‘They don’t understand at all what dictatorship means’: PVDA youth move to ‘democratic’ Cuba, but this faces criticism | internal

There was outrage on social media over a trip by the PVDA Youth Party to Cuba, a country some members describe as a “democratic society without poverty”. “These people do not understand at all what the communist dictatorship means,” it sounds critical, but young people defend their flight in the HLN editorial office. “Cuba is not the model I would import or copy in Belgium, but there are things we can learn from.”

It was an eye-catching tweet from Comac chief Sander Clesens, who went to Cuba with a few PVDA guys to “learn from a population looking for their own way.” According to him, Cuba is a country that “breaks away from an economic system that exploits people and plunders the planet.”


“Cuba is a country that shows there is an alternative to our current society,” said another PVDA member. However, communist Cuba is not really known as a free and open democracy. The country just stands It ranked 139th in the annual Democracy Index It is documented as “authoritarian”. In addition, there are regular reports of human rights violations and violent suppression of protests.

These people have absolutely no idea what the communist dictatorship means. There can be no question of a free people under such a regime.” Former President of Open Vld Egbert Lachaert. “Young people want to leave in droves because of an agonizing lack of life opportunities.”

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also Head of Youth at Open Vld, Sepp ThevartHe reacts decisively. The “basic conditions for a society in which people find their own way” are freedom, human rights and democracy, all that is missing in the dictatorships that the PVDA comrades see as an example. ”

PVDA is like a fish in water in Cuba: elections and free press are banned and political opponents are tortured and killed

Thomas Rogemann, former president of Young N-VA and Member of Parliament

“The youth of the PVDA are on a study trip to Cuba. They are living a communist dictatorship where political opponents are imprisoned and every human right is violated.” Jeroen Bergers, President of Young N-VA. “PVDA is like a fish in water in Cuba: elections and free press are banned and political opponents are tortured and killed,” also tweets. Former President of Jong N-VA and Member of Parliament Thomas Rogemann. “PVDA’s dream in practice: long live the dictatorship!”


Harsh words about the trip come from the right, especially, but critical voices, too, come from the left. “If Cuba is the best example of how your ideology works in practice, it says a lot about how your ideas don’t work in the real world or you always get bogged down in a dictatorship.” Dries Martens, Board Member of Young Socialists – Foruit Youth Organization.

Cuba is not the model I would import or copy in Belgium, but there are things we can learn from it

COMAC President Sander Clasens

Comac defends itself

In reaction to the HLN, Comac’s president, Sander Claessens, dismissed the criticism. “Cuba is not the model I would import or copy in Belgium, but there are things we can learn from and solidarity is needed, first of all against the unjust blockade to which the Cuban people are falling victim.”

Clasens also defends the country’s order. Cuba is a country that has been under blockade by the United States for 60 years, with the aim of strangling it. Despite this, they have achieved important social achievements, such as good free health care and education.”

criticized by…

This isn’t the first time a trip to a youth political organization has caused a stir. In the summer of 2022 there was still strong criticism of the presence of Jong N-VA, along with Vlaams Belang Jongeren, at the summer campus for young politicians from the right-wing conservative think tank New Direction in Poland. “This does not suit the YDP,” it sounded at the time.

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