Dualities / Fernando Damaso
Posted on May 20, 2013
In the Republican Cuba each province had a governor and each
municipality a mayor, who governed, in the case of the province with a
Council of municipal mayors, and in the municipalities with a city
council with councilors. The municipality was the local society
organized politically to an extent determined by the necessary relations
of vicinity, on a basis of financial capacity to meet the expenses of
the government. It had autonomy, with powers to meet the peculiar
collective needs of local society. The province was composed of the
municipalities within its territory. So it was established in the
Constitution of 1940.
From the year 1959, instead of perfecting what already existed, these
structures were modified and, in the case of the municipality, which is
what interests me, the mayor was replaced by a triumvirate of three
commissioners, something also provided in the aforementioned
Constitution, but with the number of commissioners in correspondence
with the number of inhabitants in each municipality, rather than a fixed
number for all.
As the experiment failed, due to the multiplicity of leaders, it was
changed to just one, though with limited executive and financial power,
and with the measures to be applied having to be approved or ordered by
the central government.
In practice, the old town hall of municipal government became a mere
administration. Then they experimented with the same dismal results,
with the so-called JUCEI (Coordination, Operations and Inspection
Boards, which were the municipal and provincial governing bodies). With
the emergence of the People's Power they thought that the problem would
be resolved, looking to the experiences gained within the Republic and
later, but these lessons were discarded, maintaining the inefficiency,
now increased with the increase in bureaucracy.
The truly great problem is that, sitting on top of the existing bodies
of government, both national as well as provincial and municipal, is the
Party. It is no coincidence that every time there is a meeting of any of
them, either the National Assembly or the provincial or municipal ones,
the Party Plenary is held first and it establishes the scope and limits
of what will be discussed and approve by the assemblies.
In this scheme, in reality the Party has the power, and of course it the
Party that governs and the government (the People's Power), are simply
administrators. Herein lies its inability to solve problems, national as
well as provincial and municipal. It is a duality similar to the two
existing currencies where one, though it do not do so consciously,
conspires against each other, because they occupy and act in the same
In the capital this is the big problem, aggravated by the presence of
the central government and its agencies and institutions, who influence
and pressure the administration, which becomes an executor of the tasks
of others, leaving its own tasks uncompleted.
The result is on view for all: broken streets and sidewalks without
maintenance, abandoned landscaping, chaotic garbage collection,
terrible services of all kinds, buildings deteriorating and collapsing
daily, poor health and other evils that affect citizens.
As long as our provincial and municipal governments do not have real,
strong and resourceful leaders, who perform their duties as such, all
this will be insoluble.
18 May 2013