Esteban Morales Booted from Cuba’s Communist Party

June 28, 2010 | Print Print |

Pedro Campos*

Esteban Morales. photo: Patricia Grogg, IPS

HAVANA TIMES, June 28 – Esteban Morales, PhD., has been “separated from the ranks” of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) for his publication of an article denouncing what he considers the counter-revolutionary corruption and bureaucracy that exists in the country.  The Playa Municipal Committee of the PCC communicated its decision to the grassroots level of the Party.

The phenomenon of corruption within the State (almost everything belongs to the State here) has been recognized by the highest leadership of the Party, everyone in Cuba knows about it, and articles have even been published on it in the official government-party media.

At this moment Morales is preparing his appeal.

His Party membership card was stripped from him by his punishers, though communist commitment remains in Morales.

In No. 55 of the Bulletin SPD (Participatory and Democratic Socialism) of this past June 17, I published an article titled: Dialogue Without Sectarianism: A Necessity for Revolutionary Cohesion, in which I pointed out that after the publication of his article, Esteban Morales had disappeared from the nightly Mesa Redonda news/commentary program.  He was customarily invited on there every time an issue concerning the United States was approached.  It appears I was not being subjective in relating those two facts.

I have known Esteban personally since 1991 when I worked under him as a researcher at the Center on United States Studies at the University of Havana, where he was the director.  From his extraordinary seriousness and academic depth, his high human qualities and from the revolutionary caliber of this scientist —who comes from a humble background— any honest person could testify on his behalf in any one of his qualities.

I won’t try to write the biography of someone who, for me, is the most accomplished researcher and expert on the US among our academics.  I simply want to record the fact that I have serious doubts about those who made that decision to remove him, as well uncertainties regarding their moral stature and their intellectual capacity.  Certainly, there action confirms the validity of the assessments made in Morales’s article.

If this bureaucratic sanction is not corrected quickly, very confused messages will be sent to party activists, to the Cuban people and to the international left.

We must all ask some disturbing questions:

Is the Party honored or dishonored by this decision?

Where does there remain the capacity for individual criticism by Party activists?

Is it only possible to be critical when, where and how it is decided upon by those above?

What relationship can this action have with “Fomenting frank discussion and not see a problem in there being discrepancies, but the source of the best solutions…” as was expressed by President Raul Castro this past April 4th when summarizing the Fourth Congress of the Young Communist League (UJC)?

Esteban Morales, right, on the Roundtable TV program. Photo: cubadebate.cu

Are they trying to show that Raul is proceeding in one direction and the leadership of the PCC —by not allowing criticism from within the ranks— is moving in another?

Should party activists and the general population reach the conclusion that the calls by the historical leadership for internal criticism and debate are false?

Can one be honest and a Party activist at the same time?

Is this part of some sinister plan concocted by factions of the political bureaucracy to destroy the Party so that people desert its ranks en masse?  Will this reaffirm the decision made by many youth to not join the party, or will they seek to take advantage of the double standard in the ranks of the Party and silence criticism?

Are the most retrograde elements in the leadership of the Party testing their strength to attempt even more reactionary and anti-democratic actions?

Are we confronted with yet another coup by the political bureaucracy of the Party (which is a group with its own activists and its own ideology) against the Revolution, against the future of socialism in Cuba, against dialogue between revolutionaries; against Fidel and Raul, who were the ones who asked the Party activists and the people to act critically against corruption and the bureaucratic strata, which have now placed the Cuban revolutionary process in danger of being reversed?

How does this Stalinist style repression fit in with the internal operations of the Party, with the negotiations that are taking place with the opposition via the Catholic Church?

Where is the party democracy that Raul spoke of?

Is the leadership of the Party distancing itself from its own left at the same time that it is entering into dialogue around “reconciliation” with émigrés, the opposition and possibly the US itself?

Might those in the international left be right when they estimate that the revolution has already begun moving backwards toward capitalist restoration, carried out by the hand of the State’s own bureaucracy?

How long will they keep committing these acts of nonsense?

Are they working to see a new party created by us, the communists who don’t fit into the Communist Party of Cuba?

The list of questions could be expanded. Several more come to mind, but I prefer not to write them down.

Let’s hope that someone up there up soon revokes this divisive, sectarian and irresponsible decision.  It’s the sole answer that responds to these questions.

*  Pedro Campos articles can be read in Spanish in the SPD bulletin.  


What's your opinion?

  • http://blog.isallaboutmath.com Julio de la Yncera

    I remember reading a while back a book that made a simile between the communist party and the catholic church.
    What I barely remember went like this

    * Both have dogma that should be accepted without questions.
    * To question the church leadership will get you excomulgated the same goes for the Communist Party and so on

    I guess I could see that coming! How could any one dare to independently analyzed the Cuban situation without the blessings from the Great Leaders above?

    Wow, if they can not stand other opinions within their own ranks what treatment can be expected for those that openly oppose them?

  • http://blog.isallaboutmath.com Julio de la Yncera

    Esteban Morales is right about corruption but the thing he maybe do not understand that it seems it is in the best interest of the Cuban leadership to keep the corruption going.
    They used to say back in Cuba “En rio revuelto, ganancia de pescadores!” That will be something like
    When the river is in tumult the fisherman will be able to catch more fish.
    So since everyone is pretty much corrupt. It is almost impossible to see that maybe those at top posts in Cuba are also corrupt. They are just defending themselves here!

    In a state without independent free press and total lack of freedom how could one report such things without being treated in the same or worst way than Esteban Morales is?

    Reading things like this reminds me of La Cosa Nostra, The mafia etc..
    I think they have created one of the biggest and most corrupt system in the world.
    I witness this corruption my self while visiting Cuba in 1998.

  • Sam

    When the members of a Communist Party pursue bureaucratic self-preservation over the creation of a just, egalitarian system, they are becoming communist in name only. I wonder if Fidel and Raul Castro want this to be their legacy. It would be sad to see Cuba go the way of Russia because of the incompetence and self-interestedness of its bureaucrats.

    I wonder how many figures in the party actually want the system to fail, so they can benefit financially off of the mass privatization the way the Russian Oligarchs did.

  • grok

    This seriously brings matters to a head in Cuba. So it can either have a good outcome or a bad one — the bad ones generally always being the path of least resistance…

    Stalinism in Cuba was imposed, by definition, from the top; and democratic, participatory socialist change ‘from below’ will *necessarily* be violent/upsetting — if not outright bloody — if such change ‘from below’ *does not meet and make accommodation with a very necessary change ‘from above’*. And so the ball is clearly in the court of the Party here: either it deals quickly with this fifth column of self-interested bureaucrats — which has always been the nub of the issue with stalinism — or the Cuban Revolution is ‘de facto’ finished; and U.S. imperialism finally wins (tho’ it will still lose to socialist forces, Worldwide, in the longer run. Any day now, AFAIC. ;-)

    Which would be the whole point of the swift and decisive reaction against this Party whistleblower: they are indeed ‘planning for their personal futures’ — and the Revolution be damned. Thus there must be equally swift and decisive action to counter these forces, immediately. Maybe Fidel can have one of his timely and cogent ‘Reflections’ on this matter…

  • http://www.GRDPublishing.com Grady Ross Daugherty

    I think Pedro’s question about the formation of a political entity separate from the corrupt bureaucratic leadership of the PCC is the idea to be focused on. But the question arises immediately: “Around what political program can or should such an alternative entity coalesce?”

    It should of course be a program that seeks to implement a workable form of socialism, in place of the unworkable form that has been experimented with for a half-century in Cuba.

    What then is workable socialism?

    We in the U.S. and in every other country of the world are wrestling with the same question.

    The answer we have arrived at is an economy in which those who do the productive work of society–the industrial and commercial workers; the productive intelligentsia; the farmers and ranchers; etc.–own their own workplaces. Such ownership would take various forms, for one size does not and cannot fit all.

    For farmers, ranchers, restaurant owners, barbers, nail salon owners, and other small businesses, what is needed is legal private property rights. These entrepreneurial elements, if honored and brought into the socialist project, will help make Cuba prosperous and democratic.

    For industrial and commercial workers what is needed are cooperative corporate structures on the Mondrogon model. (The socialist state should take partial, non-controlling ownership of such structures to avoid a tax-based government.)

    The alternative political entity needed in Cuba, and the program needed to form it, are the exact same as are needed in every capitalist country. (The Cuban comrades struggling to save the Cuban Revolution should stop thinking of themselves as The Lone Ranger.)

    In the U.S. we call such an economy and state the Cooperative Republic. In Cuba it might be called a Marti-ista socialist cooperative republic. Whatever it is called in each country, we are all part of the same general movement, and our success or failure will decide the fate of humanity.

  • http://Blog.isallaboutmath.com Julio de la Yncera

    http://espaciodeelaine.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/inmunidad-educacional-tendiendo-a-infinito/

    Above is a link to a post by Elaine a university professor in Cuba. Unfortunatelly her site is in Spanish only but she relates a case of corruption in the educational system.
    The principal of a school had some sort of business going where he was charging students 30 Cuban pesos to be release one day early from school!
    After they replace the guy then people in the same school were charging 10 cuc a bit more than 10 us dollars so that they will passed a final exam!

    I am here wondering, these are the new generations and they know already that money buys everything!
    What kind of socialism or communism is this?
    The sad part is this are not isolated cases but just the tip of the iceberg. What were they doing?
    I am talking about the leadership? Is hard to believe they did not know all of this was and is happening but it is easier to believe that they turned a blind eye to it. Why? I asked myself, and I think I know. Because now they will have leverage in all these people to support them! If by any chance they Openly oppose then a miracle will happen, they will be jailed for being corrupts. again this reminds me to the way the Mafia works!

  • Alberto N Jones

    Although I have not been able to confirm or deny through other sources what is covered in this article, if it turns out to be true, it will be a real tragedy and an irreparable setback for Cuba’s race-relations debate, an expert on US-Cuba relations, a voice of moderation, a wealth of knowledge and a loyal friend.

    My first encounter with Esteban was during the second meeting of the Nation and Emigration in 1994. Although his business card indicated his high level position at the University and his professional training, his modesty, unpretentious demeanor was striking.

    Since, I have had the privilege to follow his writings and some of his TV appearances or interviews. Whenever we have met, it has always been an extraordinarily refreshing educational seminar, his knowledge is vast and his concerns for the wellbeing of the Cuban people in general and a burning search for solutions for the chronic socio-economic inequality that is devastating the Afro-Cuban community consumed his thinking.

    Whatever the final outcome of this devastating tragedy maybe, this light cannot be turned off. He have dedicated too much of his life to the needs of others. He have thought too many people about the beautiful past of the Afro-Cuban people. He have enlightened many and thought them how to seek the truth, encouraged research of our history and how unearth many unpleasant chapters that have been ignored or remain hidden in vaults.

    Rather than ostracizing Esteban, our country, especially at these crucially important historical moments, need hundreds of individuals with his knowledge, commitment and willingnes to sacriice himself for a higher cause.

    Like all man-made things, Cuba have made serious mistakes in the past, that everyone have come to regret. May this rumor turn out to be false!

  • Cort Greene

    This has been going on for a long time, I remember when they called Celia Hart on the carpet for her politics and telling the truth. The bureacracy seems to be in in a state of rapid degeneration and towards capitalist restoration.

    We must struggle against it.

    “If the leaders seek only to preserve themselves, that is what they become; preserves, dried preserves.”
    Leon Trotsky

  • http://blog.isallaboutmath.com Julio de la Yncera

    Should I point out that Trotsky or any other would have probably done the same thing too if given the chance?

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely!

    It is intrinsic property of the system to be corrupt.
    Replacing by others just like the example in Elaine’s post others will get corrupted and will jump to the opportunity to make some money.

    It is very obvious everyone is just waiting for the grand finale when the old leader passed away!

    Then we will see Cuba hopefully turn back to Democracy and freedom and out of this nightmare.

  • http://www.GRDPublishing.com Grady Ross Daugherty

    Julio de la Yncera is correct. Trotsky, if he had won the bureaucratic battle with Stalin, would have been a bureaucratic thug similar to what Stalin became. Those who idealize Trotsky are simply adding one more Jesus Christ cult-figure to the Marxian quasi-religion.

    Socialism-destroying bureaucracy is not a deviation from Marxism. It is the inevitable result of state ownership of everything in sight, and this stupid formula comes directly from the capitalist Engels and his bourgeois friend Marx.

    The sad fact is that Fidel apparently is going to keep beating the dead horse of Marxian economics until either he is gone or the Cuban Revolution has passed away.

  • http://Blog.isallaboutmath.com Julio de la Yncera

    I wonder if all the readers here do realized the fact that many in Cuba think different than the unanimous party line the regime tries desperately to portrait as a solid block!
    The reality is that Cuba is no different than any other country.
    Why then repress everyone in order to keep this dysfunctional system going?
    The utopian society became soon a dystopia , why continue?
    It is time to wakeup from the nightmare.
    With regards to Marx and Engels both saw a type of capitalism that does not exist anymore therefore what they talked about is not longer valid. Why take their word as gospel? They were as fallible as any human.

    You are correct Grady. I think they will keep beating the same dead horse. In my opinion I think they were smart to realized that what they try to do was an impossible task. I just think from what have seen Fidel Castro express that they were more interested in keeping themselves in power than anything else.
    That explains why they turned to capitalists measures when they lost the soviets help!
    If socialism and the plan economy are so good economically then how come they had to do those things?

    I am sorry for all the people who really tried to make it work to find out now when they are old or midle age that they were pursuing an impossible dream!

    Cuban socialism equates to slavery!

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  • Luis Henrique

    I strongly disagree, Grady – who the heck could say what would’ve happened if Trotsky an his allies won the political battle in the USSR back in the 1920′s? This is nothing but futurology.

    You over-simplify Marxism, be careful – if you say it’s a quasi-religion, then I might just say Mondragon is your personal quasi-Jerusalem… and then we’d be even ;)

  • Mariano Lobo

    Juegen con la cadena, pero con el mono no.

    • http://None Manuel

      You’re absolutely right! From Cuba, actually everyone is allowed to say bullshit or profound and wise ideas against peoples, actions, laws, decisions ….so and so on, whatever you want to, except the magic and sacred endless trilogy: Fidel Castro, Raúl Castro and Cuban Revolution .

      This gibberish speech of deep appearance but of pitiful essence, it is a great disparate without foundation and without veracity. He touches the points traditionally taboo of the Cuban reality, and that is fine; but conceals mixing a mountain of reasons and new realities that are opposed equally at the same time, and explain the Cuban disaster that this author try to defend. Defending what….? This personage belongs to the same amoral faction like Esteban Padura. Padura points Stalin like a monster and recognize Cuban Revolution follows the Stalinism methods, but no matter what, Fidel Castro is a very good man who loves mankind.

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