Alfredo Fernandez

Photo by Rocio Garcia

Reading the novel “El hombre que amaba los perros” (The Man Who Loved Dogs), by Leonardo Padura, the character Ivan brought back the memory of a theme that always appeared in philosophy courses in Cuban schools: Lenin’s “The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism.”

In Cuba we all have a file.  If you’re a student, you have one at your school; if you work, it’s at your workplace; and if you neither study or work, or if you study and work, you have another file at your neighborhood Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR).

Having a file is not the problem; the problem is having “a stain in your file.”

Any “negative” annotation that appears there can be an impediment to getting a good job, or obtaining authorization to travel abroad, or to solving any administrative matter, no matter how simple.

What’s “negative” in the file can be associated with any behavior of a person, but the most terrible is that which references something said or done that can be described as “ideologically questionable.”

However, neither that notation nor this description is anything without “the comrade who attends to us.”  These diffused yet omnipresent comrades are members of the Ministry of the Interior, assigned to each workplace or CDR, and that look for information about the questionable ideological attitude that resulted in the stain in someone’s file.

Could it be that these three phrases are component parts or sources (or both) of… Cuban life?  What is certain is that these three (the stain in the file, being ideologically questionable and the comrade who attends to us) all form an indissoluble trio that has contributed to the fear and double standards of the Cuban people.

Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

2 thoughts on “An Indissoluble Trio and the Cuban People

  • Grok-i dont think “the capitalists do it but worse” is a good excuse. Even supposing the surveillance mechanisms are superior here, I doubt they impinge upon your employment opportunities. For instance, I read Marx and Lenin, and hold some very “un-American” views, but I managed to get a job with the US government. I hardly support many of the ideologies underpinning the American system, but I appreciate the fact that the US tends to give me some freedom in disagreeing with those aspects.

    If you want to look at where America’s willingness to grant freedoms breaks down, look at how the US treats non-citizens (which is still better than many other third-world countries too). I’m much more worried about the civil rights of Mexicans living in America illegally than I am my right to be a Socialist, or hold some other radically “un-American” ideology, as that right really isn’t impinged upon as far as most employment or education opportunities are concerned.

  • All propaganda to the contrary, each imperialist and/or capitalist country keeps the same sorts of files on most individuals — and most certainly on anyone even suspected of harboring anti-regime sentiments. If anything, the imperialists’ records (and surveillance) are likely MORE extensive than any which follow cuban individuals. The only real difference in the West is that the western imperialists sit at the top of the heap of the World ‘pecking order’ — and thus, historically, have not so much been on the defensive, as all stalinist regimes have been, from their beginning. I just want to get it clear here that there is nothing special about what is wrong with cuban democracy: it’s just far poorer, materially than the bogus western variety.

    As always: the only solution to democratizing “really-existing” socialism lies not only in the extension of real democratic praxis down to the community council level, but also in the growth of the material prosperity of Cuba and other brother socialist countries as well. So as always — there is no ‘Camino Real’ to socialism.

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