This post begins is the first of a short series considering the 8th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (VIII Congreso del Partido Comunista Cubano). This Congress is particularly interesting, and potentially important, as a result of the convergence of several factors.
3. The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a series of challenges and opportunities that the Cuban state has sought to exploit (in the one case) and overcome (in the other). This is the moment for the triumph of Cuban medical diplomacy now augmented by a strong tech sector. The success of its COVID-19 vaccine, if handled correctly, will produce a substantial amount of political capital abroad that Cuba might be able to exploit, even if Cuban authorities receive very little by way of financial compensation for the effort. One might expect this sector of the 2030 Economic Plan to be an important element of the pageantry if not the work of the Congress.
6. The United States continues to dominate this Congress as it has virtually every other one. It is a pity but hardly to be avoided that even as the PCC declares its autonomy, it does so only by reference to and in the shadow of the United States. That has proven to be in some respects its greatest protection. But increasingly it may become the greatest weakness of this Party and its ideological apparatus. A state cannot control its people on the basis of negatives (e.g., we are not the United States). That effectively gives the other party control over your own destiny, a result that is becoming increasingly apparent int he case of Cuba. Cuba can no longer afford to build its ideologies as a function of its contests with the US). This is a lesson that is hardly ever learned, certainly it remains unlearned in politics that sees in the construction of difference (internally or externally) a quick, dirty, and expedient way to elaborate administrative power in the hands of a controlling group--whatever their political inclinations). Intellectuals, especially, are good are seeking to deride the construction of otherness in power relations but then use it precisely to rearrange the allocation of power among the categories of otherness constructed. A great pity but perhaps the fate of society as currently understood by those with the power to control.
These are the themes that the the object, in the usual discursive tropes of the PCC, that are meant to give meaning to the words elaborated by the Central Committee pf the PCC in its Announcement of the Holding of the VIII Congress (Convocatoria al VIII Congreso del Partido Comunista de Cuba), the text of which in the original Spanish and with my own crude translation, follows below.