Unknowns In An Illusory Debate / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 14 June 2016 — Under the signature of Dario Machado Rodriguez and with the title “An Environment of Discussion and Creativity is Essential,” the official Government-Party newspaper Granma published an article on its second page this Monday that, in some way, questions the narrow framework initially proposed for the discussion of the documents from the 7th Cuban Communist Party Congress.

What is curious is, on the flip side of the printed sheet, that is on the newspaper’s front page, there is a fragment of the Central Report, read by Raul Castro at that august partisan event, where it is established that both the Conceptualization, as well as the bases of the National Plan of Development, will be “democratically debated by the membership of the Party and the Young Communist Union (UJC), representatives of the mass organizations and broad sectors of society.

Darío Machado’s article introduces a variant: “It behooves the entire country to create an atmosphere of discussion and to stimulate wide social participation in the broadest democracy.” In support of this he evokes the debate of the “Call to the 6th Party Congress” and other similar processes whose results, he argues, “were decisive in the strengthening of the political consensus of the socialist revolution.”

It may not be idle to recall that the author of this article, the son of Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, was the person designated as the auditor of the American Studies Center (CEA) where, 20 years ago, Raul Castro, in the 5th Plenary Session of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, lambasted the intellectuals who worked there, calling them nothing less than fifth columnists.

Given the credentials of the writer – completely above suspicion – it is appropriate to highlight some of his assertions. The most striking is his thesis that the text of the conceptualization of the Cuban economic and social model “should not be understood as something finished, but as ‘the theory’ [the commas are the author’s] of the construction of socialism in Cuba.” He then clarifies that these ideas are enriched by the debate and “putting them into practice” will continue “the process of theorizing about the construction of a socialist-oriented society in Cuban conditions.”

Fifty-five years after the socialist character of the Revolution was proclaimed, Dario Machado is trying to convince Cubans that it is still not time to have a theory of socialism based on their own experiences to clarify how socialism should be defined in Cuba.

Now that this intellectual has explained that Conceptualization is not trying to be ‘the theory,’ one can understand why in this document there is nothing about the first conquest of the socialist system, which is eliminating the exploitation of man by man, nor does it tell us that this is one stage of the transition to a communist society and it doesn’t even say, in a transparent and comprehensible way, if the country is still in or has already emerged from the “Special Period in times of peace.”

Opening the debate to anyone who wants to participate could be risky for those who want to restrict the discussion to points related to “how to construct socialism in Cuba.” Outside of the Party nucleus or its base committees or the UJC, someone could appear to question, from Marxist positions, the proposed models and others, from the opposite poles, might question whether it makes sense to continue the attempt.

Finally, Dario Marchado establishes a doubtful dilemma, placing on one side “the pretensions of reinstalling in Cuba dependent capitalism,” and on the other “the salvation of the Revolution, of our independence and sovereignty.” The enunciation of a dilemma doesn’t mean it exists.

It is not an abuse of the imagination to elaborate this other. One on side are the pretensions of a group of people to remain in power forever, and on the other the desire of an entire people to conquer the civil, political and economic rights that the current system represses. The discussion of which is the real dilemma would be a useful debate.