasi-inbreeding of its members and located in a walled compound at the corner of 36th and 39th streets in Havana’s Nuevo Vedado, the Commission on Defense and National Security (not to be confused with the Council on National Defense), is a group with a disturbing profile but no legal standing, created with the intention of preserving the status quo.

Under the Constitution, which we are supposed to be revising but which is still in force, the National Assembly of People’s Power ranks as the highest institution of government, imbued with legislative and constitutional powers. Subordinate to it are the Supreme Court, the Attorney General and even the Comptroller General. It appoints the Council of Ministers and the Council of State.

But that’s only on paper. In practice, the epicenter of power lies at the always bountiful table set every Sunday for lunch at La Rinconada, the housing complex where the president of the Council of State and Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, Raul Castro, resides.

It is the source of directives (those dealing with both domestic and foreign policy) that each institution, ministry or department must follow based on a precise decision-making formula, one which takes into account — pardon the redundancy — compartmentalization, security, effectiveness and responsibility. The octogenarian general then reads, revises and personally approves them before they are formally adopted.

But driven by his usual feelings of paranoia, his oft-stated intention to resign, his loss of confidence in all those around him and a clear desire to monitor compliance with the designated responsibilities, some time ago the Cuban president used the regular Sunday meal to grant extraordinary powers to his firstborn son.

That was how the irascible, high-handed, obtuse and brutal Alejandro Castro Espin created a para-governmental organization with unlimited powers that, without any legal basis, operates like a parallel government under the following mandate:

1. To plan, direct and monitor the operations and departments of the Ministry of State Security.

2. To create, configure and appoint the advisory and coordinating committees necessary for the various ministries to fulfill their missions.

3. To participate in the regulation, consolidation and control of all designated central administrative State bodies.

4. To carry out and manage, under his direction, the responsibilities to which President of the Republic entrusts it.

This small and powerful clan operates like a large corporation that, in my opinion, results in the type of complicity that comes from engaging in group sex.

I say this because, curiously, the senior advisor to this very important commission — the writer and journalist Juan Francisco Arias Fernández (aka Paquito) — was the husband of one of Alejandro’s former girlfriends. Even more surprising is the fact that the deputy advisor is Abel Enrique González Santamaría, a young writer and researcher with a law degree, a masters in international relations and a doctorate in political science. In addition to being an expert in inter-American relations and national security, he was also the boyfriend of Alejandro’s current partner.

An unambiguous detail. It seems that, more than the country, what really matters to the Commission on Defense and National Security is the crotch. It should join up with CENESEX.*

*Translator’s note: The National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX) is headed by Mariela Castro, sister of Alejandro Castro.