Deciphering the Communists
The vocabulary of Cuban communists is diffuse. The current President of the Counsel of State and of Ministers, is the same speech said, “In 50 years of Revolution, in matters of consultation with the people, we have enough experience.” Anyone hearing that would understand that the historic leadership has the habit of asking the people about the decisions they take.
In political terms, public consultations are carried out by referendums. An electoral process in which the people decide by voting on a law, a governmental action or another matter of common interest. In Cuba it’s different. For the Cuban leaders, to raise something in a speech, as Raul Castro did on 26 July 2010 in Camagüey, is synonymous with popular consultation.
So when you hear it said that they consulted the people, understand that 5,100,000 people, fewer than half the inhabitants of the country, attend meetings in their workplaces and Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR). That only 3,255,000 took the floor to express an opinion, and of those 1,301,203 had concrete plans, and criticisms were 48% of those.
These figures were given by Raul Castro himself to show that, at the time policies are decided the opinion of the population is taken into account. At the time he gave his data, he said it came from the most recent national poll.
He forgot to mention that undertake at the end of 2008 with the intent to adopt a new social security law. The National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP) charged the Cuban Workers Center (CTC) to consult popular opinion regarding the addition of five years to required age and time of service, to obtain the right to a pension, for the aged of both sexes of Cuban workers.
In this case, the same thing happened, 8,085,798 workers, 93.8% of the total, representing more than 11 million inhabitants, participated in the consultation. There were more than 900,000 comments in the 85,301 assemblies about the measure.
Salvador Valdés Mesa, secretary generation of the Cuban Workers Center, argued before Parliament which proposed the measure, the lack of knowledge and understanding about the social security regulations and the principles that sustain it. Under these conditions it’s not surprising that only 0.9% of the workers “consulted” failed to approve the proposal.
This is why I emphasize the need to understand and interpret the rhetoric of the communist leadership. Knowing the significance and extent of the terminology they use to justify or to give the appearance of a certain legality to their maneuvers. This is what would help us to predict and prevent, with solid arguments, the real intentions of their policies.