An Open Letter to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)

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In Resolution 62 of the Atlanta Convention of DSA you asserted your support for the Cuban government and condemned the U.S. policy of economic sanctions on that country.

I who write to you, a Cuban formed in the struggle by trying to create for his country a better society, consider this letter a greeting of solidarity among all of us in Cuba and the United States who fight for the ideal of social justice. I agree with you in your opposition to the politics of the economic embargo against Cuba and, in particular, oppose the indirect backing by the darkest currents of neo-Fascism and the white supremacy of the Trump administration. But it is also my desire to warn you of the danger that because of a lack of information and despite you best intentions, you may fall into the historic error of adopting positions and making judgments that don’t coincide either with Cuban reality or the ideals that you yourselves claim to defend.

The economic system installed in Cuba, without any popular vote, was copied from the Russian Stalinist model, an arbitrary and opportunistic interpretation of the Marxist theory of socialist revolution, that returned to the most reactionary elements of Hegelian thought embodied in his Philosophy of Law regarding a state that should absorbed all of civil society and all individual wills. In Cuba this took the form of a state that took over the confiscated latifundios (large plantations) of the great landlords and instead of dividing these lands among the dispossessed peasants, became itself the “supreme landlord,” as Marx himself called it in the third volume of Capital, to continue exploiting the day laborers in the countryside. In the cities the same thing took place with industries, business, banks and other enterprises, giving the state the absolute monopoly and generating a corrupt bureaucracy that has arisen in the midst of the poverty of the country. And not satisfied with all of that, in 1968 it took from independent workers their modest means of survival.

That leadership, in the name of a so-called socialism, jailed and shot many veteran comrades in the sruggle for oppose this model imposed by force, and then censured and gagged those intellectuals who proposed to make their model of more democratic, shutting down magazines, publicly insulting them, jailing them, sending them for long period of time to do hard labor or forcing them to pronounce humiliating mea culpas.

Not only did they violate the citizens’ fundamental rights, but they institutionalized these violations in coth the constitution of 1976 as well as in the constitution adopted this year, in 2019, in which there are no constitutional guarantees in defense of such rights. The executive, judicial, legislative, and electoral branches of government are all placed under the control of the Communist Party, which also enjoys a monopoly power over the means of communication. In the so-called elections, the citizen really has no right to elect candidates, since they have been preselected by candidate commissions, which themselves were not elected by the citizens.

Moreover, the leadership has raised the flag of anti-imperialism not principally to defend national sovereignty but to turn attention away from the real contradiction that Cubans face today between a group that converted a country into its own fiefdom and a people that has had its fundamental freedoms and rights sundered. José Martí, who is considered as the inspiration of our independence struggle, had already pointed out in 1894 one of the dangers of the socialist ideals: “that of the violence and disguised rage of the ambitious who to lift themselves up in the world, begin to pretend that on their shoulders they will raise up fanatical defenders of the dispossessed.”

I who am writing to you could not defend such a system and at the same time hold up the banner of democratic socialism, and it is my duty, out of solidarity, to advise you that you should be better informed before you take a position in favor of what in reality has meant treason to the dreams and ideals of some many generations that fought an died for liberty and social justice.

This article was originally published in Cubaencuentro on Sept. 17, 2019. The English translation above is by Dan La Botz. The original Spanish version of the article is found below.

 

Carta Abierta los Socialistas Democráticos de América (DSA)

Ariel Hidalgo

En la Resolución 62 de la Convención de Atlanta ustedes manifestaron su respaldo al gobierno de Cuba y condenaron la política de Estados Unidos de restricciones económicas a ese país.

Quien les escribe, un cubano formado en el fragor de intentar crear para su país una sociedad mejor, considera esta misiva como un saludo de confraternización entre todos los que tanto en Cuba como en Estados Unidos, luchamos por el ideal de la justicia social. Coincido con ustedes en su oposición a la política de embargo económico sobre Cuba y, en particular, al respaldo indirecto a las corrientes más oscuras del neofascismo y de la supremacía blanca de la administración Trump. Pero también es mi deseo alertarles sobre el peligro de que por falta de información y a pesar de sus nobles intenciones, caigan en el error histórico de adoptar posiciones y emitir juicios que no se ajustan con la realidad cubana ni a los ideales que ustedes dicen defender.

El sistema económico social instaurado en Cuba sin una consulta plebiscitaria, fue copiado del modelo estalinista ruso, una interpretación arbitraria y oportunista de la teoría marxista de la revolución socialista, que retornó a los aspectos más reaccionarios del pensamiento hegeliano plasmados en La Filosofía del Derecho acerca de un Estado que debía absorber a toda la sociedad civil y a todas las voluntades individuales. En Cuba esto se materializó en un Estado que conservó los latifundios confiscados a los grandes terratenientes en vez de repartir las tierras entre los campesinos desposeídos, para convertirse en el “supremo terrateniente”, como lo calificara el propio Marx en el tercer tomo de El Capital, para continuar explotando a los jornaleros del campo. En las ciudades repitieron lo mismo con las industrias, comercios, bancos y otras empresas para hacer del Estado un monopolio absoluto y generar una burocracia corrupta que ha sumido en la miseria a todo el país. Y no bastándoles con todo lo anterior, despojaron en 1968 a los trabajadores independientes de sus modestos medios de supervivencia.

Esa dirigencia, en nombre de ese supuesto socialismo, encarceló o fusiló a muchos de sus antiguos compañeros de lucha por oponerse a este modelo impuesto por la fuerza, y luego censuró y amordazó a los intelectuales que proponían un modelo de socialismo más democrático, cerrando sus revistas, insultándolos públicamente, encarcelándolos, enviándolos por largos períodos a realizar duras labores u obligándolos a bochornosos mea culpas.

No sólo se violaron los derechos fundamentales de los ciudadanos, sino que estas violaciones fueron institucionalizadas, tanto en la constitución de 1976 como en la del presente año, 2019, por lo que no existen garantías constitucionales para la defensa de esos derechos. Los poderes ejecutivo, judicial, legislativo y electoral, se colocaron bajo el control del Partido Comunista, quien también goza del dominio monopólico de los medios masivos de comunicación. En las llamadas elecciones, el ciudadano no tiene realmente el derecho a elegir a los candidatos, los cuales son preseleccionados por comisiones de candidaturas que tampoco han sido electas por la ciudadanía.

Por otra parte, la bandera del antiimperialismo ha sido enarbolada por dicha dirigencia, no tanto por defender la soberanía nacional como para desviar la atención de la verdadera contradicción que enfrentan hoy los cubanos, entre un grupo que convirtió al país en un gran feudo, y un pueblo al que se le han cercenado sus libertades y derechos fundamentales. José Martí, considerado como el numen de nuestra lucha independentista, ya había alertado en 1894, de uno de los peligros del ideal socialista, “el de la violencia y rabia disimulada de los ambiciosos que para ir levantándose en el mundo, empiezan por fingirse, para tener hombros en que alzarse, frenéticos defensores de los desamparados”.

Quien les escribe no podría defender semejante sistema y al mismo tiempo enarbolar la bandera del socialismo democrático, y es mi deber, por solidaridad, aconsejarles que se informen bien antes de emitir un juicio favorable a lo que en realidad ha significado una traición a los sueños e ideales de tantas generaciones que lucharon y murieron por la libertad y la justicia social.

 

 

About Author
Ariel Hidalgo is a former teacher and prize-winning Cuban-born writer, the winner of several Cuban and Panamanian prizes for his work before 1980. He was imprisoned by the Cuban government of Fidel Castro from 1980 to 1988 because of an article wrote titled “Cuba, the Marxist State and the New Class.” He intended to send the article abroad to be published since the government would not allow it to be published in Cuba. He was convicted of the crime of “Enemy Propaganda” for criticizing the Cuban government and spent eight years in prison, the first year and half in solitary confinement. He had committed no other crime. Later, he moved to Miami, Florida where he supported the struggle for human rights in Cuba.
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