Beijing Review: The year 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. What would you like to say to them and to China at large?
Carlos Miguel Pereira: The relationship and political dialogue between the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) and the CPC constitute the cornerstone of bilateral ties. Cuba recognizes the effective leadership of the CPC as a determining feature that defines socialism with Chinese characteristics, and fully shares its people-centered philosophy which has enabled China to attain decisive victories such as controlling the COVID-19 epidemic and the alleviation of extreme poverty.
During a telephone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping in May, President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermudez, also First Secretary of the PCC Central Committee, extended his congratulations to the CPC on the centenary of its founding. Cuba hopes the landmark occasion will mark the beginning of a new stage in the strengthening of bilateral ties and the exchange of experiences on socialist construction.
What’s your opinion on the CPC’s philosophy of people-centered governance?
From its founding on July 1, 1921, to the present, the role of the CPC has been essential to the development of Chinese society at large. The CPC has led, through democratic centralism, a critical process of transformation toward socialism with Chinese characteristics.
The Chinese leadership, led by President Xi Jinping, also General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, has upheld its people-centered development philosophy, striving to increase the citizens’ sense of satisfaction and prosperity.
This people-centered philosophy has enabled the CPC to unite and lead the people in order to turn China into a modern socialist country, taking into account the circumstances and characteristics of Chinese society and focusing on the wellbeing of the population as a whole.
The CPC knows how to validate—to Chinese society and the world—its credibility and ability to rule. It has been able to interpret the experiences and lessons of each historical stage, and has unwaveringly maintained course in advancing the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Since its start and then during the most critical stages of the epidemic, the prestige of the CPC and trust the Chinese population put in it were clear. Its solid job of analyzing in a thorough and pragmatic manner the moments of greatest uncertainty and turning challenges into opportunities has been nothing short of admirable.
For both the PCC and the CPC, the most relevant duty for them in a scenario like the current one, marked by the impact of the pandemic, would always be to preserve and save human lives.
When we review the history of the CPC and China’s development under its leadership, what are the most important new inspirations China has offered to other developing countries?
China constitutes a factor of stability and balance across various aspects of the global scenario. As an emerging power, it has been at the forefront of promoting the peaceful development of the world, in particular, in defense of the rights of developing countries. This contribution has proven considerable in terms of poverty alleviation, food security, and technology transfer, among others.
China advocates the building of a community with a shared future for humanity, based on peaceful coexistence, stability, development and common prosperity. Cuba considers this vision a very necessary and favorable approach to address the challenges facing the international community today, all of which require the reinforcement of cooperation and solidarity.
The pandemic has clearly signaled the fragility of a fractured and exclusive world. Reality shows that not even the most fortunate and powerful can survive in the absence of those who, through their work, create and sustain wealth.
Cuba builds socialism amid harsh conditions, including the impact of the pandemic and the intensification of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. Government. The latter represents the main obstacle for the development of the Cuban economy’s potential for the implementation of the national plans for economic and social development, as well as for the achievement of the UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.
For Cuba, the experiences acquired by China and the work of the CPC in achieving the strategic objectives through reform and opening up introduced just over 40 years ago, are important references. We highly value the experiences of the CPC in terms of economic planning and management, the building of a legal framework for the operation of state-owned and private enterprises, as well as the creation of investment policies and development of productivity.
On the external scenario, China is manifesting itself as an element of balance and stability. The Belt and Road Initiative stands out through its vision of the future, with great prospects not only for Cuba, a partner of the initiative since 2018, but for all those who are part of it. It comes with a very motivating and long-term philosophy and outlook, with clear goals of shared prosperity and inclusion. At a time when populist politics and protectionist policies are on the rise on the global playing field, this initiative seeks to eliminate obstacles to trade and strengthen multilateral ties, as well as to further evolve the economic and social development of all people without distinction.
In the context of the still ongoing pandemic, it is known that from the very beginning China has offered its cooperation to the world in more than one way. At the most recent stage, both China and Cuba have rejected the type of vaccine nationalism that prevents vaccines from reaching every corner of the globe on an equal basis and in equal quantity. China’s call for the Group of 20 members to support developing countries, and especially the most vulnerable ones with significant difficulties, via debt suspension and development assistance, is one example of China’s engagement in and commitment to a more equitable and inclusive world.
During their telephone conversation, President Xi told President Díaz-Canel that China is ready to consolidate and develop friendly relations between the two countries, and jointly explore new horizons and make new contributions to the cause of socialism. What is your view on the China-Cuba relationship under the new Cuban administration?
The rise of a new generation in Cuba’s leadership, committed to the continuity of the revolution and socialism, will continue to give top priority to its relations with China. The explicit mention of China in the Central Report to the Eighth Congress of the PCC in April and the recognition of the Asian country’s development confirm the relevance that the new Cuban leadership attaches to its special and strategic ties with China.
The congress also recognized the friendship and historical solidarity that unite both countries, and highlighted the consolidation of the excellent relationship between both parties and governments, as well as the relevance of the ongoing joint economic projects in various spheres that contribute to the economic and social development plans of our country until 2030.
China has experienced huge development following the introduction of the reform and opening-up policy in the late 1970s; Cuba announced it would be commencing new economic reforms this year. What do you think both countries can learn from each other here?
China’s experiences in reform and opening up have served as an important reference frame for Cuba. We always analyze its policies and measures, taking into account that each country has its own characteristics. In this sense, there is a flowing exchange of practices, which has helped both countries to advance in socialist construction.
In the case of China, Cuba’s experiences in social undertakings could be very valuable given the strides forward our country has taken, for example those in healthcare and biotechnology, two fundamental and strategic sectors in the bilateral economic relationship.