Dmitri Prieto

Who would defend Stalin in 2009?
Who would defend Stalin in 2009?

Who would defend Stalin in 2009?

Stalin is defended by loads of Cubans nostalgic for the Soviet era, and those who love the rattle of weapons.  These are Cubans whose minds did not transcend the events of 1985-1991 in the USSR. They are people who have no compassion for the millions of dead, because for them political power is justified in itself by its own existence – and if it’s able to conquer half a world, even better.

Their argument is based on “yeah, but…”  They seem not to realize that anything can be justified in this way (“yeah, but thanks to Mussolini [or Hitler or Gerardo Machado], Italy [or Germany or Cuba] has highways…”).  I’m surprised by the incoherence of their concept of justice; I’m surprised by their moral myopia and their historical naiveté.

On the world ideological map, these individuals resemble those people who stubbornly deny the Jewish holocaust.  In fact, I suspect that among Stalin’s admirers there must be some who disavow that act of mass human extermination.

I don’t know how, for example, they can criticize the US for its imperialistic machinations, when in the core of their souls they must have a demon telling them “yeah, but those Yankees are some bad asses indeed!”  Because of that, I also suspect that when these stalwarts get too tired of the stench of soy-burger from the corner bodega, they’re apt to “hop the puddle” to Miami and become pro-Yankee to the death.

Stalin is defended by Cuban reggaeton musician Baby Lores.  This tragic figure deserves a separate chapter.  The digital business card of his “communication manager” is written in English (to pretend being a kind of celebrity) with an obvious spelling mistake.  Baby Lores probably doesn’t know who Stalin was; it would be interesting to find out if this is true.

But in his highly acclaimed piece of political reggaeton, Baby Lores goes into the dynamics of the personality cult of the leader and champions any possible form of Stalinism (or fascism).  In fact, for his ferocious anti-intellectualism and his shameless apology of political back stabbing and street violence, his reggaeton is much closer to the fascism of Hitler (not even Mussolini’s) than to Stalinist “socialism.”

Baby Lores cannot know Stalin’s persona, though he is an ethical-aesthetic-epistemological supporter of a restyled Stalin converted into a social structure.  Baby Lores is accompanied by an entire zoo of “converted” artists, who usually have pockets full of hard currency.

Stalin is also defended by the cowardly bureaucratic “intellectuals” cranked out in abundance by Cuban academia and pedagogy.  They are cowards because the soft tissue of their brains quivers in the face of even the idea that inopportune historical truths can exist; that is to say, truths that require a civic posture – an ethical posture – which would mean taking on the risk of apocalypse.

Some of those bureaucrats consciously opt for extremism as the best path to hide their innate and unquestionable opportunism.  Others, not so bureaucratic, but indeed sadly miserable intellectuals, think they are more intelligent than anyone in their shady dealings, and they begin to defend just anyone: Stalin, bin Laden or Baby Lores.

But be careful, they are not imbeciles; at least not to the point of preventing them from being invited by some foreign universities to participate in conferences on “criticism in Cuba.”

Last but not least, Stalin is additionally defended by scores of anonymous apparatchiks who merely follow orders, and who from time to time vacation for a week or so at the Varadero beach resort – when they’re ordered to do so, of course.


Dimitri Prieto-Samsonov

Dmitri Prieto-Samsonov: I define myself as being either Cuban-Russian or Russian-Cuban, indiscriminately. I was born in Moscow in 1972 of a Russian mother and a Cuban father. I lived in the USSR until I was 13, although I was already familiar with Cuba-- where we would take our vacation almost every year. I currently live on the fifth floor of an apartment building in Santa Cruz del Norte, near the sea. I’ve studied biochemistry and law in Havana and anthropology in London. I’ve written about molecular biology, philosophy and anarchism, although I enjoy reading more than writing. I am currently teaching in the Agrarian University of Havana. I believe in God and in the possibility of a free society. Together with other people, that’s what we’re into: breaking down walls and routines.

2 thoughts on “Stalinist Cubans Fighting Revolutionary Criticism (II)

  • funny

    you speak of war and terror and the Cuban Stalinist desire to continue it

    yet you take refuge in the most violent and oppressive nation in the world

    wow the conclusions you come to anti-intellectualism you could say this bias piece is anti- intellectual since you do all the judging and justifying for the viewer rendering them immune to thinking

  • Revolutionary criticism would contribute to the programmatic reform discussions being carried on in Cuba at the present time. Your piece seems to be subjective lashing out at a long-dead icon. Sorry, but it appears to be self-righteous strutting around.

    It would be interesting to know if you have any recommendations on getting state bureaucracy out of economic enterprise, or any recommendations about anything concrete and relevant.

    Have you heard of the enormous success of the famous Mondragon, Spain cooperatives? They began about the same time as the overthrow of Batista. They grew up under the repressive Franco dictatorship. They do billions of dollars of business every year. They’ve slain the dragon of bureaucracy, and eliminated the opposition between workers and managers.

    If you wish to advance “revolutionary” criticism, then study the economic principles of worker-owned industry in Spain, and how this experience might be applied in Cuba.

    Good luck.

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