A Cuban View of an Outraged World

Dariela Aquique

Occupy Wall Street. Photo: Allison Herbert

HAVANA TIMES, 8 dic – It’s alarming the number of protests, occupations and marches of the “outraged” that are occurring in different parts of the world. Obviously, the discontent of the masses has acquired unsuspected dimensions.

Cuban news broadcasters seem intent on emphasizing that these phenomena are unique to those societies referred to by them as “neoliberal.”

However, this cannot be said of the case of the marchers in Bolivia, because the social-political direction of that country right now rejects the neoliberal model. Indigenous peoples have been the greatest supporters of progressive reforms that are now engaging the administration of Evo Morales (he himself is also indigenous).

Historic moments are being experienced, ones in which people are fighting for their voices to be heard, beyond just expressing their disagreements or not with those who rule their countries.

For many years people were subjected to the wills of different regimes, whether on the left or right. But a strong tendency to protest everything that affects their conditions of life — and especially the civil rights of the working classes — is beginning to be heard.

The so-called “middle classes” constitute most in the world (because the number of rich people is very small, and those people in extreme poverty are a minority compared to the large number of people who are neither rich nor indigent).

This large group of men and women seem to have lived quiet lives up until today. It has been enough for them to put something decent to eat on the table, buy shoes and clothing, pay their bills and taxes, and go somewhere for their vacations every year.

The great majority of human beings have lived at the margin of politics, from the extremes of the ideologies. Only some progressive groups called the protest marches or strikes around one or another demand.

Today students in Chile have risen up for reforms to their educational system. Those with the lowest-incomes, suffering the highest rates of unemployment and being hit with tax increases are standing up in the United States. Egyptians and the Libyans opposed dictatorships in their countries. Indigenous people in Bolivia protested the construction of a roadway. Europeans are fighting for social improvements.

All of these struggles are different, with distinct causes. They have only one thing in common: the absolute right to demonstrate if something doesn’t seem right to them. Much has changed in terms of governmental tactics and strategies, because obviously the world is becoming outraged.