Carolina Cox and Regis Debray: Reality Is a Disappointment

By Alfredo Fernandez

Don Quijote and Sancho Panza.  Illustration:

HAVANA TIMES – Don Quixote sees a cloud of dust in the distance and dreams that this is has been stormed up by the army, he immediately lowers the visor of his helmet touching his chin, covers his chest with a leather shield and places his lance in charge position, and before spurring Rocinante, he invites his squire Sancho to do the same as soon as possible.

With his feet closer on the ground, Sancho tells him that they are just a few village people, that there isn’t an army. Don Quixote calls him a coward and then troubled, decides to take on the army alone, and the village people, who know nothing about madmen, beat him almost to death; then, while Sancho cures his injuries, Don Quixote in one of his lucid flashes, admits that it is better to talk than fight.

The recent statement from a desperate Carolina Cox, at Havana’s Jose Marti International airport, addressed directly to Chilean president Pinera, who she had called a dictator just months before, begging him to let her return to Santiago de Chile as soon as possible, reveals the combination of pretentiousness and ignorance that is inherent in a large majority of members of the Left.

During the protests in Chile last November, the promotor of the Cuban model as an option for her country, is now saying that she can’t stay in Cuba any longer because there isn’t any food, soap, or water to shower, amongst other reasons; and as if that wasn’t enough, she has also said that she’s surrounded by rats.

In a matter of hours, and pushed by a brutal experience, Carolina now prefers cruel and merciless neoliberalism, where she comes from, than the single-party and egalitarian socialism she dreamed of.

This isn’t news though. Back in 1967, Marxist theorist Regis Debray decided to abandon the indifferent and distant world of academia to join the battlefield. He wanted to be a living example for his intellectual colleagues of the European Left, like the chairman of European guerrillas, so he decided to join Che and his guerrilla movement in Bolivia as another member.

His plans couldn’t be wrong. Just days before, his friend Fidel Castro had promised him in Havana that Guevara’s guerrilla movement would be successful, “two or three years at best, maybe less…,” nothing could go wrong.

The Bolivian jungle became a crushing hell for the guerrilla snob; hunger, thirst and the never-ending days of hiking, quickly chipped away at this Parisian guerrillero’s character. He soon missed debates about the Revolution within the Revolution, which he was used to in Paris’ cafes.

Fate is cruel, Debray thought when in the guerrilla movement, “I was so comfortable in Paris and I came here to a certain death, most probably.” He didn’t have the spirit for this struggle, Debray was a demoralized man in Che’s guerrilla, so he begged his friend to let him leave.

Word has it that he was the person who gave up Che’s location, when he was arrested just a few days later by the Bolivian army. Then, enormous campaigns from Europe and the rest of the world stopped him from being tortured by the Bolivian army, as well as serving a 30-year prison sentence.

Unlike Don Quixote, Carolina Cox and Regis Debray didn’t have glimmers of good sense, not in front of the press at least. After their disastrous experience of reality, they both turned back to their privilege and decided to put on their armor of yesteryear. Of course, more careful where they stick their noses this time, because just like Don Quixote, they now know it is a lot better to talk than to take action. Which is something all madmen and women share.



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.

17 thoughts on “Carolina Cox and Regis Debray: Reality Is a Disappointment

  • April 30, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Hi Carlyle,

    Rather than a circle, the compass model of politics is more in tune with reality The idea behind this is that you have two axis. One axis being left-right and the other authoritarian-libertarian. In this model you would have four corners – on the libertarian side you would have on the left hand side anarchists – on the far right libertarians (ie ultra neo-liberals). On the authoritarian side you would have communism on the far left and nazism on the far right.


  • April 25, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    Ah Nick, it isn’t necessarily about whether democracy is superior. But it is obvious that communism is worse. If you study all that I write, it doesn’t belong in a corner, for the promotion and defense of freedom is for all, not any particular Party. Elio has only ever acted in strict accord with the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba. When last Nick, did you observe me defending Donald Trump. When did you observe me suggesting that others should not have choice?
    Yes, I have observed repeatedly that capitalism is preferable to communism and specifically the Stalinist form pursued by the Castros. But I have never suggested that capitalism represents some form of perfection. My call is for freedom of choice, freedom to express differing views and freedom to pursue ideas and ambitions.
    As an adult, Elio knows only repression under three successive dictators, Batista, Big Brother Castro and Little Brother Castro. If only he could have experienced liberty.

  • April 25, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    That’s perfect Mr MacD. I shall always agree with you to a certain degree.
    Haves and have-nots. Democratic and Non-democratic.
    What about all those that fall somewhere in the middle?
    What about all those millionaires in so-called egalitarian China?
    What about all those who don’t get a vote in so-called democratic USA?
    In my humble opinion, it’s not about 4 legs good – 2 legs bad (or vice-versa).
    It’s not right and wrong or good vs evil.
    It’s all a sliding scale.
    It’s not about trying to convince everyone that one system is infinitely and inarguably superior to another. I think that’s best left to the religious.
    But despite my deeply held open-minded neutrality, I sincerely and wholeheartedly respect gents such as yourself and Elio who stand firm and defend your respective corners. Long may you continue to do so……..

  • April 24, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    Tell me Nick, how you detect the difference between the haves and the have-nots? Is there no in-between group? How do you define each group? I can understand that in a country like Cuba, it is relatively easy, as apart from those who receive assistance from others living in capitalist countries, the division can be best observed by those who are members of the PCC and those who are not.
    I like you, observe demonstrations by groups of people claiming to be have-nots (not obviously in Cuba where following being beaten up by the MININT goons they would be jailed) but many of them appear to be very well clad, able to afford hemp products and have good footwear. How do they compare with the elderly on fixed incomes?
    I’ve observed poverty at close quarters, a family drinking their tea out of jam jars in Bradford, Yorkshire, displaced stateless persons in refugee camps – ten years after the end of the Second World War – and many of whom could and ought to have been accepted in particular by countries like Canada (which turned away a ship load of Jews prior to the declaration of war), and children being treated at school for lice. All of those I have described were certainly have-nots.
    Equally as you will have gathered, I have had experience of the ultra-rich with “old money” family portraits painted by the leading portraits of the day and sitting on Tommy Chippendale’s chairs.
    Those are the two extremes, but it is, is it not, rather simplistic to divide society into the haves and have-nots?
    I agree that the lines between political parties are blurred as people being in democracies change their political allegiance, but to me there is a very clean line between having the right to vote and dictatorship. To you it may be a “side-show” but for those who don’t have it, it represents liberty.

  • April 24, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    The only division that matters Mr MacD, is that between the haves and the have-nots.
    Always has been – always with be.
    Capitalism (and it’s successful adherents) seeks to perpetuate this division at all costs and has withstood the onslaught of democracy, socialism, communism, liberalism etc….
    The debate regarding what constitutes a dictatorship and what constitutes a non-dictatorship can only ever be a sideshow.

  • April 24, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    The alternative division Nick is between dictatorships and non-dictatorships. As I have indicated previously, I detest the former.

  • April 24, 2020 at 7:50 am

    Thank you Mr MacD…..
    These additional definitions further illustrate my point that there are various interpretations of the term ‘democracy’.
    That’s a weighty old dictionary. Please don’t drop it on your foot.
    It’s definitions mention ‘capitalist system….’ and ‘…the practice and principles of social equality’.
    Many would say that there is a certain degree of mutual exclusivity there.

    If it aids your understanding of life on earth to divide countries into the democratic and the non-democratic, then you have my blessing to continue. I admire your steadfastness in the same way that I admire Elio’s.

    Meanwhile, I shall stick to my more nuanced, reality-based approach.
    Democracy is not a finite thing. There are infinite interpretations. It’s not a ‘you got it or you ain’t’ deal. There is a big sliding scale.

    Democratic ideals are great, but are often dwarfed by the power of Capital.

  • April 24, 2020 at 12:03 am

    democracy noun a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of the state, typically through elected representatives (italics) a capitalist system of parliamentary democracy
    *(noun count) a state governed in such a way: a multiparty democracy
    *control of an organization or group by the majority of its members
    *(italics) the intended extension of industrial democracy
    *the practice or principles of social equality: (italics) demands for greater democracy
    Oxford Dictionary of English Thumb index edition weight 6lbs

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