Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Cuba: After Castro What Kind Of Transition To Democracy?

Interesting article appeared in the Diario De Las Americas by noted Cuban exile scholar Jorge Sanguinetty who was once a central planner in Castro's Havana and as a consultant has advised third world countries and Eastern block nations in their transitions to market-based systems.
Dr. Sanguinetty makes the comment that Cubans talk and write little about the future of Cuba. What that means is that everybody talks and writes, but nobody is making any serious and realistic plans in planning for a transition to democracy, for when the regime falls, from public policy, legal and economic standpoints.
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La realidad es que son pocos los cubanos que están pensando seriamente, y debo subrayar seriamente, en el futuro del país y pocos los que están haciendo algo verdaderamente eficaz por ese futuro.

He claims that any plans seem to assume that the power structure of the regime has fallen, never considering the fact that when Castro dies, the power structure in place will be that of the Communist party.

Por otra parte, los planes nunca incluyen una estrategia de cómo llegar a gobernar después que el tirano pierda las riendas del poder. Los “planes” existentes incluyen elementos sobre lo que se debe hacer una vez se llegue al poder, siempre bajo la hipótesis de trabajo, explícitamente planteada o no, de que en el primer día de una nueva era, de una transición, habrá un gobierno dispuesto a cambiar la organización actual del estado basada en un gobierno tiránico.

He sees it broken down into 2 different problems. 1. How to get to power, 2. How to use that power to create a real democracy and avoid the problems that faced countries like Russia.

El hecho es que nos enfrentamos a dos grandes desafíos para los cuales no sólo no estamos preparados sino que no nos estamos preparando. Uno es cómo llegar al poder. El otro desafío es cómo usar el poder para montar una verdadera democracia y evitar las trayectorias que han seguido países como Rusia y otras repúblicas ex soviéticas. Me parece que es ocioso ahora tratar de explicar las causas de esta situación. Voy a tratar de ir directamente a cómo corregirlas.

1. Needs to be communication between the exiles with dissidents on the island. If not Cuba will simply have a government of succession.
La manera de enfrentar el primer desafío es que los cubanos del exilio comiencen a comunicarse con los cubanos de la isla que desean una democracia


Si los cubanos disidentes y/u oposicionistas no pueden llegar a un plan de acciones coordinadas con los cubanos exilados, ambos están condenando a Cuba a tener un gobierno de sucesión.

2. There has to be an open dialogue, between all pro-democracy forces to set the parameters of what kind of country they want, what measures to take the first day, the first week of a transition.

El segundo desafío hay que enfrentarlo de una manera similar, aunque separadamente. Para hacerlo hay que comenzar un diálogo amplio, entre los que creemos en la democracia y las libertades civiles, sobre qué clase de país queremos, qué problemas enfrentará un gobierno de transición, qué medidas hay que tomar el primer día, la primera semana y las sucesivas. Aunque existe mucho material en este aspecto del futuro de Cuba, la inmensa mayoría de los cubanos lo ignora.

My Take
Certainly seems to be on target here. Outside of some scholarship, have not seen much writing on the regimes internal workings. Prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was a whole bunch of material writtten by people who pored over Pravda, looking for those little clues put out by the Politburo. Back in the 80's the Cuban American National Foundation had some really good publications, including debriefings of recent defectors who commented on the politicial-military situation . Now there seems to be much less of that, and most of what is disseminated comes from the press. That makes it hard to get a good read on what is going on in the circles of power, namely the Communist Party. Any signals sent out, get lost.

Then there seems to be a big disconnect between pro-democracy movements in the island and many exiles. There is no back and forth conversation. From the time of Perestroika to the final fall of the Soviet Empire, many exiles from Russia, Baltic Republics, Poles, Armenians, Czech's, Hungarians, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Slovenia rushed back to their home countries, and networked extensively with those fighting the regime. This exchange helped both sides, and certainly eased the transitions a bit - with varying degrees of success. But the lesson seems to be that engagement is a good option.

2 comments:

Anonopotomous said...

The mistake in this transition to 'democracy' is the Cuban-American exilo community--they are among the most rightwing, anti-democratic elements in the US.

No group of people aligned with Posada Carilles and the CAF will have any legitimacy whatsoever.

Capitalism (where the oligarchy rules and allows the masses to vote for two candidates from parties they control) and authentic democracy are diametrically opposed. Look to the system here in the US to see what a farce democracy is when 'the market' determines and funds the political players.

That is why politicians are held in such deep disregarud here--everyone knows that they work for the rich and the corporations first.

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