These Peculiar Guidelines / Claudia Cadelo

Photo: Claudio Fuentes Madan

At the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution they are talking about the guidelines for the next Communist Party Congress. Despite the fact that, according to the Official Gazette, some of the proposals in the guidelines have already been passed as laws and the parliament hasn’t had its chance to display its unanimous approval, here in the neighborhoods we’ve already begun to stage the play and recite the script. After a ten-year gap since the only legal party in my country met, it would seem that the communist ideology is the last imperative of the meeting. There’s even a joke going around saying they’re going to change the name of the party.

But people are tired. People stopped recognizing socialism, even in books, long ago, because the history of the Revolution seems too much like the history of a 19th century capitalist monopoly. In parliament no one has been classified as “unqualified” or “unreliable” (as they have been on the layoff lists), and not one delegate to the National Assembly has been laid off under the concept of inflated payrolls. It is in the neighborhoods where 500,000 CDR members are going to be left “unoccupied.” So the spirit of the meeting is tense; even the poster announcing it reminds us: “Attendance will be taken.”

My friends tell me (the meeting in my neighborhood hasn’t happened yet) that things got hot. One retiree said it was time to see young people leading the country, another said he was tired of discussing planning and reforms that never changed anything, a lady announced she is retiring because as long as they aren’t talking about raising wages they can’t count on her, and the Party member murmured, ending the meeting, which would be the last time the core would be called together. Raul Castro’s government has reached out to a people who are tired and skeptical, and bored with seeing the same movie over and over.

The blindness of power has no limits. The other day I heard that the son of a high-ranking military man (he doesn’t want me to say his name) complained that disposable diapers are expensive and hard to find. His father then asked him, “But son, aren’t they given out in the ration book?”

January 10, 2011