HAVANA TIMES – Ever since my childhood, I’ve been hearing people say Cuba is a small island, therefore the US is an abuser for taking such severe measures when the scales of power are completely tipped in their favor.
Of course, this is a practice it uses in many different parts of the world, the Empire it is. I’m not agreeing with this, but that’s the reality and it won’t change just because of somebody’s whim.
Instead, it has proven over time that Emperor Hirohito was largely responsible with Japan’s presence in the Second World War (after the US government dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese people), and faced with such a powerful adversary, he decided to create alliances.
Over time, and although this doesn’t mean happiness or the same progress for everyone, today Japan is one of the world’s leading economic powers. Another example, moving in the same direction, with similar experiences, is Vietnam.
In contrast, Fidel Castro opted for suicide in Cuba. Maybe it was his Galician blood, this ancestral nostalgia combined with the bitterness of Spain losing its Empire status to the US.
What Cubans didn’t know back then was that while the victory of the Revolution was being celebrated, which declared the Communist Party the protector of Cuban sovereignty, it wasn’t Castro who was committing suicide himself, he was going to wipe out his own people too.
This is how he eliminated the concept of family first, which is a bourgeois concept, the family at the heart of society. Dividing families was one of the system’s first objectives. In my own case, I have now been kicked out of my parents’ home because I criticized State Security on the phone.
Sometimes, when my father advised me to be careful about the way I say things, because there are consequences and he wasn’t going to visit me in jail, I would say that the Revolution was led to end the terror and horror during the Batista era, and that if he was afraid for me, because of the things I write, then this was just proof that he was defending a government that is far from good.
The first time I was able to vent and unload my chest was when I had an opportunity to travel to the US for the first time, after receiving a 5-year visa, which this government handed out to Cubans during Barack Obama’s time in office.
I understood that I wasn’t an isolated case. I met Cubans from different eras, from different migrations. I was especially moved by a friend’s story, who was one of the children who emigrated during the so-called Operation Peter Pan (1961).
The trip meant a very emotional encounter for me, it had been 11 years since I had seen my brother, who is only 13 months younger/older than me. He left on a boat and was lucky to arrive with his life intact. He entered Florida via the Keys. He had political and economic reasons to leave. He didn’t want to live in a country where he had to steal from the State in order to live and where, you can’t say what you think, as that put him in jail more than once.
When he had been living in the US for four years, my brother went to Cuba’s Interest Office back then (now the Embassy), in Washington, and the Cuban government denied him the chance to apply for a passport and visit his family in Cuba because he had left the country illegally, risking his life, and needed to be punished.
My childhood unfolded during the Soviet era. In spite of Cuba practically being another province in the former Soviet Union at this time, as we received subsidies from the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) (which Chavists have copied when creating ALBA), Cuba was unable to develop its economy. It didn’t do this during the Venezuelan era either.
This Soviet aid lasted approximately 30 years. That’s to say, in three decades, Fidel Castro only developed espionage and propaganda, two things geared to staying in power and proving to the world that socialism did in fact work. These are the things that really work in Cuba today.
The so-called “achievements” in Health and Education are nothing more but fuel for this fire. If a doctor is receiving approximately 1 USD in wages per day, in a country where a bottle of cooking oil costs 2.40 USD, and a pair of low quality shoes costs at least 10 USD, then it should come as no surprise that doctors today need to be paid on the side in hard currency, which is what we call the Convertible Peso, or with in-kind gifts.
Meanwhile, education only works because you take your kids to school for free, but then you end up paying a private tutor, a figure that has appeared within the island’s low budget capitalism on the rise. This tutor makes up for what the deficient public-school teacher misses, that is to say, you go to a private tutor on the side.
Denouncing such things in Cuba today makes you a target, subject to interrogation, threats, and unemployment if you have some kind of connection to the Government, and if you work for a private business owner, then they can receive part of the damages. They end up being pressured by the authorities and let you go, telling you that you are putting them at risk.
And, I’ll end this post with this food for thought: all of these years of collective annihilation have only served to create individualism, a State without rights, which turned from our protector into our oppressor. Standing up to the Cuban Government today, being an active citizen within society, is like standing up the US government on a bankrupt island.
I can write this as I have also been wiped out from society thanks to my criticism, just like the island was disconnected from the rest of the world because of its disobedience.