Red Medalists

Among us there exists a frequently practiced sport, but one whose statistics and events are not mentioned anywhere.  This is the sport of surrendering the Communist Party card, for which many of my compatriots have been preparing for years.  Most important is to train the senses to find the right moment to stand in the assembly and say, “Compañeros, for reasons of health I can’t continue to perform the task you have assigned me.”  There are those who claim a sick mother whom they must care for, while others announce their intention to retire to spend time with their grandchildren.  Few of the testimonies of those who have ended their militancy include the honest confession that they’ve ceased to believe in the precepts and principles imposed by the Party.

I know one who found a novel way to get out of the meetings, the unanimous votes, the calls for intransigence and the frequent mobilizations of the PCC [Cuban Communist Party].  Like a boxer, trained to endure until the sound of the bell, he went to what would be his last meeting at his workplace with the Party core.  He surprised everyone with the novelty of his argument, really swinging from the left when no one expected it.  “Every day I buy on the black market to feed my family and as a member of the Communist Party I should not be doing this.  Because I must choose between putting food on the table for my family or abiding by the discipline of this organization, I prefer to resign.”  Everyone at the table looked at him with disbelief.  “But Richard, what are you talking about.  Here most people buy on the black market.”  The rehearsed “blow” came to end the brief round, “Ah… then I’m leaving because I don’t want to belong to a party of hypocrites, who say one thing and do another.”

He left the red book with his name and surname on the table where he would never sit again.   The medal of a champion was given to him by his own wife when he returned home.  “Finally, you’re free of the party,” she said,” while planting a kiss and handing him the towel.


17 thoughts on “Red Medalists

  1. Pingback: Red Medalists | Cuba News

  2. Ah so sorry on the elevators………. I suppose everyone is in good shape climbing all those stairs ..sheeesh ..
    Sending more positive vibes your way from the U S ~
    Prayers …
    Marlena –

  3. Hi MacheteAmor, I asked the question with sincerity because I was genuinely interested. Several people – especially Candido – took the time to provide some of those answers. Candido used to live in Cuba – and still has some family members who do – so I think that qualifies as first hand experience. One of the answers provided (not by Candido) – that you had to belong to the party to go to college – ended up being contradicted by a couple of other posters. But that’s one of the things that useful about the comments section. It helps separate the wheat from the chaff.

    By the way, I always appreciate your comments even if we don’t always agree.

  4. I just realized that my last comment (13) came out , again, as “Anonimo”!!!,,I’m sorry but at the end all of you can read my name!!!!,,,I’m sorry once again!!!


  5. My dear friends:

    Being member of the Communist Party in Cuba, is exactly like everything else there, is the exact replica of the Cuban society!!!!! the difference is that , the debate, the philosophy, the treatment among them is ” something mandatory, that comes from the top, from the king (Castro) and the member has to follow it by discipline, by their rules, then, as a member you will enjoy some of the privileges, but the rest,,,,once again is the same!!!!

    Inside of the Cuban Communist Party, there is group of elite members (Castro and his maffiosa gang), and there is a middle level, low level, depending on their positions, their jobs, the grade of loyalty, !!!!, there is racism!!,,yes,,believe it!!!!,,if you see, there are just a couple of black guys at the top, then, the same percentage has been applied step by step down to the bottom.

    The Cuban Communist Party was created in the 1920’s, and was founded by Julio Antonio Mella, Baliño, and others guys – including people that were involved against the spaniards during the Independence War-, then, after Castro took over the power, he was against the Communist people, because the Communism was not in his picture at that time.

    As soon as Castro saw the opportunity to combine his ego with the Russians, and viceversa, when the Russians did realize that Castro was a good card to play,,,,then, they concurred and the disaster for Cuba started!!!.

    According with Castro, by his own history – remember, he did change everything about Cuba’s history – he, and of course, his Revolution, are the founders of the trueborn Cuban Communist Party , which according with him, was created in 1965, from that moment on, the Party has been the main tool to support and test all his crazy and disastrous system.

    At the beginning, the members were the Rebels that came down from the mountains during the fight against Batista, later, he was clustering more and more people, that sooner or later would be seriously compromised under his mandatory policy.

    He was able to stablish a system of selection that, in one way or another has been the same during all those years, based on a basic principle : “Be at his will to whatever it is, and until he need it”.

    He was able to combine old and young people, linking their differences with great mastery,,, mixing experience with passion, patriotism with simplicity, but with one common factor : “The members must always be willing to sacrifice their lifes for him and his Revolution, and in return receiving as rewards crumbs”.

    I remember ,that by the beginning of the 80’s the Party was predominantly full of white people and full of professionals (engineers, doctors, economist, etc, ) but, was too short of proletarians, factory workers, and of course black guys. This was againts the basic guidelines for which the Communist Party was created, which was to reunite the proletarian class in one solid group ready to defend the working class!!!!

    As per those conditions so overwhelming , he and his party instructed a new policy to hire black people and workers, as simple as 1,2, 3!!!!! and just like that always he has been doing it over and over and over !!!!until today!!!!!!!!!!.


  6. THE LASTEST FROM “SPIES WHO LOVE CUBA” (remember the 007 “The Spy Who Loved Me!)
    The husband was the great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell! and it costs so much to call Cuba, around $1.oo/minute or more, most of that to the cuban goverment, HOW IRONIC!!THIS IS TOO GOOD, WHAT A TELENOVELA!Pay attention on how they “wanted to sail their boat to their home, Cuba”. These stupid ideological morons!!!

    NPR’s All things Considered: Disbelief At Charges Against Accused Cuba Spies

  7. Allot of people here are saying “maybe” you can’t go to college, or “perhaps” you get special perks for being in the party. Does anyone know for sure if you actually do get special privileges for being in the party ? My limited experience is that you do not get anything direct, but like everything else, if your a member you automatically know those in power…and those people can make things happen for you. I know plenty of people who went to college in Cuba and were not members of the party, and some who were pretty critical of the government. But, obviously, if your into the party, schmooze etc…doors will open for you. But if you do the same in the US within the Democratic or Republican parties…doors also open for you.

    So…anyway. Anyone with real, direct experience would be helpful.

  8. Members of the party have to steal from their jobs and make up for the daily living as all others in order to survive the administrative inefficiency, but from being members of the communist party they are “allowed” to do it or in the worse case they can go on without the consequences that for others means imprisonment.
    If there are still some Cubans willing to become a member of the party is just to rise the status, the possibilities of traveling or to clean the image, it also can help with a traffic ticket as well as to “obtain” construction materials for a new home and in Cuba this is a luxury!
    The head of the party is always “hunting” for new members and when they find someone that is “convenient” they propose, knowing that a negative answer to the “offer” will bring a pointing finger to that person.
    In my family there are 2 ex members of the communist party after they return theirs “red books”, while there are few others that still keep the membership, but one thing they say in public and a different one in private.
    It was really hard and complicated to get into the party before the 90’s, they checked mostly all aspects of future members before alloying a new one, and the few selected, have to do extra effort as a second job without getting pay on the sugar fields just to get “points”.
    After the Soviet Union collapse they changed methods to gain more members with a less rigorous screening, maybe because they realize that the upcoming crisis will disappoint existing and future candidates as it happened.
    Its important to say that the communist party in Cuba is just an echo of Castro’s impositions, any one who dares to contradict or go against the chief commander orders is subject to sanctions up to their own life and the recorded history offers plenty of cases as proof.

  9. John Two —
    I’m no expert on the Cuban Communist Party nor any other CP for that matter… but I think also (at least in the past when these things were available) CP members would be first in line for things like new refrigerators, for cars, even for standing in line to pick their children’s once-a-year toys.
    So you wouldn’t necessarily need to be high ranking enough to get a nice house in a nice neighborhood to see some benefits.
    I don’t know — someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

  10. Donn M. I got the membership number (780,000) from the Wikipedia entry on the Cuban Communist Party. According to Wikipedia, about 70% of Cuba’s population is 18 years or older, so presto that’s roughly one in ten adult Cubans. Don’t know how credible these numbers are.

    So being a member is a great way to get out of traffic tickets and perhaps more serious criminal offences. I was struck in Yoani’s blog entry above that Communist Party members have to rely on the black market like other Cubans. I’m guessing that if you rise up the party hierarchy you may gain access to more privileges, and that might be an inducement for lower level members to stay. Would that be correct? I was reading Erasmo Calzadilla’s latest entry in the Havana Times website. He said that high ranking military and party officials get to live in the ritzier Vedado neighbourhood where lots of the foreign embassies are located.

  11. Actually Humberto Capiro you are wrong in this statement

    “those who dont belong the the communist party cannot go to college”

    I did not belong to the communist party and I was allowed to go to college.
    What maybe true is that if you are openly against the government you may not be able to go to college.

  12. I forgot something!!!!,,,why still there are !!! a lot of people that want to be member of the Cuban Communist Party?,,,even, knowing that since 30 years ago everybody knows that the main concern of the Government is just to keep concentrated big groups of the population and like that the control will be much, much strict and accurate.

    Plus the factors that I already did mention in my comment # 4, I’m going to illustrated this with one example:

    Supposed that there is a prison where inside of the same cell, we have 5 prisoners, that are 24 hours, 365 days per year all the time together, leaving, talking, looking at one to another, etc, etc.

    Four of them are planning to escape, but one is very afraid and does not want to escape, but, for the others four, it is impossible to reach their goal, and at the same time to keep the secret from the guy who want to stay.

    Then, the first steps would be, do the talking with the guy who want to stay, trying to convince him about the benefits , the good reasons to escape , but, in top of everything, to assure him that the probability to escape is 100000%.

    If the guy still keeps his idea to stay, then, the other steps would be threatened him , even with his own death if he does not go with them!!!!!!

    Resume: With those choices, there is not any other answer than accept the proposition and from that moment on become a new member of the escape planning.

    The Communist Party does the same strategy, the members, always are behind anybody with the right attitude to snitch, to be a sheep, to be the type of person who “always” follow orders without asking, once they are focus in somebody, it is “almost” impossible to escape from their intentions, then, there is not other choice, like the prisoner, to become a member of the Party and start the new game of playing with two faces!!!!!!!!!!!!



  13. Candido , thank you for making this so much clearer. And John Two (post #1) , re: 1 in 10 membership. Is this figure accurate? I`m not disputing it but I am surprised that it is this low.

    And Yoani ………. keep it up! We all love you! , DonnM (card carrying member of the Birthday Party)

  14. All right, let me try to explain this with an example.

    Do you remmeber what was “a patent to be corsair or pirate” between 1600 and 1700?

    That patent or authorization, allowed the pirates and corsairs to do all kind of vandalism, sacking, killing, stealing, etc, etc,,,but, the most important point of all was: ” this kind of violence and murdering was authorized by the king himself. under his own signature, his own personal approval, etc, just, because with that , the king could do some damage to his enemies (in this cases another countries).

    This patent was official , or valid , until the king’s decision, which could finished because the enemy was now a friend, or just because the pirate did not split his profit with the king himself, then, the corsair/pirate that until that moment was a “loyal” servant of the king, from that instant on, was an outlaw, that would be executed as soon as the king was able to catch him.

    Being a member of the Communist Party in Cuba is something like that, with it, you are authorized to do, in the name of the King!!!!,,,I’m sorry, the Party!!!, anything possible, with it, you can escaped a traffic ticket, because you did show the Red ID to the police at the moment of the traffic violation (does not matter if you were drunk or just passed a red light),,,you are a member of the Communist Party.

    The member of the Communist Party always were privileges among the rest, because, even at the lowest level, the Communist will be able to pass the “hot ball” to somebody else that was not member of the Party, then, the job, the sacrifice, would end in top of the shoulders of somebody else that was not member of the Party.

    Being able to show the Red ID always will allow you, for example:

    -Avoid a verification to find “a better job”, or for “authorization for traveling”, etc!!!

    -“Apparently” this persons are “the Best of the Best, the Cream of the Cream,”, then, if you were in the army, or a civil job, the main promotions are for them.

    -“Apparently”, wherever the said, will be used as “something against or in favor of”, because, they as member of the Communist Party never lie!!!!.

    -If anybody in your family or a friend, etc, has a problem with the police, the member of the Communist Party can influence directly and, the “guilty one” will be out of jail right away,,,do not mention a case where the guilty one is supported for a military guy that in top of that is a member of the Party!!!!the police would excuse her action thousand times after releasing the guy!!!!.

    I can mention millions of causes, or reasons why being a member of the communist party means some “advantage, ” some “privileges”, but, the end of it, frequently is the same ending that the pirates or corsairs had in their times!!!,,,once they fell in disfavor with Castro,,,I’m sorry the King!!! I’m sorry the Party!!!,,,only death would be their hope and future!!!!

    History repeats itself again!!!!,,,with modern variations, but the same results!!!!


  15. As I recall (I left Cuban in 1969 at 9 years old) those who dont belong the the communist party cannot go to college, are passed over for goverment jobs which is the only game (el jueguito) town and of course are called “gusanos” meaning “worm-low life” which many not have a lot of impact on adults but NOT THE SAME on children who are ostrosized! can anyone on this blog can you expand on this?


    Humberto Capiro-assistant professor!!

  16. Actually this is an interesting post and made we wonder. What exactly are the benefits of being a rank and file Communist Party member in Cuba? If most rank and file members endure the same privations as other Cubans, why is the party still able to claim a membership of one in ten adult Cubans?

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