Until the Last Breath / Fernando Dámaso

A session of Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power, showing the deputies voting unanimously, as is the norm.

Fernando Damaso, 28 January 2018 — When reading the list of candidates for deputies to the National Assembly of People’s Power, prepared by the National Candidacy Commission (formed and directed by the Party, with designated representatives of the so-called mass organizations), I am struck by some of the elderly people which are part of it, some of them over 80 and others even over 90, although they are practically unable to exercise their duties due to their advanced physical deterioration.

I do not question their accumulated merits, real or fictitious, but the National Assembly should not be satisfied with deputies and honorary deputies: for this there are other institutional spaces.

It is assumed, although in reality it is not so, that in the National Assembly all currents of political, economic and social thought are represented and, through debate and confrontation, laws are drawn up and approved for the benefit of the Nation.

The current spawn, which represent a single thought and a single party, where only unanimity works, is a great farce. For that reason, it is possible to use the Assembly as a showcase for figures which might more appropriately be displayed in a museum.

On the street it is thought that, at least out of simple decency or out of respect for the citizens and themselves, some of the nominees should not be on the list, and rather should give way to representatives of the new generations, but this, it seems, was not the order that the National Candidacy Commission received. Instead, they were told to keep them until the last breath.

Today, January 28, the anniversary of the birth of José Martí, the greatest of all Cubans, it is good to remember this thought of his: “Only strong heads resist the poisonous vapor of power. The despotic spirit of man attaches itself with mortal love to the pleasure of looking down from above and commanding as an owner, and once having enjoyed this pleasure, he feels as if his life been torn up by the roots when they deprive him of it.”