Cuba historian: Party expulsion order overturned

July 8, 2011 - 3:44 PM

HAVANA (AP) — A prominent Cuban intellectual who came under fire for an unusually frank article denouncing high-level corruption says an order expelling him from the Communist Party has been overturned.

Esteban Morales wrote Thursday on his personal website that a party appeals commission called him in last week to tell him of its ruling.

"I was informed of the decision to nullify the separation order from the municipal party community ... to return my membership," Morales said.

An economist and columnist known for his work on topics including racism and U.S. relations, Morales published the article that got him into trouble in April 2010 on the website of the National Union of Writers and Artists.

He wrote that some top officials were preparing to divide the spoils if Cuba's communist political system disintegrates, and that graft posed a greater threat to the state than the island's small, fractured community of dissidents.

"Corruption is the true counterrevolution," Morales wrote.

The essay broke a taboo by openly discussing corruption rumors surrounding the dismissal of a top government aviation official who had fought alongside Fidel and Raul Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara in the 1950s.

In the following months, authorities have reported trials and convictions of dozens of Cubans, including one former Cabinet minister and at least three foreign businessmen who were accused of falsifying documents, fraud against the state and even laundering drug money.

Last July, Morales announced that his essay had led to an effort to expel him from the Communist Party. At the time, he defended his right to air his critiques and said he would appeal the decision.

President Raul Castro himself has said fighting corruption is a major challenge for Cuba, and this April he urged Communist Party members not to keep quiet with their criticisms.

(This version CORRECTS that Morales was trained as an economist, not a historian.)