Cuba is experiencing important changes. Rather than being forced, they are natural to a process that is still revolutionary. These changes are aimed at improving Cuba’s socialist economic model and adjusting it to fit present conditions. Cuba has developed its model in the course of most of the more than 50 years since January 1, 1959, when an unprecedented stage of government for the people was begun.

That victory by the people marked the beginning of a process of changes aimed at building an independent, democratic, communitarian republic based on Cuba’s own experience—a design for creating a free nation with full social justice that is organized to defend the interests shared by the majority, to replace the old order that guaranteed control of public affairs by private capital and the power of money to govern everything.

The harassment by the United States which Cuba has had to confront in advancing with its revolutionary project has forced it to engage in tactical maneuvers, experiments and concealments that have made it difficult—sometimes impossible—to adopt the most democratic methods, which should characterize a society aimed at achieving socialism.

Imperialism’s global strategy against popular revolutions has always been to divide the people and separate them from their revolutionary leadership, forcing the revolutionary country to give priority to revolutionary power rather than give full rein to the masses’ aspirations for full democracy and creating nuclei of discontent that open areas to the enemies of the process, to those who want to undo the people’s achievements.

The democratic essence of the Cuban revolutionary process—with all of its virtues and defects—is shown in the work of the 6th Congress of the Communist Party. Though the Congress won’t be held until April 2011, the preparatory work for it is already under way.

As is usual in Cuba, all citizens are informed about and express their opinions on the most important public topics that the Party and Government will consider.

The Party leaders have drawn up a platform—Draft Outlines of the Economic and Social Policy—and submitted it to the people, who have studied it with care and are expressing their opinions of it in meetings. Those opinions are being gathered together in a document that will be presented to the delegates to the Congress, so they will have the most reliable and precise information possible concerning the measures and solutions that citizens have proposed.

Cubans have vast experience in the exercise of truly participatory democracy—a fact that isn’t easy to understand in other countries. Nor is it easy for Cubans to understand how the citizens of other nations are content with a form of democracy whose exercise is limited to voting in an election once every so many years, or choosing between one or another candidate whom they themselves hadn’t elected.

It is practically impossible for any Cuban citizen to remain outside the discussion process, unless that is what he wants. Many take part in the various discussions to support their proposals.

Cubans clearly distinguish between the serious, honest statements made by foreign politicians and newspaper articles on aspects of the political situation in Cuba and the ones which are slanted by the libel campaign that the U.S. Government promotes and finances against Cuba. Clearly, it is more difficult to distinguish between naivete and ill will when evaluating those articles and speeches by people who present themselves as leftists or independents when censuring Cuban policies and projects.

These attacks from progressive positions usually express oblique censure of other revolutionary processes, as well—such as those in China, Vietnam, North Korea, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua—and are scornful of the contributions that the progressive leaders of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and other Latin-American countries have made to the pro-independence surge in Latin America.

It is clear that those articles and speeches, which compare the Cuban socialist project with other leftist sociopolitical processes, are aimed at promoting lack of confidence and disunity, both in Latin America and in the world as a whole.

It is difficult to understand the purposes of those who—while proclaiming themselves to be expert Marxist theorists on revolutions without ever having lived in one, and being completely ignorant about the realities and specific potentials that can only be understood by experiencing them—judge and pass sentence on every action and aim of Cuba’s revolutionary leaders.

The U.S. imperialists’ worldwide campaign against Cuba claims that the island is now forced to resort to market solutions to correct its disastrous economy, but it ignores the enormous merit of that economy whatever its successes and mistakes. Always striving to meet the people’s needs has been its primary function and it has defeated the superpower’s efforts to crush it through the longest, most tenacious economic, commercial and financial blockade in the history of the world, also reinforced by tremendous diplomatic and terrorist pressures of global scope.

December 30, 2010

Manuel E. Yepe is a Cuban journalist who specializes in international relations. He is a veteran of the Cuban Revolution.

A CubaNews translation by Mary Todd