Miércoles, 12 de Diciembre de 2018
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The PCC's elitist dictatorship

Raúl Castro, José Ramón Machado Ventura, Miguel Díaz-Canel and Ramiro Valdés, Havana, 2014. (RTVE)

The ruling elite in Havana, along with Latin American and international leftist militants bristle when the Castro regime is described as a military dictatorship. Meanwhile, heads of State around the world treat Raúl Castro as an honourable president, rather than a dictator.

Havana argues that in Cuba there is no dictatorship, but rather the most genuine democracy on Earth; as there is no capitalist private property, there is no exploitation of man by man, and the State and the Communist Party speak for the people, etc.

However, the Marxist, post-Marxist and devout Third World leftists converging at the Sao Paulo Forum (created in 1990 by Fidel Castro and Lula Da Silva), and the enraged members of Spain's "Podemos" party, for example, do not want to be called Communists, but rather anti-capitalists, anti-system, "the outraged," or Socialists. But the word "Communist" smacks of failure. They don't like it.

But they are Communists, a new generation of them, disciples of the most conspicuous anti-capitalist ideologue in history: Karl Marx - who actually announced that the State resulting from a Socialist revolution is a dictatorship (of the proletariat?).  

It doesn´t matter that nobody speaks of the "proletariat" any longer, a word inevitably undercut by the technological revolution, which has made the classic image of blue-collared workers emerging from factories with smoking chimneys an anachronism. But the power of the "indignant masses" is the neo-Communists’ objective, now along with their anarchist allies, vestiges of the 19th century, even if oblivious to their origins.

A mathematical question

And what is the structural nature of this dictatorship? In Cuba its tyrannical nature is evident not only in its authoritarian ideology, but for mathematical reasons not widely known internationally.

It is simple: according to the Socialist Constitution, the Communist Party, or Partido Comunista (PCC) "is the supreme directing power in society and the State." That is, the PCC, and not the country's president and Government, are constitutionally and legally the holders of political power on the island. 

It turns out that the State Party lists about 720,000 members, and the Union of Young Communists (UJC) claims some 450,000 ... but the country has a population of 11.2 million. In other words, 9 out of 10 Cubans are not Communists, in a Communist country.

As the Communist Party, not the UJC, is the supreme political power and, according to official statistics, the island now has 8.9 million adults (over the age of 16), this means that only 7.9% of Cuban adults are actually members of the PCC. The other 92.1% are not Communists.

If one looks at the history of the 35 countries that suffered or still suffer under Marxist regimes, he will find the same thing: China had 1.37 billion people (in 2015) and its Communist Party had 88 million members (although many are millionaires). That is, 1.28 billion Chinese are not Communists, 93.3% of the total population.

In Vietnam it is even worse. In a population of 91.7 million, 87.3 million citizens are not members. In other words, 95.3% of Vietnamese are not Communists. In the Soviet Union, in July 1990, a year before it fell apart, only 6.5% of the country's 290 million people belonged to the Communist Party. That is, 271 million Soviets were not Communists. And there were similar or lower percentages of Communist members in the countries of Eastern Europe before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In Cuba, 8.2 million Cubans ages 16 and over (adults under the law) do not belong to the PCC. The other 7.9% of the adult population forms a patrician class of privileged citizens, licensed to occupy all State and Government offices, the Armed Forces, the so-called Parliament, and all the country's institutions, including heads of departments and offices of all kinds. There are no leaders of any importance whatsoever in Cuba who are not members of the PCC.

The masses, without rights

This new Communist upper class - duly denounced by the Yugoslav Milovan Djilas - have civil and political rights that are denied to 92.1% of Cubans, who constitute a kind of rabble without the right to elect the delegates who attend the PCC's congresses, which organise the Central Committee and the Political Bureau, officially highest echelon which, above the State, governs the country. 

And I say "officially" because those delegates to the Party congresses don´t really propose or elect anyone.  They just eat well for a few days at the magnificent El Bucán restaurant, at the International Conference Center, and raise their hands to approve everything already decided by a group of 16 or 17 people within the military junta that is really in charge in Cuba, comprised of the dictator, some "qualified" members (military and "historical" figures) of the Political Bureau, and the generals of the Military Junta who are not members of the latter body. And that´s it.

The Castro propaganda insists there is democracy on the island because all citizens can vote for local delegates and deputies to the National Assembly, which elects the Council of State and the president. 

This is fallacious for two reasons: 1) the candidates to be delegates in each of the island's 168 municipalities are selected by the municipal PCC, and voters are not able to choose anyone who is not a Communist; and 2) the candidates for national deputies are members of the PCC and, on top of this, appear on the ballot as the only possible candidates, already chosen by the PCC.  In other words, each deputy is appointed by the Party before the elections are held.

Obey without question

Furthermore, in the National Assembly, which meets just six days a year, the deputies limit their activities to eating well and rubber-stamping everything decided by the dictator, the Political Bureau, and the Military Junta, which selects the Council of State, the President of the Republic, the President of the National Assembly and the Council of Ministers. Since its inception in 1976 the Cuban "parliament" has never voted against anything proposed by the dictator or the Party.

And while the PCC's elite is very powerful, its rank and file members are not. The PCC is governed by a strict discipline, of a military nature. Members do not have ways to challenge what they are told or what their superiors tell them to do - with the force of religious dogma -  nor to discuss or comment on the national crisis that is strangling the country. José Ramón Machado Ventura, vice-secretary of the Party, is responsible for constantly bullying members into unswerving obedience, even as they languish under the same poverty and malnutrition as the rest of the population.

In short, the Castro regime is a militarised Party/State dictatorship through and through, to which only 6.4% of the country's people belong, and with a ruling elite that, like patricians of the Roman Empire, does not even trust its members.

In other words, a "revolutionary" government that claims to have the support of its people, but stifles the "popular sovereignty" or "sovereign authority" of which Jean-Jacques Rousseau spoke 254 years ago, this only existing if the people exercise their right to universal suffrage, freely electing and legitimising their rulers. Raúl Castro is not the legitimate president of Cuba, but rather a genuine dictator.