14ymedio, Havana, 27 February 2022 — Girón, the official newspaper of Matanzas, has bemoaned that militant of the Young Communist League (UJC) who do not want to join the Party are “like children who refuse to eat food without even trying it.” In an article published on Facebook, the media attributes this rejection to stereotypes about the organization and not wanting to “assume responsibilities”.
The article by Girón, a newspaper currently without a website, details a phenomenon that has been going on for several decades: the galloping loss of membership of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). The Constitution consecrates this entity as the “organized vanguard of the nation” but, since 2016, it has not published its membership data, which at that time was a little more than 670,000.
According to the Matanzas media, young people wield “lack of maturity and preparation, among other pretexts, to evade the growth process” to the PCC, and classify this as a “worrying phenomenon” given the need to “guarantee generational continuity,” which is in crisis in a country where the aging of the population is one of the most pressing issues on the national agenda.
In the article, the widespread idea that the PCC is “an organization marked by meetings and payment of dues” is branded as an “erroneous stereotype” and it calls for “achieving a creative design” to include young people, in addition to, “softening” the ways in which they communicate and socialize.”
“They are our continuity, and that is why we must attract them, convince them and make them proudly recognize themselves as members of the Communist Party”, emphasizes the article that has already caused more than a hundred comments, most of them negative and with harsh criticism of the management of the PCC, which was founded in October, 1965.
“Many of us got the card when we were 14-16 years old. When we still believed in the socialist dream of equality, opportunities for all and the welfare state. When our parents shielded us from the harsh reality”
Some, like Jorge Fuentes, point out the immaturity and ignorance with which one enters the UJC. “Many of us received the card when we were 14-16 years old. When we still believed in the socialist dream of equality, opportunities for all and the welfare state. When our parents shielded us from the harsh reality.”
The commentator warns of the process that subsequently takes place among young Cubans: “when it comes to the process of the PCC, at the age of 27, we already know what all the speeches and slogans are about.”
In April 2021, a nonagenarian Raúl Castro confirmed delivery of the leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba to his successor, Miguel Díaz-Canel, after completing the two statutory periods that he himself imposed for high-level positions. Despite the rise of younger faces, the organization is still seen as orthodox and aged.
Other Internet users who give their opinion on Girón’s article point to the desire to emigrate as a strong incentive to reject joining the ranks of the PCC. “Today, young people are thinking of emigrating to another country where they can buy things with the currency they are paid [their wages in],” says Cristian Reyes, referring to the Freely Convertible Currency stores, the few moderately stocked stores in Cuba.
Over the years, the militants of the UJC or the PCC who request a visa for the United States or, once there, when seeking to avail themselves of the migratory advantages offered by the Cuban Adjustment Law, deny belonging to both organizations in order to avoid being rejected from receiving benefits.
“Today, young people are thinking of emigrating to another country where they can buy things with the currency they are paid [their wages in]”, says Cristian Reyes, referring to the Freely Convertible Currency stores, the few moderately stocked stores in Cuba
To which is added that among the sanctions applied to Cuba during the Donald Trump Administration was the restriction on sending of remittances to Cuba, specifically prohibiting the sending of them to relatives of Cuban officials and members of the Communist Party, and limiting them to 1,000 dollars per quarter per person in all other cases.
Among Girón’s commentators, some go further and propose the creation of other parties, so that Cubans can choose which one to belong to. “If the old Family Code of 1975 needs to be changed because it no longer fits the reality of the current Cuban family, the same is happening with the Penal Code of 1987, so you can imagine the PCC,” writes Nayaris Díaz.
The leaders of the PCC are also not exempt from criticism and numerous Internet users point to corruption, the distance that separates officials from daily life and the history of Secretaries of the UJC who have fallen into trouble or have been fired as other reasons for the rejection that both organizations generate among young people.
“The essence of the Party is to put in power those people who are not elected by the people and who blatantly lie to their people,” says another commentator.
Translated by Norma Whiting
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