Cuba’s Civil Society in Panama

Elio Delgado Legon

The Summit of the Peoples was held just before the presidential Summit of the Americas.
The Summit of the Peoples was held alongside the presidential Summit of the Americas.

HAVANA TIMES — I really had no intention of writing about this, hoping as I was that I would come across an article on this site that dealt with the issue with a modicum of objectivity. After reading what has been published – posts I would rather not comment on, so as not to offend anyone – I feel the need to devote a few lines to the subject, for I find it impossible to keep quiet in light of so much senselessness (though I feel this is not the appropriate term for it).

First of all, I don’t think anyone with a functioning brain could think of questioning the legitimacy of the representatives of an organization that gathers all citizens over 14, in all of the country’s neighborhoods. I am referring to the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. Only those who are not revolutionaries (a tiny minority) do not belong to this organization.

Nor can we question the legitimacy of a civil society organization such as the Federation of Cuban Women, which gathers all women older than 16, with the exception of non-revolutionaries. It is argued they are organizations that defend the revolution, but the fact of the matter is that the immense majority of civil society organizations in Cuba defend the revolution.

The same holds for the organizations of intellectuals, artists, journalists, architects, engineers, lawyers and farmers who work the land they own, the hundreds of thousands of secondary and high school students and the workers, represented by the Cuban Workers Federation – in short, the many organizations that represent all of the possible activities of civil society.

It is argued that some of these organizations, such as the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, were created on instructions from Fidel Castro. However, this organization was born during a mass demonstration, during which the bombs planted by counterrevolutionaries were heard. Fidel advanced the idea, and it was immediately approved by the people gathered there. As of that day, the organization was tasked with defending the revolution from aggression, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood.

Those who will never be legitimate representatives of Cuban society are the mercenaries paid by the US government to try and rally an opposition that simply does not exist in Cuba. There is no other fitting term for those who, for their counterrevolutionary activities, receive payment from a foreign power, whose declared aim is to change the political regime in Cuba, supported by the overwhelming majority of the people. Those who rub elbows with the most criminal of terrorists based in Miami also cannot ever represent Cuban civil society.

Cuban representatives at the Summit of the Americas were criticized for refusing to stay in the locales where mercenaries and supporters of terrorists had convened, but the attitude of the Cuban delegation was ethically correct at all times. The dignity of revolutionaries do not allow them to share a room with people of that nature, as that entails legitimating their participation, and none of those characters were legitimate representatives of Cuban civil society. Cuban civil society was broadly represented in Panama, not by terrorists, mercenaries or unpatriotic types, but by revolutionaries.

11 thoughts on “Cuba’s Civil Society in Panama

  • not sure if I agree with you there. A new tactic may be called for in order to bring about regime change. In the end, all it may take is the death of the Castros. Like the old bumper sticker says “No Castro, No Problem. The danger is that the those who retain power are modeling it after the Chinese system. Regardless, after the castor’s pass on, the cult of personality will die with them. The change in engagement with Cuba, I think, will cause a “sea change” in overall politics at that time. ….well, at least time will tell.

  • “Surrender sovereignty” is code for the Castro regime giving up an inch of power to the Cuban people. For 56 years the Castro brothers have enjoyed the sovereignty of doing whatever the hell they please. They have ruined the country in the process.

    And yet, they have always managed to find a sugar daddy to pay their way. First the Russians, then Canadian & European tourists, then Hugo Chavez. And now, at long last, Barack Obama has made himself the ultimate sugar daddy of the Castro regime. The sovereignty of the Cuban dictatorship is now guaranteed.

  • Surrender sovereignty? Who wants that? Cite your source please.

  • You obviously know very little about how CDR work in the real world. What you say they do is right out of the Castro playbook.

  • I am a proud anti communist nay-sayer. I have it tattooed on my chest!

    As a child in Cuba I had saw first hand the tactics of the CDR and it’s effects, mostly on those close to me. Those effects, over time, have created a docile population that self censers and is afraid to speak the their minds. An example was the article on trash in Cuba, which you commented on. You were exhorting them to “complain” so as to get results and have the trash removed. Something that does not come easily to contemporary Cubans, thought as they are to keep their mouth shut and fall in line. That sir is the legacy of your communist “fever dream” in Cuba.

    I’m happy to know that it will see its demise with the death of the Castros

  • Who wants Cuba to surrender it’s sovereignty? Can you point out ANY comment of any contributor to the Disqus coo net site that has said anything like that. ….as usual a red herring thrown onto these pages in an attempt to change the subject

  • The usual cacaphonous chorus of nay-sayers here can be depended upon to croon their sour and off-key comments. Acutually, the C.D.R.’s are an example of an effective civil society group. Not only did they keep Cuba safe during the Revolution’s critical early years by watching the counter-revoultionaries and potential counter-revolutionaries, but then, as now, they accomplished much good on the local levels, organizing neighborhood projects, or as advocates for citizens with legitimate concerns or needing social and economic services,etc.
    Meanwhile, the bogus groups who attended the summit from Miam contained known terrorists and their sympathizers, even folks photographed next to the notorious Posada Carilles, responsible for blowing a Cubana flight out of the sky with all its crew and passengers. These folks are just the opposite of “civil.” They are terrorist thugs.

  • I just came from Cuba on my 5th visit and I find your analysis correct. As In many occasions I had the opportunity of visiting people in their homes and hearing of their support or critique of the revolution. In nome of the more than 50 people I spoke too or visited wanted Cuba to surrender it’s sovereignty, privatize educational system (there are already private schools in Cuba) or privatize medical care. What they want is higher salaries and some a greater voice in public issues and less bureaucracy.

  • Well said. Elio’s mistake is that he can’t fathom an organization that exists ‘outside’ of government. He has obviously replaced his own “functioning brain” for the one Fidel gave him.

  • The so-called “civil society” that the Castro elite sent to Panama was no more than a “rapid response brigade”. It contained agents of the secret security like Colonel Alexis Frutos Weeden and informants like Dr. Pedro Luis Veliz Martínez. Nobody with a “functioning brain” could conclude that they were anything but a gang that only represented the regime and not the people.

    As far as the CDR goes: it was a plan of Castro and inspired by the “blockwarts” that Hitler created in Germany. Nothing “spontaneous” about their
    see: “The Secret Fidel Castro: Deconstructing the Symbol”, Servando Gonzalez, InteliNet/InteliBooks, 2001, page 284.

    The CDR is completely controlled by the regime. Here (p.109) you can find a good representation of how the CDR is intertwined with the police and state security:
    A link to Google Books: (shortened and with preview):

    It serves to repress the Cuban people and in no way represents civil society.

    As far as your assertion that there is no opposition in Cuba: that is a blatant lie and the recent poll data show how disaffected the Cuban people are with the Castro regime.

  • Elio, long in his embrace of the Cuban Communist dictatorship, fails to realize that the definition of “Civil Society” is an organization OUTSIDE of government or government control. The Committee for Defense of the Revolution is most definitely a government organ. (emphases on organ!)

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