A Test for Dictatorship

Erasmo Calzadilla

Havana Painter. Photo: Caridad

This post is concerning a TV program whose theme was the media war against Cuba. In it, Yoani Sanchez and other bloggers were presented as mercenaries on the payroll of the US empire.

If you want to know if a government is dictatorial, ask its representatives if there are or are not dissidents.  If you get a negative answer, the more absolute it is the more it’s a symptom that things are pretty ugly.

How is it possible then, at this stage of the game, that these types of functionaries continue repeating the same thing?  Have they no shame?  Don’t they realize that by doing this they’re putting nails in their own coffins?

The most normal thing in the world is to have dissidents.  It’s logical.  It’s what should happen so that things function.  It’s characteristic wherever one wants there to exist a healthy diversity of opinions and points of views.

Where there are no dissidents it’s because they’re murdered or gagged whenever they open their mouths, because even bees and ants should have dissidents.

What’s more, we should all be dissidents, each having a varying position on one or another measure that reigns in society.  And we all should be struggling for the recognition of our differing point of view.

For some time, government spokespeople and others who agree with their positions came out accusing Yoani of being a mercenary of the empire, paid through the many international awards she receives, even the highly recognized Ortega and Gaset prize.

I don’t know if the recognitions were fair or not, but to accuse someone in front of the TV cameras like that requires that they should at least present some proof.

Listen!  If you don’t want them to call you a dictator then don’t do those types of things.  It appears that either they’ve gone completely crazy or they believe that the people of Cuba are just plain stupid.

I know very little about what Yoani, Pardo and the rest of the bloggers do, but I think that any government in the world would be proud to have dissidents as peaceful and respectful as them – so different from what terrorists represent.

But there’s another aspect: When they mention Yoani on the one hand, and the bloggers who support the government on the other, they reduce the whole blog sphere to this dichotomy, but there’s actually a rich and diverse world thanks to bloggers.

I could cite, for example, leftwing bloggers like some of the ones who write for this web page.  The left bloggers remain essentially invisible because to the authorities it’s “not convenient” that the world know how much socialism itself has been betrayed.  What’s more, the social activism these bloggers invite could end up stripping the ruling elite of the privileges they enjoy.

Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

16 thoughts on “A Test for Dictatorship

  • October 19, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    There’s a military-industrial mafia ruling the US for way more than 50 years and nobody has told Julio about it.

  • March 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I thought Erasmo’s diary entry above was excellent. Erasmo’s diary entry is very much on par with the excellent insights Yoani expresses on her blog. As Erasmo notes, the Castro dictatorship should count itself lucky that Cuba has dissidents as peaceful and respectful as the independent bloggers.

  • March 29, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Freedom is not just about words and about telling what one thinks. But even if we restrict freedom to just that. They seem do not even enjoy that in Cuba.

    It is about being able to exit and return your own country. Is about doing things without following the dictated script from above. Following your own path and what your consciousness tells you to do and not following someone’s else ideas.
    I suppose you are not ordered or commanded by anyone on the White house to any of the friendly visits you do to Cuba? Do you?
    or any of the revolution sympathizers that have also the freedom to do so from all over the world.

    meanwhile Cubans have to ask for an embarrassing permit from their own government to exit or enter their own homeland. That is also used as a way to harass and coerce Cuban into the behavior they like for Cubans to have. To be obedient and to shut up.
    There you have Yoani who have requested multiple times for exit permit and have always been denied.
    This kind of behavior shows again the Cuban elite is a mafia in power.
    Why do you choose to ignore this things about the Cuban regime?
    Why do you choose to ignore the bad and the ugly of the Cuban regime?
    I know you know about this things and I know you probably also agree with me that they are bad things but I really like to know why you choose to ignore them?

  • March 28, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Many of the diaries, features and other stories here at the HT are often critical of the regime, and make some of the same ciriticisms you make, Julio. Besides being more positive than Joani’s, however, their analyses are deeper and more thorough going (e.g. Pedro Campos, Ravesberg, etc.). In short, they have what Freud calls “oceanic,” rather than shallow, views. (This has something to do with having historical, or dialectical, consciousness.) Freedom and democracy are words which oft mean anything–and nothing. For example, H.L. Mencken used to say that “There is freedom of the press–if you OWN a press!” Fortunately, Mencken’s cynicism is becoming less relevant today, as commucation, thanks to the internet, becomes ever more democratized. Here, too, the Cuban government should quit rationing and restricting the internet because, one way or another, more and more Cubans, especially younger Cubans, will just find ways around these clumsy attempts at limitations anyway (e.g. the many memory sticks now in circulation. Alas, along with the good, comes the SABADO GIGANTE trash. too. Still, with the good you have allow for the bad, too! OTOH, perhaps such trash as Rebecca Black’s FRIDAY should be censored!) Besides, at this point the government has little choice but to join the world economy, and hence cannot restrict communications. Failing to allow maximum access to the internet will assure that Cuba will be left in the dust–or, to use the Marxian term–it will assure that Cuba will be swept into the proverbial “dustbin of history!” Fortunately, the younger generation is too bright for this to happen.

  • March 28, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Michael you do have the right to listen to whomever you like but if you really like to be informed and impartial you should listen to all sides. It is the only way to really be able to understand Cuban reality better.

    I do have personal experience with Cuba (26 years there) and I already have picked my side but I still come and try to listen to what the other side has to say. It is important that we do so. Never to close the door to communication and to dialog. That is the worst thing that can ever happen.

  • March 28, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Where George?
    Why is it so hard for you guys to admit just as hard as it is for the Cuban regime that people can disagree with them?
    Why can you guys not think that there could be solutions to the problems of Cuba that do not come from the elite in power and that could be better solutions to those problems?

    Is it because you guys seem to be blind?

    I do not know Yoani personally but only thru her writing and I can assure that what she writes about is the Cuba I know. The Cuba I myself experienced. Oppose to the rosy paradise described by Granma the voice piece of the elite.

    Yoani is really doing them a favor by pointing at the things that need fixing.
    Why instead of attacking her don’t they dedicate the resources to solving the problems she points about the Cuban regime?

    They have no interest it seems in solving problems. Is that not obvious?
    For example let us look at the latest article from Yoani


    This one is about one of the biggest and costliest errors of the elite. Building a nuclear power plant in Cuba.
    While we could all argue in favor or against such thing for different reasons. The final fact is right there staring in our face. It was never done.
    Who is to blame?
    Only the Cuban elite is to blame for this.
    This building reminds me of the windmill of animal farm!

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