Cuba's Parliament Positions Its New Straitjacket
Reinaldo Escobar, 1 June 2017 — With its usual unanimity, the National
Assembly of People's Power, on Thursday, supported the documents
submitted to it by the Council of State. The extraordinary session put
the final stitch in the straitjacket that the Communist Party of Cuba
(CCP) is placing on the Parliament and other organs of power for the
Since Wednesday, the committees gathered at the Havana Convention Center
have expressed their support for the Conceptualization of the Cuban
Social Economic Development and Social Model and the updating of the
Party Policy and Revolution Guidelines for the period 2016-2021.
The final versions of the documents were presented to the deputies,
after a long process of debate that included modifications, additions
and deletions. The Third Plenum of the Central Committee had given them
the green light in mid-May, and all that was left was for the members of
the Eighth Legislature to raise their hands to ratify their support.
In the Constitution of the Republic, where the powers of the Parliament
are specified, it is not established that the Members have the
obligation or the assignment to analyze documents issued by the PCC, nor
those that the Council of State presents before them.
The absence of a healthy and democratic division of powers that the
country suffers has become more visible in the last hours, with the act
of parliamentary meekness that has meant that the non-partisan entity
supports the documents emanating from the structures of a militancy.
So as not to overstate the confusion about responsibilities, the
government chose the verb "to back," rather than "ratify," "vote" or
"approve," for what happened on June 1. In the selection of the word,
the formal character of what happened was evidenced, for under no
circumstances would the deputies have had the power to disapprove the
If anyone had a question about parliamentary autonomy first
vice-president, Miguel Díaz-Canel was responsible for dissipating it
when he stressed that "everything that is approved here comes as
recommendations prized by the higher echelons of the Party."
When the Party "submits to the consideration" of the National Assembly
its programmatic guidelines, it is not subordinating itself to this
supreme body of state power, but using it as a docile executor of its
policy. It makes the legislature the implementer of the narrow limits
which Raul Castro wants to leave as a frame for the political class of
the country before vacating the presidential chair next February.
Not in vain, the General stressed in his closing speech of the session
that the documents backed by the legislature will permit "changing
everything that should be changed," but at "a speed that allows us to
reach consensus." An affirmation with which he reiterates his
preferences that the transformations happen "step by step" or
"gradually," but in which he also reveals his fears.
But the unanimity reached in these two days is not that strong
either. In several of the speeches, the deputies made clear the distance
between the theoretical postulates that were established as inviolable
laws in the construction of socialism, and the times in which the island
is living. Under the apparent uniformity lies the clash between
entelechy and reality, plans and results.
In several historical moments and national instances in which this
tension has manifested itself, the Solomonic – or chameleonic – formula
has been called on to be able to continue to say that the country is
guided by Marxist-Leninist doctrines, but shaded with "our own realities
The dominance of social property over the means of production and the
exercise of power by a single party are the two pillars on which the
whole program is dispersed in guidelines, conceptualizations and
programs. However, there is no longer talk of eliminating the
exploitation of man by man, nor is the superior society aspired to
defined as "Communism."
The National Assembly expects another bitter drink, because the Party
does not legislate, at least directly. The PCC will have to instruct the
deputies to determine the amount of wealth that citizens will be able to
accumulate, and whether the redistribution of resources generated in
non-state forms of production will be accomplished by way of taxes or
At that time, the parliamentarians will be pushed to sew fine stitches
and to reinforce with them the guide to action left to them by
"Castroism." It will be the last chance this organ of the Popular Power
has, before becoming a total ventriloquist of the Party.
Source: Cuba's Parliament Positions Its New Straitjacket – Translating