What the transfer of power in Cuba means

  • Left Voice | 
  • August 4, 2006

Unexpectedly, after his participation in the MERCOSUR Summit in
Córdoba and in the commemoration ceremonies of July 26 in Cuba, on
August 1, it was announced that Fidel Castro was delegating power to
his brother Raúl, because of an urgent operation that he had to
undergo. The news quickly went around the world and became the source
of every kind of speculation over the future of the leader and above
all of the direction the country would take.

What is certain is that the deed has now opened a new political
moment in Cuba with repercussions beyond its borders. For the first
time in almost 50 years, there is a transfer of power and various
actors have now begun to show their cards for Cuba’s political and
social future.

The US is maintaining its hard line in favor of Castro’s departure
and a “democratic transition,” without ruling out any measure. Last
month the Bush administration revealed its plans for destabilizing
Cuba through its Assistance Commission for a Free Cuba, that decided
to earmark 80 million dollars for the task, to finance oppositional
groups and activities. And on August 1, the White House spokesman
stated, “we cannot speculate about Castro’s health, but we continue
working for a free Cuba
” (The Guardian, August 2, 2006).

However, more lucid and less adventuristic voices are also heard in
the heart of imperialism: “Washington should make plans to establish
contacts with the successors . . . a prompt lifting of the economic
embargo could strengthen the mistreated Cuban middle class and help
it to play a more active role in the future political transition

(The New York Times, August 2, 2006).

Spanish imperialism, closely connected to Cuba and a necessary link
between Cuba and Europe, displayed a conciliatory policy by
expressing its desire for Castro’s “quick recovery,” although Diego
López Garrido, the spokesman of the [social democratic] PSOE in the
Congress of Deputies, expressed the desire of his party that Cuba
would head towards “a full democracy that does not now exist” (Europe
Press, August 2, 2006).

The “democratic transition” that all the wings of imperialism (US or
European) are hawking, is the formulation that conceals the real
objective, the destruction of the conquests of the revolution, of the
Cuban workers’ state, in spite of its bureaucratic character, and the
re-colonization of Cuba by the big monopolies and imperialism.

The Castro-ite bureaucracy, for its part, is trying to show that
nothing serious is taking place, that the delegation of power
is “provisional,” and that it is set in the framework of the legal
line of succession. Its policy is one of an “orderly succession,”
that permits the bureaucracy to stay in power and, by keeping the
masses under strict control, to officiate as a dialogue-partner with
the imperialist interests. It would be a “Castroism without Castro”
with which they will try to keep their enormous privileges that they
get from their connections to foreign investment, from hierarchical
posts in the state enterprises connected to exports and tourism or
from the profits that the black market yields.

However, the “succession” would give a much weaker regime without the
irreplaceable figure of Fidel, which would probably weaken the
bureaucracy’s relation with the masses and unleash the internal
struggle for spaces of power for its different wings. In addition, as
we have seen, the “succession” does not have the backing of the
United States, at least for now.

We revolutionary socialists of the PTS clearly reject any attempt by
imperialism to take advantage of the situation to expedite a policy
favorable to its interests. Faced with any imperialist provocation,
we are for the defense of the Cuban revolution. At the same time, the
continuation of the Castro-ite bureaucracy, of a “Castroism without
Castro” or with his brother, can only weaken the Cuban workers’ state
by opening the way for the restorationist forces to grow stronger.

As we said some years ago, “the revolution is still alive. Neither
the imperialist blockade nor the disastrous bureaucratic leadership
has yet been able to exhaust its strength . . . In case of military
aggression we would be unconditionally on the side of Cuba for the
defeat of imperialism. But in no case would it mean giving political
support to the Castro-ite leadership, which is leading the conquests
of the revolution to ruin, demoralizing the masses and opening the
road to the restoration of capitalism. It is not possible to separate
the struggle against imperialism from the tasks of the political
revolution by leaving this for a ‘second stage.’ The defense of the
revolution puts front and center and has as its condition, the
intransigent struggle against domination by the bureaucracy and for a
regime of workers’ democracy . . . based on organs of workers’ power,
democratically organized from below to above, made up of directly
elected representatives, with a mandate from the base,
representatives that can be recalled at any moment and who do not
earn more than a skilled worker gets
.”1Eduardo Molina, “Cuba en la encrucijada,” Estrategia International
20, September, 2003, pages 173 and 174.

Full political and organizational freedoms for the workers and
political parties that defend the revolution! For the right to strike
and self-government for the unions, factory committees or other forms
that the workers desire!

A radical revision of the economic policy of concessions to foreign
capital! Workers’ control of industry and administration of
resources! Down with the privileges of the bureaucracy!

No to the policy of peaceful coexistence with imperialism and support
for the “friendly” bourgeoisies of the Third World! The defense of
the Cuban Revolution is inextricably linked to the victory of workers
and poor peasants in Latin America and the world!

For a government of workers’, peasants’ and soldiers’ councils!

Read the Dossier on Cuba in Estrategia Internacional 20, available at


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