Position Shuffling at My CDR Neighborhood Committee

By Jorge Milanes Despaigne

Meeting of a CDR neighborhood committee in Las Tunas, Cuba. Photo: Martin Reid

HAVANA TIMES – Most people who hold positions at the CDR (Committee for the Defense of the Revolution) on my block, have aged. Others quite simply left the country.

The original idea behind this organization created by Fidel Castro in the early 1960s, can’t be met by a group of elderly or missing people. Positions needed to be reshuffled, although the functions of the CDR are no longer relevant and haven’t been for a while now.

Keeping an eye out for any act of vandalism or counter-revolutionary action, donating blood and collecting raw materials is no longer work for young people, but for those who have some level of awareness.      

However, as nobody can control a person’s consciousness, what they can do, and will do, is renew the volunteers at this CDR with a meeting and election among its members. Since early in the morning, the president had been visiting homes on the block to remind everyone about the meeting.

Finding a gap in our domestic chores and making a little bit of haste, some of us neighbors made it to the meeting on time at 8 PM. The president presented the objectives of the meeting which, as I’ve already told you, was to elect representatives to hold different positions within the neighborhood organization.

Sports, culture and recreation; surveillance; presidency; raw materials, etc.; these were the positions that some neighbors had previously allocated among ourselves, depending on our interests and the situation that has been presenting itself naturally, and within the framework of being a good neighbor.

In this case, there are more positions than people who have the conditions to take them on, because most of them are quite old. Nevertheless, we elected the CDR president and gave him the floor.  

“I was born and raised without a political bone in my body. Some of us went to school together, played together and we had families without any problems. “I am taking on this role so we can look after each other, especially our “elders”, to protect ourselves from criminals, scam artists, in short, to keep peace on the block and, more importantly, (ensure) our celebrations. This is what being president means to me,” the new president rounded off.    

Then, we all went home and the CDR will carry on as it has up until now, slowly, without picking up too much of a fight with things, because the times today don’t call for it.

And speaking about today, new technologies are imposing a new dynamic on social relationships. Today, many have cellphones with a video camera so they can record their neighbor, and others who come to the block with bad intentions. These devices are a lot more effective than the best vigilance, although people are not using them with revolutionary fervor. 

One thought on “Position Shuffling at My CDR Neighborhood Committee

  • Jorge Milanes demonstrates how over the long years Cubans have been persuaded that the CDR is a social neighborhood organization, for they have no other!
    The CDR is: “a collective system of revolutionary vigilance so that everybody knows who lives on every block, what they do on every block, what relations they had with the tyranny, in what activities are they involved, and with whom they meet.”
    Fidel Castro Ruz
    September 28, 1960
    The CDR is based upon the East German Stasi who advised upon its introduction and reporting upon every individual at minimum annually to MININT (Alejandro Castro Espin) which maintains a computer based record of the actions and activities of every man, woman and child in Cuba.
    My personal knowledge relates to having seen my wife’s records (which include our relationship), knowing personally the President of the CDR – to whom I talk daily, on our block and the Secretary being a member of our household, and to observing meetings from our balcony
    Don’t miss the inference in Jorge Milanes writing:
    “Today, many have cellphones with a video camera so they can record their neighbor and others who come to the block with bad intentions.”
    That reflects that the CDR is alive, well and busy pursuing Fidel Castro Ruz’s definition and purpose.
    As another current article in HT describes, Cubans are kept in fear.

Comments are closed.