Cuba: A Prosperous and Sustainable Socialism? / Hablemos Press, Leonel
Hablemos Press, Leonel Rodriguez Lima, Havana, 16 April 2016 — It has
been much-emphasized by Cuban officialdom that we are in the process of
constructing an indigenous or distinctly Cuban socialism, prosperous and
sustainable. But the phrase could turn out to be a hollow one, being
that its realization continues to be delayed as time goes on without any
concrete progress being attained to lend it credibility. This concept
deserves some analysis.
Time and again there have been attempts to codify, at the worldwide
level, a theory of socialism and communism. Hybrid models of the two
have been tried, which have concluded in total disaster. With regard to
our country, it is not precisely socialist ideas that govern us. From
the start this process was distinguished by a strong Stalinist influence
on how we faced the future, and whose political totalitarianism
contaminated any attempt to legitimize and develop an alternative that
would signify social and economic advancement. The fact is that without
a systemic change, nothing is possible.
This coming 16 April marks 55 years since the socialist character of the
Cuban Revolution was proclaimed, and of a profound crisis that has been
its shadow ever since. This time span was more than sufficient to
achieve a state of wellbeing in keeping with the needs and aspirations
of the most humble among us. But were it not for some attempts that
brought about paltry results, the venture could be categorized as
unfruitful, and this period in the life of the Cuban nation declared a loss.
When the conditions of economic and social decline reached critical
mass, then the complaints of the people were echoed in the highest
echelons of our society. Our “government think tanks” let loose their
imagination and created the magical “Guidelines” which, according to
them, will move our distressed economy forward and lay a strong
foundation for the future of our descendants.
Once the Guidelines were officially set over economic and social policy,
the slogan for the new historical moment was rolled out: to achieve the
construction in Cuba of a “Prosperous and Sustainable Socialism.”
But this new socialism which we have not had the pleasure to meet has
already given off its poisonous essence and shown two completely
different faces. On the one hand, it pretends to give a vision of a
do-gooder Cuban society replete with opportunities for everyone. On the
other, it reveals this society’s worst defects and starkest truths.
Therefore it begs the question, who is entitled to enjoy the prosperity,
and who must provide the support for this prosperity?
Our national hero, José Martí, poetically compared the homeland and its
citizens to a statue. And, as if to curb any ambition to power that
might seek to arise above the public interest, he expressed that “the
homeland is an altar and not a pedestal.”
What is happening is very simple. The current options for development
and wellbeing are for a few citizens within an inner circle, which
constitutes the “establishment.” This is the highest link or pinnacle of
Cuban society, to which access is exceedingly restricted.
Those within the circle are the authentically privileged, who maintain
this rank while they exhibit an abjectly opportunistic and demagogic
conduct. These are the ones who are called to prosperously enjoy a full
life—that is, they pretend to be the altar of the figurative statue—and
to hoard the promised Cuban prosperity, personalizing it for themselves.
Outside of these are the poor and irredeemable majorities for whom the
riches left over by the insatiable elites will never be enough. These
popular majorities constitute the pedestal that sustains the fictitious
society which comprises the statue, the many who must sacrifice
themselves so that the aspirations of a few may flourish.
We should not be fooled by this new socialist alternative. What is left
to each one of us is to ask ourselves where our place will be in this
heralded socialism: will it be in the segment of the prosperous altar,
or in the enormous supporting pedestal?
Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison
Source: Cuba: A Prosperous and Sustainable Socialism? / Hablemos Press,
Leonel Rodriguez Lima – Translating Cuba –