Cuba: On the Subject of National Security

Dmitri Prieto

Foto: Caridad
Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — During a recent debate about the future of democracy in Cuba, my friend Julio Antonio Fernandez, a jurist, university professor and free-thinking analyst – presented a book written by a colleague of ours. This is not the proper context to describe the presentation or contents of the book. I want only to touch on an important point addressed by Julio Antonio.

The issue analyzed during the debate is a new subject currently being taught at Cuban universities: a subject with the highly suggestive title of “National Security.”

The practice of teaching courses on issues related to the country’s security isn’t new, at least not in a country like Cuba. The academic transcript for the Biochemistry Major I completed – to the dismay of foreign academic peers – begins with “Marxist-Leninist Philosophy” and ends with “Military Training.”

That, to be sure, is not the point. What Julio Antonio pointed out (and I was happy he did, because I have been of the same opinion for about a year) is that the name of the subject, “National Security”, is the name of the “defensive” doctrine that was widely used in several Latin American countries in the 1970s, to justify the barbarism of the military regimes that governed these countries at the time.

These dictatorships elaborated complex strategic, legal, geopolitical and propagandistic arguments to conceal their lack of democratic legitimacy and their totalitarian nature.

In essence, the National Security doctrine consisted in an extensive use of (unconstitutional) martial law prerogatives, aimed at destroying all divergent thought or practice, crushing popular resistance and providing a stable environment where the local and foreign bourgeoisie could conduct business efficiently and efficaciously.

Operation Condor is one of the most notorious expressions of this transnational doctrine. Many US corporations supported the dictatorships of South America. In Chile’s case, the nefarious involvement of the United States’ brilliant foreign affairs advisor, US Army sergeant, Harvard academic and Nobel Prize laureate Henry Kissinger, is well known.

In view of this, it should be clear that any use of the phrase “National Security” can be regarded, in and of itself, as an allusion to the totalitarian curtailment of any democratic program.

Despite this, this is the name given to a university course supposedly designed to train students “in the defense of the revolution.”

Julio told us that he mentioned all this to the staff at his university faculty, and that they gave him a confused look. “But, ‘National Security’ is the most up-to-date course on defense-related issues,” one of them muttered.

Something similar is happening with other “homegrown” lexical innovations, the most terrifying of which, for me, is that of “human capital.”

In a book I wrote, I pointed out that this “innovative” mimesis is one of the structural symptoms that betray the transition from one system of domination to another.


4 thoughts on “Cuba: On the Subject of National Security

  • June 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm
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    What the Castro regime in Cuba calls “national security” is in fact self-preservation of a Stalinist elite.

  • June 14, 2013 at 8:43 pm
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    Put the crack pipe down dude. What is it about wannabe Cubans that makes you say such ridiculous stuff? With a straight face are you saying the US is a dictatorship?

  • June 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm
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    Obviously, he’s talking about what Gore Vidal once called the OTHER Evil Empire, namely the United States of America!

  • June 14, 2013 at 12:26 pm
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    “These dictatorships elaborated complex strategic, legal, geopolitical and propagandistic arguments to conceal their lack of democratic legitimacy and their totalitarian nature.

    In essence, the National Security doctrine consisted in an extensive use of (unconstitutional) martial law prerogatives, aimed at destroying all divergent thought or practice, crushing popular resistance and providing a stable environment where the local and foreign bourgeoisie could conduct business efficiently and efficaciously.”

    Now I’m confused, what country are you talking about? Or more exactly about what country are you NOT talking about?

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