Days after President Barack Obama’s historic visit, the leaders of Cuba’s Communist Party are under highly unusual public criticism from their own ranks for imposing new levels of secrecy on the future of social and economic reforms, Associated Press reports:
After months of simmering discontent, complaints among party members have become so heated that its official newspaper, Granma, addressed them in a lengthy front-page article Monday, saying the public dissatisfaction is “a sign of the democracy and public participation that are intrinsic characteristics of the socialism that we’re constructing.”
The article did little to calm many party members, some of whom are calling for a Communist Party congress next month to be postponed to allow public debate about the government’s plans to continue market-oriented reforms for Cuba’s centrally controlled economy….. Across the country, Cuba’s ruling party is facing stiff challenges as it tries to govern an increasingly cynical and disenchanted population.
Struggling to feed their families with state salaries around $25 a month, many ordinary Cubans see their government as infuriatingly inefficient and unresponsive to the needs of average people. The open anger among prominent party members in the middle of sweeping socio-economic reforms and normalization with the United States hints at a deeper crisis of credibility for the party that has controlled virtually every aspect of public life in Cuba for more than a half century.
“The base of the party is angry, and rightly so,” party member and noted intellectual Esteban Morales wrote in a blog post published before Obama’s visit. “We’ve gone backward in terms of democracy in the party, because we’ve forgotten about the base, those who are fighting and confronting our problems on a daily basis.”