Viernes, 14 de Diciembre de 2018
Última actualización: 22:26 CET
CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM

Daranas: Cuba allows neither private initiative nor 'the diverse models of socialism'

Ernesto Daranas. (YOUTUBE / CASA DE LA CULTURA DE QUITO)

In an extensive reflection on Cuba's Constitution Project, the film director Ernesto Daranas expresses his doubts that "the current structure of the State and the existing participation models" are "the path towards a prosperous and the sustainable socialism" that the Government upholds as a system on the island.

Daranas asks "where in that Law of Laws will the fight against growing poverty be forcefully addressed? How will the accelerated ageing of the population and the precarious conditions of many of our retirees be tackled constitutionally? Why is there a group of rights included in the current Constitution that are omitted from the new version?"

He also criticizes, through a succession of questions, that "Cubans do not enjoy the same rights as foreign investors," as well as "the inequality of rights and duties between the State and private initiative."

The filmmaker relates the text of the future Constitution to Official Gazette No. 35 (July 10, 2018, which includes the controversial Decree 349) that "enacts and limits the already narrow framework of action of Cuban entrepreneurs."

In this regard, he asks whether "centralization and greater power for the State [is expedient], rather than a more open, democratic and participatory national design? Should not the people propose and decide about all this?"

According to Daranas, the "popular consultation" process repeats "a procedure... that, although massive and subject to a final vote, is not binding, nor does it fully guarantee that a group of essential demands will be met."

"It is not only about how many Cubans read or discuss the Project, or how many are going to approve what is presented to them, in the end. It is also about having access to their concerns and checking how, and to what extent, they end up really shaping a new Constitution capable of giving us a forward-looking vision," he says.

Daranas: "It is difficult to conceive of true independence without economic independence"

According to the director of films such as Los dioses rotos, Conducta,and Sergio y Serguei, "our development cannot be eternally dependent on the possibility of lifting the 'blockade', rates of foreign investment, our latest ally, the number of tourists, the cyclone each year, or the volatile international situation."

He cites as "one of the most costly consequences" of the economic stagnation in Cuba "the flight of human capital composed of young people and professionals trained in the country."

"To what extent have the restrictions giving rise to this serious anomaly affected our quality of life, wresting value from individual efforts as a source of the common good, and generating corruption, demotivation and inefficiency at all levels?" he adds.

Daranas does not understand why "the Foreign Investment Law and the Constitution of the Republic keeps Cubans from realizing the potential of their capacities and efforts".

"Would they not contribute infrastructure and wealth to the State, integrating into that prosperous and sustainable socialism aspired to? What is the logic behind this differentiation between Cubans and foreigners? Does it not contravene our rights as Cubans, damage our national self-esteem, and the very diversity of economic options and modes of property offered by socialism?" he asks.

He also criticizes that the "main development options" of Cuba "focus on a model of state ownership that, for more than half a century, has proven inefficient."

Daranas believes that "the people are the great investor of the resources administered by the State, and its very raison d'être. Consequently, it is up to them to propose and decide the economic model to be followed, the perpetuation or not, of a single party; the supposed irreversibility of socialism, and any other definition of principles referring to the State that represents them."

Direct elections and the diaspora

The film director proposes "the design of an electoral model based on direct voting at all levels (...) including the election of the President", in which "the candidates would be those citizens most capable and willing to solve the problems of their communities and the nation. "

According to Daranas, "a process of this nature would allow for a less bureaucratic State, free of structures with parallel competences, with a clear dedication to service to the electorate, and in which the vanguard of the people would be legitimately comprised of those citizens most able to contribute wealth, culture, values, social solutions and knowledge to the nation."

Regarding the fact that the "constitutional consultation" has been opened up to the diaspora, he regrets that "it has not been accompanied by a right to vote and to invest in their home country."

Daranas is flummoxed by "the aforementioned omission of some rights present in the current Constitution, and others that, like the right to strike, are part of instruments historically empowering the people."

"At this time, [in the Constitutional text] allows neither private initiative, nor the diverse models offered by socialism. A new Constitution is a great opportunity to change that, setting new ground rules that allow for a real space for the attainment of our aspirations and dreams," he concludes.