Cuba and the Divide and Conquer Trap

Dariela Aquique

A group of the Ladies in White.

“Divide and conquer” is a legendary phrase that is attributed to Machiavelli and that points to a not so healthy way of achieving victory. Everything seems to indicate that, unfortunately, many of my compatriots have adopted this maxim.

I heard it coming from the mouth of one woman when she complained, “Those Ladies in White and all the other dissidents, people need to just kill them…”

This struck me as something so terrifying that it made me to turn pale. Moreover, it convinced me that because of our divisions we are promoting the victory of those who have fragmented our conscientiousness in terms of our feelings and thoughts.

All of this occurred at the same time that here in the eastern part of the country a series of political demonstrations by dissident groups was in the news (unofficially, of course).

I need to make a certain digression regarding that term, since always I considered that the concept of “dissidence” (meaning to be at variance with a doctrine or ideology) has been deliberately manipulated.

The problem is that in our society, if you do anything that earns you the label “dissident,” you become immediately stigmatized, you are prone to lose your freedom or you have placed your physical safety at risk (like this woman so hatefully desired see happen to the demonstrators).

It turns out that in a period of less than three months there were silent marches by the women of the Ladies in White to the door of the provincial hospital, where a political prisoner had been admitted due to his being on a hunger strike.

This march ended in physical assaults against these women on the part of “the people.” A short time later, demonstrators were also attacked in the town of Palmarito de Cauto for a similar action.

I found out that a few days ago, representatives of “the people” attacked individuals assumed to be opposed to the system in the municipality of Palma Soriano, and something similar happened in the town of the Caney (to the east of the Santiago City) against a group of young people.

These “acts of repudiation” and violence, according to those assaulted by “the people,” only note the fact that the assailants were dressed in civilian clothes on all occasions. Still, that’s not sufficient evidence that these individuals are from among the people and not the authorities. Still, unfortunately, there remain traditionalists among us — the ardently ill — who only wait for orders to hit and harass while also trying to make all of their violence seem like spontaneous, unorganized acts.

There still exist those like this poor woman, so ignorant of the most elementary personal rights to demonstrate disagreement with something. These are people who think that others should be beaten and even finished off if the confrontation gets to that point.

The sad thing is that we all are “the people” – the soldier, the civilian or the disguised civilian. We are those who are in favor or against, and it’s a right to be in any one of those groups. But if something unfolds to the point of conflict or physical confrontation, then our division will have been exposed. The Machiavellian phrase will have then played its role and those who have divided us will be the winners.

Dariela Aquique

Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.

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One thought on “Cuba and the Divide and Conquer Trap

  • Good for you, Dariela, for raising consciousness with your writing. One of my Cuban friends once told me, there are no “Ghandis” sleeping among us. I think he is wrong, and I think they are waking up! Raising awareness of issues through peaceful demonstrations can be dangerous. I sincerely hope there is no more violence.

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