Thanks for the detailed analysis of the Cuban political system, Charles. It is very illuminating.

How would you respond to critics who argue that the institutions of representative grassroots democracy that you describe, which formally give decision making power to the people, are in practice heavily controlled and manipulated by the communist party?

In socialist Yugoslavia we used to formally have the institutions of "worker self-management", which on paper gave major decision-making power over management of state owned companies (as well as other major political decisions) to the company's workers, organized in worker councils. In practice, however, the party found various ways to intervene in the process of worker self-management to make sure that the decisions ultimately followed the political line laid out by the leadership of the communist party. This ultimately led to a great deal of apathy and cynicism on the part of ordinary workers, who pretty much stayed out of enterprise politics as they recognized the process as being heavily rigged. It also severely eroded the legitimacy of the system in their eyes.

Wheil I find your description of the Cuban governance mode very appealing, the cynic in me suspects that the Cuban system functions in much the same way our Yugolsav model did. However, I recognize that I am ignorant in these matters and am ready to hear your views and arguments.

Your friend in Moscow,


PS: Did you get your Russian aid package? Was there any vodka inside? :)

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