The time is ripe for the completion of the final stages of the Cuban Revolution and the transition to a truly democratic and socialist society. Let us be clear. This must not be an American style “capitalist democracy” where wealthy corporate interests control the economy and political system, but a true peoples democracy.
I see three components to this transformation.
Economic Democracy – Beyond State Enterprises
This will include the expansion of the economy from state institutions to include small businesses, (where the owner works in the enterprise and earns his income from his labour and not from capital invested in the businesses) as well as co-operative enterprises, including both producer and consumer co-operatives.
Economic democracy must above all else ensure that foreign corporate interests are not allowed to dominate the economy.
Civil Democracy – Freedom of Expression and the Press
The revolution is truly strong enough to withstand competing ideas. The people of Cuba can be trusted with the full right of free expression, including full access to the Internet and the right of free expression on it, whether on forums, blogs or other means of communication.
As well a free press will invigorate the people and enhance the revolution. But we are not talking about the rights of corporate interests to build propaganda machines. We are talking about the rights of the people to have free journalistic expression by means such as newspapers, magazines, and the Internet, through their organizations such as labour unions and co-operatives, including co-operatives of journalists.
Political Democracy – Free Elections
It is time to move beyond one party politics - but not into corporate politics, where corporate interests dominate elections and conduct them as marketing campaigns. It is time to have real alternatives to the communist party candidates. These should come in the form of candidates from peoples organizations, such as labour unions and co-operatives, as well as independents. But election campaign funding and expenses must be restricted to ensure elections are grass roots activities and not marketing campaigns conducted by the wealthy.
Towards A Free Democratic and Socialist Cuba
Some will say that because this model does not mirror that of western democracies that it is not truly democratic.
Remember that Cuba had an American style “capitalist democracy” and when the people were about to elect Fidel Castro into government the corporate interests scuttled the election and it took a revolution for the people to put their chosen leader into power.
And I ask is our system truly democratic when the economic and political system is so heavily dominated by wealthy corporate interests as current events so obviously demonstrate.
I say to the leaders and people of Cuba you have a chance to set an example for the world of what a peoples democracy can truly be.