[Marxism] How Cuba can survive

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Oct 29 11:13:35 MDT 2007

“Cuba: the only way out is to spread the revolution throughout Latin 
By El Militante - www.elmilitante.org
Monday, 29 October 2007

The Spanish Marxist journal, El Militante, recently interviewed Frank 
Josué Solar, a Cuban university lecturer and communist. As he says, “the 
only way out is the extension of the revolution throughout Latin America 
to create a socialist federation.”

El Militante: What would you highlight on the situation in Cuba during 
the last year?

Frank Josué Solar: The most important feature was the shock provoked by 
Fidel's illness. He made a call for calm at the time, contrary to the 
expectations of the enemy. The United States was hoping and working for 
an insurrection or something like that. The reaction of the Cuban 
community in Miami was illustrative for the Cuban people; they came out 
like a pack of wolves. This gave us an idea of what capitalist 
restoration and the return of these people would really mean for Cuba. 
They seemed like wild beasts. This actually generated cohesion and unity 
in Cuba; for example, crime levels decreased.

This year has been very quiet, which is exactly what the United States 
doesn't want. The government gave out some tasks to its members, and 
close relations with Venezuela continued. The best gifts that Fidel 
received were the visits of Hugo Chávez.

Fidel remains the highest authority of the revolution - the indisputable 
leader. Raúl's authority is seen as more linked to every day problems 
(food, transport, etc). For example, he has organised the movement of 
urban agriculture, to create vegetable gardens in cities and villages. 
Today these gardens guarantee the greater part of vegetables consumed in 
the cities. Raúl has said that Fidel can only be replaced by the Party. 
To me this is very important, because I believe that the Party will be 
one of the guarantees for the revolution to continue, though I do not 
think this is the most important one.

The fundamental guarantee for the continuation of the revolution is the 
deepening of the mechanisms of popular democracy - the development of a 
collective process of decision-making on a popular level and controlled 
from below.

It is necessary to change things that have not worked, mistakes that 
have been made, and things that were copied from the Soviet model. This 
idea of constant change and deepening of the revolution relates to the 
Marxist theory of Permanent Revolution. Raúl said that these changes 
come out of a public debate, where all popular sectors of Cuban society 
must take part, where all problems are posed and solutions found.

El Militante: Do you think that in Cuba there could be a situation 
similar to that of China, with the introduction of market measures in a 
planned economy?

FJS: What I think is that in China, socialism has receded, especially on 
the level of private property. At the beginning, when the economic 
reforms started in China, the intention was to keep the most important 
levers of the economy in the hands of the state. Today however, they are 
being privatised. There have been significant steps backwards in the 
social conquests of the revolution. I do not think that this is a viable 
model. Somehow, you have a great superpower which consumes enormous 
amounts of raw materials (like oil), but only a minority benefits from 
this process, while other invisible sectors of society are really 
feeling the burden of all these reforms.

In Cuba, we all know that these market reforms have provoked inequality 
in our society. Fidel himself has insisted very much upon this: "China 
is not a viable model!"

El Militante: "What is the relation between the Cuban revolution and the 
international processes taking place, especially in Latin America?"

FJS: Step by step Cuba is coming out of the "special period" that 
followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is not a linear process, 
but one with contradictions. Cuba has been very vulnerable to the 
fluctuations of the international economy, which is a proof of the 
impossibility of socialism in one country. At this moment in time, Cuba 
imports the majority of its food and in the last year the world market 
prices have skyrocketed. The economic projects with Venezuela, Bolivia, 
Nicaragua, etc., have helped to lay down some ambitious measures, like 
building new housing. However, if the scenario is one of continued 
isolation of the revolution, without socialism spreading to other 
countries, and within a context of introduction of market reforms, then 
I believe that we would see the strengthening of the sectors most in 
favour of capitalist restoration. There you could have a breach, a split.

The key to the question is the following: in a socialist transitional 
economy, which is isolated and blocked with very scarce material 
resources, (we are not talking about the USSR,) and with the most 
powerful imperial power only 90 miles away, you can apply markets 
reforms and survive, (as the Bolsheviks did with the NEP); but it is 
essential that this be only a life-belt measure - a transitory measure. 
It cannot be the solution.

El Militante: "What in your opinion is the most favourable scenario for 
the revolution to advance?"

FJS: The true solution is to integrate ourselves with other socialist 
economies. That is to say, the only way out is the extension of the 
revolution throughout Latin America to create a socialist federation. 
Thus, we could complement each other and our cooperation would not be 
based on the market, but on a plan. That is why Venezuela is so 
important. What happens in Venezuela is the key for the situation in 
Cuba. If the revolutionary process advances in Venezuela, if the move 
towards socialism and the revolution is completed, that would mean a 
tremendous impulse for Cuba.

Fidel has been warning for some time already about the ill symptoms of a 
capitalist system in decay, which is leading the world into a terrible 
disaster - even to the destruction of humanity. I believe that the only 
way out, not only for the Cuban revolution but also for the rest of 
Latin America and the world, is socialism. Socialism has always been the 
solution, but today we must add that there is no time to experiment with 
other things. The senile decadence of capitalism has reached such a 
point that it has taken humanity to the verge of disappearance. That is 
why we must hasten the revolutionary processes in Latin America on their 
way towards socialism, because that is the only way to sort out our 
problems. The theory of the permanent revolution is valid today more 
than ever before. I think that that is the ideal scenario for the Cuban 
revolution and Latin America.

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