Cuban academic punished for article says expulsion from Communist Party sends wrong signal

By Will Weissert, AP
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cuban communist says Party shouldn’t kick him out

HAVANA — A prominent Cuban intellectual who publicly decried government corruption is fighting expulsion from the Communist Party, saying the punishment would hurt the country’s global standing.

Historian Esteban Morales was recently ordered removed by a party committee in Havana’s Playa district, but lower-ranking members deemed the action too harsh and rejected it while Morales appeals.

At issue is a blistering article he wrote in April declaring that corruption at the top of Cuba’s government — not the meddling of opposition activists — is the greatest threat to the island’s communist system.

Morales posted a new article Monday on a leftist political website saying that if the response to his original work was intended to punish or making an example out of him, then it would reveal to the world how closed-minded the party leadership is.

“It sends a message to the revolutionary intelligentsia, the party faithful and the left in general that the party is going to be relentless with those it considers to have erred, even if they did so in good faith,” he wrote on the leftist political site on Monday.

Targeting him and potentially other whistle-blowers, Morales said, will discourage self-criticism by party members. He is demanding the party, “finish getting the dead weight of bureaucracy off our backs … and declare, as we have said, war without mercy against corruption.”

In his April article, Morales said some Cuban officials are preparing to divide the spoils if Cuba’s political system disintegrates, like the shadowy oligarchs who emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union.

That work was surprising in its frankness and appeared on the state-run website of the National Artists and Writers Union of Cuba. It was removed a day after foreign media in Havana reported on it — but has subsequently been restored.

Morales wrote then that corruption is much more dangerous than organized political dissent.

“Corruption is truly counterrevolutionary because it comes from within the government and the state apparatus,” he wrote.

will not be displayed