Communist Party of Cuba
|“||Until our victory, always!||„|
|~ The PCC's motto.|
The Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) is the ruling political party of the Republic of Cuba. The Cuban constitution ascribes the role of the party to be the "leading force of society and of the state". It was founded by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara on 3 October 1965 as a successor of the United Party of the Cuban Socialist Revolution, which was in turn made up of the 26th of July Movement and Popular Socialist Party that seized power in Cuba after the 1959 Cuban Revolution. They played a major role in the Cold War, most notably as part of the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The PCC is a communist party based on democratic centralism, a principle conceived by Vladimir Lenin, entails free and open discussion of policy issues within the party, followed by the requirement of total unity in upholding the agreed policies.
Raúl Castro stepped down as First Secretary on April 19, 2021, at the Party's Eighth Congress. Miguel Díaz-Canel, who has served as President of Cuba since 2018, was subsequently named the new First Secretary. This marked the official end of the Castro regime, which ruled Cuba since 1959.
Compared with other ruling Communist Parties, such as in Vietnam, China, and Laos, the Communist Party of Cuba retains a stricter adherence to the tradition of Marxism–Leninism and the traditional Soviet model.
The party has been more reluctant in engaging in market reforms, though it has been forced to accept some market measures in its economy due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the resultant loss of economic subsidies.
The Communist Party of Cuba has often pursued an interventionist foreign policy, actively assisting left-wing revolutionary movements and governments abroad, including the ELN in Colombia, the FMLN in El Salvador, the Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua, and Maurice Bishop's New Jewel Movement in Grenada.
The party's most significant international role was in the civil war in Angola, where Cuba directed a joint Angolan/Soviet/Cuban force in the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale. More recently, the party has sought to support Pink Tide leaders across Latin America, such as Hugo Chávez and later Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia. Since the Cuban Revolution, the party has also followed the doctrines of Castroism (the ideology of Fidel Castro, including some elements of social conservatism and inspiration from José Martí) and Guevarism.
Medical diplomacy has also been a prominent feature of the Party's foreign policy. The party maintains a policy of sending thousands of Cuban doctors, agricultural technicians, and other professionals to other countries throughout the developing world.
Raúl Castro, since becoming the leader of the party, has campaigned to "renew" Cuba's socialist economy through incorporating new exchange and distribution systems that have been traditionally seen as "market" oriented. This has led to some speculation that Cuba may transition towards a model more similar to that of China and that of Vietnam.
Cuba had a number of communist and anarchist organizations from the early period of the Republic (founded in 1902). The original "internationalised" Communist Party of Cuba formed in the 1920s. In 1944, it renamed itself as the Popular Socialist Party for electoral reasons. In July 1961, two years after the successful overthrow of Fulgencio Batista and the creation of a revolutionary government.
On 26 March 1962, the ORI became the United Party of the Cuban Socialist Revolution (PURSC), which in turn became the Communist Party of Cuba on 3 October 1965. In Article 5 of the Cuban constitution of 1976, the Communist Party is recognized as "the superior guiding force of society and of the State, that organizes and orients common efforts toward the high goals of the construction of socialism and the advancement toward communist society". All parties, including the Communist Party, are prohibited from publicly advertising their organizations.
For the first fifteen years of its formal existence, the Communist Party was almost completely inactive outside of the Politburo. The 100 person Central Committee rarely met and it was ten years after its founding that the first regular party Congress was held.
In 1969, membership of the party was only 55,000 or 0.7% of the population, making the PCC the smallest ruling communist party in the world. In the 1970s, the party's apparatus began to develop. By the time of the first party Congress in 1975, the party had grown to just over two hundred thousand members, the Central Committee was meeting regularly and provided the organizational apparatus giving the party the leading role in society that ruling Communist parties generally hold.
By 1980, the party had grown to over 430,000 members and it grew further to 520,000 by 1985. Apparatuses of the party had grown to ensure that its leading cadres were appointed to key government positions.
Human rights violations
In 1987, a "Tribunal on Cuba" was held in Paris in order to present testimonies by former prisoners of Cuba's penal system to the international media. The gathering was sponsored by Resistance International and The Coalition of Committees for the Rights of Man in Cuba. The testimonies which were presented at the tribunal, before an international panel, alleged that a pattern of torture existed in Cuba's prisons and "hard labor camps". These included beatings, biological experiments in diet restrictions, violent interrogations and extremely unsanitary conditions. The jury concurred with allegations of arbitrary arrest; sentencing by court martial with no public audience or defender; periods spent in hard labour camps without sufficient food, clothing or medical care; and the arrest of children who were over nine years old.
The number of reported executions in Cuba declined during the 1970s and by the 1980s they were restricted to rare and high-profile cases, notably the execution of General Arnaldo Ochoa in 1989. Ochoa, who had once been proclaimed a "Hero of the Revolution" by Fidel Castro, along with three other high-ranking officers, was brought to trial for drug trafficking. This offense carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but Ochoa and the others were convicted of treason and promptly executed. Opponents of the Castro government who live outside Cuba expressed skepticism about the legitimacy of Ochoa's arrest and execution.