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The ratification of a single party state and the reiteration of Marxism-Leninism as the main ideological foundation of the process ended speculation that the 1st Conference of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) could constitute a shift that sent the Cuban nation off in new directions.

If someone continues to harbor illusions about that climate of maximum confidence and the need to accept differences of opinion, it was made clear that this will only work among those who agree with the system and if anyone believes that the promotion of democracy in our society will find its best examples within the party ranks, he can confirm his mistake by reading the brief Resolution on the Work Objectives of the Party which empowers the Central Committee to decide any modifications it deems relevant to the Statutes so as “to co-opt, for this time, up to 20% of the number of members approved in the 6th Congress approved.” Wasn’t it the Conference that was going to rebuild the Central Committee?

Raul Castro again appealed to his favorite words: Order, Discipline and Need (capitalized in the official version of the newspaper Granma) and reminded us once again that nothing agreed there should be seen as “the magic solution to all our problems.”

Cubans who want to find the patience and equanimity required to behave civilly in the face of a power which prevents those who think differently or who organize themselves politically to offer different proposals, will have to be wizards.


Young people in Camagüey are faithful to his/their* ideas.

My friends tell me that lately I’m getting to be too “Camagüey.” In my previous post I put two audacious (imaginary) delegates at the First National Conference of the Cuban Communist Party, hailing from two little villages: Piedrecitas and Magarabomba, both near the town of Florida. Some — pointedly and thoughtlessly — asked me if this “closeness” didn’t imply some kind of grammatical political ambiguity, suggesting in a veiled way that our solutions will come from the peninsula of the same name.

To get even with them for this thrust I offer you a photo of this propaganda billboard, located a few yards from the Camagüey Train Station. This is definitely a grammatical vagueness of profound political ambiguity, typical of the imprecise use of the third person possessive.

To whose ideas are young people from Camagüey faithful? Their own? Or to those of the gentleman represented in the drawing? I can attest that those with whom I have spoken have their own ideas, appropriate to their time and their interests.

*Translator’s note: In Spanish the third person possessive pronoun agrees with the “thing possessed,” not with the “owner of the thing.” Hence, it is not grammatically clear whether the young people of Camagüey agree with their own ideas or with Fidel Castro’s.

17 January 2011

It is less than three weeks until the First National Conference of the Communist Party of Cuba, and it seems that almost no one cares about what will happen there. Perhaps we haven’t lost the habit of events like these coming accompanied by billboards, posters, TV spots, heroic exploits of labor dedicated to them, and other things of that type, perhaps the sober publicity already forms a part of the Party’s new methods with which it wishes to inaugurate this conference. I don’t know, the truth is that the lack of enthusiasm doesn’t correspond to the importance that this occasion should have, where the ‘historic generation’ that started this process will have a final opportunity to clarify their intentions regarding the future of the Nation.

As a responsible citizen I feel that I have a civic duty to express myself, going through the steps ahead of time of overcoming the dilemma between giving and denying legitimacy to those people called together by the Party. The easiest thing would be to declare those days a vacation, and to pay no attention to what is agreed on there. But I live in a country where the current constitution establishes that it is this Party that commands and leads, leaving me no choice but to listen and hope.

January 28, 2012 is a new opportunity to pay attention. We cannot discount the possibility that the delegate from Piedrecitas, or the young secretary from a unit in Magarabomba, may take it in mind to rub salt in the wound in the middle of a plenary session, and that, through a window inadvertently left open, a fresh wind might blow in to awaken the entire paralysis. If nothing happens, that is to say if the boring unanimity prevails, if no one appears who dares to say, with total clarity, “my mouth is my own,” if amid the rhythmic applause they approve by proclamation the same concepts that currently tie our hands and isolate us, if in the end the Conference becomes more of the same, then we will see how those who expected something react. I suppose that at least they won’t add to the applause, and they will take one more step up in the shadows, that is if they are not afraid to live.

Link to Original Blog in Spanish

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Reinaldo Escobar (1947), an independent journalist since 1989, writes from Cuba where he was born and continues to live. He received his degree in Journalism from the University of Havana in 1971 and subsequently worked for different Cuban publications. His articles can be found in various European publications, and in the digital magazines "Cuba Encuentro" and "Contodos."

Desde Aquí/From Here is a personal undertaking born from the need to write about those topics that fill my head every day but that cannot find a space in the official Cuban media.

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