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Pedro Campos

Pedro Campos, Miami, 2 November 2017 – Once again, as expected, the United Nations condemns the United States embargo on Cuba. This annual exercise is part of the diversionary masquerade of the Castro regime to try to make the naïve believe that it is the United States that is the main culprit in Cuba’s economic and … Continue reading "The US Embargo and Cuba’s Internal Blockade in Times of Halloween" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 12 August 2017 — The Government of the Castro brothers has always maintained that their fundamental social achievements have been “free” health and education, available to all people, which became an international calling card, to try to counter criticism of their massive, flagrant and systematic violations of the political, civil and … Continue reading "The Spurious Goals of Cuba’s ‘Free’ Health And Education" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 18 May 2017 — In an effort to persuade Cubans and the international left that “Cuba is building socialism,” while seeking to convince the world that Castroism is abandoning State Totalitarianism and also trying to counteract the relative independence achieved by the so-called boteros, or boatmen, as independent taxi drivers are … Continue reading "Cuba’s Fake Transport Co-ops" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 11 April 2017 – The treatment of blacks and the market in slaves brought from Africa developed by the European colonists has clearly been established as a crime against humanity before all contemporary civilized beings without the slightest doubt. It was a practice that “sold” human beings as if they were … Continue reading "The Treatment Of ‘White Coats’" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 23 February 2017 — The recent “diplomatic” action by the Cuban Government to try to prevent the presence of foreign personalities in a private event in Havana to receive a symbolic prize bearing the name of the late regime opponent Oswaldo Payá, denotes the weakness, fear and incapacity that characterize its … Continue reading "Weakness, Fear And Inability Erode The Cuban Government / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 17 February 2017 – The ending of the United States’ Wet-Foot/Dry-Foot policy – that allowed Cubans who touched American soil to stay – crushed the hopes of many Cubans of being able to achieve the American dream, that is equality of opportunities and the freedom to allow all citizens to achieve … Continue reading "The Crisis Of The ‘Boteros’: The First Bean To Burst Into The Pot / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 2 February 2017 – A previous article addressed the economic policy of the current Cuban government to hinder the private economy – forbidding investment from Cubans on the island and abroad – and favoring foreign investment, mainly from the United States, which could lead Cuba to a situation of virtual annexation … Continue reading "Cuba Does Not Need US Investment To Develop Its Economy / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 28 January 2017 — Guided by the current political-military leadership, the Cuban economy could be heading “without pause, but without haste*” towards virtual annexation to the United States. There would be no Platt Amendment, nor Marines landing on any Cuban beach, no any formal agreement or formal treaty that would make Cuba an … Continue reading "Is Cuba Heading Towards Virtual Annexation to the US? / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, 16 January 2017 — Raul Castro’s government, after reestablishing diplomatic relations with Washington and easing international pressures – which allowed it to renegotiate a large part of its foreign debt – did all it could to prevent the rapprochement from resulting in increased business with the United States and its internal influence … Continue reading "Obama Leaves A Poisoned Gift To Trump And Castro / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 5 January 2017 — Dozens of Cubans take refuge every week in the shelter set up by the social ministry of Caritas in Panama to continue their journey to the United States. Although currently there are no bottlenecks in Central America and the flow of migrants remains constant and away from the … Continue reading "A Sanctuary For Cuban Migrants On Their Way To The United States / 14ymedio, Mario Penton" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 4 January 2017 – The March 2nd “military parade and combatants’ march,” dedicated to the late Fidel Castro and to Cuba’s youth, which lasted an hour and 40 minutes, offered four main messages: projecting an image of austerity; no aggressiveness towards the new American government of Donald Trump; demonstrating an image, unreal, of youthful … Continue reading "Quick Read Of A Rushed Parade / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 29 December 2016 — The model imposed in Cuba in the name of a socialism that never existed had, among its worst results, the politicization of everything. Families fought over politics. Friends became enemies. This was one of the most disastrous consequences of the “revolutionary intransigence” in which several generations of Cubans were (badly) … Continue reading "It’s Time For Politics To Stop Separating Families And Friends / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 3 December 2016 – Genius and figure to the grave, the boy born in Birán, who led an armed Revolution from the Sierra Maestra and governed Cuba for almost 60 years from Havana, wanted his ashes placed for eternity in Santiago de Cuba, near to the tomb of José Martí, in … Continue reading "Placing The Remains Of Fidel Castro With Those Of Martí Divides Cubans / 14ymedio, Pedro Campo" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 27 November 2016 — Fidel Castro has died. The mythic figure has died. The event will be discussed for a long time and from many points of view. Nine days of mourning has been decreed in Havana, the flag is at half mast; in Miami they are partying, the same Cuban flag … Continue reading "The Myth Died, Cuba Must Change / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 28 October 2016 – Launching an advertising campaign, deploying a costly diplomatic action charged to the Cuban people against a “blockade” that doesn’t have a single opponent in the United Nations, because even the United States government abstained, is at the very least to make yourself a laughingstock to the world. … Continue reading "The Blockade Again… Fidel’s War Against Windmills / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 30 August 2016 — Last weekend Latin America’s communist and leftist parties held a meeting in Peru. Its objective: To structure the “struggle against neoliberalism” in the region. Is this the purpose sought by socialism? The first socialists (nothing to do with the statist, authoritarian, police and totalitarian versions) always understood … Continue reading "The ‘Communist’ Meeting In Peru Harks Back to the Olden Days / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 23 August 2016 – Self-employed Cubans are tossed out of places where they’ve contracted with the State to work, without consideration of the consequences for them and violating what is established in their “contracts.” Recently this happened in Pinar del Rio, according to various reports, thanks to the redevelopment of the … Continue reading "‘Coffee, Three Cents’ / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Luz Escobar (Havana), Mario Penton (Miami), 16 August 2016 — “Do you see that building? Ten years ago it was full of stinking water, rats and trash. When people passed through the doorway a balcony could fall on their head. Today it is housing, thanks to the work of Eusebio,” Mirna says excitedly. After … Continue reading "Cuban Military Takes Over Businesses of Havana Historian’s Office / 14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Mario Penton" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 11 August 2016 — Latin American governments who are closing their borders to the crossing of Cubans seeking to leave Cuba’s state slavery to reach the United States are complicit in the genocide that is increasing in the Straits of Florida, the only escape route left to the island’s new escaped … Continue reading "Wake Up, America / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, 25 July 2016 – Several news reports confirm that there is a contingent of Indian workers in Cuba… Yes, you read that right: workers from India, from the other side of the world, working on tourist projects for foreign companies. A French company brought them over here and is paying them first … Continue reading "Not In The Name Of Socialism. Another Sign Of Contempt For Cuban Workers / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 18 July 2106 — Paradoxes of history: The United States and Cuba began a process of normalization of relations on 17 December 2014 and with the visit of President Barack Obama to Havana in March of 2016, aimed at expanding and deepening what has been achieved, came the counteroffensive of Fidel … Continue reading "Havana Impedes Progress of Obama’s Policy Toward Cuba / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 4 July 2016 — The Colombian government labels the Cuban Adjustment Act “perverse” and calls on other Latin American governments affected by the flow of migrants from the island to pressure Washington to repeal it. Without a doubt, the countries closest to Cuba are recipients and “victims” of the vast wave … Continue reading "The Cuban Adjustment Act Is Not The Main Cause Of The Exodus / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 27 June 2016 — Recently, Havana has been declared a New7Wonder City of the Modern World, based on the votes of thousands of people in a contest by the Swiss foundation New7Wonders, citing its “mythical attraction, the warm and welcoming atmosphere and the charm and gaiety of its inhabitants.” Winning the … Continue reading "Havana, Definitely a “Wonder City” / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 24 May 2016 – The receding tide of the populist wave in Latin America, in particular the delicate situation in Venezuela and the ouster of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, has uncovered all kinds of speculation about the supposed relationship of cause and effect controlling political-economic and social process in Cuba. Those … Continue reading "Cuba is Not Brazil or Venezuela / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading

La Seguridad del Estado impidió a la abogada Laritza Diversent, la bloguera Regina Coyula y el articulista y colaborador de DIARIO DE CUBA Pedro Campos llegar a Pinar del Río para participar en un evento sobre el marco jurídico cubano actual, organizado por el proyecto independiente Convivencia.

Según la abogada Diversent, directora del proyecto Cubalex y quien iba a participar en el taller como ponente, varios agentes de la policía política se apostaron cerca de su vivienda y en calles aledañas para impedirle salir.

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14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 23 April 2016 — Army General Raul Castro, newly re-elected first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), in his closing speech at the Party’s 7th Congress spoke of moving forward with our democratic, prosperous and sustainable socialism. It turns out that the adjective democratic has just been added to the socialism officially promoted in … Continue reading "Clothes Do Not Make the Man / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos" Continue reading
Opinions of an entrepreneur in view of the new economic scenario. [1]Pedro Campos, Havana, 17 March 2015 -- Alex Castro, son of Fidel Castro, declared recently that McDonald's and Coca Cola are welcome in Cuba. Of course, he must have been speaking in a personal or family capacity, being that he does not hold any representative office. In this regard it is worth noting that, from the viewpoint of participative and democratic socialism, state-run monopolies harm the economy as much as foreign-owned ones. Both block the development of productive forces and, especially, the decline in costs and prices of raw materials and finished products. In state-run, centralized economies such as the Cuban one, or in more liberal capitalism, such as that of the United States, monopolies that control economic and market niches are also great sources of corruption, and of the destruction of consumer goods in order to maintain high prices. Examples of the consequences of monopolistic control abound in the economic literature dating back from more than century ago, and in particular in the international press, and in Cuba’s own official media. Having consulted the owners of a restaurant that serves fast food (and of high quality), they told me they agree that relations between the US and Cuba should be normalized, but that, for obvious reasons, they are not so enthusiastic about the eventual arrival of McDonald’s in Cuba. One of these young entrepreneurs told me, “Obama promised help for small businesses, and for the empowerment of the people – not an invasion of large transnational corporations which, instead of helping the self-employed and cooperatives, would try to monopolize our markets, and consequently sink us. “We are against the big monopolies on principle. We believe that the essence of imperialism is in the big monopolies. We are anti-imperialists not because of politics, but for our need to survive,” he said. “This is not from a fear of competition,” he added. “We can compete in terms of quality and price even with McDonald’s itself, whose hamburgers are actually not mainly made of meat. Our hamburger is indeed nutritious, mostly pork, and is not junk food, as McDonald’s offerings have been internationally declared to be.” He also remarked that his business does not pay salaries to its workers, but rather a fixed share of the profits, for which the employees perform with a sense of ownership, even though they are not owners. They all work enthusiastically, taking care of the small restaurant’s means and resources, and they strive to provide the best quality and service. This restaurateur surmises that Alex Castro may have had the opportunity to try McDonald’s. “He must have liked it very much, to have given it a welcome in the name of Cuba, without having taken into account the Cuban population, the majority of which has not had that opportunity,” he said. It is also possible that Alex Castro has not tried the hamburgers made in the private Cuban restaurants which lend prestige to our national cuisine – unlike those inefficient little state-run establishments – with far fewer resources than that transnational corporation, but with much higher quality. I should add that if those Cubans who are self-employed or in cooperatives could count on half the access McDonald’s has to the market for acquiring raw materials, and if the National Tax Administration Office and the inspectors of the various government agencies wouldn’t interfere with them so much in search of reasons to close them down, any foreign business would be hard-pressed to compete with our native enterprises in terms of quality and prices. In fact, among the causes of the State’s non-declared war against the self-employed is the bafflement of the government-run businesses by the private enterprises, which greatly exceed them in quality and service. “The reasons are simple,” says the Cuban restaurant owner. “We are broadly fluent in commercial techniques, in the new digital and communication technologies (even without Internet access), many of us have attended schools and courses for hospitality management and tourism, we are fluent in other languages, and we know how to compete, as has been demonstrated by the majority of the Cuban workers, technicians and professionals who have left and established themselves outside the country.” “We Cubans, who have been so exploited by the State, have learned to try to get ahead through our own efforts, starting with producing the best quality, the best presentation, and the best services at the lowest cost. When we were salaried government employees, with miserable wages, we did not put in the same effort that we now do in our own businesses, and we know that the worker cannot be mistreated and poorly paid, because that just encourages workplace theft.” “For that reason,” he continued, “even though our restaurant is not a cooperative, we apply similar principles. There are workers who with their tips earn more than even we owners do, and this does not bother us, in fact we are glad for it.” In closing, he expressed, “Cuba is for Cubans. We do not like, we do not accept, foreign businesses coming here to do what we know and can do, but have not been able to develop because of all the bureaucratic roadblocks. We find ways to raise capital, we borrow, friends and family within and outside the country help us, and we have sold many of our possessions, confident that we are going to do good business.” “In the event that the great foreign capital arrives to try to crush us, we will not allow it. Let nobody forget that we are the generations raised in the spirit of Baraguá [2] and Moncada [3].” Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison [1] [2] [3] Continue reading
[1]14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 4 March 2015 – The political and electoral system put in place in Cuba in the name of a socialism that has never existed, on which bureaucracy placed its bets and with which it has always won, has distinguished itself for its representative and indirect character, like that of the representative democracies that it has always criticized in other countries. That indirect and representative form, where those at the bottom only count when its time to vote for candidates that have been predetermined by the top – except in the case of district delegates – of whom all that is known is a small biography, has only served to depoliticize constituents and make them lose interest in politics, which is nothing more than a way to manage issues that concern everyone, be they political, economic, fiscal, labor, judicial, or social. Since no one is elected for the policies they would put in place to resolve issues in the community, the region, or the country, people simply don’t discuss politics nor do they vote for a specific policy. Thus far, those elected are the one’s who are “best trained” to make and defend the policies that have already been established by the Government-party. This has been the essence of the “socialist democracy.” Given that the vast majority of Cubans have left politics in the hands of the same people who have governed this country – under a single party and in a single direction – for over half a century, they have decided and continue to decide all our destinies. It’s time for Cubans, regardless of our ways of thinking, to begin taking care of politics, making it work for all our interests and pulling it from the stagnation into which it has been plunged. We should do the same with the economy, to extract it from the high levels of centralization that have characterized it. The point is not to be consulted about what should be done; it’s to make ourselves the deciders of what occurs. No one explains what the Party’s Central Committee’s announced new electoral law proposes  The last plenary session of the Party’s Central Committee approved the establishment of a new electoral law. There are no doubts that it is necessary, but no one explains what the new legislation proposes or how it will impact citizens, if we will participate in its drafting and if we will vote for it in referendum or not, as it should be due to its importance. Meanwhile, independent civil society demands a new constitution, rule of law, a multi-party system, and democratic elections, and the left, additionally, urges the delivery of a more direct democracy, increased public control, and more effective forms of participation and decision-making. How will we Cubans participate in the discussion process regarding the new law so that politics doesn’t continue to take care of us and instead it is us who takes care of politics? How to reconcile that new law with the demands of a great part of Cuban society? Why link it to the negotiations with the United States when it deals with a topic that is solely the responsibility of the Cuban people? Will a new electoral law be democratic or just a patching up of the previous one aimed at keeping up appearances and prolonging the Party’s time in power? How can a new electoral law be conceived without having previously changed a Constitution that has various antidemocratic articles such as the following? Article 5: establishes the rule of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) over the society. Article 53: restricts the freedoms of expression and press insofar as it advances the interests of the socialist society, a socialism that also lacks a precise definition. Article 54: limits the rights to assembly, protest, and association to existing organizations that are subordinate to the PCC. Article 74: establishes indirect elections for the offices of President and Vice-President at the hands of the National Assembly of People’s Power. Article 116: establishes that Provincial and Municipal Assemblies are responsible for indirectly electing mayors and governors. How can a new electoral law be conceived without having previously changed a Constitution that has various antidemocratic articles?  How to discuss and approve a new electoral law in a country whose political climate does not allow free expression of different ideas or the right to form political associations to defend them. Regardless, relative to the electoral system, Chapter XIV of the Constitution is sufficiently ample and imprecise to allow for almost anything, even when it seems to contradict other aspects of the Magna Carta, it would be too hasty to draw conclusions for now, given that there are also many other articles that would justify an electoral law that would be entirely democratic. Regarding this with an optimistic eye, which would not be supported by the actions of Raul Castro’s government in this area, it would be possible to expect that this announcement could be a prelude to others, essential for the creation of a climate of national dialogue and confidence needed for the longed-for process of democratization to open up. Consequently, we should practice politics, organize ourselves and continue to demand, through every possible track, the creation of a political atmosphere that will be conducive to a necessary national dialogue without exclusions; the establishment of thorough respect for the freedoms of expression, association, and election; the beginning of the works toward a new democratic Constitution that will be approved in a referendum and will allow for the establishment of a rule of law; and continue to push for the complete liberation of the country’s forces of production from all the bonds, regulations, and monopolies imposed by the salaried state forces. Take care of politics, or politics will take care of you! Translated by Fernando Fornaris [1] Continue reading
[caption id="attachment_38519" align="aligncenter" width="623"] [1] Flags flying at the United Nations[/caption] [2]14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 6 February 2015 – The Government that emerged from the popular and democratic Revolution of 1959 has been characterized since its inception by its internationalist policies of solidarity, aid and cooperation with revolutionary and national liberation movements in Latin America and almost all other corners of the world. The practice of internationalism has been a norm in the foreign activities of the government, always as a part of the “Marxist-Leninist” principles that uphold it. It has its roots in our national history, in the participation of many foreigners in our independence battles and even in our last feat against Batista’s tyranny, and also in the participation of Cubans in the struggles for liberation of the Thirteen Colonies of the North from English colonialism. Additionally, in American ventures against Spanish colonialism, in the Spanish Civil War, and in World War II against fascism, to point out some well-known historical occurrences. The solidarity of the Cuban government never remained in simple declarations. Well-known are many actions of direct support in the form of arms, training, funds and men to many of those movements throughout the history of the last half of the XX century. It would suffice to recall the actions of Che in Africa and Bolivia and the involvement of Cuban troops in the Arab-Israeli, Algerian-Moroccan, and Ethiopian-Somali conflicts as well as in the southern tip of Africa. On the other hand, important international events that encouraged the use of violence in their political efforts also took place in Cuba. The Cuban government encouraged armed struggles in Latin America for many years as a means of liberation from imperialist oppression. The Cuban government encouraged armed struggles in Latin America for many years as a means of liberation from imperialist oppression. The Island’s press services, especially Radio Habana Cuba, which broadcasts in all continents and in several languages, has constantly denounced human rights abuses at the hands of governments and reactionary forces throughout the world and has breathed life into communist parties, movements of the left, of workers, antifascists, and practically any popular cause that has developed in the world. Cuban officials feel a sense of pride from those internationalist activities. Many of us Cubans took part in some way, directly or otherwise, in that great movement of solidarity, because internationalism has been part of our education from the State. These policies began to revert at the fall of the Soviet Union and the “Eastern Bloc,” principal economic, political, and military supporters of the Cuban government. In adapting to that new global order, a new foreign policy has been developed and applied throughout the last 15 years: upholding political solidarity for “anti-imperialist and revolutionary” movements without direct aid or involvement in other countries’ conflicts, instead seeking greater diplomatic recognition and the creation of favorable conditions that would diversify the Cuban State’s sources of income. Cuban leaders reduced internationalist support to verbal solidarity and limited aid to natural disasters and health crises (the sale of medical and professional services is a business of the State, a separate subject matter) and they’ve also been effective in mediating to solve Colombia’s armed conflict. At the same time, international activities aimed at combatting the embargo-blockade* were increased and, more recently, negotiations to reestablish and normalize diplomatic relations between the government and the United States have also taken place. The Cuban government hopes for its new conduct of respect for international law to be equally met by the international community and, especially, by the United States in this new era of “normal” relations. The ample and varied activities of aggression and subversion by all administrations of the United States to oust their Cuban counterpart are well-known. From its sponsoring of the Bay of Pigs Invasion and support for opposition fighters in the Escambray Mountains, going through direct efforts against the national economy and assassination plots against Cuban leaders, to the U.S. Secret Services’ provision of logistical, economic, and political support to all kinds of armed and political movements against the Cuban government. One should assume that in a new era of normalized relations, all those policies should cease on both sides. This government could not accuse others of meddling in its internal affairs through the political and public efforts of other governments in favor of the Cuban people’s rights and liberties. But, it will be necessary to keep in mind that it is not the same thing to show solidarity for the victims of unjust government policies as it is to conspire with nationals of other countries to topple governments. The right to self-determination does not restrict solidarity with the oppressed or with those whose rights are violated, only the practical and effective action that may be directed at undermining a people’s sovereign right to decide its own future, democratically and by itself. The right to self-determination was born in the United Nations in 1960, precisely as a consequence of international solidarity with the people of Africa, who suffered beneath the boot of colonialism. Nobody could expect Cuba’s government not to voice solidarity with internationalist movements of the left, or to back them up politically as they sought to reclaim political, economic, and social independence, finally denouncing the violation of other people’s rights. On that same note, this government could not accuse others of meddling in its internal affairs through the political and public efforts of other governments in favor of the Cuban people’s rights and liberties. The best way to prevent such involvements would be by thoroughly respecting the political, civil, economic, and social rights of Cubans, especially the freedoms of expression, association, and election, as well as their ability to freely carry out productive and commercial activities. Applying, in short, without prejudice or discrimination, the principles set forth by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its respective agreements, which have been signed by this government. Human rights are not of right or left, capitalists or socialists, northerners or southerners… they are human. Whoever travels down these roads should know that they, too, have laws and they cut both ways; they are put in place to be respected and to prevent “accidents.” The new international scenario that Cuba faces doesn’t only require from it a new focus on its international politics, but also on its internal affairs. A connection between the two should exist; there should be some correspondence. *Translator’s note: The Cuban government calls the American embargo on Cuba a “blockade.” Translated by Fernando Fornaris [1] [2] Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 29 January 2015 -- The main contradictions in Cuban society lie between the concentration and centralization of property ownership and decision making of all kinds, and the broad cultural, technical and professional training of Cubans, eager to improve their material and spiritual living conditions. The unviable state-dependent employment model has been incapable of satisfying these needs. Its origin is the conception of socialism inherited from Stalinism, which was based on the concentration of ownership and decision-making, and the system of wage-labor for the State, with everything administered by the Communist Party: a State-monopoly capitalism that sharpened all the conflicts of the exploitative wage system. The lack of a solution to these problems has stalled the productive forces, the development of society, economic progress, modernity and improvements in the living conditions of the great majority of the population. The solutions move to increase the participation of citizens in property, ownership of the results of their work, and decisions of all kinds: economic, political and social. Democratization of politics and socialization of the economy are also imposed. But “state socialism” blocked these solutions, almost eliminating the small and medium proprietor, preventing the development of forms of free labor -- unionized or otherwise -- the free-management of production, the social economy, and restricting the democratic participation of citizens in political matters. Now, with the normalization of relations with “the enemy,” there is no danger of military aggression, always used as a justification to postpone the empowerment of the people, and the Cuban government should not delay any further moving in this direction. The solutions move to increase the participation of citizens in property, ownership of the results of their work, and decisions of all kinds The return to power of groups of oligarchs allied to American capital would not resolve these contradictions – rather it would increase them – newly excluding workers and citizens in general from economic and political power, with concentrated ownership passing from the hands of the State to the huge capitalist entrepreneurs, and political power from the Communist Party to another party that could act at will without submitting itself to democracy. The proposals made from the positions of Participatory and Democratic Socialism, since 1991 with the 4th Cuban Communist Party Congress, raise the need to advance this process of democratization and socialization of politics and the economy. Traditional opposition sectors have also presented similar demands. In 2006, networks of the international left published “Urging the Cuban Revolution to Advance Entrepreneurial and Social Self-management” and sent it to the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) and the Government. The following year, they published “15 Concrete Proposals to Revitalize Socialism in Cuba.” In 2008, we publicly presented the document “Cuba Needs A Participative and Democratic Socialism, Programmatic Proposals,” and with the view of the 6th Congress of the PCC and the entire Cuban people, we announced our “Proposals to Advance Socialism In Cuba.” More recently, we published “14 Keys for the Padlocks that Depress the Cuban Economy.” These and other documents of the broad democratic left argue the need to democratize the party and the society, free up self-employment and cooperatives, and especially to involve employees in the direction, management and profits of state enterprises, without ignoring the necessary spaces for state capital, domestic private capital, and foreign capital. The neo-Stalinists have tried to prevent the people from having knowledge of these ideas and a part of the traditional opposition has tried to ignore them. The “update of the model” did not resolve these conflicts -- although it introduced dynamics and presented proposals concomitant with participative and democratic socialism -- due to its limitations, state-centric origin, biased legislation and its application of the same traditional bureaucracy present in a State willing only to strengthen its total control and never disposed to transparently bend toward the essential. In this scheme, the “update of the model” has not been able to accomplish substantial modifications in what continues to block the development of a socialized economy directly in the hands of the citizens. The recent agreements between the governments of the United States and Cuba come when all the problems of Cuban society are aggravated and the insufficient “updating” is exhausted, unable to attenuate those problems. The inability of the State-Government-Party to understand the urgent need to develop popular autonomous control of the economy and the political life of the country is worrying Today, with the persistence of a high level of ownership concentration and centralization of decision-making and its respective mechanisms and laws, the economic and political structure of the country appears unprepared to absorb the impact represented by the new US policies. The inability of the State-Government-Party to understand the urgent need to develop popular autonomous control of the economy and the political life of the country is worrying. Bureaucratic obstructionism at all levels, at fault for the slow “updating of the model,” seems to be playing the same game with respect to the normalization of relations with the United States. The democratic left is also concerned that the eventual increase in investment will be directed only to state enterprises, which will not resolve the already exposed internal contradictions of Cuban society and will lead to an alliance between monopolistic State capitalism and huge American capital which, logically, will results in greater exploitation of Cuban workers. While there are American business sectors whose only interest is to do business in Cuba, the Obama administration is also interested in supporting “non-state” businesses, which they welcome. The issues of democracy and human rights in the United States and Cuba are a matter for their people, not the governments of both countries, which should respect the Cuban people’s sovereignty and their capacity to decide their future. The role of the governments is to create conditions so that people can exercise their sovereignty. Cuba should open a process of dialog and negotiations between all the visions and projects, political, social and economic, led by a new constituency, capable of harmonizing in democracy all the interests present in the country. The enunciated American policies to economically and politically empower the citizens don’t hide their intentions to influence the internal politics of Cuba, which are being manipulated by the new-Stalinist mentality, the official press, the political structure and foreign “leftists,” like the “imperialist [intention] to overthrow the Revolution by other means.” The US government may be making a mistake by stating that its new policy is designed to achieve the same strategic objectives of the previous failed The US government could be making a mistake by stating that its new policy is intended to achieve the same strategic objectives as the prior, failed, policy. If the objectives continue to be to provoke political changes in Cuba, the American government should ask itself if it would like Cuba to propose the same objectives in its policies toward the United States. The objectives of the new policy, if they don’t want it to backfire and be counterproductive, should be to live in peace with Cuba, to support its economic development and to facilitate, with the elimination of pressures on the Cuban government, the Cuban people being in a better condition to decide their destinies, without political changes imposed from outside. For its part, the Cuban government must consider that methods (policies) must predominate over ends (strategy), so that the fact that the United States has changed its policy – from one of pressures and isolation to one of dialog and rapprochement – should influence what prevails in this latest approach. There are those in the bureaucracy and in the opposition who believe that the problems of our country can only be resolved with the help of the United States. Those who think this way don’t seem to recognize the character of the internal contradictions nor their solutions, such that it will be difficult to find support for their plans among the great majority. We appreciate the support of Obama and his administration for respect for the human rights of the Cuban people, and for their offer of assistance to non-state businesses and to facilitate people’s access to the Internet. But the democratization of the Cuban political system, the decision about the form of government, and the democratic election of our representatives, these are our tasks and the more the Cuban government feels that the United States is interfering in Cuba’s internal affairs, the more difficult is the situation of Cubans in Cuba and the more the current government will oppose this process. The more the Cuban government feels that the United States is interfering in Cuba’s internal affairs, the more difficult is the situation of Cubans in Cuba  Accelerating all the transformations toward a greater democratization and socialization of political and economic life should be the priority in order to cushion the impact of the new dynamics generated by the “normalization” and to guarantee that internal changes are driven by citizen empowerment and not by external forces. Something that appears to be impossible as long as the go-slow bureaucracy continues to have sufficient power to block the necessary transformations. The difference between changes being promoted from within versus from outside could mark aspects of the independence and sovereignty that would appear in the future, sooner rather than later. The current contradictions could exacerbated, rather than resolved, and the call for normalization of relations with the United States could stalemate or fail through not achieving the dynamics a new US policy could generate, and through lack of respect by both governments for the interests of the Cuban people who, in their vast majority welcome the normalization, but who also – for the most part – reject outside interference. Continue reading
[caption id="attachment_38193" align="aligncenter" width="623"] [1] Dawn breaking over Havana (14ymedio)[/caption] 14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 16 January 2015 -- The resumption of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States and the beginning of the normalization of ties of every kind between both countries, which implies the elimination of the political blockade that the great power of the north sustained against the small Caribbean Island, opens a compass of hope and a new space that, taken good advantage of by all the constructive and democratic Cuban forces, creates -- as never before -- the conditions for a better Cuba for all Cubans. Some at the extremes consider that this approach could distance, rather than bring closer, a better future for all citizens. Some because they believe that it will prolong and consolidate the Castro dictatorship, others because the "empire" will appropriate the economy and the hearts of Cubans. Apart from the narrow sectarian interests that may be hiding behind these visions, none of them seem to realize the full benefits of this event for the vast majority of the Cuban people, their democratic hopes, their creativity, their productive forces and especially for their sovereignty as authentic decision maker and executor of their own future. Some time ago I wrote that if the solutions to the problems of the Cuban people are entrusted to the help and benevolence of the powerful northern neighbor it would mean handing over the country for a miserable pittance. To ignore the advantages of a constructive and peaceful relationship with the U.S., would condemn the nation "besieged citadel" to the mercy of nationalist opportunism of all kinds. Move the country along the path between those positions from a major and growing participation of citizens in decisions of all kinds, in politics and in economics, is the key and, at the same time, the great challenge of the Cuban democratic left . The "update of the model" promoted by the government of Raul Castro, ceding to cooperatives and self-employment a secondary space in the economy, giving priority to state enterprises and leaving unmet his own assertion that the State should not run enterprises, without understanding the significance of free labor, associated or not for socialism, and forgetting the initial objectives of this Revolution, which does not belong to them but to all the people, about the reestablishment of democracy. If in parallel with the process of negotiations with the US and its participation in supporting the development of the economy there is not a deepening of the process of socialization of property through the extension of self-employment, small and medium enterprises of all types, cooperatives, and worker participation in management, administration and distribution of the profits of state enterprises, with democratization and diversification of institutions of political participation at all levels, Cuba runs the risk of moving from a monopoly decadent state capitalism, imposed in the name of a socialism that has ever existed, to a form of authoritarian State capitalism, controlled by a political-military elite in association with the great American capital. We have to recognize the presidents of the United States and Cuba have taken this step to create primary conditions for a country better than has ever been possible. But let this opportunity opens the way to the Cuba "with all and for the good of all" that Martí dreamed of and for which several generations of Cubans fought for nearly two centuries, relying on the citizens themselves and their own intelligence. This is the time for dialogue and consultation, prudential waiting and popular and democratic alliances working with the interests of the majority. If Raul and his inner circle want to consolidate their position and bring the upgrade of the model  to fruition, they will have to remove all the obstacles imposed by the heavy burden of the old neo-Stalinist party bureaucracy that controls the mass organizations, electoral processes, local authorities and state enterprises, and seek an alliance with the workers and the middle classes, opening every possible space. We must avoid foreign companies ending up investing only in cooperation with state enterprises, without real independence to contact for labor, without credit or possibilities to develop small and medium sized businesses, with private or associated capital. In this sense, the Investment Law will be relaxed and become a simple law of businesses, so that Cuban capital sources of whatever dimension, inside the country and abroad, can deploy their initiatives. The State has to open the possibilities for external and internal trade, as currently their control remains the main cause of high prices which prevents the lowering of the costs of input and of a wide range popular consumer goods, especially food. Another aspect to immediately review is the tax law that continues to tax revenues, not profits -- a factor limiting the expansion of emerging companies -- and to eliminate all the paraphernalia of absurd permissions to open businesses and cooperatives, whether in services or production. All the constructive and peaceful forces in the country should, within and outside the government, within and outside Cuba, set aside grudges and revenge and engage in a national dialogue that makes possible a shared path of national progress towards a new constitution, democratic in its content, and towards how to achieve it. The upcoming elections to the National Assembly of People’s Power are moving forward. This is a good opportunity for the government to demonstrate its commitment to democracy, to end the legal repression of of the political activism of those who think differently, to facilitate the expansion of freedom of expression and association, and to make changes to the electoral law that enable more democratic forms of putting forward candidates, and direct elections of mayors, provincial governors and the President of the Republic. The nation will move forward with everyone it it will never be. None of its parts is entitled to hijack the future for narrow interests. From the defense of the positions of the Participatory and Democratic Socialism, we advocate consultation, dialogue, meeting, national reconciliation and prosperity for the Cuban people in an atmosphere of peace and democracy. A better Cuba is more possible than ever. To achieve is it is the responsibility of all Cubans of goodwill. 16 January 2015 [1] Continue reading
We democratic socialists have made many proposals for overcoming “State socialism.” We are ignored in spite of our disposition towards dialogue. The past is not the solution for the present, nor for the future. 14ymedio, PEDRO CAMPOS, 4 November 2014 — It … Continue reading Continue reading