Image: Santiago Romero Chang
Congress- The Party’s commitment to its people remains intact, from the First Congress in 1975 to the Eighth, set to take place April 16-19, 2021
The Communist Party of Cuba is unique because its relationship with the people is unique. The Party exists because of and for them; it has been decisive in safeguarding their achievements in the Revolution’s most difficult moments.
Nothing related to the present or future of the homeland is alien to the Party. A brief history of its Congresses makes this clear.
December 17-22, 1975
«Arriving today at this Plaza, we saw the largest demonstration in the history of the Revolution… And what our people are feeling, experiencing this this event, is a feeling of security, of the historical continuity that our Party provides; what our people want to express today is that they feel and understand that the Revolution is stronger and the Revolution is more secure than ever.»
Speech delivered by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz at the mass rally on the occasion of the closing of the 1st Congress of the PCC, in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución, December 22, 1975.
The Congress took place following an arduous analysis to define the functions of the Party in relation to the state and mass organizations.
A broad popular movement was involved, with all the country’s mass organizations took on commitments meant to salute the Congress.
A total of 3,166 delegates participated, along with invited guests in 86 international delegations.
The central report presented by Fidel included a broad, all-encompassing review of the path followed from 1959 to the time, in the economic, political and social spheres, making possible the charting of an accurate plan of work objectives for the five-year period 1976-1980.
The Programmatic Platform of the Communist Party of Cuba and the draft Constitution of the Republic of Cuba were discussed, as well as resolutions related, among other issues, to economic projections for the five-year period 1976-1980.
Cuba’s policy of solidarity with the progressive governments and revolutionary movements of Africa and the sister people of Puerto Rico was also approved, and Cuban support for the Movement for the Liberation of Angola was discussed.
A total of 24 theses and resolutions were approved, regarding topics that were analyzed.
Essential agreements reached included:
Submit the Constitution to a referendum and proclaim the Socialist Constitution on February 24, as a tribute to the 81st anniversary of the Necessary War.
Implement the new political-administrative division at the municipal level in the months of April and May 1976.
Constitute local People’s Power bodies and transfer to them the approved tasks related to production and services of local importance, during the months of November and December 1976, and the first months of 1977.
Members of the Central Committee, Political Bureau and Secretariat were approved, with Fidel and Raúl as first and second secretaries, respectively.
December 17-20, 1980
«And you have demonstrated today in deeds what we expressed at the Congress, the solid, profound, indestructible link of our Party with the masses. This confirms the great truth that the Party is the Party of our people, and that our Party exists because of the people and for the people.»
Speech delivered by Comandante en jefe Fidel Castro Ruz at the closing ceremony of the Second PCC Congress, in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution, December 20, 1980.
The period preceding the Congress was marked by what already was and would be, henceforth, the policy to be followed by the United States against Cuba: hostility, siege and brutal terrorist acts.
The Congress was attended by 1,772 delegates and, once again, the international representation was remarkable, as evidenced by the inclusion of 142 communist parties.
The report to the Congress, presented by the Comandante en jefe, included an analysis of the previous five years, while the Cuban economy and prospects for the year 2000 were the focus of debates.
Among the economic objectives discussed was improvement of the country’s Economic Management and Planning System.
Projections for the five-year period 1981-1985 and the general lines of national and international policy were approved.
A total of 18 resolutions were approved.
Among the essential agreements was the approval of members of the Central Committee, Political Bureau and Secretariat. Fidel and Raúl were reelected to their positions.
February 4-7, 1986
«The Party, this new Party, the Communist Party of Cuba, everyone knows how it was forged, how it was created, how it arose from the union of the different revolutionary forces and is developing, overcoming difficult obstacles, mistakes… It was also forged, gaining experience during its active participation over these almost 28 years of revolutionary, self-sacrificing, heroic struggle.»
Speech delivered by Comandante en jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, during the closing of the deferred session of the Third Congress of the PCC, at the Karl Marx Theater, December 2, 1986.
The proposal of a new Draft Party Program, and the necessary popular consultation this implied, gave this gathering the particular characteristic of taking place in two parts, the first session in February, and the second, November 2 through December 2, later in the year.
Another relevant event was the beginning of the transcendental process of rectifying errors and negative tendencies in 1986.
The Central Report addressed work carried out in accordance with directives established for the 1981-1985 five-year period, with emphasis on its importance to the proposed development strategy for the subsequent period through the year 2000.
Within the framework of the Congress, approved were the economic and social guidelines for the five-year period 1986-1990, resolutions on the political-administrative division of the country, modifications to the Party Statutes and to the previous resolution on the improvement of the country’s Economic Management and Planning system.
By the time the deferred session took place, progress was being made in the rectification of errors and negative tendencies, called by Fidel in April of the same year, a process which played a central role in the debate.
The first session was attended by 1,784 delegates and some 500 national and foreign guests. The deferred session was attended by 1,723 delegates.
Seven theses and resolutions were approved and Fidel and Raul were reelected as first and second secretaries.
In Fidel’s opinion, the Congress was «a historic event, the approval of our first Program. It is also, of course, an act of great transcendence in the life of our Revolution and our Party; expressing our aspirations, projecting itself into the future.»
October 10-14, 1991
«I believe, comrades, that our most important duty, the first of all, is that we analyze with great realism tour country’s current situation, that we understand very clearly that we are living an exceptional period.»
Speech delivered by Comandante en jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, during the inauguration of the 4th PCC Congress, at the Heredia Theater, in Santiago de Cuba, October 10, 1991.
This Congress took place at a very complex moment for the Revolution and for the world. After the disintegration of the USSR and the collapse of the socialist camp in Eastern Europe, the conditions arising led Fidel to call the event «The Congress in Arms.»
The implementation of measures for a Special Period in Times of Peace was debated.
Given the circumstances the country faced, an analysis of the Program approved by the Third Congress led to the understanding that its content no longer matched the historical moment, and that party activity should be guided by the experience gained in the process of rectification of errors and the Special Period directives.
The Congress was attended by 1,772 delegates, along with a large representation of guests from other regions of the world.
Decisions made in accordance with the historical moment:
Delegates granted exceptional powers to the newly elected 225-member Central Committee for the supreme purpose of preserving the homeland, the Revolution and socialism.
The Resolution on Economic and Social Development gave top priority to food production.
October 8-10, 1997
«In the world, the knowledge many people is at the service of particular, personal, private interests. This is the rule, and what has been accumulated here is knowledge and experience at the service of the people.»
Speech delivered by Fidel Castro Ruz, during the closing of the 5th PCC Congress, at the Havana Convention Center, October 10, 1997.
The years prior to this Congress were marked by the Special Period in Times of Peace which, in turn, was taken advantage of by the enemies of the Revolution to tighten the economic blockade while, as part of their obsession with destroying us, two monsters were born: on October 24, 1992, the so-called Torricelli Act, and, given its evident failure, almost four years later, the Helms-Burton.
Prior to the Fifth Congress, the people discussed the document «The Party of Unity, Democracy and Human Rights that we defend, which was later approved as one of its resolutions. Six and a half million Cubans participated in this debate.
The times determined that the central slogan would be: «This people, this Party, will never surrender our unity.»
The country’s economic situation and strategies to strengthen it during the following years were among the topics addressed in the central report and discussed.
The meeting was attended by 1,500 delegates and three resolutions were approved.
April 16-19, 2011
Thirteen years elapsed between the Fifth Congress and the convocation of the Sixth, although the Party was never removed from the reality of the country, the urgent demands of every historical moment, on the contrary.
«What we will never do is deny the people the right to defend their Revolution, since the defense of independence, of the conquests of socialism and of our plazas and streets, will continue to be the first duty of all Cuban patriots.
«Days and years of intense work and enormous responsibility await us, to preserve and develop, on a firm and sustainable foundation, the independent, socialist future of the homeland.»
Central Report to the Sixth PCC Congress, presented by Second Secretary Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers.
The complexities, in terms of economy, which the country faced during the first decade after 2000, and the deep crisis along the same lines which the he world faced, determined that this was precisely the central axis of the conclave.
On December 1, 2010, discussion began of the document Draft Economic and Social Policy Guidelines. This process concluded in February of 2011, with the participation of more than 8,900,000 Cubans.
The Congress was attended by 986 delegates and 97 guests.
Three resolutions were approved which, in addition to the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution, also referred to the improvement of the local People’s Power bodies, the electoral system and the political-administrative division.
The 6th Congress, as the highest leadership body of the Party, agreed to convene a National Conference, to which it granted the authority to update the organization’s methods and work style, structures and cadre policy, as well as evaluate and establish concepts and basic ideas to modify the statutes and other internal normative documents.
For the first time in the history of these gatherings, the Comandante en jefe did not appear on the list of members of the new Party Central Committee. Thus, with his personal example, he gave an unparalleled demonstration of the scope of our concept of continuity.
April 16-19, 2016
«This may be one of the last times I will speak in this room. I have voted for all the candidates submitted for consideration by the Congress, and I appreciate the invitation and the honor of your listening to me. I congratulate them all and, first of all, compañero Raúl Castro, for his magnificent efforts.
«We will undertake the march and perfect what we must perfect, with absolute loyalty and as a united force, like Martí, Maceo and Gómez, in an unstoppable march.»
Speech delivered by the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, during the closing session of the Seventh PCC Congress, at Havana’s Convention Center, April 19, 2016.
Implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution, beginning in 2011, implied transformations in various sectors of the economy.
During the Congress, a proposal was analyzed for the Conceptualization of the Cuban Social Economic Model of Socialist Development.
Also high on the delegates’ agenda was the debate on the Economic and Social Development Plan through 2030.
With a critical eye and in depth, the initial implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution was evaluated, as well as their updating for the coming period.
These thematic axes were consolidated in the approval of five resolutions, which have become an indispensable guide in our work to build a more prosperous and sustainable socialism.
Although this was the last Congress with the physical presence of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, his ideals, his fighting spirit and his will to confront any threat that endangered the sovereignty of the homeland, remain intact.
Eighth Congress: Unity, Continuity and Confidence in Victory
Our glorious Party is approaching another transcendental moment in its history. The Eighth Congress arrives accompanied by the people’s exceptional support of our social model. Cuba’s institutions, cadres and every one of the men and women of this archipelago are valiantly resisting the economic blockade, the slander campaigns and the scourge of a deadly virus.
The present difficulties have made us more determined to do our duty, intent on not allowing this reality to crush us and rising to the occasion.
These times – which continue to be those of Homeland or Death! – confirm for us the validity of socialism, of social justice and, above all, of the powerful force that is the Communist Party of Cuba.