Thursday, May 20, 2021

Analysis of the VIII Congress of Cuba's Communist Party


Talking About the Party – Introductory Note
by Walter Lippmann, May 19, 2021

The Cuban Communist Party’s VIII Congress, held in Havana in April 16-19, 2021, found the island confronting perhaps its greatest challenges since the revolutionary government came to power in 1959. Washington’s multi-faceted blockade has been intensified more than ever before, and the Covid-19 pandemic struck a cruel body blow to the island’s tourism economy, its principal source of foreign hard-currency income.

As the island’s sole political party, the PCC has faced a seemingly endless array of problems. Its historic leadership, lead by Raúl Castro, was stepping aside to make room for a new generation raised in and products of, Cuba’s revolutionary system. 

Beginning on the eve of the congress, and concluding after the congress concluded its decisions, Rafael Hernández, shared a series of detailed observations for the online journal OnCuba. He looked at the origins, evolution and development of the PCC, including how it was formed, its evolution and development. These considerations can and will help the attentive reader to better understand the PCC, and some of the challenges it faces as an organization.

The author of these articles, Rafael Hernández, is the director of the Cuban journal TEMAS (Themes). He is a political scientist, a graduate of El Colegio de Mexico, and UNAM. He has published more than a dozen books and 200 essays on Cuba-US relations and Cuban politics and society. A few of them in US academic publishing houses. The series was original published in OnCuba, a Miami-based publication, but wasn’t translated there. Links to the Spanish original of each of the five articles can e found at the bottom of each one.

Speaking About the Party, Part I
Reducing the socialist revolution to the protagonism of a party or an ideology does not help to understand its complexities and problems.

Speaking About the Party, Part II
Dialogue between different generations will just be a good wish as long as the Party and the rest of the institutions it guides do not achieve an environment conducive to respect and trust, to discussion, criticism and ensuring a truly participatory and democratic style in decision making.

Speaking About the Party, Part III 
Diversity and representation

Speaking About the Party, Part IV
On the VIII Congress that has just concluded.

Speaking About the Party, Part V and final
Is this Party capable of conducting reforms as a continuous process of correction and adjustment, and at the same time, self-reform?

Outgoing PCC First Secretary Raul Castro presented a sobering look at the challenges faced by the country. It’s very long, but is essential reading to understand the thinking of leadership. At the end of the congress, Miguel Diaz-Canel, replacing Raúl as head of the party and state, presented an assessment of the PCC’s tasks and perspectives. Here they are:

Central Report to the Eighth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba

Full text of the presentation by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, April 16, 2021

Díaz-Canel: “Among revolutionaries, we Communists go to the fore”

Full text of speech by Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic of Cuba during the 8th Party Congress, April 19, 2021, Year 63 of the Revolution

Finally, let me add that I’m very grateful to Rafael Hernández for assistance with this translation.

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