Constitutional reform in Cuba.
I think we have to see Castrism as a historical phenomenon that not only goes beyond Castrism, but also as a historical phenomenon that had as a background many antecedents in the history of Cuba. To think that Castrism is the result of Fidel Castro’s pure voluntarism is to give him more credit than he deserves.
Fidel knew how to manipulate the historical conditions to first engage and then impose his own aberrant dreams on the Cuban people. However, in order to charm the Cuban people in the way he did, there had to be common things that touched the historical sensitivity of Cubans. Fidel made a lot of use of José Marti, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, Ignacio Agramonte, Máximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo. He used them for his own Marxist nonsense, taking as a fundamental element of faith “to make Cuba for the Cubans”.
At the end of the 50s, the financial interests of the United States included 90% of Cuban mines, 80% of its public utilities, 50% of railways, 40% of sugar production and 25% of bank deposits. Even when Cuba had a large upper middle class, the differences between the urban and rural sectors were immense and the common Cuban had very little access to such wealth. If we add to that the excess of corruption in the casinos and in the government, the strong links with the mafia and the drug traffic free paradise that the island became, Cuba did not really represent the best place even for a capitalism with a certain level of decency.
Fidel knew how to take advantage of all this precarious situation, but instead of giving Cuba a democratic, independent, prosperous and corruption-free society, he tried to give those four things through Marxism and socialism. Obviously, Marxism and socialism have not given Cubans any of those four things. However, it is important to note that a Cuba without Marxism and without socialism, considering its historical conditions, would not have reached and will not be able to achieve any of these four things without the government having an important role in the country’s economy and politics. The more important a society gives to its government the more that society tends to align itself with the ideals of socialism, but this does not mean that when a society gives importance to the State it automatically makes it socialist. When the State occupies a too important role for a long time it brings misery, but equally, when the State plays an insignificant role in certain fundamental areas of society it also brings misery.
Understanding the role that the State would have to play in a post-socialist Cuba that manages to give Cubans democracy, independence, prosperity and without corruption is one of the most important things to understand the resistance that the current government continues to make and would make to any attempt to divert them from their socialist lines. After all, what socialism has tried to give Cubans with the Castro government is democracy, independence, prosperity and without corruption, but they have failed miserably in each of them.
When I say that this is what the socialist government has tried to give to Cubans, it is because, contradictorily, they have tried to give it to them through anti-democratic policies, depending on political and economic allies, increasing the misery of Cubans and seeing as inevitable to let the black market and remittances from abroad deliver the solutions for the immediate economic relief of many Cubans.
The future of a capitalist Cuba cannot and will not be thought or articulated from an extreme right or extreme left politics for the simple reason that the political history of Cuba liberation, without Fidel and without Marxism, is a story that fought against right-wing extremism before Castro and that has been fighting and will continue to fight against leftist extremism during Castro and after Socialism.
It is difficult to say whether the inclusion of Cubans living outside the island in the constitutional reform project in Cuba could, in the long term, contribute to give these Cubans a valid protagonic role. What can be said with certainty is that the current nature of the Cuban government, in which the Communist Party plays a superior role over the constitution, is not willing to give relevance to anything that goes outside the Marxist and socialist lines, its control of the economy and private property already drawn by that party. These are issues to which the Communist Party has veto without regard to any sensible or rational argument inside and outside the island.
The problem we have today with Castrism and its durability long after Castro is similar but not the same problem that many leftists often pose with capitalism. Many leftists continue to refer to the infinite dialectic of assimilation and happy absorption of their enemies that capitalism has to the point of them believing that the only way to undermine the system in its roots would be to depoliticise it completely and boycott it completely through global civic disobedience.
We tend to do a similar analysis when we refer to Castrism in Cuba. We imagine that any opposition domesticated and made part of a protocol of debate would be another overlapping form for the intransigent communist government to show to its own enemies its will for dialogue and political freedom when in reality the issues to which they have a veto would never be discussed.
I am fully aware of that reality and that the veto superiority of the Communist Party in Cuba over the constitution will still be present for many years to come. However, rejecting or ignoring the dialogue they offer would not be valid as a political strategy. I have never believed in the Machiavellian capitalist dialectism to which many leftists continue to cling, but I do not believe in the Machiavellian socialist dialectism that many anti-communists continue to cling to as well.
However, we cannot loose sight for a second in the particular case of Cuba that the Communist Party will always have a veto over the non-negotiable lines that the Cuban government has already delineated since the insertion of Castrism and they do not intend to change through the exercise of rational and judicious debate. My personal thought is that every dialectic that is hypocritical and has double morals ends with pyrrhic victories and in the long run is condemned to show and bite its own inconsistencies. The dialectic, on the other hand, of capitalism itself has led it to improve in ways that it has not even made a lot of sense to call it capitalism and it has certainly been able to assimilate for good, but also for bad, some aspects of its enemies.
But there is also a dialectic in capitalism that is hypocritical and of double moral standards. We have the exemplary case of Hillary Clinton, although it is no less true that this is not an exclusive phenomenon of the political left. Hillary and the Clintons Foundation wanted to always have their cake and eat it under the excuses of them being able to achieve most of the time a “win-win” situation. As never before the non-zero sum game economic theory articulated by John Nash manifested itself in such hypocritical ways under the Clintons.
In my personal vision, a dialectic of Cuban Socialism is doomed to fail in the long term because such a dialectic is not based on the real movement of Cuban society, but on an ideology that continues and will continue to fail to adapt to a Cuban reality capable of bringing real spiritual and material prosperity to Cubans unless they change some core ideas of their understanding of economical and political progress. They can be deceived and continue deceiving Cubans, but they cannot continue to be deceived about their real misery.
This does not mean that the government and the State in Cuba will not continue to play an important role in the long term. Cuba is a nation that, with or without socialism, the State will continue to play an important role. This is a battle of ideas and ideas take time to consolidate, but not giving Cubans inside the island the chance to know with details how Cubans think abroad is not an intelligent political strategy, even knowing in advance that certain topics will continue untreated through the use of political reason.