Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cuba’s Communist Party - A New Form of Discrimination

Cuba's Communist Party: A New Form of Discrimination
August 21, 2013 | Print |
Vicente Morin Aguado

HAVANA TIMES — I still remember the question put to me when I applied to
become a history teacher, right after finishing the twelfth grade: "Do
you maintain any type of contact with relatives living abroad?"

You will have to forgive me if I haven't reproduced the phrase exactly.
In essence, however, that was the question asked, and posed to me again
when I applied to become a member of Cuba's Young Communists League. It
would be repeated on other occasions as well.

It still pains me to have written a "NO" in the questionnaire. What
hurts most is that it was actually true: I didn't keep in touch with my
uncle and godfather, quite simply because I was forbidden to do so by my
father, may he rest in peace, who had also told my mother not to do so.

While still in Cuba, my uncle had been like a second father to me. He
had always helped us however he could, even though the nascent socialist
revolution had taken away his properties from him.

I wasn't exactly a critical thinker when these things took place. I had
no political consciousness and I simply suffered the decisions of
others, inspired by how Cuba's Communist Party did things at the time.

I am a convinced socialist and can understand the need to nationalize
certain properties. What I will never understand or accept is having
been forced to break all affective ties with my uncle, a situation which
lasted until his death and that of his ideological rival, my father.

This is one example, among many, of a new type of ostracism created by
the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), whose objectives and statutes proclaim
that it is resolutely against any form of discrimination.

It is quite clear: they were simply not true to their platform when they
gave rise to a new form of social segregation, to political and/or
ideological discrimination.

When I wrote that "no" on the questionnaire, I told the truth, but I was
not true to my conscience, because I wanted to get to know that person I
was forbidden to contact for years, told by family that, if I did so, I
could throw away my career and my mobility within the new society.

My family's concerns were not unfounded. A different answer would have
brought serious consequences back in those days (the seventies and
eighties). I can assure you that, in different ways, this is still the case.

Just ask any of the thousands of Cubans anxious to take part in
international aid missions (in Venezuela, to mention the most prominent
example) and you'll get a similar answer.

One's loyalty to the PCC (real or supposed), determined directly by
those officials entrusted with giving one the "green light",
demonstrated in practice, will be an essential requirement to be able to
qualify as an "internationalist brigade worker." One's professional
qualifications are secondary. The revolution as such continues to be our
main export.

Something similar happens in Cuba in connection with one's career, in
professions such as law, teaching and journalism, to name only a few. It
is important to point out that, in my country, on the basis of a State
(i.e. partisan) decision, the government is the only existing employer
in these fields. In brief, it is a closed and, I dare say, vicious, circle.

Is this not, ultimately, a form of discrimination?

Up to this point, I have chiefly addressed the political side to this,
decided in each of the PCC's secret meetings and by this and that
influential figure within the State bureaucracy, who decide what is to
be discussed or not.

Today, the ideological question is not exactly at the center of these
debates, for the crisis of socialism sparked off by the collapse of the
Soviet Union and its satellite states in Eastern Europe have resulted in
the discredit of the philosophy which once sustained those socialist

In Cuba, very few people put any stock in philosophy, busy as we are
trying to earn our daily bread, in a country whose situation remains
unpredictable, even to the best economists, at home and abroad. Few
people dare make individual or family plans here, so, collective
projects based on philosophical ideas are unlikely indeed.

Even so, prejudices against those citizens who propose the creation of
any type of alternative organization continue to exist, and they are
stigmatized as an ideological opposition by the government officials
tasked with guarding the current postulates of the Communist Party.
Havana Times, for which I now gladly write, is an eloquent witness to this.

A possible exception to the zealous practices of this apparently
highly-orthodox bureaucracy are religious institutions, now favored by
the agreements adopted during the Fourth PCC Congress (held in 1991) –
agreements which finally did away with the mythical image of an
institution composed entirely of declared Marxist-Leninist atheists.

Considering the tangible progress the Cuban revolution has made in terms
of eradicating traditional forms of social segregation, it strikes me as
contradictory that Cuba's one Party, standing above the State as the
leader of all society, should have created and maintained a new (and
inadmissible) form of discrimination, which ultimately runs contrary to
its stated aspiration of becoming the organization which represents the
whole of the Cuban people.
Vicente Morín Aguado:

Source: "Cuba's Communist Party: A New Form of Discrimination" -

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