“Coming to Cuba is always a privilege,” were the words of the President of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE), José Luis Centella, on the last day of his recent visit to the Greater Antilles.
After several days of meetings with leaders of the Party, the government, political and mass organizations, after visiting neighborhoods in the capital and Cuban scientific centers, the Spanish party leader confirms with absolute certainty that he feels in this land as in his own home.
He also shared, exclusively for pcc.cu, his assessments of the visit, other issues that bind him to our revolutionary process, as well as future challenges and struggles.
– How do you rate your stay on the Island and the meetings held?
“This has been a very interesting and productive visit where we have had meetings at different levels and we have also participated in popular exchanges.
We had a meeting with the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and President Miguel Diaz – Canel. More than a protocol meeting, it was a working meeting, where we have reached joint commitments to work for peace, for the coordination of all the progressive forces of the world, for the articulation of these and in the commitment to unity. Fidel left us that undeniable teaching.
We also met in the Central Committee of the PCC with its Secretary of Organization and with officials from its International Department, where we analyzed the joint tasks that we are addressing at the moment from each party and the strategies where we can coincide, to face the offensive of the imperialism, an imperialism that is in decline – I still think so – but for that reason it can be more dangerous.
The meeting with the President of the National Assembly of Cuba, Esteban Lazo, for example, gave us the opportunity to learn about the popular debates that are taking place today in the country, regarding the consultation of the New Family Code and what What is happening with this debate throughout Cuba shows that Cuban democracy is a participatory democracy, where the people are not mere spectators, but are protagonists of the process and decision makers.
I think it is essential that in Europe – to say just one place – the functioning of Cuban democracy be known, that this reality be palpable, so that those who want to discredit it can verify that here is a living, popular and participatory democracy. .
One of the most enriching experiences of this visit was in the Los Pocitos neighborhood, Marianao. Together with the community, we accompany the start-up of a Cultural Center created and directed by the people, with all the love in the world. There we saw a population with difficulties but that has advanced with the work of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), the Party and government institutions, which have turned to many of these neighborhoods to contribute to the quality of life of their people. We saw it and the people there told us about it.
We were accompanied by Gerardo Hernández, Coordinator of the CDRs, and fellow Gloria Aguiar, president of the Patricio Lumumba International Solidarity Association.”
– The blockade against Cuba, a claim that they have made their own?
“In the entire history of humanity there has not been a stronger blockade than the one suffered by this Island, which not only affects the economy but also the daily life of every Cuban. Fortunately, the people have responded, from the plurality, because Despite what is said out there, in Cuba there is a plurality of ways of living and thinking, but it has been demonstrated -and I have seen this on the street and in any place I have visited- that the Cuban people refuse to be a colony of the United States They may think more or less critically, but there is something that unites them and that is respect for their independence.
The North American governments have believed that the economic difficulties worsened by the blockade, by the pandemic, could allow the Cuban people to break and they have found a people that is growing, that has rebelled against external interference and today stands up to it. to the difficulties with the vision that what is there must be improved, but under no circumstances abandon the achievements of the Revolution.
And he spoke of growing up: there this country takes the applause. In Spain, a first world country, children are still not vaccinated, there is still a very small rate of vaccination in young people, which means that the rate of infections has risen -and I am talking about my country- a country that has access to all the World economy. Meanwhile, Cuba, a blockaded country, economically fenced, has been able to have almost its entire population vaccinated, which has made it possible to contain the spread of the disease and minimize its risks.
I have found that security in Cuba, thanks also to what Fidel bet on, which is scientific development, even in complex situations, economic shortages for the country, Fidel always prioritized the development of science and it is what today has allowed Cuba , without any outside help, has responded better than any first world country to the fight against Covid and has also helped other nations in this fight “.
– How do you see the future of relations between our parties, the struggles that unite us?
“Relations between the Communist Party of Cuba and the Communist Party of Spain are historical, we have very deep ties and roots due to the presence – both in Cuba and in my country – of each other. In modern times, we always remember the meetings between Fidel and our passionate Dolores Ibárruri.
Currently we carry out a joint work that is developed and put into practice in the Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties that is held every year. There we emphasize that the communist parties are capable of offering answers to the current problems of their people, because as Fidel said, “Revolution is having a sense of the historical moment”; what was valid and worked forty years ago today has to adapt to reality, not change the principles but their application.
We are also going to work together on theoretical issues, with the collaboration between the magazine Nuestra Bandera and the Party’s theoretical magazine, Cuba Socialista.
There is something that I always say when I come to Cuba and that is that they do not understand our defense of the Cuban cause as actions of solidarity, but rather as joint work. The trenches are different but the battle is the same: the construction of socialism, of communism.”
– 100 years after the founding of the PCE, challenges and challenges?
“We still have a lot to do, first to build socialism. The PCE’s founding principle is to fight for a Spain, a Europe, a socialist world. And in that sense we are fighting important battles because the empire is in crisis but not defeated, and in many places where the right governs, fascist policies are being seen again. It already happened in the 20th century, when the crisis of 1928, the great economic crisis of capital, fascism was there. Faced with the current crisis of capital, we see how in Europe it is This threat is growing and that is a challenge: to fight fascism so that barbarism does not return to the old continent again.
We believe that we have lacked unity, cohesion and that is fundamental, it is a basic weapon to fight for socialism. Our party at this time has important challenges, we are part of the government, we are a small part together with the PSOE and we have the task of fighting the external enemy but also internally, to improve the lives of the Spanish.
We have managed – among other issues – to raise the minimum wage by 60 percent since we have been in government, we have worked to change gender policy and make women’s rights visible in the face of a male chauvinist outlook, we achieved a labor reform that protects the rights of workers who were very unprotected in the country with the right-wing governments.
For example, in the 2008 crisis, during the Rajoy era, 60 billion euros were given to the banks and during this crisis 50 billion euros have been given but to workers who were unemployed due to the fall of large companies. In other words, it has gone from supporting banks to supporting people.
We are preparing for the next 100 years in such a way that three essential ideas are aimed at: ideological strengthening, the proposal of measures that improve people’s lives, since ideology is fundamental but it is also necessary to concretize these ideas that are translate into material goods that satisfy people; and a third point that points to culture, in a world where the cultural landscape has also been commodified, we believe that culture cannot be a business but a mechanism of transformation and enrichment”.
– A final message to the people of Cuba?
“The Cuban people are not alone. The men and women who struggle every day to face their difficulties must know that there are millions of men and women around the world who accompany them and feel part of their struggle. We are aware that that Cuba’s defense of its Revolution, of its dignity, of its sovereignty, is a defense that also badly benefits the rest of the planet.
The second message is that they be aware that defending their society project is a fight to defend the future of humanity; Let no one deceive you, the return to the past would be the return to misery, inequality, lack of education, health, slavery, let no one sell you ghosts.
My third message is that they protect unity, from plurality, but unite against those who want to weaken their history, their roots, what they have achieved for more than sixty years, which is a lot. Wish them that their struggle continues to bear fruit and that Cuba wins, which with it wins the world. In that fight for a free, socialist Cuba, we are together, on one side of the Atlantic and the other.”