Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC



Castro Addresses 12th Regular ANPP Session
Havana Television and Radio Networks

Report Type:         Daily report             AFS Number:     FL0111205092
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-92-212          Report Date:    02 Nov 92
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     2
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       6
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Report Volume:       Monday Vol VI No 212


City/Source of Document:   Havana Television and Radio Networks 

Report Name:   Latin America 

Headline:   Castro Addresses 12th Regular ANPP Session 

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro at the 12th regular session of the National
Assembly of the People's Government, ANPP, in the Havana Convention Center on
29 October-recorded 

Source Line:   FL0111205092 Havana Television and Radio Networks in Spanish
0228 GMT 31 October 92 

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro at the 12th regular session of the
National Assembly of the People's Government, ANPP, in the Havana Convention
Center on 29 October-recorded 

FULL TEXT OF ARTICLE: 1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro at the 12th regular
session of the National Assembly of the People's Government, ANPP, in the
Havana Convention Center on 29 October-recorded 

2.  [Text] I have thought a lot while you discussed things, and I have
remembered a lot of things. First, I am happy, I am very happy, that this topic
has been discussed. I think that Patricia [not further identified] did very
well to clarify that you were discussing two things here, two different
proposals. One is Torriente's [not further identified], and the other is
Patricia's. They are different, but they were mixed together. Really, Torriente
is not proposing that there should be more people so that there will be more
choices, but simply so that we will avoid the later problem of how people would
be elected in the event of vacancies. In short, he was proposing having
alternates. That is what he was proposing, not something else. Patricia's
proposal was different. However, I am happy Patricia has brought up this
problem. I think she was sincere in bringing this up, since she might not be
the only one concerned about this. Rather, there may be many people who have
this concern, so it was appropriate for us to discuss this here, to bring up
different arguments. 

3.  I have heard talk about democracy here. I think we are the most democratic
in the world, but today we are also the ones who talk the most about democracy.
How did all this start? I was also recalling a pleasant conversation, because I
had the 

opportunity to give an opinion when we were discussing the 1976 Constitution,
when we were discussing how people should be nominated. We had a million
problems. In the socialist bloc the single candidate was being criticized a
lot, the elections (?list), the single one. That is how they were elected;
there was a whole mechanism for that. I rejected very much that idea of single
candidates. That kind of voting seemed a little strange to me. There was the
problem of who nominated the candidates. We had already come to the decision
that it should be the base-level delegates who elected all the government
bodies, that it should be the delegates.  However, how should the delegates be
chosen? In fact, I proposed, I had the idea, that the masses should be the ones
to nominate the candidates to delegates at the base level. I proposed that it
should be the masses, that they should meet here in committees or groups, and
that it should be the people who nominated them. I think that was a great step
forward, a procedure that was not implemented in any other socialist country,
or any other country. 

4.  I said, well, we have a single party. This is not a multiparty system. How
should the candidates be nominated? The key problem was the nominations. That
is why we defended ourselves a lot with the argument....  [pauses] which is
very strong and I do not know of any foreigner who has been able to refute it,
when I compare the system they have with ours, the system of parties that I
mentioned. I say: In your case the parties nominate the candidates-the parties,
not the people-and the parties elect them, because it is the party that draws
up the list of candidates, and depending on the proportion of votes they get,
those who are nearest the top of the list are the ones who win. All the others
are just filling. They cannot choose among them. (?If there are 25) legislators
to be elected, they cannot choose among those 25. The party, in its assemblies
and meetings, chooses Smith, Jones, and Miller. So it is the party that
nominates the candidates, and it is the party that elects them by the place on
he list it gives each of them. That is the system in many countries. That is
how the legislators are elected. Then the legislators elect the government. See
how different that is from our system. I say that we took a giant step on that
occasion when we decided the people should nominate the candidates. Then the
idea came up that there could be a maximum of eight and a minimum of two, that
they had to get 51 percent of the vote. That is how all that arose in 1975,
more or less, when we were discussing the foundations of the Constitution and
our electoral system at that time. 

5.  This is a problem, I repeat, that has not been solved in any country; it
has not been solved in any socialist country. It gives us a lot of strength
when we are able to say that the party does not nominate the candidates,
because one of the first problems that came up here was the issue of how to
solve the problem of elections within the concept of a single party, outside
the concept of a multiparty system. If you have a multiparty system, each of
the parties does whatever they decide on. They put p their lists and things. 

6.  Now, one of the fundamental aims we had was not to break with the principle
of a multiparty system....  [pauses] of the single party. Not to break with it,
because that was what our enemies wanted, to destroy us. That is what they
imposed on all the European countries. They destroyed them; they split them up
into a thousand pieces. They have not been able to impose this on the Chinese.
They have just held their congress, and they put quite a lot of emphasis on two
concepts. It is no longer the 

dictatorship of the proletariat but rather, the revolutionary dictatorship of
the people, the dictatorship of the majority over the minority. That was one

7.  There was also the concept of a single party. They have some other party,
but they say that the whole process of building socialism is under the
leadership of the Communist Party, which coordinates all the forces. They
traditionally have some other party, the peasants or something, but they have
no chance at power. One assumes that socialism is being built there under the
leadership of the Communist Party. They have made a bunch of reforms of all
kinds, but in these political aspects they were extremely careful, and they did
not abandon the concept of the party's role, the Communist Party, the guiding
party, the coordinating party, the party for building socialism. 

8.  All the other countries had it [a multiparty system] imposed on them, as in
Africa where there are tribal problems. Africans by instinct are unitary. They
had established the principle of a single party in almost all those countries,
but the reactionary offensive of recent times, the Western offensive, has been
extremely strong.  Its influence is very great, and it has split the countries,
which have not yet come out of the tribal stage. We said that it is a
fundamental principle never to fall into the error of conceding to a multiparty
system. That would mean spliting into a thousand pieces a society that can only
resist with the degree of unity it has. 

9.  It would have been.... [pauses] With a multiparty system, we could not even
dream of resisting what the Cuban Revolution has resisted, if we do what some
countries have done, such as Angola. That is an example of a friendly country
upon which all these international circumstances ended up imposing this system,
with 15 parties. You can see all the problems, because in addition, when the
progressive party-the truly democratic party, the revolutionary party-wins the
elections, the others do not accept it. There are threats of war, civil war,
and all kinds of things, when the progressive party, the democratic party,
wins. We are seeing this in Angola, with a situation of enormous uncertainty,
because the UNITA [National Union for the Total Independence of Angola]
opposition, UNITA refuses to accept the verdict. They have mobilized forces,
forces that they were supposed to have demobilized. They did not demobilize
them. They hid them. They did not turn in the weapons they were supposed to
turn in. They hid them, and now that they have lost the elections, and lost
them quite conclusively, they do not comply. So they are not pressured, it is
not demanded of them; but rather, the government is pressured to make

10.  We said the principle of the multiparty system is a concession we can
never make. On the other hand, how did we practice a truly and broadly
democratic conception, the most democratic of all, within the concept of the
single party? We were using the principle of 1976, the principle that the
people, not the party, nominate and elect. The party does not draw up electoral
lists. The party does not elect. Fortunately we have developed mechanisms
that.... [pauses] Of course, every time one explains this to foreigners, they
say: Why is this not known? Why have you not publicized this? As if we were to
blame for the enormous monopoly existing in the mass media of the world.
However, they say: But people do not know about your system. Why do they not
know? lot of people have said this. 

11.  That was the concession we could not make. We cannot make any concessions,
but that one least of all, renouncing the leadership role of our party, and a
single party. It is an idea that comes from Marti. It is not new; it is not
simply Marxist-Leninist in our case. It is from Marti. Marti conceived of the
idea of the party to lead the Revolution. That is, the idea of a single party
has very deep historical roots in our country. How do we reconcile the idea of
a single party with a mechanism that is the most broadly democratic that one
can imagine? That is what we have tried, what we are trying, to do. I also
remembered that there was a lot of discussion about the mechanism and issue of
the elections and reforms to the Constitution before the party congress, in the
preparatory commission. I aaked: Why do we not accept the challenge of the
direct election of the deputies? Why not accept it? So I defended the idea and
proposed the idea of direct election of the deputies to the National Assembly
[ANPP]. Then I thought a lot about all that and reflected a lot about all that
before and after [the congress]. The basic problem is that we must find a
mechanism.... [pauses] We can have the direct vote now.  It is more democratic.
It is an improvement. We are talking about improving the people's government
bodies. Using the direct vote improves them, without a doubt. 

12.  It is not that our procedure was not democratic, because our procedure was
unimpeachably democratic when we elected the delegates as we did, and the
delegates elected the ANPP the way they did, and the ANPP elected the other
state bodies. We have nothing to be ashamed about with the system we have had
up to now. It is really the most democratic that has been implemented in modern
times. However, we could at least improve its image. Our work would have to be
even more rigorous and efficient in the area of the selection and election of
the ANPP by establishing the direct vote for electing the deputies. We have had
to reconcile all these concepts-of a single party, the people nominating the
candidates, the people electing them-and I said that the important thing is not
the principle but rather, what the electoral mechanisms are going to be like to
prevent us from falling into cheap politicking. That really terrified us,
because if we establish direct voting for the ANPP deputies and this starts up
ars, fights, individualism, personalism, and cheap politicking in the heart of
our political process, we will have made a truly burdensome concession, a truly
burdensome change.  This was one of the things I reflected on the most. Believe
me, we have thought a lot about both the constitutional reforms and the
electoral law. 

13.  In fact, this concept is the most democratic but the Western world will
not acknowledge this. Whether our law adds two more, three more, five more, or
one more, they are going to try to take it apart any way they can and to impugn
it any way they can. In this whole concept, adding.... [pauses] and there may
be more than one person who has had the same idea as Patricia. I can see
serious drawbacks to that procedure, the procedure of adding two. You were
talking about the assemblies, and that is right. The congress of the small
farmers, the congress of the Cuban Women's Federation, are assemblies; there
are assemblies in the unions; and in general they are made up of revolutionary

14.  However, general elections are not a simple assembly.  Everyone who is
with the Revolution and everyone who is against the Revolution participates. It
has a different nature. It is not the same thing. I think it is an illusion for
us to imagine that 

we will be a little more democratic by adding two or three more; that is, a
higher number. If it is a matter of people having more people to vote for, as
Patricia says, it would be enough to say: Let us increase the number of
deputies by 50 percent. Then there would be at least three or four in the
smallest municipality and about 20 in others, and people would have more people
to vote for. Here we are not taking anything away from people. We are not
taking away any rights. We are giving them more rights. We are not taking away
their right to vote for everyone. We are giving them the right to vote for
everyone, or to vote for no one. Now, the first drawback that is going to arise
is competition. That is inevitable. I know revolutionaries, very good ones, and
inside each of the best of them there is a sense of honor which cannot be
underestimated. If you put up 10 candidates, once they have felt that great
honor, even the most honest revolutionaries will want to be elected. 

15.  Relatives, friends, those who have contacts, those who have influence in
one way or another, or those who appear in the press or the mass media more
often than others will begin to be favored directly or subtly. I think it would
be very unhealthy within our reasoning and the foundations of what we are
doing. This has a reasoning process, because I said we could accept direct
voting for ANPP deputies although it would not be essential. We can accept it
if we keep within the principle that the people nominate and elect, and cheap
politicking and division do not creep into our elections. 

16.  A system that I like a lot, that I have liked a lot....  [pauses] What I
like the most about the system of electing of the delegates is that it is the
background of the people that determines it. We have asked ourselves how we can
make sure it is the ackground and record of the people that determine whether
they are elected or not.  Because we seem to forget that the candidates must
get more than 50 percent of the votes. They have to get half the votes cast
plus one to be elected. If we make a mistake we should in some way be held
accountable for our mistake by how the people vote. This must force us to make
a selection so that we can obtain 50 percent....  [pauses] half the votes plus
one. We must elect them, and if they do not get half plus one they are not

17.  I think this is a very important democratic element.  Based on this
principle that they must obtain half the votes plus one, and the citizens have
the free choice of voting or not for the candidates, and in many cases they may
all be people of great merit, I think that under these conditions we should
prevent divisions and competition from occurring among us. We must give the
voters the right to elect from among candidates who have already undergone a
tremendous purification process. They should elect from among those people and
avoid the element of division. I am absolutely convinced that if we do that, we
are going to introduce that element, competition among the candidates. 

18.  Second, not all of the candidates are going to be from the municipality.
Not everyone is going to know them personally. That is why we are trying to
find some way for them to have some contact with them, to get to know them.
This is a new task. Often hey will not be from that province, because we have
the phenomenon of concentration.  Sometimes, within a single municipality of
the city, there are universities and a number scientific research centers, to
give one example. They provide a tremendous 

number of talented people. Or in other places there are factories with a large
number of workers, heroes, vanguard workers, innovators, and people that
provide extraordinary services. In other places there are concentrations of

19.  We have to go to the factories to find candidates. We have to go to the
hospitals and educational centers to find candidates. We have to go to the
research centers to find candidates, but mainly to the work centers. There are
many anonymous heroes in his country that no one knows about. There may even be
people talented enough to be members of this assembly, but they are not well
known. You know that in historical, traditional elections, even the physical
appearance of the candidates has an influence. That is a factor. Those
candidates in the United States have make-up put on before they appear on
television. That is horrible. Their physical appearance or popularity because
of one thing or another, or because they appear in the newspapers every day
because of what they do [are factors], but there are others who never appear
but nevertheless have tremendous records and talents. 

20.  If we want merit to be taken into account.... [pauses] What would happen
if we established a higher percentage is that the people of the place or
municipality would naturally vote for those they know the best, because they
are the nearest and have more direct contact with them. When they have to
choose, and they know the president of the people's council there who is very
active, who gets around a lot and has great prestige, they will vote for him.
If they know a party cadre who is a candidate there, they will vote for him. If
they know people who are from the municipality and have certain merits, they
will probably vote for them if they have more or less the same background, the
same merits, because these are subjective factors. 

21.  The people of that great mass of talents are going to be at a
disadvantage, but we need them to be members of the ANPP, because you have seen
how many problems we have to discuss, of a legal, economic, and political
nature, and all kinds of problems. e often do not have enough people in the
ANPP to see to all these issues. We should give more tasks to the ANPP, the
ANPP commissions. This is our aim. We need people who have certain kinds of
knowledge and certain kinds of experience. If we do that kind of thing by
setting a percentage or margin, many of these people may be left out. If they
are left out, it would be the responsibility of the candidacy commissions,
which decided whether to include them or not in the lists. 

22.  However, the voters have the right to vote for any of those people, for
all of them or for none of them, for one or for several. No one would have an
advantage, because I do not think we should put people in as candidates who are
just filling. That is why we have to do almost perfect work in the matter of
selection. Now, this does not mean that they will be elected. To be elected,
they must get half the votes plus one. That is confidence in the Revolution;
that is confidence in the people under such remendously difficult conditions.
We will establish the principle that they must get half plus one or they will
not be elected. 

23.  Lastly, I am going to use an argument.... [pauses] and really, I can tell
Comrade Patricia that we are going to give the counterrevolutionaries a little
chance, because I can ask a question: For whom have the revolutionaries voted
the most? For whom? 

or the revolutionaries.  Who is not going to vote for the most revolutionary
ones? The counterrevolutionaries. 

24.  It may be that our candidates will be very revolutionary and very good
people, those the counterrevolutionaries hate the most. So an insignificant
minority, or a minority of any size, would have a veto right against the most
revolutionary ones, and say: I am going to make my selection. This is the
counterrevolutionary worm [gusano] making his selection, picking his candidate.
They kill him, his arm falls off, he is left paralyzed, but he does not vote
for the most revolutionary one. They will do a reverse selection, and they may
take it out especially on the most revolutionary cadres, because the people do
not forgive them. We may give them a chance, through this reverse selection, of
blocking the most revolutionary cadres. I would like you to reflect on this
opportunity we would be offering. In that case we would not be playing the role
of democrats, but really the role of idiots, if we did that. 

25.  This is an argument I would also like you to reflect on.  They have a
chance, if they [words indistinct] the majority. They could destroy the
Revolution. We have the sacred duty, however difficult the conditions may be,
to keep a majority; to mobilize all the people; and to appeal to their deepest
feelings, best values, and best feelings of dignity, patriotism, awareness,
courage, and heroism. Someone here recalled the argument.... [pauses] because I
said to the Central Committee there were comrades-it is not that I was a
proponent or doubted about holding these elections-but there were comrades who
had asked me why we should hold elections under these conditions. Why, when we
have so many priorities and such immense work in so many fields, should we
undertake this battle? Is it wise to do this? Is it a priority?  Is it

26.  We said: This is a commitment we cannot get out of. We have made it to the
people and to international opinion.  It cannot be avoided. It cannot be
undone, even though it is not a priority right now. There are things that have
a higher priority in order to save the Revolution from our tremendous current
difficulties, against the intensification of the embargo. They said: Has any
country held elections in the midst of a war? What is this against Cuba if not
a war, a tremendous war? We said: We must accept this test. We must accept this
challenge. We must increase our work and manage not only to hold these
elections but to hold them well, in the best way possible, along with all the
other tasks. 

27.  Some comrades have questioned this, but this cannot be undone. This is
irreversible. This is a commitment.  When we talked about this electoral
(?law), we were not in a special period. We were close to it. However, events
brought it nearer. We held elections in 1989, 1991....  [pauses] 1990. In 1991
there were no elections. At the end of 1992, in the worst time of the special
period, when we are suffering the consequences of this, in these conditions we
really need courage, determination, and a sense of responsibility to take on a
responsibility like this to hold the elections. However, we have to do things
perfectly, I would say, and we cannot make mistakes, because we could pay very
dearly for those mistakes. 

28.  This whole project is coherent. It is coherent. It is logical.  It has its
bases. It has its foundations. I would say that no other nation in the world,
no other party in the world, no other revolution in the world, would do what we
are going to do under the conditions in which we are going to do it. This is
why we should not forget for a single minute that we are not under normal
conditions. The conditions are in fact abnormal, totally abnormal. We cannot
imagine for a single second that the circumstances are normal. I think this is
a good mechanism, and I am very pleased with the general reaction of the
assembly, with the views and opinions that have been expressed here, because
they show strength, awareness, clear thinking, and that is decisive. That is
the key. Armando [not further identified] spoke about unity, but we need unity
to wage the battle. We have to be convinced, persuaded that what we are doing
is best. 

29.  Fortunately, we have arrived at a project which perfects our system, a
project that is also going to perfect the whole people's government. It is
going to perfect and raise the quality of the ANPP, its experience, its
knowledge. We have no idea of the knowledge that we can accumulate here through
the approximately 300 comrades who are not going to be base-level delegates,
plus the enormous knowledge that base-level delegates are accumulating. 

30.  I believe that this, with the creation of the people's councils, is
another of the key things, of the two great reforms that we have made in the
political field. We cannot forget the people's councils: what they have meant,
their potential, what they re doing, the authority and prestige they have, and
the experience being accumulated at the base level which will also be
transferred to the ANPP. I believe that the quality of the ANPP is going to
rise greatly. These two things are the two great changes of a political nature
and with regard to improvements....  [pauses] Many things have been done, but
this electoral law, this electoral system, and the people's councils are the
two great steps forward we have taken. 

31.  I am very happy that we have had this discussion, because we must be clear
about this, and we must clarify the opinions of all those comrades who may have
doubts or may wonder about these issues.