By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez
HAVANA TIMES – When people want to achieve a social goal, they should always consider some basic premises like: how necessary is it? how much do people want it? and how ready are we to do it?
The Cuban political opposition’s general social goal has been to build a Cuba with political democracy, economic freedom and full human rights. This is the minimum for every Cuban. Then, there are details between one political group and another that make up this great opposition conglomerate, which must be plural for obvious reasons.
However, it’s clear that these details should wait until a democracy is established, and then they can each fight for them at the polls. Right now, the common good of all Cubans is what’s most important.
The opposition is very active on social media and their main strategy is to wipe out the entire system, the Communist Party (PCC), and anything that has to do with socialism or the current system. Firstly, the Constitution that upholds it, and some are asking for a constitutional assembly and others are asking to reinstate the 1940 Constitution.
An important and pretty much inevitable point, the determinant, of this aspiration for change (because it hasn’t formalized into a plan) is justice or serving justice to representatives of the system who have committed crimes or harassment or economic damage to Cubans in order to push forward or protect the system they call “revolution”. This has been the strategy for change that you most read about, hear, and see.
But the reality is that they aren’t getting anywhere with this strategy, there doesn’t seem to be any light on the horizon that change is possible in this way, and there hasn’t been a mass display of support to follow them. In fact, the general population seems indifferent to the opposition’s calls to cooperate. The Cuban people aren’t following them. When they fall on their faces or knees, they are on their own criticizing the Cuban people, looking for an explanation and concluding that the Cuban people deserve to suffer at the PCC’s hands.
But it would be interesting to ask these three questions that serve as premises:
How necessary is it?
There’s no doubt that it would be amazing if we could start all over from scratch, it’s the ideal scenario in social matters, but rarely possible. We are aspiring for an ideal model of change, that’s it. It would be incredible if the PCC left power voluntarily and said, “it’s up to you now, we failed, we will submit ourselves to your justice to pay for the consequences of our mistakes,” or overthrow them, although that doesn’t seem possible.
What are the real chances of this happening? Anyone with common sense would say they’re very low. So, we understand they are trying to guide the people towards a strategy with low chances of success and the Cuban people don’t follow them intuitively. A flock of sheep or do they have common sense? This would make sense if it were the only option, but it isn’t.
How much do the people want it?
The Cuban people have been trained for decades to love and defend the Revolution as something sacred, as the source of their freedom and independence, as their chances at a better world. Over this same period of time, US Imperialism and the blockade have been blamed for its economic failures and the iron fist that has been dealt to dissident voices. The blockade does exist.
Despite the problems we suffer and hearing other versions and interpretations of our social reality, it makes sense that a significant group of our people continue to believe in this discourse and even those who don’t believe in the system are hesitant to stand up to the “revolution”.
What doesn’t make sense is that many opposition members can’t understand this, they haven’t factored it in, they don’t assume it as a reality that is nourished and base their expectations upon it. No, in fact they are basing their expections on an illusion that has nothing to do with our social reality.
Any plan or strategy for change with any prospect of succeeding needs to be popular, please people, captivate them, motivate them and be something that doesn’t mean jumping over the hole without any hope of making it. It can’t frighten the Cuban people and they need to want it; this is the key.
How ready are we to go after it?
The reality is that not even the opposition is ready, united, or organized enough to beat the PCC, nor are they focused on understanding Cuban reality, to the point that they are making up what the people want, what they need and what can be followed, supported, and achieved in terms of political, economic, and social change.
Their desire for “justice” is praiseworthy though, but it can’t be above the need for change itself, like it is presented a lot of the time. It can’t be a premise, nor can it be one-sided, because there are complaints on both sides, and it would be counterproductive.
This isn’t the time for whims or pig-headedness. It’s the time for deep reflection and clear words. We have to move forward. We Cubans can’t keep waiting for the ideal scenario, nor do we want a civil war to the death where there are winners and losers. It’s better for this to be a peaceful transition and we all come out winners.
It is the duty of the pacific opposition to mature in political terms and outline a viable strategy for change towards a political democracy with economic freedom and full human rights, that allows us to come out of this current crisis and rise up as a nation. It’s very unlikely this change will come from the PCC, because they will need a good dose of humility and let go a lot, so we can only dream about this, not hope for it to happen. It’s up to the opposition to be objective.