CubaBrief: Vladimiro Roca’s couragous break with the Cuban Dictatorship. A moral example for the nomenklatura in Cuba.

Vladimiro Roca Antúnez  21 December 1942 – 30 July 2023

Cuban dissident Vladimiro Roca Antúnez died on July 30, 2023 at age 80 in Havana. He was a prominent left-wing critic of the Castro regime, and spent five years in prison for co-authoring “The Homeland Belongs to All” with Felix Antonio Bonne Carcasses, Rene Gomez Manzano, and Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello in 1997.

He was the son of Blas Roca Calderio, one of the five founders of the the first Cuban Communist Party, the Popular Socialist Party in 1925, who later went on to be President of the National Assembly of Peoples Power under the Castro regime.

Vladimiro was first a fighter pilot in the Cuban armed forces, after undergoing training in the Soviet Union for about a year and a half. 

Cuban journalist Reinaldo Escobar writing in 14ymedio described his first encounter with the future Cuban dissident.

I met Vladimiro Roca in mid-1963. At that time I was a student-soldier at the San Julián Base located in the westernmost part of Pinar del Río. Vladimiro was a MIG pilot who filled us with admiration with his stunts in the skies of Cuba.

In 1971 he left the armed forces, after ten years service, and began working for the government in the civilian sector as an economist, during which he studied economy and international relations.  He was expelled from his job in 1992 for dissenting openly with the policies of the Cuban government for stating “I did not believe this was socialism, it could be any other banner but was most similar to fascism, but it that it had nothing of socialism.” He also stated that he would use non-violent means to oppose the system.   

In 1992 he founded the ” Corriente Socialista Democrática” [ Socialist Democratic Current ] and in 1996 he was one of the founders of the Social  Democratic Party in Cuba, that was never recognized by the Cuban government, although it did become part of the Socialist International.

In 1997, together with Felix Antonio Bonne Carcasses, Rene Gomez Manzano, and Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello formed the Grupo de Trabajo de la Disidencia Interna ( the Working Group of the Internal Dissidence) and on June 27, 1997 published La Patria es de Todos [ The Homeland Belongs to All] offering a critical assessment of the Castro regime, and recommendations for a democratic transition.  The introduction includes a brief but powerful case for change.

Man cannot live from history, which is the same as living from stories. There is a need for material goods and for satisfying his spirituality, as well as to be able to look to the future with expectations. But there is also a need for that openness that we all know as freedom.

The Cuban government ignores the word “opposition.” Those of us who do not share its political stance, or who just simply don’t support it, are considered enemies and any number of other scornful designations that it chooses to proclaim. Thus, they have also sought to give a new meaning to the word “Homeland” that is distortedly linked to Revolution, Socialism and Nation. They attempt to ignore the fact that “Homeland,” by definition, is the country in which one is born.

The four were subjected to a political show trial, and Vladimiro was sentenced to five years in prison,  the longest prison sentence of the four. They were imprisoned a week after the document was released. Vladimiro was held in a six-by-seven-foot cell, with a hole in the ground for a toilet and a table serving as a bed; water would run only three times a day for 20 to 30 minutes. Upon his release in 2002, after serving the five year prison sentence, he took the first communion, and became a practicing Catholic.

 He returned to opposition activism, and joined the “Todos Unidos” [ All United] coalition and endorsed  the Varela Project, an initiative of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas’ and the Christian Liberation Movement named after the Catholic priest Felix Varela.

His co-author in the Homeland Belongs to All, Martha Beatriz Roque provided some context on that time in the 14ymedio report on his death.

“He was always a man of the left,” opposition member Martha Beatriz Roque recalled to  14ymedio . “He was an economist and he realized the big mistakes that the dictatorship had made and he reacted as such,” she emphasizes. “This reaction cost him five years in prison when, together with Félix Bonne, Rene Gomez Manzano and yours truly, we signed the document La Patria es de todos. [The Homeland Belongs to Everyone]”

On October 8, 2002 Vladimiro Roca Antunez received The Civil Courage Prize and a $50,000 cash award at a reception hosted by the Northcote Parkinson Fund at the Harold Pratt House in New York City for his “steadfast resistance to evil at great personal risk.”

In accepting the prize, Mr. Roca issued a statement saying, in part, “I began to oppose the government only when … I clearly realized that this government’s economic system would destroy all the riches of my country … I continue to peacefully fight for gradual change towards a democratic Cuba, a free Cuba, and to promote a respect for the human rights of all Cubans, even those who peacefully disagree with the practices of the government, as is outlined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other United Nations documents … I promise I will never let you down as I continue to fight for the change in Cuba that Cubans and citizens around the world desire.”

In February 2010 he attended the burial of Orlando Zapata Tamayo in Banes, who died after a 85 day hunger strike on February 23, 2010.

Vladimiro could have continued to live a life of privilege, but broke with the Cuban dictatorship, and over several decades non-violently advocated for democratic change in Cuba and paid a high price for it, but he also demonstrated a moral example for the nomenklatura in Cuba.

14ymedio, July 30, 2023

The Vladimiro Roca I Knew

By Reinaldo Escobar

14ymedio

Posted on July 30, 2023Categories 14ymedio,

I met Vladimiro Roca in mid-1963. At that time I was a student-soldier at the San Julián Base located in the westernmost part of Pinar del Río. Vladimiro was a MIG pilot who filled us with admiration with his stunts in the skies of Cuba. Then he was just “the son of Blas Roca” who shared his status with Carlos Jesús Menéndez, another pilot who was the son of the Jesús Menéndez, a union leader and politician in the sugar sector.

I heard from Vladimiro again in 1996 when they were trying to hold the Cuban Council to bring the opposition ranks to an agreement. A year later, together with Martha Beatriz Roque, René Gómez Manzano and Félix Bonne, he signed a document known as La Patria es de Todos [The Homeland Belongs to Everyone] that cost him five years in a maximum security prison. Until that moment I had never spoken to him.

In 2003, when I was working as Editor-in-Chief of the digital magazine Consenso, I interviewed him at his home. It was only from that moment on that I was able to discover his human quality, his knowledge of the national reality and his genuine willingness to work for the future of this country.

Later we ended up coinciding in different events in Cuba and abroad, where I was able to realize his strong character and his predisposition to defend his beliefs in a courageous and sometimes defiant way.

Vladimiro has been afflicted by the consequences of what he has experienced in 80 years of life. The penultimate news I had of him was his admission to a hospital with a pessimistic prognosis. Since then I kept hoping that he would manage to improve his state of health but I know that since then he was ready to say goodbye.

Neither he nor I believe very much in the legend that people go to heaven, but I see him there, having fun while doing daring pirouettes in the sky.

https://translatingcuba.com/the-vladimiro-roca-i-knew/

14ymedio, July 30, 2023

Vladimiro Roca, Doyen of the Cuban Opposition, Dies at 80

14ymedio

Posted on July 30, 2023

14ymedio, Havana, 30 July 2023 — The Cuban opponent Vladimiro Roca Antúnez died this Sunday afternoon in Havana at the age of 80. Doyen of dissidence on the Island, the economist and Social Democratic politician had been suffering from diabetes and Alzheimer’s for some time, according to sources close to the family.

Born in Havana on December 21, 1942, Vladimiro was the son of Blas Roca, an important leader of the Popular Socialist Party, and graduated with a degree in International Economic Relations in 1987. After the approval of the 1976 Constitution, the young man disagreed because the text imposed “socialism by force.”

“He was always a man of the left,” opposition member Martha Beatriz Roque recalled to  14ymedio . “He was an economist and he realized the big mistakes that the dictatorship had made and he reacted as such,” she emphasizes. “This reaction cost him five years in prison when, together with Félix Bonne, Rene Gomez Manzano and yours truly, we signed the document La Patria es de todos. [The Homeland Belongs to Everyone]”

In 1996, Roca was one of the founders of the Social Democratic Party of Cuba and a year later he created the Internal Dissidence Working Group to analyze the situation of the Cuban economy. After the publication La patria es de todos, Vladimiro and his companions were arrested and tried for “actions against the national security of the Cuban State” and “sedition.”

He was released from prison in 2002, months before the repressive turn of the screw known as the Black Spring of 2003. In 2010 he managed to travel to Banes, Holguín, to participate in the burial of opponent Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died after 86 days on hunger strike.

In his last years he had maintained his denunciation of the lack of civil rights in Cuba. “Everyone respected him because they knew that this dictatorship was useless. He was sure that the solution for the people of Cuba did not come through this regime,” says Roque.

There will be no wake and his body will be cremated, family sources confirmed to this newspaper.

https://translatingcuba.com/vladimiro-roca-doyen-of-the-cuban-opposition-dies-at-80/

From the archives

Cubalog.eu, December 14, 2016

The Place Where My Father Wished to Be…

By Tania Díaz Castro 

​Raul Castro and Blas Roca . Foto: Tania Díaz Castro

Dictatorships, in particular totalitarian, are very much alike. That of Cuba is not an exception. The State is perceived as an absolute entity that covers and understands everything and makes use not only of children, but even of the dead.

There are many examples to support this and the best is perhaps the event that occurred on April 26, 1987, when the body of the deceased political leader Blas Roca (1908- 1987) was deposited, by express order of Fidel Castro, in El Cacahual, south of Havana, where the remains of Antonio Maceo, Panchito Gomez Toro and other personalities lie.

That’s where Blas Roca rests now, one of the most honourable politicians of the Republic, a man who devoted his life to fighting for full social justice and who generously broke with his party due to the turbulent political circumstances of the sixties.

His son Vladimiro Roca, a peaceful opponent of the Castro dictatorship and a relentless defender of democracy, said in his testimony that his father wanted to be buried in wild land, where his body would act as a useful fertilizer; he wanted to be buried in the shade of a mango tree, where he used to sit and think, next to the house on the junction of streets 87 and 105 in the New Vedado district.

In 1999, the 59-year-old Vladimiro Roca was convicted of the alleged crime of conspiracy and spent long years behind bars as a political prisoner. Shortly before his arrest, he was a member of the opposition groups Corriente Socialista Democratica (Democratic Socialist Current) and Grupo de Trabajo de la Disidencia Interna (Working Group for Internal Dissidence). Apart from that, he was a signatory, along with Marta B. Roque, Felix Bonne and lawyer Rene Gomez Manzano, of La Patria es de Todos (The Homeland Belongs to All), one of the fundamental documents of the Human Rights Movement in Cuba.

Many people in Cuba still wonder how Blas Roca would have reacted to his son’s imprisonment imposed as punishment for his trying to confront the horrors of the era: incarceration of thousands of political prisoners (including independent journalists), shooting of black youngsters only for the sake of intimidation, poor economic management of the country, escapes of young people across the Strait of Florida, etc.

“My father told us on several occasions,” says Vladimiro, “that he didn’t want to be buried in a coffin. Nor did he want to be cremated. This is the only reason why I have never been able to visit him at the El Cacahual mausoleum, unlike Maximo Gomez who used to come every week to honour Maceo and his son.

My heart has not allowed me to pay the visit. My father meant a lot to me. He was an exemplary father. Those who knew him well remember him as a simple man, very humble and very affectionate with everyone. Although he rests in a pantheon – the National Monument, in the middle of a beautiful and peaceful landscape, surrounded by royal palms, squares, avenues, flowerbeds and a gazebo – a real place of past glory, I know that he would have preferred to be buried under his mango tree to lie there forever. I hope that I will be able to fulfill his last wish one day.”

Tania Díaz Castro
Tania Díaz Castro (*1939) is co-founder of National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba. For over two decades she was reporter for official magazines. In 1980’s she spent 18 months in jail for joining Human Rights Party.

https://web.archive.org/web/20200810014022/https://cubalog.eu/en/2016/12/the-place-where-my-father-wished-to-be/


The Civil Courage Prize, October 8, 2002

CIVIL COURAGE PRIZE AWARDED TO VLADIMIRO ROCA ANTUNEZ

New York – Vladimiro Roca Antunez, who rejected a life of privilege in Castro’s Cuba and was imprisoned for challenging the Communist regime, received The Civil Courage Prize and a $50,000 cash award on October 8 at a reception hosted by the Northcote Parkinson Fund at Harold Pratt House in New York City. Mr. Roca is the third recipient of the annual Prize, awarded for “steadfast resistance to evil at great personal risk.”

The Hon. John Train, founder of the Prize and Chairman of the Fund, presented an original medal struck for the occasion along with the cash prize, a portion of which the recipient says he will use “to help political prisoners with financial problems, as well as their families.” Mr. Roca, an opponent of the regime since the 1980s, was himself a political prisoner for five years, following his co-authorship of an opposition document, “My Homeland Belongs to All.” He was released May 5, 2002. This year, an additional special prize of $5,000 was awarded to another Cuban dissident, Gustavo Arcos Bergnes, 76, for his steadfast resistance to the Castro regime since the mid-60s, despite imprisonments, torture and intimidation. He founded the Cuban Committee for Human Rights in 1983 and also formulated the Arcos Principles, a set of well-known guidelines for doing business in Cuba. Of the prize selection, Mr. Train said, “We honor individuals, like Mr. Roca and Mr. Arcos, whose active and unflinching courage, over many years, in pursuit of freedom for their fellows shines as a beacon to those who would follow the path of liberty.”

In founding the prize three years ago, Mr. Train, investment counselor, author and philanthropist, has stated that while civil courage-courage by individuals-should be expected of thoughtful people, “I’m sorry to say that many intellectuals-including American intellectuals-are cowards. I’m a propagandist for the idea that if everybody says, ‘The devil take the hindmost,’ the devil soon works his way to the head of the line.”

Mr. Roca began his opposition to the Cuban regime after growing up as son of Blas Roca, General Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party. With this background young Roca had easy entrée to the former USSR and trained there as a military jet pilot. On his return he became an officer and later an instructor in the Cuban Air Force. After his military service, he studied to become an economist at the Commerce Ministry and was seen as a future deputy minister. Eventually, his contacts abroad and understanding of economics led him to realize the inefficiency of Castro’s totalitarian economy and its waste of Cuba’s substantial resources.

By the end of the 1980s, Mr. Roca registered his opposition to policies he considered misguided, published articles critiquing Cuba’s socioeconomic situation and was targeted as a dissident. He suffered harassment and abuse, which was magnified because of his family’s high position in the Cuban nomenklatura. Nonetheless, his choice was to stay in Cuba and work to change the regime rather than flee. In 1997, with three other noted dissidents Mr. Roca signed a crucial document in defense of human rights and against political discrimination and the distortion of Cuban history. A week later all four signers were jailed, under harsh but typical conditions: Mr. Roca was confined to a six-by-seven-foot cell, with a hole in the ground for a toilet and a table serving as a bed; water would run only three times a day for 20 to 30 minutes. Mr. Roca was only set free after an international outcry in May of this year. Currently, he serves as president of the Cuban Social Democratic Party working for multiparty democracy in Cuba.

In accepting the prize, Mr. Roca issued a statement saying, in part, “I began to oppose the government only when … I clearly realized that this government’s economic system would destroy all the riches of my country … I continue to peacefully fight for gradual change towards a democratic Cuba, a free Cuba, and to promote a respect for the human rights of all Cubans, even those who peacefully disagree with the practices of the government, as is outlined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other United Nations documents … I promise I will never let you down as I continue to fight for the change in Cuba that Cubans and citizens around the world desire.”

This year’s special prizewinner, Gustavo Arcos Bergnes, founder and executive secretary of the Cuban Committee for Human Rights, long ago questioned the repression of the Cuban regime while still Castro”s ambassador to Belgium. He had earlier met Castro when both were students at the University of Havana. Shot and wounded in the insurrection against Fulgencia Batista at the Moncada army barracks in 1953, he later worked for the Castro revolution gathering munitions throughout Latin America until 1959. But by 1965, when he was offered a new post in Moscow, he rejected it, and the direction Castro was taking the government. Several months later, in 1966, he was imprisoned and only released after three years. He was not allowed to leave the country, however. In 1981, he was imprisoned again with his brother Sebastian for trying to leave the country illegally. By 1983, he joined other prisoners when from prison they formed the Cuban Committee for Human Rights.

The Committee for Human Rights sent out denunciations of the deplorable conditions under which prisoners were kept. By 1986, the Cuban government was forced to allow some visits by international human rights organizations and the release of some prisoners, including, in 1988, Mr. Arcos himself.

Mr. Arcos continued the work of the Human Rights Committee and called on Castro to convene a “National Dialogue” to include all segments of Cuban society. Castro’s response was to send a mob to attack first his brother’s then Mr. Arcos’s home.

From exile, many old friends asked Mr. Arcos to dissolve the Committee to save its members’ lives. He replied: “The Cuban Committee for Human Rights will continue its work, even if it costs us our own lives … no terror, nor propaganda will be able to deter the development of humanistic ideas in our country.” His guidelines-called the Arcos Principles-for foreign investors are well worth noting:

  1. Only hire Cubans directly, not through a government agency

  2. There should be a 48-hour work week

  3. Hiring should ignore political orientation

  4. Employees should be able to organize independent unions

  5. Cubans should have access to hotels, beaches and other public areas

  6. Cubans should have access to the same services and goods now only available to tourists.

At the award ceremony on October 8, Justice Richard Goldstone offered keynote remarks on the subject of civil courage. Justice Goldstone (CHIEF PROSECUTOR FOR THE U.N. TRIBUNALS ON RWANDA AND THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA, CURRENT HEAD OF THE INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION’S TASK FORCE ON TERRORISM, AND JUSTICE, AND SINCE 1980, A MEMBER OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF SOUTH AFRICA) has previously written that the Civil Courage Prize “…is an innovative concept and I have no doubt it will serve to illustrate the power for good which people of courage can exercise.”

In 2000, Natasa Kandic of Belgrade received the Northcote Parkinson Fund’s first Civil Courage Prize award at a ceremony in London for her heroic efforts over many years to document war crimes by all sides in the Yugoslav conflict and to resist bigotry and persecution of minorities. Last year’s honoree, Mr. Paul Kamara, accepted the prize in Turin, Italy for his bravery publishing a pro-democracy newspaper in Sierra Leone over many years, despite imprisonment, torture and sabotage. Past, posthumous honorable mentions have gone to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Raoul Wallenberg, and Judge Giovanni Falcone, among others.

Prize founder John Train, distinguished writer, columnist and investment counselor, explains that it was primarily Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s heroic life that led him to establish the Civil Courage Prize: “There is no expression in English for the particular kind of heroism that Solzhenitzyn’s life exemplified, inflexibly resisting the evil Soviet system through trials, imprisonment, abuse, exile in Siberia and elsewhere and other forms of extreme duress, while suffering from cancer, incidentally.” Mr. Train calls this inspiring virtue among individual citizens “civil courage,” to distinguish it from military bravery among soldiers on the field of battle.

https://www.civilcourageprize.org/2002-press-release-vladimiro-roca-antunez

Cubanet, June 27, 1997

On July 16th, 1997, after having sent this document to the Communist Party Central Committee and releasing it to the world, the four authors — Vladimiro Roca, Félix Bonne, René Gómez y Marta Beatriz Roque– were arrested and sent to prison without the benefit of a trial, not even a biased one. Up to the present day, they remain incarcerated.

THE HOMELAND BELONGS TO US ALL

Cuban Dissidence Task Group
Havana, June 27, 1997

INTRODUCTION

I – HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION
II- IN THE NAME OF UNITY
III- THE MAIN OBJECTIVE
IV – THE PLAN FOR SOLVING THE CRISIS
V – CONCLUSIONS
VI – RECOMMENDATIONS

INTRODUCTION

When you finish reading this document, you will be able to support us if we can agree on this initial assertion:

Man cannot live from history, which is the same as living from stories. There is a need for material goods and for satisfying his spirituality, as well as to be able to look to the future with expectations. But there is also a need for that openness that we all know as freedom.

The Cuban government ignores the word “opposition.” Those of us who do not share its political stance, or who just simply don’t support it, are considered enemies and any number of other scornful designations that it chooses to proclaim. Thus, they have also sought to give a new meaning to the word “Homeland” that is distortedly linked to Revolution, Socialism and Nation. They attempt to ignore the fact that “Homeland,” by definition, is the country in which one is born.

All of this aside, our Task Group has examined the Project Document prepared for the V Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, scheduled to be submitted for approval during this event. Because it is impossible for us to make public our viewpoints here [in Cuba] (given that the [Cuban] news media is in the hands of the state), we have decided to set them down in the hope that they will somehow be made known to Cubans inside and outside the island. By this mean we seek to defend our right to express our opinion, because we are convinced that THE HOMELAND BELONGS TO US ALL.

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I – HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION

Of the 11,080 words that the document contains, grouped into 260 paragraphs, more than 80% are dedicated to interpreting history. They wish to convince those that read the document that:

  1. There has been only one revolution [in Cuba] since 1868; and

  2. The U.S. has tried to seize Cuba ever since the 19th century.

To try to strengthen these assertions, they invoke the name of [the father of Cuban independence, Jose Marti.

Thereby they persist in the old and absurd argument that the existence of a single political party is based on Marti’s ideas, as only one party was founded by him. There is no known political leader that has created various political parties simultaneously. Nevertheless, many distinguished freedom fighters in their respective countries, once independence was achieved, have respected the multi-party system of government. Washington, Mahatma Gandhi and General DeGaulle were among them.

There is no reason to think that Marti, had he survived the War of Independence, would not have done the same given his very positive views on democracy. Point V of the Tenets of the Cuban Revolutionary Party (1892) states: “It is not the goal of the Cuban Revolutionary Party to bring to Cuba a victorious group that will consider the island as its prey and dominion. It is, instead, to prepare, by as many efficacious means as freedom in exile permits, the war which is to be fought for the honor and welfare of all Cubans, and to deliver to the whole country a free homeland.”

Following the war, no patriot argued for the need to have a single party. On the contrary, many actively participated in politics with different affiliations and all respected the multi-party system.

Even though they wish to portray the democratic republic as a series of interrupted failures and treasons, they have to contend with the socioeconomic achievements obtained between 1902 and 1958 which placed our country among the three most advanced nations of Latin America. In some areas, in fact, Cuba was ahead of even major Old World countries such as Spain and Italy. This undeniable reality speaks volumes for the industriousness of Cuban workers and the enterprising spirit of our businessmen— especially as all these true accomplishments took place following a major cataclysm (our glorious War of Independence) and in spite of the terrible socioeconomic crisis of the 1930s. In addition, there are the political successes, such as the revocation of the infamous Platt Amendment in 1934 which the political propaganda does not mention, though its imposition in 1901 is well-remembered.

This twisting of information is also present in the document. If the pre-1959 statistics are consulted, it can be seen that the illiteracy rate among the Cuban population at the time amounted to 16% and not 40% as proclaimed. The statistics are also manipulated when it is stated that 7% of the population voted in the elections at the turn of the century. This implies that the remaining 93% included non-voting women (51%), children, and the great number of foreigners that lived here, as is to be expected in a country that had recently ceased to be a colony.

Regarding the application of due process in the trials held for members of the Batista regime, Castroites have their own interpretation. But it must not be forgotten that—as the document recognizes—those principally implicated fled the country on January 1st, on which date the mass executions commenced. Those that were shot by the firing squads were arrested, accused, judged and executed in less than 24 hours. The rise to power of the current government was sealed by a vicious settling of accounts. The so-called “revolutionary trials” bore no relation whatsoever to due process nor to a true right to a defense. A notorious example was the trial of the pilots sentenced after having been absolved, an event which led to the suicide of Captain Felix Pena.

Every year, by an ever-growing number of votes, the General Assembly of the United Nations demands that the so-called [U.S.] “blockade” be ended. This statement is true, but what goes unsaid is that, with the same frequency, the Cuban government is sanctioned for its systematic violations of human rights.

The October [1962] “[Missile] Crisis” is mentioned, while omitting the fact that the Cuban leadership urged Moscow to deliver the first strike without waiting for the “Yankees” to take the initiative. This is acknowledged by history. A nuclear attack against the United States would have meant a terrible catastrophe for all humanity, but, undoubtedly, Cuba would have been swept from the map. That solution to the crisis was offered by the same party members that are now worried—according to them—that their departure from power would mean the disappearance of Cuba as a nation.

But can we forget the autocratic way in which nuclear weapons and foreign troops were brought into the country? The people learned of the matter only after the problem arose.

As the document states: “Everything began to change on July 26, 1953.” We should not fail to mention that—in effect—on that date, for the first time in many years, much Cuban blood was spilled. Up to that time, the deaths in the political struggle which occurred under the Batista government could be counted on the fingers of one hand. To find in Cuban history as mournful and fratricidal a day as this, we would have to go back to decades long past. Despite its being such a sad day, it has been made into a holiday and celebrated as such. This, we suppose, meets with the disapproval of even the fallen martyr’s own relatives.

These are but a few examples of the way in which the Communists have sought to INTERPRET HISTORY.

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II – IN THE NAME OF UNITY

The party insists on unity but forgets that, for that unity to be valid and real (and not a mere parody), it is necessary for a consensus freely reached by the citizenry to emerge. The opposite would amount to a brutish imposition that would be a unity in name only. We the members of the opposition are here to show that in our country there is no consensus.

The text asserts that: “Only the unity of revolutionaries can lead to the unity of the people.” This argument, just like every other perspective on this matter, suffers from what is known in logic as “circular reasoning,” whereby that which is sought to be demonstrated is taken as a starting premise.

The party, declaring itself the representative of the people, prepared the document that warns the citizenry to participate in the meetings to support it. The people, subjected to the pressures of totalitarian power, attend [these meetings], and the fact is portrayed to the world as a plebiscite on Cuban society. This is declared the most evident and irrefutable proof that the party represents all of the people. It is precisely the same premise that was used as a starting point. Although there is talk of plebiscite, the people have felt what it is like to be trampled upon. A latent popular will still exists, just as when General Arnaldo Ochoa and his comrades were sentenced to execution by firing squad. Even though the vast majority did not agree with this sentence, it was officially declared as necessary and the opinions of the masses ignored.

If, as its leaders assert, the citizenry in general supports the Communist Party, there is no reason not to hold internationally-supervised, free elections, which would serve to silence all the detractors of the system.

In the name of unity, the Fist Party Congress considered it legitimate to bestow upon itself constituent powers and approve the final version of the 1976 Constitution. This includes Article 5, which proclaims the [Cuban Communist] Party as “a guiding force superior to society and the state.”

We are aware that there are historical precedents for this concept of unity. The Cuban Communist Party, in imposing a single party system, places itself in the unenviable company of Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, Trujillo, Pol Pot and Sadam Hussein, among others.

Having called the ranks to order on the matter of unity, the party saw it fit to declare that “the Cuban people have decided to have a single party.” But, in the name of unity, under the concept of shared-guilt for mistakes, we have seen many things that have left their mark on history for having contributed to create chaos and instability in the country. It will suffice to cite a few examples:

  1. The attempt to drain the Ciénaga de Zapata wetlands;

  2. The creation of an “agricultural belt” around Havana; * The collectivization of agriculture;

  3. The genetic alteration of livestock, in particular of cattle;

  4. The authoring of a plan for food rationing and the mass production of “micro jet” bananas;

  5. The dismantling of the sugar industry and the attempts to alter cane varieties;

  6. The imposition of ideas that entail disastrous investments, such as the Paso Seco Dam, which is a monument to that which should not be undertaken.

Likewise, in the name of unity, a sugar mill was given as a gift to Nicaragua, an airport was built in Granada and, under the mantle of so-called “Proletarian Internationalism,” troops were sent off to kill and die in different countries. To be sure, this was something that was never done under what they call the “subjugated republic,” whose various governments refused to send troops to fight in either of the two world wars or the Korean war. This despite the fact that the “Yankee imperialists” did so. In this, our northern neighbor truly set itself apart from the Soviet Union, which—not practicing what it preached—enabled and financed the sending of Cuban troops to a whole series of countries.

The document, by the way, makes only a passing reference to these “missions” so as to avoid having to explain just what was achieved through that useless effort. Its only significance for the [Cuban] people was the breakup of families, mourning, pain and exotic diseases, among other things. Angola and Ethiopia—to cite only two such countries—exacted a high death toll among our fellow Cubans. At present, over in those strange lands, Angola seeks a national solution with the participation of UNITA and the genocidal general Mengistu Haile-Marian, decorated here in Cuba with the Order of Jose Marti, fled ignominiously from Ethiopia. In addition, when it was considered convenient, unity was invoked to welcome our exiled brothers as representatives of the “Cuban community overseas.” This after families had been keep apart and their mail hindered to avoid any kind of affectionate exchanges.

Because of what it represented for the tattered finances of the country, party members were told that they could welcome into their homes those same people that had been reviled as “traitors” and “worms;” those that had had to endure the egg-throwing and blows of the renowned “popular dignity demonstrations.” The latter subsequently gave rise to the Rapid Response Brigades and the detestable “acts of repudiation.”

In the name of unity, the “captive villages” were created, religious people were persecuted, and churches were practically left without priests. The document points out that: “The Congress approved the admission into the party of revolutionaries with religious beliefs.” This implies that they take pride in a decision that bridles the shame of more than 30 years of persecuting those who profess religious ideas. If we look back, all of this came about, in good measure, due to opportunistic motives, as some members had turned religious just to be let go from the party.

The unity to which the party refers is not about ideas, but about the aim that the people rally around the party leadership.

For the rest, we cannot accept that a government which has dedicated itself to dividing the country can speak IN THE NAME OF UNITY.

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III – THE MAIN OBJECTIVE

The philosophy of the government is not to serve the people but to be their dictator. It is not its main objective to guarantee the citizenry a quality of life which has a minimum of decorum. Power, exercised through totalitarian control, is the end that is being pursued with this political ploy. No longer is anyone fooled by the much-touted call to social justice. The wage rates combined with the stagnation of other economic factors makes the situation of the populace more difficult each day. And the more they deteriorate, the more the economic activities are politicized and militarized.

Something which is truly deserving of a triple-X rating in the meaning assigned to what is termed the Socialist Civil Society. The document’s authors wish to ignore the fact that a civil society is made up of elements outside the control of the state and therefore cannot be socialist or, what amounts to the same thing, “sovietist.”

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IV – THE PLAN FOR SOLVING THE CRISIS

In a paragraph detailing some of the accomplishments of the government, the following statement appears: “Our country became covered with highways and roads, as well as with waterworks for productive uses. Milking machinery and aerial spraying, previously unknown technologies in rural communities, were put in place.”

However, reality confronts us with the fact that there are no means of transportation on the highways and roads, and that there is insufficient water available to supply the major cities. In particular, there are heavily populated neighborhoods in the city of Havana where there are serious shortages of the precious liquid, and whole provinces—Santiago de Cuba being the prime example—are experiencing irrigation problems.

The cattle population has declined. In 1955 it reached a per capita level of 0.82 heads per inhabitant. Forty years later it was 0.38. The milk that was distributed in the 1980s originated from trade with the former German Democratic Republic. As there are practically no cows left to milk, the automated milking machinery has turned into scrap heaps from lack of care and maintenance. In the long term, far from serving to increase agricultural food production, all of the methods that were indiscriminately and inefficiently introduced have only hindered its development. The old methods at least yielded reliable results and allowed the needs of the population to be met.

Further on, the document asserts that more than three million hectares were handed over to the Basic Units for Cooperative Production (BUCP). The pretense here was to make it seem that this was an innovative production method which would pull agriculture out of its presently critical situation. However, more than three years have passed since their establishment and no results can be seen. The government itself, through its official spokespersons, has declared that only 7% of the BUCPs are even marginally cost-effective. To this we can add that more than 60% of the state organizations have been recently deemed unreliable. It has also been recognized that the sugar mills are not grinding cane in a cost-effective manner but that, as cane production cannot be curtailed, nothing can be done about it.

Allusions are made, in speaking of the changes and the things accomplished up to the time of the Special [Economic] Period, to how the food production program could have been successfully developed. This implies that at present this program is no longer viable. But no alternative is presented; not even the slightest suggestion that could put an end to the severe rationing that has lasted now 35 years—a world record.

After considering the ensuing paragraphs, one may also conclude that there is also no plan for solving the country’s economic and social crisis. For Cuba to partake in the global economy without renouncing its totalitarian ways, the challenge is more than difficult. The stagnation that has characterized the Cuban government’s policies continues to increase its alienation from financial institutions, the assistance of multinational consortiums such as the European Union, and even from the possibility of entering into any bilateral agreements. The foreign financing situation is dismal and it is not possible to continue to pay short-term loans with interest rates of 17 or 18%. However, loans that offer at least low initial rates are difficult to obtain.

What does the Communist Party offer the people? “We will have only that which we are capable of creating,” it tells them. More than a promise, it seems a mournful threat about the proverbial inefficiency of the production system and about the usual limitations which it imposes on the citizenry. The list of problems is enormous. Nevertheless, only material problems are addressed and no mention is made of the spiritual needs of our people, much less about the lack of all sorts of freedoms. For the party, the concrete tasks ahead are clear, but it does not identify for the populace the solutions to the problems, the timetables involved, or the differing viewpoints. It is as if, suddenly, the future were synthesized into that one slogan. Faced with our harsh reality, there is only room for the patriotic and revolutionary code-of-conduct of working more and better.

That past that is portrayed as something so brilliant should not have given rise to the present crisis, as all of those accomplishments and conquests have been touted about since the 1960s. Accepting what the communists allege, it can only mean that they have given nothing to the people in the last 30 years. It is a case, then, of a regime anchored in the past and which lives in the past—and quite a remote past at that.

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V – CONCLUSIONS

When on January 28th the U.S. government published its Plan in Support of a Transition [in Cuba], there was no alternative response by the Cuban government regarding the responsibilities identified in the plan to support a transition process. The document issued by the Communist Party is not such an alternative because it offers nothing concrete to the Cuban people. The following matters are still without explanation:

  1. the way in which the catastrophic economic situation will be solved;

  2. a solution for the ideological vacuum that the current political crisis has created, one result of which has been the use of foreign flags by young people in their attire;

  3. what is going to be done to maintain at least the levels of service once attained in public health, education and social security, so as not to increase the painful situation of the population;

  4. what the Cuban government will agree to do in order to solve international disagreements and to try to adopt global economic standards;

  5. the measures it will take to eliminate the embargo; 

  6. the means to be used to recover those parts of the Cuban territory occupied by foreign military bases: Guantanamo [Bay], Lourdes and Cienfuegos;

  7. ways in which to address the growing number of people that express their opposition to the official political position and to stop the treatment of Cuban citizens as third class people in their own country.

It is no secret that Cuba had the worst performance in the region during the five-year period between ’91 and ’95, and that even though it is said that an economic recovery occurred in 1996, the populace never experienced it. Upon the termination of Soviet-block aid, the inefficiency of the system increased and foreign commerce diminished.

There is no doubt that the socioeconomic policies need to be reformed and redesigned so as to achieve better results. The use of the society and the economy to exert controls has to cease.

Cuba needs a recovery based on high rates of sustainable growth to bring itself back into the realm of intense international competition and dynamic technological change. What the party has set forth is not this. It is merely an attempt to maintain the status quo of obsolete totalitarianism; to entrap us in social and economic backwardness amidst a dynamic and competitive world.

No one wishes a return to the negative aspects of the 1950s, as the government argues. The realities of the world have change and those of our country too. The transition toward democracy that we wish to achieve is based on the fundamental principles of the 1940 Constitution, which establishes social rights that have nothing to do with the influx of neo-liberalism. The current situation whereby foreign companies hire their workers through a state intermediary could be termed neo-totalitarian. Through such an arrangement, the state exploits the workers without even offering them stable employment.

The document does not offer the possibility of establishing a true constitutional state, nor an independent and impartial legal system that would protect the liberties and rights of the individual and the practice of political pluralism.

The government, given its current position, has no chance of stabilizing the economy quickly and without a recession, and this is a necessary precondition to effectively achieve an economic recovery and consolidation.

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VI – RECOMMENDATIONS

The document states that economic liberalization is linked to the creation of joint-ventures and other forms of business arrangements with foreign companies. But this has not been enough, and is far less than what is needed. What is needed is a process of true economic liberalization, which would entail the democratization of the country. The Cuban community overseas—amounting to a million and a half people—could undoubtedly contribute to a sustained economic recovery. Currently, in fact, the financial assistance that [the exiles] send to their relatives on the island accounts for a substantial portion of the country’s import-purchasing power. This is demonstrated by the fact that the government has gone so far as to as to impose taxes on the receipt of this money.

The Cubans on the island have demonstrated what they are capable of accomplishing if given even a small degree of economic freedom. The self-employed—whom the system has tried to drown because of what they represent from a political perspective—manage to turn any small business they undertake into models of efficiency. In this regard, the Revolution stimulates the creativity of the masses in all fields of endeavor. Innumerable innovations have been introduced to production and service activities. If there is a true desire to stimulate the creativity of the masses in all areas, then they must be allowed to enter the economic arena. Cubans must be allowed to invest, just as foreigners are allowed to. Moreover, to be consistent, this type of stimulus should be extended to the political realm.

It is said that the party demands each and everyone of its members to think with his own head and to express himself freely within the bosom of the party organizations. This means that there are 770,000 persons in the country who are allowed to think and speak freely, while the rest of the population—the ones without a party; the ones that constitute the majority—have no opportunity to express themselves freely. They too need breathing space.

You may find this a curious assertion: “Our electoral system is above political games, fraud, and the buying-selling of votes.” And is this not what is to be expected? It would, after all, be truly mind-boggling for the party to engage in and condone vices to benefit candidates that already follow the party line. It is also stated that: “The party does not nominate, reelect or impeach.” Clearly, it has no need to do so. The entire leadership of the mass organizations belongs to the party. It is enough that these leaders participate in the whole-scale nomination process of the so-called “Candidacy Commissions.” Despite all this, people are compelled to go vote. For something truly novel, they should allow the opposition to form part of the electoral process itself; to be able to rally its own parties, nominate its own candidates and engage in political campaigning—all under the supervision of international observers.

The document does speak of a constitutional state. However, not one of the traits that would characterize as such is discernible. There is no respect for the law, as demonstrated by Decree 217, which violates provisions of the Constitution and the General Housing Law. There is also the case of the systematic disregard of the Law Governing Associations, under which different independent organizations should—as they have repeatedly requested— be made legal.

The state is not at the service of the citizens. Between them there is not even an egalitarian relationship of reciprocal rights and obligations. Instead, the citizen is at the service of the state.

The laws do not respect the rights inherent upon human beings, as demonstrated by innumerable denunciations of the violations of these rights as well as repeated sanctions against Cuba in the United Nations over this issue.

The government should resolve problems such as the matter of the right of Cubans to freely enter and leave the national territory and allowing the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, and his team, into the country. It must also be noted that there is no legal protection in the country, as it has been shown that the laws, and even the Constitution, can be modified overnight. Thus, if other ideologies besides that advocated by the Communist Party were recognized, a Constituent Assembly should be convened with the main goal of modifying the existing constitution. The Constitution of 1940 could be used as a basis for the revisions, with the subsequent aim of holding multi-party elections.

Measures such as this are what the Communist Party should propose to try to avoid a spontaneous outbreak in the near future of incidents of social violence.

It is impossible to continue leading the nation to its ruin without expecting an uncontrolled awakening of the populace in search of a rightful space within a civil society with democratic institutions. That which no one desires could well occur, and thus it is better to discuss solutions now than to plunge our homeland into mourning tomorrow.

Havana, June 27, 1997

Felix Antonio Bonne Carcasses
Rene Gomez Manzano
Vladimiro Roca Antunez
Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello

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Document distributed by Ruth Montaner of the Cuban Dissidence Task Group.

Translated for CubaNet by Jose J. Valdes

https://www.cubanet.org/htdocs/CNews/y97/jul97/homdoc.htm

Texto original en castellano. [ Original text in Spanish ]

LA PATRIA ES DE TODOS

    

INTRODUCCION

Cuando usted termine de leer este documento, nos podrá apoyar si coincidimos en el planteamiento inicial:

El hombre no puede vivir de la historia, que es lo mismo que vivir del cuento; se necesitan bienes materiales, satisfacer su espiritualidad y de hecho poder mirar para el futuro con expectativas, pero además, un espacio que todos conocemos como libertad.

El gobierno cubano ignora la palabra “oposición”: los que no comparten su política o simplemente no la apoyan son considerados enemigos y cualesquiera otros sustantivos despectivos que se les desee proferir. Así también han querido dar una nueva acepción a la palabra “Patria”, vinculada distorsionadamente con Revolución, Socialismo y Nación. Pretenden ignorar que, por definición, “Patria” es el país en que se nace.

Obviando todo esto, nuestro Grupo de Trabajo ha analizado el Proyecto Documento elaborado con vistas al V Congreso del Partido Comunista de Cuba, el que deberá ser sometido a aprobación durante la celebración de ese evento. Como nos resulta imposible emitir aquí criterios públicos al respecto (por estar todos los medios de difusión en manos del Estado), hemos decidido plasmarlos y que de alguna forma se conozca por los cubanos de dentro y fuera de la Isla, defendiendo de ese modo nuestro derecho de opinar, porque estamos convencidos de que: LA PATRIA ES DE TODOS.

I – INTERPRETACION DE LA HISTORIA

De las 11,080 palabras que contiene el documento, agrupadas en 260 párrafos, más del 80% está dedicado a interpretar la historia. Quieren que aquellos que lo lean queden convencidos que:

* Ha habido una sola revolución desde 1868; y

* los norteamericanos han pretendido apoderarse de Cuba desde el Siglo XIX.

Para tratar de dar fuerza a los planteamientos, ahí está la figura de Martí; a través de ella insisten en el antiguo y absurdo argumento que la existencia de un solo partido único es una idea martiana, porque él fundó un solo partido. No se conoce un dirigente político que haya creado simultáneamente varios partidos; sin embargo, destacados luchadores por la independencia de sus respectivos pueblos, una vez lograda ésta, han respetado el pluripartidismo, tales como Washington, Mahatma Ghandi y el general DeGaulle.

No hay ningún motivo para pensar que Martí, de haber sobrevivido a la Guerra de Independencia, no hubiese obrado del mismo modo, conociendo que tenía criterios tan positivos de la democracia. El Punto V de las Bases del Partido Revolucionario Cubano (1892) plantea: “el Partido Revolucionario Cubano no tiene por objeto llevar a Cuba, una agrupación victoriosa que considere a la Isla como su presa y dominio, sino preparar por cuantos medios eficaces le permite la libertad del extranjero, la guerra que ha de hacer para el decoro y bien de todos los cubanos, y entregar a todo el país la patria libre “.

Después de la contienda ningún patriota postuló la necesidad de un partido único. Por el contrario: muchos intervinieron activamente en la política, en diferentes filas y todos respetaron el multipartidismo.

Aunque quieren presentar a la república democrática como una serie de ininterrumpidos fracasos y traiciones, ahí están los resultados socioeconómicos obtenidos entre 1902 y 1958, que situaron a nuestro país entre los tres más avanzados de América Latina, por encima incluso, en algunos indicadores, de grandes naciones en el Viejo Continente como España e Italia. Esta innegable realidad habla muy alto de la laboriosidad del trabajador cubano y del espíritu de empresa de nuestros hombres de negocios, máxime que esos verdaderos logros se alcanzaron después de un cataclismo (cual fuera nuestra gloriosa Guerra de Independencia) y a pesar de la terrible crisis socioeconómica alrededor de los años treinta. Además, ahí están también los éxitos políticos, como la abrogación de la tristemente célebre Enmienda Platt en 1934, de la cual no habla la propaganda oficial, aunque sí recuerda su imposición en 1901.

La tergiversación de datos también está presente en el documento. Si se consultan las estadísticas anteriores a 1959, veremos que la población cubana analfabeta en aquella época ascendía al 16% y no el 40% como se consignó. También se manipulan las cifras, al decir que el 7% de la población votó en las elecciones de principios de siglo; esto implica que en el 93% restante están incluidas las mujeres (51%) que no sufragaban, los niños y el gran número de extranjeros que vivía aquí, como era lógico en un país que dejaba de ser colonia.

Sobre el debido proceso de juicios celebrados a los batistianos, los castristas hacen su propia interpretación, pero no hay que olvidar que -como reconoce el documento- los mayores implicados huyeron del país el primero de enero, fecha en que comenzaron las ejecuciones masivas; a estos fusilados se les detuvo, acusó, juzgó y ejecutó en menos de 24 horas. El arribo al poder del actual equipo gobernante quedó signado por un feroz ajuste de cuentas: los llamados “juicios revolucionarios” no guardaban la menor relación con lo que es un debido proceso, ni con un verdadero derecho a la defensa. Un ejemplo notorio fue el juicio de los pilotos sancionados después de haber sido absueltos, el cual llevó al suicidio al Capitán Félix Pena.

Cada año, con votación siempre creciente, la Asamblea General de la ONU demanda que se le ponga fin al llamado “bloqueo”; esa afirmación es cierta, pero no se dice que, con la misma peridiocidad, el actual gobierno cubano es sancionado por sus violaciones sistemáticas a los Derechos Humanos.

Se menciona la “Crisis de Octubre”, pero se omite que la dirigencia cubana propuso a Moscú asestar el primer golpe, sin esperar que los “yanquis” tomaran la iniciativa. Esto lo reconoce la historia. Un ataque nuclear contra los Estados Unidos hubiera significado una terrible catástrofe para toda la humanidad, pero no cabe duda que Cuba hubiera sido barrida del mapa.

Esa salida de la crisis fue ofrecida por los mismos miembros del Partido, que ahora están preocupados porque -según ellos- su separación del poder implicaría la desaparición de Cuba como nación. ¿Pero podríamos olvidar de la forma inconsulta que se trajeron al país esas armas nucleares y las tropas extranjeras? El pueblo sólo se enteró cuando el problema estaba andando.

Como bien dice el documento: “todo empezó a cambiar el 26 de julio de 1953”; no debemos dejar de destacar que -en efecto- ese día, por primera vez en muchos años, se derramó tanta sangre cubana. Hasta ese momento las muertes en la lucha política acaecidas durante el gobierno de Batista podían contarse con los dedos de una mano. Para encontrar en la historia cubana un día tan luctuoso y fraticida como éste, tendríamos que remontarnos decenios atrás. A pesar de ser una fecha tan triste, se toma como un día festivo y se celebra como tal, lo que suponemos que tenga el repudio hasta de los propios familiares de los mártires.

Son estos sólo algunos ejemplos de la forma en que los comunistas, han querido INTERPRETAR LA HISTORIA,

II – EN NOMBRE DE LA UNIDAD

El Partido insiste en la unidad, pero olvida que, para que ésta sea válida y real (y no una mera parodia) es necesario que surja del consenso libremente alcanzado por los ciudadanos; lo contrario es una burda imposición, lo único que tiene de unidad es el nombre. Aquí estamos los opositores para demostrar que en nuestro país no hay consenso.

El texto plantea: “Sólo la unidad de los revolucionarios puede conducir a la unidad del pueblo”. Este razonamiento, así como todo enfoque de este asunto, incurre en lo que en Lógica, se conoce como “petición de principio”‘, que consiste tomar como premisa, lo mismo que se pretende demostrar.

El Partido, atribuyéndose la condición de representante del pueblo, elaboró el documento que conmina a la ciudadanía a que participe en las reuniones de apoyo al mismo. El pueblo, sometido a las presiones del poder totalitario, asiste, y entonces ese hecho se presenta al mundo como un plebiscito de la sociedad cubana. Se dice que es la prueba más evidente e irrefutable de que el Partido representa a todo el pueblo. Precisamente es la misma premisa de la que se partió. Aunque se habla de plebiscito, ya el pueblo ha sentido cómo se pasa por encima de él. Ahí está aún latente la voluntad popular cuando fueron a fusilar al general Arnaldo Ochoa y a sus compañeros de causa. A pesar que la gran mayoría no estaba de acuerdo, se declaró oficialmente que era una necesidad y se hizo caso omiso de la opinión de las masas.

Si -como afirman sus dirigentes- la generalidad de los ciudadanos apoya al Partido Comunista, no existe razón para que no se convoque a unas elecciones libres bajo supervisión internacional, lo que haría callar a todos los detractores del sistema.

En nombre de esa unidad, el Primer Congreso del Partido se sintió legitimado para autoconcederse la potestad constituyente y aprobar la versión definitiva de la Carta Magna de 1976, incluyendo su Artículo 5, que proclama al propio Partido como: “fuerza dirigente superior de la sociedad y del Estado”.

Sabemos que también la historia ha dejado plasmada esta concepción de la unidad: el Partido Comunista de Cuba, al imponer el monopartidismo, se coloca en la poco envidiable compañía de Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, Trujillo, Pol Pot y Sadam Hussein, entre otros…

Después de haber concertado las filas de la unidad, no había motivos para que dejaran de afirmar “el pueblo cubano decidió tener un partido único”. Pero en nombre de esta unidad hemos visto hacer muchas cosas que han de quedar marcadas para la historia, por haber contribuido a crear el caos y la desestabilización del país, bajo el criterio que cuando se comete un error, es de todos; baste citar algunos ejemplos:

* Intentar desecar la Ciénaga de Zapata

* Crear un cordón agrícola alrededor de La Habana

* Colectivizar la agricultura

* Cambiar la genética ganadera; en particular, en el ganado vacuno

* Concebir un plan alimentario y la producción masiva de plátanos micro jet

* Desmantelar la industria azucarera y tratar de cambiar las variedades de caña

* Imponer ideas que llevan inversiones desastrosas, como la Presa de Paso Seco, que es un monumento a lo que no se debió hacer.

De igual forma, en nombre de la unidad se regaló un central en Nicaragua, se construyó un aeropuerto en Granada y, con el manto del llamado “Internacionalismo Proletario”, se enviaron tropas a matar y a morir en diferentes países, cosa que -por cierto- jamás hizo lo que ellos denominan la república mediatizada, cuyos gobiernos se negaron a enviar tropas a combatir en las dos guerras mundiales y en la de Corea, a pesar que el “imperialismo yanqui” sí lo hizo, con lo cual -en verdad- nuestro vecino del norte se diferenció de la Unión Soviética, que propició y financió el envío de tropas cubanas a una serie de países, pero sin predicar con el ejemplo.

Por cierto, que en el documento se alude de pasada a estas “misiones”, para no aclarar qué se obtuvo de todo aquel esfuerzo baldío, que lo único que significó para el pueblo fue la separación familiar, luto, dolor y enfermedades exóticas, entre otras cosas. Por sólo citar dos países, Angola y Etiopía, dejaron atrás un alto número de muertes de compatriotas, en aquellas tierras extrañas y en estos momentos Angola busca una solución nacional con la participación de la UNITA y el genocida general Mengistu Haile y Marian, condecorado aquí en Cuba con la Orden José Martí, huyó ignominiosamente de Etiopía.

También, cuando se creyó conveniente, se convocó esa unidad para recibir como representantes de la “comunidad cubana en el exterior”‘ a los hermanos del exilio, después de haber mantenido separadas las familias y entorpecido la correspondencia para evitar todo tipo de comunicación afectiva. Por lo que ello representaba en las muy desarticuladas finanzas del país, se orientó a los militantes del Partido que podían recibir en sus hogares a los que habían sido vilipendiados como “vende patria” y “gusanos” y habían tenido que soportar huevos y golpes en las famosas “manifestaciones de dignidad del pueblo”, que dieron lugar a las Brigadas de Respuesta Rápida y a los detestables “actos de repudio”.

En nombre de la unidad se crearon los “pueblos cautivos”, se persiguieron los religiosos, se dejaron a las iglesias prácticamente sin pirocos. Se señala en el documento: “el Congreso aprobó el ingreso al Partido de revolucionarios con creencias religiosas”. Esto implica que se enorgullecen de una decisión que tiene aparejada la vergüenza de más de 30 años persiguiendo a los que profesan ideas religiosas. Si miramos hacia atrás, todo esto se produjo en buena medida por motivaciones oportunistas, ya que algunos militantes se hicieron religiosos para que los separaran del Partido.

La unidad a la que se refiere el Partido no es de ideas, sino la pretensión de que la población esté alrededor de una cúpula dirigente.

Por lo demás, no podemos aceptar que un gobierno que se ha dedicado a dividir el país, pueda hablar EN NOMBRE DE LA UNIDAD.

III – EL PRINCIPAL OBJETIVO

La filosofía del gobierno no es la de servir al pueblo, sino la de ser su dictador. El principal objetivo no lo constituye garantizar a los ciudadanos una calidad de vida con un mínimo decoroso. E1 poder, a través del control totalitario es el fin que persigue la política. Ya nadie se engaña con la justicia social que tanto se ha propugnado. El nivel de los salarios combinado con el estancamiento de otros factores de índole financiera, hace que cada día, sea más difícil la situación de la población. Y mientras más se deteriora, más se politizan y se militarizan las actividades económicas.

Una significación que es un verdadero xxx es la que se le da a lo que denomina Sociedad Civil Socialista. Los autores del documento quieren desconocer que la sociedad civil está integrada por elementos ajenos al control del Estado, por lo que no puede ser Socialista, o lo que es lo mismo sovietista. Pero ahí está el imperialismo yanqui, convertido en el enemigo que nos hace falta para hacerlo responsable de todas las ineficiencias, para que cargue con los errores y sirva para exacerbar el falso nacionalismo y la arenga de unirse para combatirlo. Tal parece que el diferendo con los vecinos del norte es la razón de ser de nuestra sociedad y esto es lo que transmite el documento.

IV – EL PROGRAMA PARA SOLUCIONAR LA CRISIS

En un párrafo en el que expresan algunos de los objetivos que ha cumplido el gobierno, se puede leer: nuestro país se llenó de carrderas y caminos, así como de obras hidráulicas para uso productivo, se implantaron d ordeño mecánico, la aviación agrícola, técnicas desconocidas en el medio rural.

Sin embargo, la realidad nos muestra que: no hay transporte para las carreteras y los caminos, no hay suficiente agua disponible en las principales ciudades. En particular, en Ciudad Habana hay municipios muy poblados con serias carencias del precioso líquido, y provincias completas con problemas para los regadíos, Santiago de Cuba es su principal ejemplo.

La masa ganadera se redujo. En 1955 alcanzaba un per capita te 0,82 cabezas por habitante. 40 años después, era de 0,38. La leche que se distribuía en la década de los 80, procedía de un intercambio con la ex-república Democrática Alemana. Prácticamente no hay vacas que ordeñar y los medios mecanizados están convertidos en chatarra por la falta de cuidados en su conservación. Todas las técnicas introducidas indiscriminada e ineficientemente, lejos de servir para incrementar la producción agrícola de alimentos, a largo plazo, han entorpecido su desarrollo. Al menos, el antiguo sistema de producción garantizaba la oferta y permitía satisfacer las necesidades de la población.

Un poco después el documento plantea más de tres millones de hectáreas pasaron a las Unidades Básicas de Producción Cooperativa (UBPC). Se quiso hacer creer que éste era un novedoso método de producción, que sacaría la agricultura de la crítica situación en que se encuentra. Sin embargo, han pasado más de 3 años de su instauración y no se han visto los resultados. El propio gobierno, a través de sus voceros oficiales, ha declarado que sólo el 7% de las UBPC tienen una rentabilidad que pueda ser calificada de marginal. A esto se puede añadir que se ha dado una nueva categoría a la contabilidad, designándola como no confiable en más del 60% de las entidades estatales. También han reconocido que los centrales no muelen con rentabilidad y que no se puede tratar de alcanzar este objetivo en base a dejar de producir caña. Al hablar sobre el conjunto de transformaciones y lo alcanzado hasta el periodo especial, se hace referencia a que se hubiera permitido desarrollar con éxito el programa alimentario, de donde se deduce que en la actualidad ese programa no tiene vigencia. Pero tampoco hay algo alternativo. Ni la menor perspectiva que pueda poner fin al severo racionamiento que dura ya 35 años. Un récord mundial. Después de analizar los párrafos subsiguientes, puede concluirse que no hay programa tampoco para darle solución a la crisis económica y social. Porque si Cuba debe insertarse en la economía mundial sin renunciar a su rumbo totalitario, el reto es mucho más que difícil, debido a ese inmovilismo que ha caracterizado a la política del gobierno cubano, que cada vez lo separa más de las instituciones financieras, de la ayuda de bloques de países tales como la Unión Europea, e incluso de la posibilidad de llegar a acuerdos bilaterales. La situación de las finanzas externas es tétrica y no hay posibilidades de seguir pagando préstamos a corto plazo, con intereses del 17 o 18%, niveles semejantes, incluso, los de bajo por ciento desde el servicio de la deuda resultan de difícil adquisición.

¿Qué ofeece el Partido Comunista al pueblo? Tendremos sólo aquello que seamos capaces de crear, le dice. Más que una promesa parece una lúgubre amenaza, por la proverbial ineficiencia del sistema de producción y por tradicionales limitaciones que este le impone a la ciudadanía. La lista de los problemas es enorme. No obstante, solo se anotan algunos de los problemas materiales, pero no se refieren a las carencias espirituales de nuestro pueblo y mucho menos a la falta de libertades de todo tipo. Para el Partido, están claras las tareas concretas, lo que no deja de manifiesto para el pueblo son las soluciones a los problemas, los plazos, las perspectivas. Es como si de pronto el futuro se sintetizara en esta consigna. Ante nuestra dura realidad, sólo cabe la conducta patriótica y revolucionaria de trabajar más y mejor. Este pasado que se pinta tan esplendoroso tendría que servir para resolver la crisis, porque de todas esas conquistas, de todos esos logros, se viene hablando desde la época de los 60. Eso quiere decir, aceptando lo que los comunistas alegan, que en los últimos 30 años no le han dado nada al pueblo. Se trata, pues, de un régimen anclado en el pasado, que vive en el pasado y un pasado bastante remoto.

V – CONCLUSIONES

Cuando este 28 de enero el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos publicó el Plan de Apoyo para la Transición, no hubo una respuesta alternativa por parte del gobierno cubano a las responsabilidades que en él se plantean para respaldar un proceso de transición. E1 documento elaborado por el Partido Comunista no es esta alternativa, porque no ofrece nada en concreto al pueblo cubano. Quedan sin explicar cuestiones tales como:

la forma que se va a salir de la catastrófica situación económica solución para el vacío ideológico que ha creado la crisis política existente, que entre sus consecuencias, ha llevado a la juventud a vestirse con símbolos de banderas extranjeras lo que se va a hacer para mantener, al menos, los niveles que alcanzó la Salud Pública, la Educación y la Seguridad Social y para no incrementar la dolorosa situación de la población.

¿Qué va a convenir el gobierno cubano para solucionar los diferendos internacionales y tratar de insertar tasas de economía globales?

Las medidas que tomará para la eliminación del embargo

Las vías para recuperar la parte del territorio cubano ocupada por bases militares extranjeras; Guantánamo, Lourdes y Cienfuegos

La manera de encontrar causa el número creciente de personas que expresan su oposición a la política oficial y de dejar de considerar al ciudadano cubano como una persona de tercera categoría en su propio país

No es un secreto que Cuba tuvo el peor comportamiento de la región en el quinquenio 91-95 y aunque se habla de una recuperación en 1996, el pueblo no la percibió. Al terminarse la ayuda del bloque soviético se incrementó la ineficiencia del sistema y se redujo el comercio exterior.

No cabe dudas que hay que replantear y rediseñar la política socioeconómica para mejorar los resultados, tanto la sociedad, como la economía, tienen que dejar de ser usadas para ejercer el control, para insertarse en el contexto de la intensa competencia internacional y del dinámico cambio tecnológico, Cuba necesita una recuperación basada en altas tasas de crecimiento sustentable, Lo que está planteando el Partido no es esto, sino mantener el “status quo” del totalitarismo, que ya es obsoleto, y que nos quiere atrapar en el atraso económico y social, en medio de un mundo muy dinámico y competitivo.

Nadie quiere volver a la parte negativa de los años 50, como quiere hacer ver el gobierno. Las realidades del mundo han cambiado significativamente y las de nuestro país, también. La transición hacia la democracia que queremos lograr, está basada en los principios fundamentales de la Constitución del 40, que establece derechos sociales que no tienen nada que ver con el influjo de la extensión del neoliberalismo. En realidad, la situación de hoy, con empresas extranjeras que contratan a sus trabajadores por conducto de un intermediario estatal que los explota y que ni siquiera les ofrece un vínculo laboral estable, sí podría ser calificada como neo-totalitarista. No brinda el documento la posibilidad de existencia de un Estado de Derecho, ni un sistema judicial independiente e imparcial que no permita que se rechacen las libertades y derechos individuales y el pluralismo político

El gobierno, con su actual posición, no tiene la posibilidad de estabilizar la economía rápidamente sin recesión y esta es la condición previa para lograr una efectiva recuperación y consolidación económica. En fin, el Partido gobernante no tiene nada concreto que ofrecer.

VI – RECOMENDACIONES

El documento hace referencia a la apertura económica que conlleva la creación de empresas mixtas y otras formas de asociación con el capital extranjero. Pero esto no ha sido suficiente, ni mucho menos, es lo necesario. En un proceso de verdadera apertura económica, que conllevaría una democratización del país, la comunidad cubana en el exterior, un millón y medio de personas, podría contribuir, sin lugar a dudas a la recuperación sustentable de la economía. De hecho, en estos momentos, la ayuda que brindan a las familias en la Isla, es un potencial considerable del poder de importaciones del país, prueba de ello es que el gobierno no se ha atrevido a gravar con impuestos la recepción de este dinero.

También los cubanos de adentro han demostrado lo que son capaces de hacer con un pequeño espacio de libertad económica. Los cuentapropistas, a los que el sistema ha tratado de ahogar por lo que representan desde el punto de vista político, convierten en un derroche de eficiencia cualquier pequeño negocio que emprenden. En relación con esto, la revolución estimula la creatividad de las masas en todos los campos. Son incontables las soluciones que se han ido aportando a la producción y los servicios. Si verdaderamente se quiere estimular la creatividad de las masas en todas las esferas, hay que pemitirlas en el terreno económico, no impidiendo que el cubano pueda invertir, tal y como se autoriza al extranjero, incluso, para ser consecuentes, se podría extender este método de estímulo al plano político.

Se dice que el Partido demanda de cada uno de sus integrantes pensar con su propia cabeza y expresarse libremente en el seno de las organizaciones partidistas. Entonces son 770,000 las personas que cuentan con licencia para pensar y hablar, pero el resto del pueblo, de los sin partido, de los que constituyen la mayoría de la población, no tienen posibilidad de expresarse libremente, les hace falta también su espacio. No le va a resultar curioso el siguiente planteamiento: nuestro sistema electoral es ajeno a la politiquería, el fraude, la compra-venta de votos. ¿Es que no cabe esperar otra cosa, ya que sería el colmo, que cuando los candidatos responden a la línea del Partido, éste incurriera en vicios y los permitiera? También dice: el Partido no postula, ni re-elige ni revoca. Está claro que no tiene necesidad de hacerlo. Ahí están las organizaciones de masa, cuya dirigencia en pleno milita en el Partido. Basta con que ellos participen en el proceso de postulación entera en las llamadas Comisiones de Candidatura. A pesar de todo esto, compulsan a las personas a votar. Lo novedoso sería que permitieran a la oposición que formara parte del propio proceso doctoral, contando con sus propios partidos y con la posibilidad de postular a su candidatos y hacer campañas políticas y dándole acceso a observadores internacionales para que supervisen las elecciones.

En el documento se habla de nuestro Estado de Derecho. Pero no se puede observar ni uno solo de los rasgos que lo caracterizan. No se respetan las leyes; cosa que el reciente Decreto 217 demuestra, que viola lo preceptado en la Constitución y en la Ley General de la Vivienda, al igual que la práctica sistemática y el incumplimiento de la vigente Ley de Asociaciones. En lo tocante a las innumerable solicitudes de ese tipo, formuladas por las distintas organizaciones independientes, las cuales deben ser legalizadas.

El Estado no está al servicio del ciudadano. Ni siquiera existe entre aquel y este una relación igualitaria de derechos y obligaciones recíprocas, sino que, por el contrario, el ciudadano está al servicio del Estado.

Las leyes no respetan los derechos inherentes a la persona humana, como lo demuestran las innumerables denuncias de las violaciones a dichos derechos, así como las reiteradas sanciones a Cuba por esa razón en las Naciones Unidas.

El Gobierno debería solucionar problemas tales como el derecho a entrar y salir libremente del territorio nacional a los cubanos y permitir el ingreso en el país al Relator Especial de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos y a su equipo. No se puede dejar de señalar que no existe seguridad jurídica en el país, porque ha quedado demostrado que las leyes, y hasta la Constitución, pueden ser modificadas de la noche a la mañana, por lo que si se reconocieran otras corrientes ideológicas además de la que propugna el Partido Comunista, se debería convocar a una Asamblea Constituyente que modifique, ante todo, la actual Constitución vigente, pudiendo tomar, como base, la Constitución del 40, con el fin de posteriormente, realizar elecciones pluripartidistas.

Medidas como éstas son las que podría propugar el Partido Comunista para tratar de evitar el surgimiento espontáneo de cualquier tipo de situación social violenta en un corto plazo.

Es imposible seguir llevando esta nación a la ruina, sin esperar un despertar incontrolado de la población, buscando espacios en una sociedad civil con instituciones democráticas, podría acarrear lo que nadie quiere. Es mejor discutir soluciones ahora que enlutar la Patria mañana.

Ciudad de La Habana, 27 de junio de 1997

Félix Antonio Bonne Carcassés

René Gómez Manzano

Vladimiro Roca Antúnez

Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello