Take care of politics! / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos
Posted on March 10, 2015
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 4 March 2015 – The political and
electoral system put in place in Cuba in the name of a socialism that
has never existed, on which bureaucracy placed its bets and with which
it has always won, has distinguished itself for its representative and
indirect character, like that of the representative democracies that it
has always criticized in other countries.
That indirect and representative form, where those at the bottom only
count when its time to vote for candidates that have been predetermined
by the top – except in the case of district delegates – of whom all that
is known is a small biography, has only served to depoliticize
constituents and make them lose interest in politics, which is nothing
more than a way to manage issues that concern everyone, be they
political, economic, fiscal, labor, judicial, or social.
Since no one is elected for the policies they would put in place to
resolve issues in the community, the region, or the country, people
simply don’t discuss politics nor do they vote for a specific policy.
Thus far, those elected are the one’s who are “best trained” to make and
defend the policies that have already been established by the
Government-party. This has been the essence of the “socialist democracy.”
Given that the vast majority of Cubans have left politics in the hands
of the same people who have governed this country – under a single party
and in a single direction – for over half a century, they have decided
and continue to decide all our destinies.
It’s time for Cubans, regardless of our ways of thinking, to begin
taking care of politics, making it work for all our interests and
pulling it from the stagnation into which it has been plunged. We should
do the same with the economy, to extract it from the high levels of
centralization that have characterized it. The point is not to be
consulted about what should be done; it’s to make ourselves the deciders
of what occurs.
The last plenary session of the Party’s Central Committee approved the
establishment of a new electoral law. There are no doubts that it is
necessary, but no one explains what the new legislation proposes or how
it will impact citizens, if we will participate in its drafting and if
we will vote for it in referendum or not, as it should be due to its
Meanwhile, independent civil society demands a new constitution, rule of
law, a multi-party system, and democratic elections, and the left,
additionally, urges the delivery of a more direct democracy, increased
public control, and more effective forms of participation and
How will we Cubans participate in the discussion process regarding the
new law so that politics doesn’t continue to take care of us and instead
it is us who takes care of politics?
How to reconcile that new law with the demands of a great part of Cuban
society? Why link it to the negotiations with the United States when it
deals with a topic that is solely the responsibility of the Cuban
people? Will a new electoral law be democratic or just a patching up of
the previous one aimed at keeping up appearances and prolonging the
Party’s time in power? How can a new electoral law be conceived without
having previously changed a Constitution that has various antidemocratic
articles such as the following?
Article 5: establishes the rule of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) over
Article 53: restricts the freedoms of expression and press insofar as it
advances the interests of the socialist society, a socialism that also
lacks a precise definition.
Article 54: limits the rights to assembly, protest, and association to
existing organizations that are subordinate to the PCC.
Article 74: establishes indirect elections for the offices of President
and Vice-President at the hands of the National Assembly of People’s Power.
Article 116: establishes that Provincial and Municipal Assemblies are
responsible for indirectly electing mayors and governors.
How to discuss and approve a new electoral law in a country whose
political climate does not allow free expression of different ideas or
the right to form political associations to defend them.
Regardless, relative to the electoral system, Chapter XIV of the
Constitution is sufficiently ample and imprecise to allow for almost
anything, even when it seems to contradict other aspects of the Magna
Carta, it would be too hasty to draw conclusions for now, given that
there are also many other articles that would justify an electoral law
that would be entirely democratic.
Regarding this with an optimistic eye, which would not be supported by
the actions of Raul Castro’s government in this area, it would be
possible to expect that this announcement could be a prelude to others,
essential for the creation of a climate of national dialogue and
confidence needed for the longed-for process of democratization to open up.
Consequently, we should practice politics, organize ourselves and
continue to demand, through every possible track, the creation of a
political atmosphere that will be conducive to a necessary national
dialogue without exclusions; the establishment of thorough respect for
the freedoms of expression, association, and election; the beginning of
the works toward a new democratic Constitution that will be approved in
a referendum and will allow for the establishment of a rule of law; and
continue to push for the complete liberation of the country’s forces of
production from all the bonds, regulations, and monopolies imposed by
the salaried state forces.
Take care of politics, or politics will take care of you!
Translated by Fernando Fornaris
Source: Take care of politics! / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos | Translating