POLITICAL TRENDS IN CUBA

Created: 3/15/1968

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE

Political Trends in Cuba

Special Report

APPROVED7

N-

8 SC

eec1al reports arc supplements lo the current (nieui-gcnfcc weeklies issued by the office of currentcial reports aie published separately to penru^rnore compic^tasive treatmentubject. they arc propared by the offk^wcurtcni intelligence, the officeomictheof stutegic research, and thybirectorate of science andspecial report! ar^coordinated as appropriate amonguiic directorates of ciajhii. except for the norma! substantive cvhanijc with other ajcncies at the working level, have not been co%tdmatcd oimidjrcia unlcsi specifically indicated.

a r

G

special report carttjins otoufied informationthe national defense iff the cnite^jstaics. within ihe mean* ine ofoi* the us code, as amended. its transmission or revelation olvscon tents to orby anpoison is prohibitenhiv tow,

dissemination controls

the sjh-clal report must not be released to for9tcn governments and must be handleda*/ework of specific dissemination control provisions'

.

rOLlTICAL TRENDS IN CUBA

The strident bellicosity and adventurismof Cuban foreign policy since6 haveumber of modifications in domestic policy that have significantly changed the nature of the revolution and the role of Fidel Castro. With the gradual institutionalization of the regime, he is increasingly dependent on the governing apparatus he has created to implement his policies.

Castro is still unquestionably in charge and is effective in portraying himself as the life force of the revolution. The military and security forces are fervently loyal, and Castro stillarge degree of popular support, especially among the youth, the peasants, and the poor working class. Despite his continued pre-eminence, however, Castro hasisolated himself during the past two years. Meaningful political dialogue has almost ceased, and the regime has become considerably more inflexible. Castro seems to distrust the bureaucracy he hasand has surrounded himselfCult ofheroes" in order to preside over it better.

Castro's contact with the Cuban masses has alsoesult of the barriers imposed by the bureaucracy. He is still obsessively messianic, but his direct appeals to the people have decreased. 7 he made onlyajor speeches, fewer than in any year

Political discussion has been effectively stifled in the bureaucracy and in the press, and the condemnationissident "microfaction" in Januaryeminder of the dangers of questioning Castro. Perhaps realizingolitical vacuum im being created below hira, Castro has dramatically emphasized the importancemall "cult of guerrilaconfidants from hish of July Moveroent--who constitute the second rung of leadership.

Page l SPECIAL REPORT ar 68

t

-

New Radicalism

Fromntilche regime hewed to anmoderate domesticefforts were made tothe badly mismanagedaaterial incentives werean effort to increaseproductivity. Thepurists, such as the"Che" Guevara, whoonly "moral incentives"found theirby Castro. By early it became clear thatwas shifting back andincentives" were again

Last summer, antibureaucracy drives were widely publicized, and government ministries were forced to reduce their staffs by as much asercent. Special partyreassigned excess workers to agricultural production and penalized moreho were accused ofbureaucracies tohe regime was probably correct in its belief that the burgeoning ministries harbored many surplus workers, but the pervasiveness ofantibureaucracy" cam-paign suggests that he saw athreat to some of his policies.

Castro continues to beconcerned with Cuban youth. During the past two years, vigor-dus new campaigns have been launched to mobilize then behind the revolution and to expose them to "guerrilla experience.* outh brigade was organized to trace "Che"8 march through eastern and central Cuba,

Last year, Red Brigades werefor agricultural work and for military training. These were replaced in November by "Cfte" Guevara agricultural The Union ofembership of, provides leadership and cadres for the regime'samong the youthesting ground for future party members.

The new regimen isesult of Castro's concern that low labor productivityajor cause of Cuba's continuedplight. With the virtual abolition of 'materialworkers are expected to volunteer long hours of overtime. Zn January, private consumers and public transportation systems were affected when gasoline was added to the long list of rationed goods, Castro has emphasized the need for hard work and sacrifice, pointing out that "the revolution is the abolition of theof human labor but not the abolition of human work."

The Cult of the Guerrilla Hero

astro's most important power base has beenthe some small group fromh of July Movement who form the top echelon in the military and security forces, toraed forces minister Raul Castro, his vice ministers, the members af the General Staff, andall the top officers, areh of July veterans. This is also true of Interior Minister Ramiro Valdez and the. other important figures in the security forces. Until the end

2

RZPGRT

Mar 68

however, only elevenulyheldnman party directorate. Inhen Castro's "prototype party" was. formalized as the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), theuly group emerged with six of the eight politburo posts and about two thirds of the centralmembership. Servicemen comprise at least one fifth of the party membership, which now

In addition, about half of the governmentreofficers whose rank dates from their service with Castro's guerrillas. Politburo member Juan Almeida,emilLterate former parking lot attendant, frequently served as tho acting minister of armed forces Following the pervatiivo antibureaucracy drives last year, it is likely that military officers have assumed larger roles in directing the

Sincendsince the death of "Che" Guevara in Bolivia In October, the regime has been takingto glorifyh July group. Elaborate mythologies have been contrived and folklore has been encouraged to illustrate the "heroic guerrilla" exploits of Castro, Guevara, and the other revolutionaries who fought in the Sierra Maestra against Batista. In November, the Cuban Communist Party daily, Granma, eries of feature articles extol-ing the guerrilla doctors who fought in the Sierra Maestra.

Military servico continues to be obligatory for males over

CASTRO

nd is viewedequired badge of revolutionary valor. Participation in the anti-Batista and Bay of Pigs campaigns are causes for adulation. Someleaders are appearing more frequently in military attire, and even the usually dapperEorticos has begun to don fatigues in one of his auxiliary roles as chief of the militia. In his speechanuary, Castro declared6 would be known as che "Year of the Heroic

Political Development

During the post nine years, Fidel Castro has devoted himself with varying degrees of intensity tooverningof total oower under hisdurableefinitive ideology for the revolution. Whilehis own absolutism, he has institutionalized the regime with the hope that it will survive him.

Page 3 SPECIAL REPORT IS Mar 68

In pursuing these objectives, Castro initially manipulated and balanced political factions and then slowly united then. e was balancing theof theuly Movement with the "orthodoxy" of the "old" Communists. Later, he directed the gradual coalescence of these factions and begannited revolutionary partyovernment bureaucracy. This process was often tumultuous, and in2 it was marked by the purge of leading "old*Anibal Escalante andof his followers. Two years later, Castro resisted theuly group, which was pressing for another purge, and forced the pendulum back to the center. By tho end however, this group emerged in the superior position because Castro invested itominant role in the party.

Through the entire process of balance andhere was anand at tines violentof ideas. Castro profited from the debates that boiledhin, but stayed aloof In his role os supreme arbiter.

By so elevating the martial cult of the "guerrillaastro is excluding fromall but his most trusted followers from the Batistaand a few others who joined with him at that time.

During .the first seven years of the revolution, many aspects of the process of politicalwere reflected in the Cuban press. For the past two years, however, the regime has insisted that the press should not discuss substantive issues, but should only set forth official policy.

en of the aily newspapers published in Havanatho revolution had boonby the regime. The two major papers to survive were Hoy, which represented the "old" Communists. and Revoluclon, the organ of theuly group. These two papers were the principalfor the ideological debates between the two groups during the first few years of the revolution. Even after the two groups wers joined-in the prototype party and after the Escalante purgeastro permitted their journalistic fencing to continue.

With the founding of the PCC inranma began publishing as the official party daily, replacing both Hoy and Revolucion. Unlike them, howovcr, Granmaypical Communist partyand largely uncon-troversial. It devotes aboutercent of its coverage toissues, but the bulk of this concerns agriculture,and youth activities. itull column.

Tho theoretical journal Cuba Socialiata was published monthly from the spring1 It had an editorial board of five, including three "old" Cotrr.unlst theoreticians. Like the pre-Granma newspapers, it was frequently used by spokesmen of various groupsehicle for

relatively open discussions ofissues, it was roostused in this fashion4 when the dispute between "Che Guevara ana his Opponents was made public in its naces,

by Per

ista was replacedtedious journal that isrevolutionary's Reader's Digest" of old Castro speeches and tomes by various proponents of Cuba's foreign policy. It has anboard of six young from the philosophyat the University of Havana who were associated with Regis Debray. Unlike itsritico does not discuss domestic issues.

The "Microfaction" Exposed

The exposureissident "microfaction" in January was the latest example of Castro'sto prevent policyfrom originating in the bureaucracy. From 24 he central coxjruttee of the PCC met to hear Raul Castro's elaborate charges against Anthai Escalantcmicrofactionary" group of dissidents, including central committee members Ramon Calcines and Jose Matar. Escalante was sentencedyear prison term, andinor bureaucrats received lesser sentences. Calcines and Matar were expelled from the central committee, and the former also lost his party membership,

zscalante, who had beento Czechoslovakia and the USSR after his purgeas allowed to return to Cuba in late

nd to retiretate farm. According to Raul Castro, Escaiante was soon busy again, leading an antiparty clique in support of the Soviet line on "all the issues" that have caused the strain in relations between Havana and Moscow* In reality, the group posed no serious threat to the regime, and its members were guilty of little more than daring to question high policy matters. Their trial was probably stagedarning to other malcontents and dissidents that opposition to ridel Castro's policies will not be tolerated..

The Party and state Apparatus -

he end the party had entered its final stages of organization.' It had0 and an elaborate apparatus extending to all levels. Since then, it has increasingly taken command through its Ownthrough the massit controls, and through the state administration (Poder Local),

Castro envisions the partyoil and overseer Lo the rest of the bureaucracy and has endeavored to keepnail "vanguard" organization- Most of its important posts are occupied byf July veterans, and it has clearly become the political organ of the "guerrilla heroes,"

It appears that membership will not be expanded significantly beyond the0 for the next few years, but eventually the party will probablyarge portion of the youths in the Union of Young Communists. The first

Page 5 SPECIALMar 68

party congress has been postponed and, according to Castro, it will not take place

Inolitburo member Guillemo Garcia was named party chief in Oriente replacing "old" Communist Armando Acosta, who had been political boss in that eastern province This past January, former healthJose Machado Ventura was appointed as the politburo'son the Matanzasparty bureau, and, in February, Major Rogelio Acevedoimilar post in Cama-guey. The assignments of these favored conandantes as personal links between Castro and theparty organs nay be an indication of his cautiousto the bureaucracy--even within the party.

municipal administrations. 0 of these representatives were elected frora the CDRt. The CDR has servedeighborhood watchdog apparatus and as the regime's basic administrative organ.

Outlook

Castro's first priority is to continue the "revolutionary process" and to "prepare" the youth to join in leadership with hin and the 'guerrilla cult."

In the meantime, there nay be sone "rationalists" in the bureaucracy who see advantage in the "liberal" economic andpolicies that are beingin some East Europeancountries.

the end of the state administration was finallythroughout Cuba as an outgrowth of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolutionuba's largestlaimed nember-shipillion. ssemblies were held lastfor the "election" of0 local administrators for Cuba'segional

Following the exoose of the dissident "microfaction" in however, they will be even more reluctant to criticize the regime. In any case, they arc disorganized and subject to both party controls and the scrutiny of the security forces. They pose no threat to Castro, and with the muting of Dolitical and press discussions, there is little they can do to expound their views.

Original document.

Comment about this article or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA