Year End Thoughts for Nicaragua and Cuba

Photo: Indira Rivero

The remedy they’ve always sought is to take advantage of geopolitical conflicts and allow themselves to be used for limited life support.

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES – The year 2022, as was foreseeable, has been a year of goodbyes.  In Cuba and Nicaragua, the two countries we cover the most, the departing of relatives, friends, partners, colleagues, neighbors, etc. has become a sweet and sour experience.

Sweet because you admire their bravery and wish them well in trying to escape repression or just start over in a new land and help back home. The sour side comes from fear of the dangers involved and watching your country mortgage away its future. The divided families are a tremendous tragedy for a family-oriented country.

Fidel Castro successfully drove a wedge in Cuban families and the Ortega/Murillo regime is doing the same with Nicaraguans. Of all their crimes, this is probably the most widespread and lasting and one they will not be prosecuted for when and if Justice finally comes to pass.

As 2022 ends, one accentuated feeling in these two countries (and there are others like Venezuela) is one of hopelessness for any change away from totalitarian dictatorship. The vast majority of the populations operate in survival mode trying to dodge anything that will color them in the eyes of those watching them, be it at a workplace, neighborhood or community.

In the case of Nicaragua, the dozens of opposition groups with their leaders and main activists in exile appear pretty much dormant. The year 2022 has been a silent one for them.  The independent media rarely covers them because there is little to cover. The news is instead filled with articles on migration and greater repression back home, including the terrible conditions of the political prisoners.

Meanwhile, Ortega/Murillo strengthen their hold on power with no end in sight. International analysts try to convince us – and perhaps themselves – that the regime’s outrageous human rights violations and virulent fury at the US and Europe is causing it to steadily erode. However, after nearly five years of abuses and “weakening”, they seem ever more entrenched. Wishful thinking alone, without any real alternative, has not brought about any changes.

Cuba is once again bleeding profusely. Over many decades, the bleeding has never really stopped, but there have been high and low points and the current year was tops statistically. The chronic shortages of basic food and hygiene products, medicines, and nearly everything else, plus routine blackouts and a near collapse of production in all areas creates a desperate panorama.

The two-tier society of those with FE (family abroad) and those without, is heartbreaking and just the opposite of the dream of a supposedly egalitarian society.  

The Communist Party / Government calls for more sacrifice from the aging Cuban population, in a country that has only known sacrifice for a long time. The promised prosperity always lies around a corner they never reach – and never will if they continue repeating the same errors with minor tweaks and mismanaging the economy with zero accountability to the population.

The remedy they’ve always sought is to take advantage of geopolitical conflicts. Today that means allowing themselves to be used by Russia, China, and Iran in their real and virtual battles with the United States and Europe, in exchange for a lot of talk and limited life support.

I haven’t mentioned the many hundreds of political prisoners in both countries, where just sharing a critical opinion on a social or independent media is tantamount to treason. We’ve become sadly accustomed that being in prison means torture, inhumane treatment, fabricated charges and long sentences for the victims. The mafia tactics of arresting and charging family members of those unjustly in prison or exile is one of the newer cruel elements being employed to provoke stepped-up fear and despair in the Cuban and Nicaraguan populations.

Having lived a long time in both countries and having many friends, family, and colleagues there and in exile, it is profoundly sad not to be able to come up with something hopeful for the coming year. As I said in my comments on Nicaragua in April, 2022, I deeply hope I am proven wrong!

Read more from Circles Robinson’s diary here.

3 thoughts on “Year End Thoughts for Nicaragua and Cuba

  • I’m afraid you’re right that there is little cause for optimism in 2023. We need a leader like Gorbachev who, when faced with protests in East Germany in 1987, refused Erich Honecker’s request to shoot protesters. And then suddenly, without the threat of violence, the whole stinking mess of Communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union collapsed.

  • I also thankyou . I have friends in Cuba and the great coverage of current stories is invaluable in understanding what they are facing !

  • Thanks, Circles, for continuing to provide diverse insight regarding Cuba. Stay well and peace to all.

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