For us revolutionary socialists, the Republic of Cuba is not socialist. We call it a deformed workers state, a nation with a planned economy but with no workers democracy. Cuba is a bureaucratic single party society, only people supportive of the Communist Party of Cuba are allowed to participate in elections. There are opposition parties, but they are not allowed to campaign for their ideals. If they would do so, they could get banned and their members jailed. So there are political parties in Cuba, but only the Communist Party of Cuba has the right to rule the nation!
This has always been opposed by revolutionary socialists. You cannot build a socialist society on a single party state. We see this in Russia were the degeneration of the Soviet revolution led to the rise of Stalin and the final collapse of the USSR in the 1980's. The Cuban revolution was able to survive, because of Castro's charisma and the fact that the island is still under siege from US imperialism. But the collapse of stalinism forced Castro to adopt some capitalist laws. With the dollarisation of Cuba ( authorized in August 1993 ) the dollar became Cuba’s principal currency for traded goods and services, as it had been during the first years of the 20th century. The Cuban Peso remained in use for salary payments, for all purchases on rationing and internal transactions of the government!
Today there is a gap between the Cubans who work for the state and those who work for private owned hotels and other capitalist enterprises. State workers receive a very low income of only 30 dollars a month. The minimum-wage is only 19 dollars a month. But Cubans who work in the tourist sector are paid in dollars and belong to the petty bourgeoisie of Cuba. Although Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba do not want to admit it, there is a gap between the poor working class and the better paid party bureaucrats. This is a huge blow in the revolutionary pride of many Castro supporters, who still have the illusion of a socialist revolution!
We revolutionary socialists never supported the capitalist reforms of Fidel Castro after the collapse of the USSR. Had he followed a democratic socialist route, then the trade embargo of the USA would have been lifted. The only reason why it is still in place is because of the Cuban single party state, this is why US imperialism is keeping the embargo. A democratic socialist Cuba would expose the anti-democratic nature of the USA. But Fidel Castro did not want a socialist democracy, because he held on to the Stalinist believe, that all political parties who oppose the vangaurd party support a capitalist counter-revolution. This paranoia is the reason why Stalinist leaders started to oppress others!
Fidel Castro ruled not like Joseph Stalin or Mao Zedong. Unlike them he is not a power hungry bureaucrat, who's lifestyle stands in opposition to his propaganda. But this does not hide the fact that some say he live's a conformable live, not that of a Cuban worker who earns 30 dollars a month. This we understand since Castro is not a genuine socialist, but more like a Cuban nationalist with some Stalinist elements. There are stories that he spends his retirement in a closed compound with guards. Consider the fact the US imperialism tried to kill Castro ( as the CIA would admit after the Cold War ), it is understandable that he needs protection!
Between 1959 and 1976, Castro was prime minister under the old constitution of 1940. After 16 years of extra-constitutional rule, the government institutionalized the ''socialist'' revolution and created the 1976 Cuban Socialist Constitution. The office of president was giving to Fidel Castro who became president. Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado was the Cuban president from 1959 till 1976, but his position was more ceremonial as prime minister Castro was the head of state. He would remain president until 2008, when he left the office to his younger brother!
Raúl Castro always stood into Fidel's shadow. Finally in 2008, he became Cuba's head of state. Fidel Castro was then 82 years old, his brother Raúl was 77 years old. The Castro brothers were elderly now, but showed not signs of turning over political power to a younger generation. True power in Cuba always laid with the Castro's. Even the Communist Party of Cuba never challenged their rule, not in 1976 and not in 2008. Today in the year 2013, the old men of the party still rule. Raúl Castro has started with major reforms. Cubans are now allowed to sell and buy houses, also many Cubans are told to become entrepreneurs. These reforms reached their peak when the government of Cuba, claimed the their system no longer worked and needed these reforms. The western capitalist media took this as a sign that ''socialism'' failed too in Cuba. But the 87 year old Fidel Castro, claims that Cuba will always remain ''socialist''!
Meanwhile the anti-Castro Cubans still hate the revolutionary government. They claim tofight for ''freedom'' and ''democracy'', but in reality they want a Cuba that hates leftists. Most Cuban exiles were part of the old bourgeoisie, who were forced to leave after 1959. Some turned terrorist and started a campaign to murder Fidel Castro. A famous story of anticommunist terrorism, is that of Cubana Flight 455. This airliner was destroyed in midair by a bomb. 78 people were killed by Freddy Lugo and Hernán Ricardo Lozano, two Cuban born anticommunists. Another famous anticommunist is Luis Posada Carriles. He worked with the CIA against Castro and also bombed a Cuban hotel in 1997, in order to put fear into the minds of tourists. But the Cuban exiles have more hero's. The 1500 anticommunists who tried to invade Cuba are also hailed as ''freedom fighters'' and defenders of ''liberty''. US imperialism is aiding the Cuban exiles with enough money to spread anticommunism, all in the name of ''liberty'' and ''democracy''!
Revolutionary socialists call for an end to the economic embargo and the single party state. Cuba must become democratic socialist and this can only happen if the Communist Party of Cuba allows opposition parties. Then we can see if Castro remains popular, then he has the legitimacy to govern the island. But the role of the USA is criminal and their embargo is proof of their hypocrisy. American imperialism was humiliated when Fidel Castro defeated the 1500 anticommunists send by the Americans. When he supported left-wing groups against dictatorial allies of US imperialism and when he stood up to the crimes of American capitalists. This is why Fidel Castro is hated. Not because of Cuba's single party state, because the USA loves pro-capitalist dictatorships like Saudi-Arabia. No, Fidel Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba are hated because they refuse to bow down to the USA!
But capitalist reforms are happening. Supporters of Raúl Castro can say whatever they want, but Cuban stalinism is dying. Young people have little interests in joying the Young Communist League. Most only join so they get privileges. Because this is common to every Stalinist state. The members of the ruling communist party enjoy privilege. Members of the Communist Party of Cuba can get higher salaries and better jobs. This is also why many youth have no love for the Communist Party of Cuba. They look at Raúl Castro and see an old man who is 82 years old, dogmatic to an deformed ideology that does not grant them the freedom to criticize the government!
A capitalist restoration is possible under a democratic system, if there is no genuine workers party. We saw this in the USSR were the capitalists were able to destroy the Soviet economy, forcing 40% of all workers into poverty. In Cuba this could happen too if a capitalist democratic party win the elections. It remains to be seen if there is a future for the Communist Party of Cuba under a democratic system. But it is not impossible because in the Czech Republic, the communist party remains the third biggest party in the parliament. This despite anticommunist lies and propaganda, despite all the attempts by the Czech government, to brainwash the population with anticommunism!
The Republic of Cuba is still standing on the old Stalinist legacy of a centralized single party state. Many western leftists from the communist parties hold on to their illusion that Cuba is a ''socialist'' nation. They are blind to the abuse of human rights in Cuba, like the arrests of workers who go on strike. Cubans who dare to criticize the Castro brothers face intimidation and arrests. The Communist Party of Cuba has a strong base of support, but they use their supporters to intimidate the few who speak out. Supporters of the communist party spread lies about us revolutionary socialists, claiming that we support a capitalist restoration in Cuba. Also they claimed we support the USA against Cuba. With these lies the Castro supporters only fuel the anticommunist propaganda machine of the ruling class!
Today the communist parties in the world are very weak. The final collapse of the USSR has caused massive disillusionment among the political left-wing. Revolutionary socialists always said that their ''socialist people's republics'' were based on Stalinist totalitarianism. But in their blind idealism they worshiped people like Castro, only to see their ''socialist bastion'' introducing capitalist reforms after 1993. Many claim it was necessary for Cuba to do, but we revolutionary socialists say that there are alternatives. Alternatives that the Communist Party of Cuba never considered, because they base their believes on the Stalinist lie that the party must control everything, from the state to the lives of the people!
Our alternatives are:
- A free workers council based democracy ( Soviet-democracy or Council-democracy )
- Legalization of opposition political parties
- Legalization of free trade unions
- Legalization of free newspapers
- An end to the 1976 constitution that give the communist party the monopoly on power
- The establishment of workers self-management in state enterprises
- The release of all political prisoners