Erasmo Calzadilla

HAVANA TIMES — Living only a few miles off the coast of a powerful and aggressive military power isn’t an easy undertaking. A small and poor nation must act with a firm hand if it wants to maintain its sovereignty.

To some extent, this has justified the top-down command structure and the stiffness of its laws, but is insufficient since democracy here is conspicuous by its absence.

The idea is simple: In a democracy people fight against an aggressor out of conviction. Moreover, democracy provides human beings the discovery of their own dignity, and it’s more difficult to subdue them.

On the cognitive-emotional plane, the leaders of the “Revolution” declared an open war against illiteracy, ”bourgeois” values and other insidious and subtle pro-democracy imageries that continued to survive among people’s common sense.

To kill that restless bug, they resorted to various psychological, ideological, mass media and propaganda devices. I will cite a few:

– They totally distorted the democratic and libertarian component of the Marxist doctrine.

They identified real democracy with “liberal bourgeois democracy,” multi-political parties and capitalism. (I’m speaking in the past tense, but all one has to do is listen to any one of the analysts on La Mesa Redonda (The nightly Roundtable television show) to understand that this struggle continues.)

They manipulated the country’s history so that:

     All previous struggles were against a foreign enemy or for a “Free Cuba” in order to overthrow a bloodthirsty tyrant – but not to implement democracy (The cartoon series with Elpidio Valdes is a good example of this).

     – The post independence (1902-1959) Republican period was no more than an orgy of corruption, until Comandante Fidel came to power and ordered it to stop.

     – Liberation was achieved, basically, by exceptional men.

They have tried to replace the idea of Cuba as a state of rights with the notion of Cuba as a Spartan brotherhood or a grand family. The insistence on calling the president “comandante” is part of that effort.

I’m not saying anything new. The battle of ideas against democratic imagery has been intense and, fortunately, is well documented.

In conclusion: If you agree with me that real democracy is the key to maintaining sovereignty in the environs of a powerful and aggressive empire, then we can identify new species of “worms,” “traitors” and people who are “unpatriotic” (to use their own jargon).

 


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.

14 thoughts on “The Traitors

  • Do you really think we are free here in the U.S., Griffin?! Cuba may have only one party, but here in the States our two parties essentially represent only the military-industrial comples and the multi-national corporations. There methods may differ (the Republicans more nakedly agressive, the Democrats the representatives of “friendly fascism”), but both are bought and paid for by their economic masters. Since these poweres have the wealth and power, almost all media outlets reflect their wishes. Of course the the rise of the internet, this is a bit less true, but it is only the few who actively search for the truth, rather than the mass of passive citizens, who find it. In a metaphorical sense, most Americans, especially the working class ( now depicted as the “middle-class”) are mental slaves, passive recipients of the bilge pumped out by the mass media. Yet this was not alway so. I am haunted by a photo from the earlier part of the last century which reveals a giant auditorium, packed with workers (in ties and suits and formal dresses, no less) avidly listening to Will Durant deliver a talk (not on Marxism, but rather) on world history. Many in the audience were, no doubt, denied much of a formal education due to having to work in the factories starting at age 6 or 7, but still, they had an insatiable desire to learn. Such a drive no longer really exists today. Instead, they are apathetic, or distracted by illusions and amusements.
    Intuitively, however, they know that it is not in their interest to fight the imperial wars of their masters. Their masters know this; since Viet-Nam, they have made the military a volutnary proposition. True, many workers willingly join, thinking this may be a path towards upward mobility, or for gaining new skills, but many of the veterans are quikly disillusioned by the traumatic experiences they endure. Hence, in the long-run even these folks will realize that the military is a dead-end to realize such aspirations. In the declining years of the Roman Empire the Legionaires increasingly realized that rather than fight for their decadent rulers, that they themselves could sieze state power, and that they did by marching on Rome. No doubt the same process will eventuate with our own decaying empire.

  • One dream that I have, Griffin, is that thinking people like you will take a look at our “corrected socialist program,” understand it and discuss it democratically.

  • Dear Grady,

    Do you actually use a phrase such as “corrected socialist program” and still keep a straight face? Dream on.

  • No nation is truly sovereign when the people are not free. Castro denied the Cuban people freedom, democracy and sovereignty. A nation of slaves cannot be sovereign. Only when Cuba is free and democratic will Cuba have true sovereignty: the capacity to decide for themselves their future.

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