The Castroist Military Junta Is Above the New Constitution
By ROBERTO ÁLVAREZ QUIÑONES
Diario de Cuba
February 18, 2019
In the draft of the Constitution that will go to a referendum on 24 February it is stated that the supreme political entity on the island is the Communist Party (PCC). This was affirmed in the 1976 Constitution as well.
False. The supreme power in Cuba, no matter what the constitutional text says, is not the one officially recognised, but rather a de facto one: the commander-in-chief, Raul Castro, and the military elite that keeps him in power.
They constitute the hard core that rules the country, making up a military junta that operates from the shadows, for political reasons and international PR reasons. This could not appear in the new constitutional text (just as it did not in the 1976 version), because the Cuban regime could not continue to bill itself to the world as civilian when it was, in fact, military to the core. It also had to try to hide from Washington the military substratum of the Cuban economy, as there are now regulations blocking business deals with military companies.
The all-powerful military elite could care less about what the new constitutional text says about it. None of this concerns the dictator, nor the 14 or 15 members of the Military Junta.
Raúl Castro has always been more akin to Mussolini than Lenin. The obtuse dictator believes that the infinite and overwhelming problems of socialism would be solved if only the economy, and all national life, were conducted with the efficiency characteristic of military life, which is the only one that he really knows.
This is how astonishingly warped the inept general's view of reality is. He has not been capable of recognizing the non-viability of the system designed by Karl Marx – unlike his counterparts in Beijing and Hanoi, where Communist parties remain in power, but without any qualms about trampling on the tenets of Communist ideology.
Succession plan: all the power for the military
In the new Constitution Castro II establishes that there can be no thriving private sector in Cuba that competes with the military. Rather than aiding them, it makes it even more difficult for private productive forces to grow and create wealth. In Cuba the general wants to prevent the emergence of free enterprise, which is what makes the world go round.
GAESA already controls more than 70% of the national economy, and almost all the cash entering the country. Castro II's plan for his successors is to expand that control through a neo-Castro model of military-led State capitalism, not civil, without any room for a thriving private sector, which the dictator believes would overpower the military economically.
But it's not just about the economy. The supreme political power in Cuba is not the Party-State, or the Political Bureau. Nor is it the First Secretary of the PCC. When Raúl Castro cedes his position as First Secretary of the PCC in 2021 he will still remain the real supreme leader, above the new head of the PCC, regardless of who that is.
I say the real leader because the new Constitution, like the one in 1976, stipulates that the president of the country must "exercise supreme leadership over all the Armed Forces." In other words, as of April 2018, Raúl Castro, theoretically, has not been the commander-in-chief of the FAR, but rather Díaz-Canel. But, who is gullible enough to believe that? Who is going to tell the four-star (never earned) general that he is no longer the supreme military commander?
No one on the Island has any doubt that Castro II is "number one," and will be until he dies. He is the head of the Military Junta that rules the country, which, to make things even stranger, is not institutionally recognized; it does not even officially exist. It is invisible, and the Cuban people don't know about it, let alone the international community.
The dictator and his elite of generals and long-standing commanders act from behind the scenes, above the Constitution, the Law, the PCC, the State, the Government, the National Assembly, and even good and evil.
Non-Cuban analysts have no way of knowing that the Castro regime is, in fact, military and not civilian, as it claims to be. They treat Cuba as if it were a normal country, and it is not. It was not even so within the "socialist block" in the last century.
Fidel refused to subordinate the FAR (Armed Forces) to anyone
The aberration of military power prevailing over the State's civil institutions was orchestrated by Fidel Castro. He never accepted, as in the USSR and other socialist countries, the PCC being above him, as commander-in-chief. His experience as an ex-gangster, who quashed any scheming against him, and his ego, rendered him hostile to partisan discipline. Rather, his code was that of the thug, who imposes his will at gunpoint, by intimidating or killing, and not persuading anyone – something that he surely viewed as effeminate, or revealing a lack of confidence.
On January 3, 1959, Fidel, as Commander-in-Chief of the Rebel Army began to give "instructions" to the provisional president of the Republic, Manuel Urrutia. For half a century he ruled militarily, through a vertical structure of orders to be followed.
He created “Command Posts” to manage agriculture, the construction sector, and other branches of the economy. He never consulted with the PCC or the government about what he was going to do. In 2002, when he moved to dismantle two thirds of the sugar industry, he did not consult with the Political Bureau, or anyone else. Rather, he gave an order to the Minister overseeing the sector, General Ulises Rosales del Toro, and that was it.
Castro II, who emulates his brother in everything, does not accept subordination to any civil power either, and only removes his general's uniform for activities where protocol requires it.
And to think that 135 years ago, on 20 October, 1884, José Martí warned General Máximo Gómez that: "a society is not founded, General, by issuing orders, as if were a camp". Will Castro II have understood what Martí meant to tell Gómez?
Today, in 2019, a phone call from the General, or from any member of the Military Junta, makes ministers, PCC and Government higher-ups, and President Díaz-Canel himself (who is neither a member of the Junta, and never will be, because he has no military pedigree) start to tremble.
The military creme de la creme is hidden so far in the shadows that 8 of the current 14 members of the Military Junta are not even members of the PCC's Political Bureau. What for? There's no need to be. They are above the PCC. And they could care less about the Constitution.
However, just in case, there are six members of the Military Junta in the Political Bureau, and they are the ones who decide everything: Raúl Castro, José Ramón Machado Ventura, Ramiro Valdés, Leopoldo Cintra Frías, Alvaro López Miera, and Ramón Espinosa. The 11 civilians who round out the total of 17 members of the Political Bureau listen, speak only when allowed, and rubber stamp what the military decides. It's as simple as that.
This is a fact unknown to the world and, to a large extent, Cuba itself. The exclusive military leadership, as it does not "exist", is not beholden to the Constitution, or anyone or anything else. Its power is absolute, like Zeus on Olympus.
In short, the Constitution that will be enacted on February 24, regardless of whether it receives more than 50% of the votes, utterly omits the true power ruling the country. It is only an institutional symbol, subordinated to the illegal but very real will of the dictator and the military leadership.
Incidentally, is not such an overwhelming role played by the military in the economy and national life a fascist feature?