Thursday, September 27, 2012

Young Communist Union A Springboard to Power... and Corruption

Yoani Sanchez - Award-winning Cuban blogger

Young Communist Union A Springboard to Power... and Corruption
Posted: 09/26/2012 4:06 pm

There was a time when Cuba devoted a great deal of attention to the
first secretary of the Young Communists Union (UJC). Styled after the
Soviet Komsomol, this organization provided cadres to the Party and even
to the Council of State and Minsters. The UJC was a direct springboard
to power, a pool of reliable and ideologically correct people. In the
'70s and '80s, some of their leaders enjoyed great popularity and
constant mentions in the national media. One of the most charismatic was
Roberto Robaina, who in the early '90s invented the triumphalist slogan,
"31 and Ever Onward," a reference to the age of the Revolution and its
years to come.

However, as a general rule, the UJC leaders who over-excelled ended up
being ousted. The most emblematic case was that of Luis Orlando
Dominguez who was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of
corruption and conspiracy. Also dismissed and punished under similar
accusations were several of his successors. The most recent of those
"fallen from grace" was Otto Rivero; when he served as the first
secretary of this organization he was praised by Fidel Castro himself,
who counted him among the "Revolutionary elite" at the Eighth Congress
of the UJC. A few months later Rivero was removed from his post and
became involved in a scandal of diversion and mismanagement of funds.

Learning the lesson not to shine, Liudmila Avalo arrived at the summit
of the Young Communists Union in 2009, barely noticed. A few days ago
she was replaced by another woman and leaves us not a single phrase or
idea to remember her by. She passed without shame or glory, wrapped in a
gray docility... bearing so little relation to the rebelliousness of her
age. But at least -- she must be thinking, with relief -- by not
standing out she avoided prison, and the scorn and ostracism suffered by
several of her predecessors.

Translating Cuba is a compilation blog with Yoani and other Cuban
bloggers in English.

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