Communist Party of Cuba

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For the Communist Party of Cuba founded in 1925, see Popular Socialist Party (Cuba).
Communist Party of Cuba
Partido Comunista de Cuba
First Secretary Raúl Castro
Second Secretary José Ramón Machado
Founder Fidel Castro
Slogan Hasta la victoria siempre
Founded October 3, 1965; 49 years ago (1965-10-03)
Preceded by Popular Socialist Party
Headquarters Havana, Cuba
Newspaper Granma
Youth wing Young Communist League
Membership  (2011) 800,000
Ideology Socialist patriotism
International affiliation International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties
Regional affiliation Foro de São Paulo,
Colors      Red      Blue
National Assembly
612 / 612
Politics of Cuba
Political parties

The Communist Party of Cuba (Spanish: Partido Comunista de Cuba, PCC) is the only political party permitted in the Republic of Cuba, others are not allowed to exist (there are other parties on the island but they are illegal and banned). It is a communist party of the Marxist-Leninist model. The Cuban constitution ascribes the role of the Party to be the "leading force of society and of the state." As of April 2011, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba is Raúl Castro, the President of Cuba, younger brother of the previous First Secretary and President of Cuba, Fidel Castro, and the Second Secretary is José Ramón Machado Ventura.[2]


A billboard in Havana promoting the ongoing socialist revolution

Cuba had a number of communist and anarchist organizations from the early period of the Republic (founded in 1902). The original "internationalised" Communist Party of Cuba formed in the 1920s; in 1944 it renamed itself as the Popular Socialist Party for electoral reasons. In July 1961, two years after the 1959 Revolution, the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations (ORI) formed from the merger of:

On March 26, 1962 the ORI became the United Party of the Cuban Socialist Revolution (PURSC) which, in turn, became the Communist Party of Cuba on October 3, 1965. According to Article 5 of the Cuban constitution of 1976, the Communist Party is "the superior guiding force of society and of the State, that organizes and orients common efforts toward the high goals of the construction of socialism and the advancement toward communist society."[3] The Communist Party is the only recognized political party in Cuba. Other parties, though not illegal, are unable to campaign or conduct any activities on the island that could be deemed counter-revolutionary.

For the first fifteen years of its formal existence, the Communist Party was almost completely inactive outside of the Politburo. The 100 person Central Committee rarely met and it was ten years after its founding that the first regular Party Congress was held. In 1969, membership of the party was only 55,000 or 0.7% of the population, making the PCC the smallest ruling Communist party in the world. In the 1970s, the party's apparatus began to develop. By the time of the first Party Congress in 1975 the party had grown to just over two hundred thousand members, the Central Committee was meeting regularly and provided the organizational apparatus giving the party the leading role in society that ruling Communist parties generally hold. By 1980 the party had grown to over 430,000 members; it grew further to 520,000 by 1985. Apparatuses of the party had grown to ensure that its leading cadres were appointed to key government positions.



The Communist Party of Cuba held its first Party Congress in 1975 and has had additional congresses in 1980, 1986, 1991 and 1997. It was announced in July 2009 that the Sixth Party Congress, originally scheduled for late 2009, has been postponed[4] due to the economic crisis.[5]

  • 1st Congress (17–22 December 1975)
  • 2nd Congress (17–20 December 1980)
  • 3rd Congress (4–7 February 1986)
  • 4th Congress (10–14 October 1991)
  • 5th Congress (8–10 October 1997)
  • 6th Congress (16–19 April 2011)

Central Committee[edit]

Communist Party of Cuba Headquarters

The leading bodies of the party were the Politburo and the Secretariat until 1991 when the two bodies were merged into an expanded Politburo with over twenty members. The Secretariat, however, was re-introduced in 2002. There is also a Central Committee which meets between party congresses. At the Fifth Party Congress the size of the Central Committee was reduced to 150 members from the previous membership of 225. Fidel Castro was the party's First Secretary (or leader) since its inception, while Raúl Castro was the Second Secretary. Upon Fidel's 2008 resignation from the Party and Cuban government, Raúl became First Secretary.


The 6th Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba was elected by the Central Committee on 19 April 2011 in the aftermath of the 6th Party Congress.


The 6th Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba was elected by the Central Committee on 19 April 2011 in the aftermath of the 6th Party Congress.


The Communist Party of Cuba has a youth wing, the Young Communist League (Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas, UJC) which is a member organization of the World Federation of Democratic Youth. It also has a children's group, the José Martí Pioneer Organization.


Compared with other ruling Communist Parties, such as the Communist Party of Vietnam, the Communist Party of China and the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, the Communist Party of Cuba retains a stricter adherence to the tradition of Marxism-Leninism and the traditional Soviet model[citation needed].

The Cuban party is more deeply committed to the concept of socialism than other ruling parties[citation needed] and has been more reluctant in engaging in market reforms though it has been forced to accept some market measures in its economy due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the resultant loss of economic subsidies. The Communist Party of Cuba has favored supporting revolutions abroad and was active in assisting the ELN in Colombia, the FMLN in El Salvador, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and Maurice Bishop's New Jewel Movement in Grenada.[citation needed] Their most significant international role was in Angola where the Cuban direction of a joint Angolan/Soviet/Cuban force that was involved in the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale.[6][7] This led to the withdrawal of intervening forces and, in the following peace agreement, the independence of Namibia from South African rule.[8]

It has largely been forced to retreat from this policy due to a lack of funds resulting from the halt of material aid from the Soviet Union. However, the party maintains a policy of sending thousands of Cuban doctors, agricultural technicians, and other professionals to other countries throughout the developing world. More recently the party has sought to support left wing leaders such as Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia.

Raúl Castro is campaigning to "renew" Cuba's socialist economy through incorporating new exchange and distribution systems that have been traditionally seen as "market" oriented. This has led to some speculation that Cuba may transition towards a model more similar to that of China.[9]


External links[edit]