The eighth National Congress of the PCC successfully concluded on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Cuba’s Giron victory (April 19, 1961 – 2021). With the election of the new Party Central Committee and the adoption of a series of resolutions and documents updating the country’s socio-economic development path. As well as ideological and personnel work, the Congress marked an important milestone for the new development period on the “island of freedom”.
With the official slogan “the Congress of the historical continuity of the Cuban Revolution”, the eighth National Congress of the PCC was considered a landmark event, marking a good end to the historic transition of generations of Cuban leaders, affirming the continuity and irreversibility of the path that leader Fidel Castro together with Cuban patriotic warriors chose arising from the victory of the revolution in 1959.
Taking place in the context of Cuba witnessing positive changes stemming from updating its socio-economic development model, but still facing numerous difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well the comprehensive and irrational economic embargo imposed by the US, the 8th Congress focused on discussing the implementation of the socio-economic programme, implementing the “updating”guideline, as well as ideological and personnel work.
The key issues discussed and approved at the Congress show that economic development, including solving problems to improve labour productivity and promote domestic production, and ensuring a balance in social security, have been identified by the PCC as key and overarching tasks for the next stage of development.
The “updating” model was adopted by the PCC at its 6th Congress in 2011, marking an important milestone in guiding the development path of the Cuban revolution in the new period. The orientation of the socialist socio-economic model was firmly affirmed at the 7th Congress of the PCC in 2016, thereby initiating bold and powerful transitional steps on the Caribbean island.
Looking back at the last five years of the new economic development model, one of the remarkable achievements of Cuba’s reform is the adoption of the 2019 Constitution, which affirms social revolutionary principles as the foundation of national construction, taking the people as the centre of development policies and promoting the leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba. It is considered a modern Constitution, shaping a law-governed socialist state, opening up the necessary processes to continue drastically implementing the “updating” guidelines of the PCC.
The great challenges posed to Cuba due to the policy of blockade and embargo imposed by the US are undeniable. Just a little over a year after the first US President visited Cuba in 2016, Washington reversed its policy of improving relations with Cuba, even tightening economic sanctions against Cuba.
Challenges also come from an unfavourable regional environment, when left-wing governments in Latin America are met with turbulence, and some far-right governments have adopted unfriendly policies with Cuba. Another great challenge has been the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seriously affected the Cuban economy, especially the export of medical servicesand tourism as well as other key economic sectors.
The process of updating the Cuban socio-economic development model has been heavily influenced by the above difficulties, but is not stagnant. In July 2020, Cuba issued a special socio-economic strategy to strengthen the economy. In January 2021, Cuba launched a programme of monetary, salary and price reforms. These are the largest and most complex transitions in recent history and are considered the most powerful transformations of economic thinking in the past few decades.
If the 6th Congress of the PCC marked a milestone in the direction of development, and the 7th Congress affirmed the path of updating and launching the “ship of economic transformation”, then the 8th Congress continued to outline steps to speed up the realisation of the updating of the socio-economic model, ensuring the continuity of the revolutionary process, and the socialist path that PCC chose in accordance with the will and aspiration of the people of the “island of freedom”.
With the policy of self-determination, the strong spirit of the Hiron victory and great creativity in labour, the PCC and Cuban people have the basis to expect to continue overcoming all difficulties, reaping more successes in the new revolutionary period.