Ana M. Adams-Wiley
2301 Research Paper / Final
11a.m. Class - 11/28/2014
Getting To Know Cuba
Cuba is a strong state but has a weak civil society. This country has gone through several
changes over the decades. In the 1800s, Spain ruled Cuba which led to many revolutions. After
freeing themselves from Spain in the early 1900s, Cuba created a government of their own to
ensure that the people had all the means to survive. However, this new founded government
created a heavily controlled environment that has suppressed the Cuban society. The
bureaucratic ways that exist in the Cuban government must correct polices that are damaging
society by changing the “…top-down technocratic styles of command and control, that is
fostered by formalism, lack of debate, undemocratic attitudes, and corruption” (Rios, 2014, 3).
In 1959, Fidel Castro led a revolution to victory that resulted in overthrowing “…the
government of President Fulgencio Batista” (Lee, 2014: 1). He had to create political institutions
that would follow a Marxist view. These institutions became a communist regime. They have a
constitution that is in favor of the Cuban Communist Party. They follow a unitary constitutional
design. This is to ensure that their power is not undermined and so they have the ability to
control the people.
The Cuban government has a three branch system. First is the executive branch. This
includes a chief of state, head of government, and a cabinet. The “…President of the Council of
State and President of the Council of Ministers…” is the chief of state and head of government
(CIA WORLD FACTBOOK, 2014). Since Fidel Castro stepped down as chief of state and head
of government, he passed this responsibility “…to his brother Raul in 2008…” (Lee, 2014: 1).
The last part included in the executive branch is the cabinet known as “Council of Ministers
proposed by the president of the Council of State, appointed by the National Assembly or the 28-
member Council of State, and elected by the assembly to act on its behalf when it is not in
session” (CIA WORLD FACTBOOK, 2014).
Next is the legislative branch, it has a unicameral National Assembly made up of 600
members. President Raul was re-elected by the National Assembly to serve a five year term.
There is only one political party by law to exist in Cuba. President Raul will always remain in
power unless he steps down on his own. According to research “…Raul is scheduled to leave
office in 2018…” (Lee, 2014: 2). The Cuban Communist Party has “…officially sanctioned
candidates run opposed” (CIA WORLD FACTBOOK, 2014). This is to ensure that no one
undermines the party.
The third branch is the judicial branch consisting of many courts but there are four main
courts with the People’s Supreme Court being the highest. Their court system is used against the
people “’… who criticize the government or call for basic human rights’” (Lee, 2014: 4).
According to a recent report from the Humans Right’s Watch, punishments issued for
disobedience are “…detentions, travel restrictions, beatings, and forced to exile…”
(Lee, 2014:4). The Cuban Communist Party has the main influence on how the National
Assembly operates. As a result, they will continue to “…repress individuals and groups…” that
oppose the party (Lee, 2014: 4). This type of government is considered as an authoritarian
Cuba has become a welfare state. In 1975, the Cuban Communist Party of the First
Congress “…generated unprecedented economic and cultural progress for Cuban society” (Rios,
2014: 3). It has been a political priority to guarantee domestic care for the people of Cuba. The
Nation Assembly has amended several reforms to ensure the solidarity of “…employment,
health, education, and social welfare…” (Rios, 2014: 3). It is important to the government to
maintain their values and national sovereignty. Control over national resources are essential to
the state’s interest. To have control over their production helps keep “…national property and
support development and public management” without compromising their socialist views (Rios,
2014: 3). The Sixth Congress has raised awareness to debate that the past socialistic model for
their country’s development has been affected from the “…inadequacies and institutional and
economic distortions” (Rios, 2014: 5).
A speech by President Raul sparked a debate on July 26, 2007. From the diagnosis of that
speech and other factors, the government is considering change of the economic model. The
political analysis and scientific studies looked into “…social sciences regarding, among other
things, popular participation, democracy, agriculture, cooperatives and local development, social
inequalities, race, gender, demographics, and corruption…” (Rio, 2014: 5-6). Congress is
recognizing that a new economic model can be successful if they allow “…foreign investment
under the law (e.g., joint ventures and contracts for international economic partnership),
cooperatives, small farms, usufructuaries, tenancy, self-employment…” to operate in their state
(Rios, 2014: 7).
The extension and strengthening of self-employment came before updating the
cooperatives. The state felt by updating how self-employment was controlled it would benefit
them with “…the heavy burden of attempting to provide this wide range of products and
services” (Rios, 2014:7). The government sees self-employment as an opportunity to regulate tax
policy “…on income and the labor force…” so that capital will go into social security and
welfare programs for society (Rios, 2014: 7). There are 370,000 self-employed businesses today,
“…80 percent of whom have joined labor unions organized by economic branches and services
throughout the country” (Rios, 2014: 7). By joining unions, the Cuban workforce sees it as an
opportunity to promote growth for businesses.
The institutionalization in Cuba has created confusion on the “…institutional roles,
bureaucratic distortions, formalism, and voluntarism, along with waste and undervaluation of
participatory opportunities and even blockages…” were created by bureaucratic actions (Rios,
2014: 9). From a new analysis, Cubans should find solutions in fixing these problems. The Sixth
Congress requested to strengthen the institutions among the Cuban Communist Party, the state,
and the organized sectors of society” (Rios, 2014: 9). The Sixth Congress is trying to improve
Cuba’s reputation by moving away from real socialist views to a modern socialist view.
Improving the way people think and manage is highly important if Cuba wants to improve its
Cubans recognize that their political system is “…perfectible, including structurally, and
that many of its weaknesses are functional and subjective” (Rios, 2014: 9).For example, in the
state there has been poor performance with the board of directors and “…other bodies at the local
level, inadequate attention to the suggestions of voters, lack of links between administrators and
the people, insufficient relationships between the leadership of municipal assemblies and their
members, and confusion regarding the tasks assigned to them” (Rios, 2014:9). These problems
are why Congress issued the concern for improvements. In 2010 the “…committee of the party,
the National Assembly, and the government…” enforced Popular Power (Rios, 2014:9). Then on
August 1, 2011, the National Assembly implemented the improvement of the “…Resolution on
the Improvement of the Organs of Popular Power, the Electoral System, and Administrative
Political Division…” (Rios, 2014:9).
Congress found a way for society to add “...coherence between the different spheres…”
through the “…balance between centralization and decentralization of functions and
responsibilities” (Rios, 2014:9). Even though socialism will be the main focal point of Cuba’s
future, “…methodological, organizational, and management aspects must be changed to take the
characteristics of the market into account” (Rios, 2014:9). They now consider some Marxist
views on ownership of property distorted. The Sixth Congress implies that it is necessary to
“…distinguish between what is fundamental to its socialist goals and what is not” regarding the
Revolutionary Offensive (Rios, 2014: 10). Revolutionary Offensive is a term to describe how the
Cuban government took “…possession of almost all the means of production except for small-
scale land ownership and the cooperative sector in agriculture” (Rios, 2014: 10). On January 28,
2012, the First National Conference of the Cuban Communist Party is aiming to resolve their
issues with “…conjunctural solutions, strategic clarifications, and timely assessment of the
sociopolitical and ideological impacts of bureaucratism” (Rios, 2014: 10).
Cuba has gone through several transformations. It appears that Cuba might have a chance
to revive and thrive politically, socially and economically. All they have to do is transition from
real socialist views to a modern view without compromising their values.
Lee, B. (2014). „US-Cuba Relations. Council of Foreign Relations.
(n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2014, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-
Ríos, O. F. (2014). Cuba’s Socialist Transition Economic Adjustment and Sociopolitical
Challenges. Latin American Perspectives, 0094582X14534595.