Saturday, December 3, 2016

THE TRUTH ABOUT SOCIALIST CUBA: Refuting the bourgeois slanders against Fidel Castro


The death of Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz on November 25 sparked a barrage of vulgar statements, declarations and comments from various bourgeois sources. Liberals, neoliberals, conservatives, neo-Nazis and other apologists of Capitalism's barbarity tried to vilify Fidel as a "dictator" and Socialist Cuba as a "repressive dictatorship". Of course, the millions of Cuban people, of every age, who took the streets in order to say farewell to Comandante Fidel gave their powerful response to all these anticommunist slanderers. Was Fidel Castro a "dictator", as the bourgeois propaganda argues, or was he a champion of social justice and a hero to millions of people across the world?

What in fact haunts the bourgeoisie is the struggle for Socialism, the perspective of another world, without exploitation of man by man. This is what they fear most. The enmity against Fidel Castro and Cuba has its source in anticommunism. They slander Cuba and Fidel exactly because Cuba and Fidel showed the alternative path to the masses: before 1959 Cuba was the "backyard brothel" of the United States, a huge casino, where people were in severe poverty, while a handful of capitalists were owning the island's wealth. The 1959 Cuban Revolution not only overthrew the power of the capitalists, but, furthermore, paved the way for very important achievements in numerous parts of social life.

The bourgeoisie will never forgive Castro and the Cuban people for these achievements. They will never forgive that Fidel and his Revolution provided free education to all Cuban children, free and high-level heathcare to all Cubans, free access to Culture and Sports. The bourgeoisie, the various pathetic apologists of Capitalism will never forgive Fidel Castro for showing, in practice, that another world, without exploitation, is possible.

Those who call Fidel a "dictator" are those who actually and actively support the real dictatorship: the dictatorship of the Capital, which repress and exploits the masses for the profits of the few. Those who call Cuba a "dictatorship" are those who support the murderous imperialist wars in the Middle East, who close their eyes when thousands of children die from the bombs of the "democratic" NATO. 

Contrary to the United States and Europe, in Cuba the real masters of the country are the people; not the monopolies, the large corporations and the big industrialists. Contrary to the United States and Europe, in Cuba you won't see armies of homeless people in the streets. Contrary to the United States and Europe, the people in Cuba are not slaves of money and they don't live with the fear of losing their home due to a bank's order.

The various bourgeois commentators who use the word "dictator" or "dictatorship" purposely hide the fact that this word has actually a class meaning. The major question is "which class is in power"- Is it the bourgeoisie and the Capital or the working class? In capitalist countries, the so-called "western parliamentary democracy" is the "show case" behind which there is the dictatorship of the Capital. 

Vladimir I. Lenin had very successfully described the kind of democracy that exists in Capitalism.  "Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich — that is the democracy of capitalist society"[..] "The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament" (State and Revolution, 1917). As Lenin states, democracy in capitalist societies is "curtailed, wretched, false, a democracy only for the rich, for the minority". Thats the truth.

Comrade Fidel Castro's Cuba showed that a democracy for the people by the people is possible. And that is what the bourgeoisie will never forgive. 

Nikos Mottas, 

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Cuban elections are an authentic way for people to participate in the life of the nation, far from the glorified advertising campaigns that pass for elections in many countries.
The Cuban electoral processes take place from the grassroots up in the selection of those who will represent the people at all the levels of government.
Local elections are organized to select the municipal delegates (city council members), and general elections take place to choose provincial assembly delegates and the members of the national Parliament.
According to Cuban law, these elections are called by the Council of State with no less than 120 days notice.
A successful electoral experience that took place thirty years ago in Matanzas province led to a green light for setting up what are called the People’s Power government institutions. These are considered the highest form of truly representative and genuinely democratic government and provide the people with real institutional participation.
An element that makes the Cuban electoral system unique is the way candidates are nominated, a process in which individuals nominate those who they think should be candidates.
The process is not done in the name of Communist Party of Cuba or of any other political, mass or social organization, and takes place at urban and rural community meetings where residents select the nominees by raising their hands.
During these meetings, participants propose candidates for the city councils based on their merits as citizens of the community, and their capacity to act as government representatives.
In each electoral district the maximum number of candidates is eight with a minimum of two. From these, people elect by secret ballot the city council representative from their neighborhood or community.
The correct functioning of the electoral system resides precisely in the high participation at local meetings. This an essential element of the Cuban democracy, sustained by a government of the people, by the people and for the people, as national hero, Jose Marti, and US President Abraham Lincoln proposed.
Voting is not mandatory in Cuba, but it is a right of all eligible citizens, who when going to the polls have only to show their national identity card. According to Cuban law, only the mentally disabled and persons serving time in prisons are not allowed to vote.
Among other aspects of interest to foreign observers is the fact that 16 year olds have the right to elect and be elected and that members of the armed institutions are also able to vote. In the case of the military the right to vote is unique in Latin America, with the exception of Venezuela in 2004.
The absence of military patrols in the streets on election days is something that captures the attention of visiting members of parliaments and other public figures invited to observe elections taking place in Cuba.
Military personnel are not on duty at the polling stations, because school children are the ones that guard the ballot boxes.
At the very moment that elections are called, electoral commissions are created at the national, provincial and municipal levels, formed by citizens known for their praiseworthy work records.
The only pre-condition to be a member of the electoral commissions is to have the right to vote.
Electoral commissions are in charge of determining the electoral districts, they direct the nomination process and the choosing of candidates, and create the proper conditions for the electoral process to take place.
Once the elections are completed they must organize the swearing in of the assemblies and their executive committees at the municipal, provincial and national levels.
Voting is voluntary, secret and direct, and vote counting is done in public. Foreign diplomats and observers can also witness the process.
In order to be elected, a candidate must win more than 50 percent of the votes.

Today’s Cuban electoral system is very different from the one that operated here prior to 1959, when the system of voter registration allowed for “miracles” such as deceased persons voting and for others to cast more than one ballot.

Elderly Cubans recall the dirty tricks used by politicians who withheld voter registration documents, where you could read a statement saying that voting was mandatory for all citizens.
The elector that didn’t vote could be fined and even banned from assuming government jobs or holding office.
The ethical standards that are part of the Cuban electoral process today explicitly prohibit political campaigns to convince voters to choose a specific candidate or to attack the prestige of an opponent.
The delegates, who form part of the municipal People’s Power Assemblies, have to provide voters with a yearly report of their activities and receive absolutely no payment for their work as council persons.
In the elections of 2003 for example, voter turnout was 95.75 percent to elect the municipal and provincial delegates, and a 97.61 percent turnout when the elections for the national Parliament took place.
The above figures contrast with the situation prevailing before 1959, when, for example, in 1944 Ramon Grau San Martin was elected President of Cuba with only a 44.71 voter’s turnout, and in 1954, a similar situation occurred when Fulgencio Batista was elected with only a 45.61 percent participation at the ballot boxes, this despite all the fraud that took place.
The low abstention in Cuban elections compares very favorably with what happens in many so called First World elections. A shining example is the United States of America, where in order to elect George W. Bush as President in the year 2000, only thirty seven percent of voting age citizens went to the polls, in one of the lowest voter turnouts of recent years.
* * * 

Fidel Castro's Legacy and the Hypocrisy of His Detractors.

By John Wight, Sputink International.

Fidel Castro's death, at 90, has sparked a fierce debate in the West over his legacy. I specifically mention the West as elsewhere there is no debate: Castro is lauded as one of history's great emancipators, a man who led a revolution that succeeded in throwing off the yoke of US imperialism.

But in the West the liberal commentariat has united as one in denouncing Castro as an evil tyrant and torturer who ruled Cuba for over five decades with an iron fist, quashing the human rights of the Cuban people, who in the wake of his death can now look forward to the future safe in the knowledge that freedom and democracy beckons.
When we talk about Castro's critics, it is worth pointing out that we are talking here people who live in societies where poverty has been unofficially criminalized and the poor demonized, despised, and abandoned to a fate of destitution and despair.

We are talking, in the main, the kind of men and women who walk or drive past the ever-growing army of homeless who colonize the streets of towns and cities throughout the West, casualties of a neoliberal economic system that is the real tyrant in our world, without batting an eyelid. In other words, we are talking people whose condemnation of Fidel Castro is suffused with hypocrisy, the kind that is common among those who have imbibed the received truths of empire. The most fundamental of those truths is that the West has been divinely ordained with the task of colonizing a Third World — culturally, economically, and geopolitically — that consists of peoples of lower cultures, civilizations and human worth.

The metric by which Castro's legacy should be judged is the transformation of Cuba as a result of the revolution he led and inspired. And in this regard one salient fact shines forth more than any other — namely that the only place in the world where you will find homeless Cuban children today is Miami.

Let us take a moment to examine in detail the legacy of the "tyrant" Fidel Castro:   

Cuba is today the only country in the Americas where child malnourishment does not exit (UNICEF). 

Cuba has the lowest child mortality rate in the Americas (UNICEF). 130,000 students have graduated from medical school in Cuba since 1961 Cuba has eliminated homelessness (Knoema) 54% of Cuba's national budget is used for social services. 

Cuba has the best education system in Latin America Cuba has sent hundreds of doctors and nurses on medical missions across the Third World Cuba was the first country to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV (World Health Organization).

If only the Haitian people or the people of the Dominican Republic had such a tyrant ruling their countries. 

If only the poor in the US and UK had such a tyrant at the head of their respective governments. When it comes to the accusation that homosexuals were persecuted in Cuba after the revolution, there is no doubt that LGBT rights were non-existent in Cuba in the sixties and for most of the seventies, just as they were non existent throughout much of the world.

Homosexuality, for example, was decriminalized in Cuba in 1979, which compares favorably to Scotland and Northern Ireland in the UK, where it was decriminalized in 1980 and 1982 respectively. Moreover, same-sex sexual activity was only made legal across the entire United States in 2003. It is also worth bearing in mind that homosexuality today is criminalized in Saudi Arabia — a close UK and US ally and a society in which women are treated as chattel and people are routinely beheaded — where it is punishable by death.

The fact is that the existence of homophobia in Cuba predated Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution by around five centuries. It was entrenched as part of the cultural values of Cuban society, indeed the cultural values throughout the Americas, courtesy of the Catholic Church. Fidel Castro was a product of those values and to his credit later renounced them, awakening to the justice of LGBT rights. Today his own niece, Mariela Castro, plays an active role in the Cuban LGBT community, leading the country's annual gay pride parade in Havana last year.

As for torture, meanwhile, the only place on the island of Cuba where this can be found is at the US military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

The key point to be borne in mind when it comes to Cuba and its state of development is that countries and societies do not exist on blank sheets of paper. In the Third World their development cannot be divorced from a real life struggle against the huge obstacles placed in their way by histories of colonialism, neo-colonialism, and imperialism, responsible for retarding their progress in service to the exploitation of their human and natural resources. The legitimacy of the Cuban Revolution lies in its survival in the face of the aforementioned US blockade, designed to starve the country to its knees for daring to refuse to be slaves of global capital. To understand what that would look like all we need do is cast our eyes over to the aforementioned Haiti or Dominican Republic, countries of comparable size located in the same region. Compared to them Cuba stands as a beacon of dignity, social and economic justice, and sustainable development. 

The lack of political rights in Cuba throughout Castro's lifetime is directly attributable to the US embargo and threat of invasion and subversion by the most destructive superpower the world has ever known, whose record in destroying Third World countries is inarguable. Numerous acts of US-sponsored terrorism have been committed against Cuba and the Cuban people over the years, yet the lack of invective being directed at Washington stands in contrast to the amount unleashed against Castro and his legacy. Funny that.

Fidel Castro was no dictator. On the contrary, he dedicated his life to resisting Washington's dictatorship of the Third World. As a result of the Cuban Revolution the right to be homeless, illiterate, and to go without healthcare no longer exists in Cuba. In their place have come the most fundamental human rights of all — the right to be educated, to healthcare that is free at the point of need, and the right to live with dignity and pride in being the citizen of a small island that has stood over decades as a beacon of justice in an ocean of injustice. This, in truth, is the reason 'they' despise him. And this, in truth, is why millions of Cubans will come out and pay tribute to his life and legacy on the day of his funeral. For them he will forever be 'El Comandante'.