Many unanswered questions, inaccuracies and poorly sustained theories have characterized the political process that began in Cuba in January 1959. Perhaps with the objective to remedy such lacks, the First International Symposium on the Cuba Revolution: Genesis and Historic Development, in which its organizers propose “to analyze and work together from academia, science, art, culture and politics” to better understand the process “in all its complexity.”
The event, which will be held in the Palace of Conventions in Havana from October 13-15, will have some 200 participants from some 20 countries. In its sessions they will debate “the dynamic evolution of the revolutionary process, and the readjustments and updating of the economic model,” according to the announcement of the symposium.
Obviously, they have not invited thinkers or theorists from the critical sector, who sustain notions such as the contradiction between the concept of “revolution” and remaining in power for over five decades. Invitees include scholars such as Dr. Eduardo Torres Cuevas, president of the Academy of the History of Cuba, Brazilian theologian Frei Betto and Dr. Pablo Gonzalez Casanova, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
It would be of some use to the social researchers gathered at the Palace of Conventions to answer some questions about “evolutionary dynamics” that have not had a clear answer in the Party or government documents.
Not included here is any specific aspect related to a particular historical fact, but the broader issues covered by the major stages are identified: the insurrectionary process, the proclamation of socialism, the arrival of the Special Period and the recent rapprochement with the United States. Following are questions on each issue, waiting for their likely responses.
- What were the main reasons for the revolution?
a. To claim political rights usurped by the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
b. To emancipate the working class from capitalist exploitation.
c. To rescue the national wealth from imperialist domination.
2. The introduction of Marxism-Leninism as the official ideology in political, economic, cultural, scientific and educational environments …
a. Was the fruit of the natural evolution of the Cuban social thought?
b. Was imposed by force as the only way to fulfill the revolutionary program?
c. Was a condition agreed to receive the benefits of the socialist camp?
3. What is the correct definition of the so-called “Special Period in Time of Peace”?
a. A moment with acute difficulties in supplies, fuel shortages, power outages and problems with transportation.
b. The temporary waiver of enforcement of certain laws of the socialist system, and turning to the rules of the market to resolve the crisis.
4. If the correct answer to question 3 is subsection b, the end of the Special Period could be decreed only when:
a. The provisional application of the laws of the market is accepted as final.
b. External conditions prior to the implementation of the Special Period once again exist.
c. The US government has recognized that the old policy of confrontation has become obsolete and taken action accordingly and proposes changes.
5. Does the Government of Cuba recognize as obsolete the choice of armed struggle to achieve social change?
a. What steps could the Cuban government recommend that are equivalent and reciprocal with those taken by President Barack Obama?
If this symposium, structured into commissions and panels, could answer any of these legitimate questions, it would be a major contribution to understanding the last half century of our history. It would help to shed light on the shadows and contours of so many inaccuracies accumulated for decades.