Lynn Cruz

Spanish General Valeriano Weyler

HAVANA TIMES – The human race forgets things very quickly and it seems to have forgotten that just over a century ago, Spanish General Valeriano Weyler was the protagonist of one of the darkest moments in Cuban history, which became known as Weyler’s Reconcentration Policy.

Cuban historian Carlos M. Trelles y Govin says that at least 300,000 Cubans died as a result. It was a very cruel policy, the objective of which was to wipe out the 1895 independence movement by military means.

Cubans have been flooding their social media profiles with pictures of long lines to buy food, for months now. This is because they are a sign of a new Special Period, which is the precursor to a new economic crisis, and the result of the crisis our Venezuelan brothers and sisters are suffering, with Nicolas Maduro insisting on holding the reigns of power, in spite of mass protests.

When you reach rock bottom, like Venezuela has, analyzing how they got there is inevitable. The “Cuban Revolution’s” influence on Latin America is no secret. So, after Cuba’s revolutionary leader passed away, what remains of the experience transmitted by the Cuban government?

With the Cuban Adjustment Act, the US began to accept everyone who was against Fidel Castro’s totalitarianism. It was an escape which has become a Sword of Damocles for the Cuban people. Trapped in the middle of a conflict of powers, between politicians who answered to Florida’s middle and upper classes on the one hand, and the Cuban government on the other.

As soon as a Cuban stepped foot on US soil, they would receive “refugee” status, a word that began to shape emigre’s psyches. It’s not a matter of them denying emigre’s political reasons for leaving, but given the fact that this is just one side of the coin, it reduces the conflict, simplifies it, bearing in mind that Cubans were also emigrating under “normal circumstances”, and we shouldn’t lose sight of Cuba being an underdeveloped country without resources.

Miami is a city where resentment mixes with nostalgia. There is even a Little Havana. The idea was to forget the past and build a small Cuba on US soil. But, Cuba is a mental state, which gets worse with every tragedy. Of course, there was no going back for the Cubans who stood up to the system and had to flee.

However, Cuban reality is changing in spite of its totalitarian government; yet, the media in Florida continue to say that Castrismo is still the same. Personally-speaking, I believe that it has betrayed the ideas of social justice which the Cuban people have held out for, they stopped being socialists, they introduced a low-budget style of capitalism and they returned to the bourgeois dish of ropa vieja.

Something that has caught my attention whenever I travel to Miami is that you can’t say anything good about this system of government, and when people can’t argue something, it’s more fanaticism than anything else.

In Cuba, Cubans were molded to be against US Imperialism, and in Miami, they were molded to be against Castrismo. Everything is black or white.  Both powers seek domination, on the other side of the Florida Strait and on these shores too. We could even deduce that there is a certain level of likeliness, bearing in mind the fact that Donald Trump is a populist president, just a right-wing populist.

Right now, Trump is planning to stifle the island by economic means, and he is being egged on by Florida’s Republican senators. Photos of Venezuela are enough for us to understand what the immediate future will be like for everyone who, like me, lives in Cuba. Cuban opposition forces abroad want to pressure the Cuban people to take to the streets, and they need their inside allies for this, who of course stand by this apocalyptic discourse so they can receive a few pennies from this other power which is also a parasite and bleeds the Cuban people dry.

There is something that we call “war of all Cubans” in Cuba, which would mean that if we end up in an extreme situation, the Government will put everyone in uniform so that they can be at the forefront of the battle.

In sixty whole years, Barack Obama was the only person to say something different, who actually hit the nail on the head: “Six decades of trying to isolate Cuba has failed to bring change to the island.” The rapprochement process he began seemed to be the best alternative to bringing about a peaceful transition of power on the island.

There’s something that seems suspicious to me in terms of Florida’s policy, and it’s because most Cubans, intellectuals or otherwise, automatically become Republicans as soon as they reach the US. They don’t want to know anything about the Democrats. They don’t want to complicate the discourse.

There’s something very perverse in all of this, and it has to do with the media. Anti-Castrista propaganda is never-ending because hate is an easy thing to do. It’s clear that two wrongs make a right, like the popular saying we have goes. This is why I will end by saying that nothing resembles a Castro supporter more than an anti-Castro supporter.

Lynn Cruz

It's not art that imitates life, its life that imitates art," said Oscar Wilde. And art always goes a step further. I am an actress and writer. For me, art, especially writing, is a way of exorcising demons. It is something intimate. However, I decided to write journalism because I realized that I did not exist. In Cuba, only the people authorized by the government have the right to express themselves publicly. Havana Times is an example of coexistence within a democracy and since I consider myself a democrat, my dream is to integrate this publication’s philosophy into the reality of my country.

31 thoughts on “Castro, Trump and Cuba from Two Shores

  • Lynn, you have said it succinctly above and I have been accused of being loquacious on occasions but this is not going to be one of them! Your article and the subsequent intelligent discourse, which I have read through carefully, is like a breathe of fresh air when compared with the usual mindless and abusive twittering on you know what. Please keep it up so that there is hope for the future and my three grandchildren.

  • I got the feeling that talk about political systems won’t matter much in the near future given the run away freight train effects of the global climate change. Limiting Planet Earth warming to 1.5 celcius in the next 11 years, according to the most recent scientific reports I doubt will be accomplished. So I for one plan to travel with light baggage.

  • Thanks ifor your comments is a big compromises for me .

  • Lucky guy, although having visited Calgary myself more than once, I envy you your recent visit.

  • Why Sandra do you credit Canadian social systems and programs with being “very socialist” when they have all – without exception – been introduced by Liberal and Conservative governments? Socialists do not have a monopoly of concern for the citizenry, indeed if you study the history of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic and that of the Castro regime, a fair claim can be made that the reverse is more accurate. Before you respond by talking of the educational and medical programs in Cuba, think of their old age pension of 200 pesos ($8 US) per month and compare that with Canada!

  • Hector, I saw and heard Obama give his speech at the Alicia Alonso Theatre on March 21, 2016 with both Raul Castro and Miguel Diaz-Canel present. Fidel Castro repudiated Obama’s initiative in a letter published in Granma and read in full both on Mesa Redondo and the national TV news on March 28. On March 29, Bruno Rodriguez as Foreign Minister confirmed that “there will be no reciprocation.” I agree with you that the Obama policy was not given enough time, as the Castro regime rather than “slow” to react, acted almost immediately. That is unless you take the view of a former Labour Prime Minister in the UK (Harold Wilson) that “A week is a long time in politics”.

  • The “socialist programs” to which you refer Sandra have all – without any exception, been introduced in Canada by Liberal and Conservative Governments. There is a tendency to confuse social programs with socialism.

    social: of or relating to society or its organization

    socialism: a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole

    Both the above are definitions given in the Oxford English Dictionary, but it is noteworthy that that massive tome of over 2,000 pages, devotes more than a whole page to words commencing ‘socia’ commencing with sociable and ending with sociopath and socio-political.

    As you say correctly, you live in the freedom of Canada with a multitude of social programs not one of which has been introduced by socialists (I am well aware of Tommy Douglas’s campaign for a social medical program).

    Communism in practice has quite a wide spectrum of behavior. From that based upon the Stalinist interpretation, to that of Mao Ze Dong. The Castro’s pursue the former and Che Guevara favoured the latter despite the disaster of the “Great Leap Forward” and the “Little Red Book”.

    The Castro regime is currently endeavoring to change its image without changing its totalitarian practices. It is doing so by replacing the words communist and communism with socialist and socialism hoping to confuse those innocents in the outside free capitalist societies that it’s “socialism” is democratic. Raul Castro – the author of the “new” constitution has never lacked cunning.

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