Cuba’s ‘new’ constitution: Putting lipstick on a communist pig

Without freedom, justice, and respect for the rule of law, constitutional “reform” in Cuba is meaningless. You can put all the lipstick you want on a communist pig, but it will still be nothing more than a communist pig.

Via Democracy Digest:

Market-Leninism: Cuba’s ‘cosmetic’ reforms aim to forge China Model?

Are Cuba’s ruling Communist Party’s proposed constitutional revisions “a way to move the island into the 21st century” or cosmetic changes designed to maintain single-party rule akin to the China Model of “Market-Leninism”?

The reforms are primarily intended to guarantee regime survival, analysts suggest. Reference to Communism has been removed from the constitution, for example, but…..

“This is cosmetic, from a policy perspective, but it is a serious, important public relations move,” says Michael Touchton, assistant professor of political science at the University of Miami.

“The government gains legitimacy by no longer fighting a battle for global communism that was so clearly abandoned everywhere else with the end of the cold war,” he notes, adding that the amendment “represents a much more palatable rebranding that may resonate with the Cuban people and contribute to perceptions of government legitimacy.”

The weekend announcement coincided with the anniversary of the deaths of prominent Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero (above).Both activists died on July 22, 2012, when the car in which they were traveling was rammed off the road by the secret police. The regime targeted Payá because he “crossed a red line in challenging the government’s relations with the church, which had become a pillar of the government’s strategy of survival…. at a time when the regime, emboldened by the cardinal’s silence at the mass arrests during the pope’s visit to Cuba in March, was not about to tolerate criticism,” said the National Endowment for Democracy’s Carl Gershman.

The proposed reform package follows the April retirement of Raúl Castro as head of state and suggests a cautious advance in the remaking of Cuba in an era when other communist countries, including China and Vietnam, have embraced the free market, the Washington Post adds. And yet the changes envisioned would unfold even as new rules would strictly limit the entrepreneurial spirit on the island [and]

The regime is aiming for “Market-Leninism” – a market socialist model with Cuban characteristics, says one observer, adding that it is no coincidence that President Díaz-Canel met last week in Havana with Li Qiang, a senior official of China’s Communist Party.

“In Cuba they’ve been thinking about transition and ‘the day after’ for a long, long time, but that debate has focused on to what degree to open up the economy and whether to go farther toward a Vietnam or China model,” says Eduardo Gamarra, an expert in Latin American politics and democratization at Florida International University in Miami.

“But there really has been no parallel attention to what political reforms might accompany the economic change,” he adds. “They believe they have a political model that is going to withstand the test of time.”

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