The Voice We Never Hear: Cuba's Democratic Socialists Speak Out

Most of what we hear about Cuba comes from one of three places: the Cuban government led by Fidel Castro; the United States, whose obsession with destroying that government verges on the psychotic; and the exiled Cuban rightists, who seek to overthrow Castro in order to establish exactly the kind of fascistic state that most people have realised no longer belongs in our world. Rarely if ever do we hear from those socialists who opposed both Batista and Castro, and who suffered as much oppression under both. The following article comes to us from Jorge Valls, the International Secretary of the Democratic Social Revolutionary Party of Cuba. It outlines a plan for democratising Cuba that does not involve bloodshed or conquest by the US, but rather an open reconciliation of the Cuban people which would be built on the foundation of democratic socialist values. We print this statement here in order that people may know that there is a better way ahead for Cuba than those offered by the current antagonists.

Thirty-nine years after the victory of the insurrection of 1 January 1959, one which was supposed to put a stop to the confrontation between Cubans and give passage to a state of law, we encounter more antagonism and polarisation than ever before. And this puts the very existence of the Cuban nation at risk.

The situation is a given to us. It is not important, in the present, to determine whether it was our impatience, our errors or obfuscations, or the foreign intervention which were the cause of our current reality. What is important is to change that reality. It is necessary to surpass the present confrontation and the frustration of our people, for the sake of consensus, understanding, and a decision to act in common.

Each one of us has to recognize if we believe or not in Cuba's national destiny, and if we are willing to work for its realisation. Whomever of us feels that, because of their injuries or resentments, they are impeded towards acting together, they should leave and form another society. This is respectable. It will not do to serve material interests or satisfy a vindictive zeal; however just these may appear, they put our nation at risk.

Those of us who feel obligated to the formation of the national destiny understand that our projects lack legitimacy if there is any intention to impose them by force. Therefore, nobody should be excluded from the process.

We need to construct the peace. This is not possible without reaffirming the essential values of the Cuban Revolution, from the dawn of the independentistas down to the present time. But these cannot be made except in a 'social state of rights.' For that reason we insist on this work of persuasion towards those who feel that the nation is both their 'agony and duty.'

The ultimate truth on how the national destiny must be satisfied not is neither held by the government or those not in government. It is, of necessity, the responsibility of all of us who want a country for the good of all. We call for the creation of society where our children and grandsons will be proud of their parents and grandparents because they knew to put the good of all, that is the nation, over their own particular motives.

We, the Social-Revolutionaries, offer our project for consideration by all Cubans. We make ourselves available for productive and creative dialogue. We present our reasons and ideas, and we will take into account the reasons and ideas presented to us, as much from the government as from those not in power. When someone rejects us be it through obfuscation or fear we insist, we reflect, in order to advance in our capacity of conviction.

The government, to initiate the process, must decree an ample political amnesty, and be committed to summon a sovereign National Constituent Assembly. The amnesty, because neither consensus nor common action are possible while there are prisoners as a consequence of the confrontation we have suffered, and the National Constituent Assembly, because it is the only suitable instrument to subscribe to the new national pact and thus to recover the state of legitimacy that was left in pieces on 10 March 1952.

During the process led by the Constituent National Assembly, the Assembly has to decree the autonomy of the judiciary; government and non-government will deal with the necessity to modify penal legislation and to safeguard procedural guarantees. Also, the assembly must establish the autonomy of the organizations of the social base, and itself accept the diversity of criteria of the formulas adapted for the construction of the peace. These are the essential conditions in order for a larger assembly to take place.

It is obvious that vigorous social base organisations are required to sustain much of the stability of the communitarian structure, like the diversity of creative action in the process to be initiated. Among these are the unions, the universities, the municipalities and the farmers' associations. With total autonomy and jurisdiction as far as their social accomplishment, these will be the dynamic and creative forces of the program we seek to fulfill.

The union, the independent, separate, and democratic device of public rights, in exercise of its faculties, will determine the attributions of its regional and sectorial organisations as well as its national representation. The universities and the other centers of higher learning, not subordinated either to the government or to any political party, with total academic and administrative autonomy, will decide the structure and the attributions of the National Council of Universities or other organisations that will be necessary. The municipality will totally assume the responsibility of the local administration, and the farmers' associations, its specific organization and representation.

Following such a plan, in a few weeks these institutions will be in conditions of co-responsibilty with the organisations that are supposed to decide on economic policy, social security, education, cultural promotion, public health, etc. In exercise of a total freedom of expression, the mediums of information and publicity, committed to the process and rejecting violence as much as vindication of past crimes, will help create the conditions for the institution of the National Constituent Assembly. The nomination of candidates for delegates to the Assembly will be by means of a certified proposal of a number determined to be representative of the voters.

The Assembly, in exercise of its authority, will determine: I) the structure of the state and its characteristics, 2) the norm for constitutional transition, 3) the electoral laws and laws governing political organizations, 4) the participation of the base organisations in the electoral process, 5) the rights of property and its exercise, and 6) how many legislative measures are necessary to institute a state of law.

The process of consensus is required in order to achieve the reconciliation, and this is an indispensable condition for a National Constituent Assembly. It will culminate when each current of thought has exposed its project, and has been considered in the assembly and in the state of law that will have arisen. For that objective it is already time for us to begin reconciling or differences and to respectfully show our present and future intentions.

We Social-Revolutionaries seek not to conquer but to convince, in order to create the 'social state of rights' sustained by the 'social market' economy that we have advocated. Our laws should be made for everyone. Their interpretation will be for the judicature to decide, the independent organ subordinate only to the law and to the service of the society, not of special interests or matters. The economic order will be subordinate to the interests of the human person, not to the interests of the economy.

We consider that the contribution of labour capital is more important to production than that of financial capital, since it is the only reliable means of growth that does not respond to foreign interests.

Also, we feel that it should be made available for everyone to give their contribution to a national program of development. Consequently, in our project is found the politics of full employment, like the incentive of family property, cooperatives and enterprises of autogestion, as well as the offer of greater technical and possibly financial assistance. This special attention in no way excludes entrepreneurial action, be it private, state, or mixed. The Social-Revolutionaries consider that pluralism develops a dynamic force; it is fundamental to our economic project.

Political and economic decentralization the commitment of the Social-Revolutionaries requires that the administrative, legislative and judicial functions, as well as the institutions that direct economic and financial activities, public health, education and cultural promotion, are in charge of specialized independent institutions, with ample participation of the organisations of the social base.

The Community of the Caribbean, the integration of our people in the Latin-American community and the fraternal embrace of all people in the world are the foundation of international social-revolutionary political action.

Reasons of economic growth, of the necessary social stability in the area, and of the guarantees to create solid bases for a integral development, towards a process of consolidation of liberty, for the exercise of sovereignty, obliges the Social-Revolutionaries to direct all of our action to the creation of the Anfictionía of the Caribbean.

Defining our immediate objectives and the future projection of the Social-Revolutionaries, we call on all Cubans who want to save their nation to join in a higher common destiny. The differences and confrontations of the past have to be subordinated before we can assume the responsibility of being able to offer a home to our children and grandsons. Acting in common is an inescapable responsibility for those who feel the nation is both their 'agony and duty.'

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