By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez
HAVANA TIMES – Taking a look at Cuba’s official media and seeing the picture-perfect Cuba they paint is like taking a bath in surrealism, the distorted focus of the real political battle between Cubans, as if it were imported and imposed by the US. Worst still, the solutions of “continuity” it promotes are completely out of touch with our reality, although they publicly seek a social justice approach.
But let’s look at the Internet, especially social media, YouTube channels by Cuban influencers and alternative websites, where the opposition finally has a space to express themselves freely and reach the general population. We can see something similar: the other side of the coin but more exaggerated, with solutions just as idyllic as the Communist Party’s (PCC) continuity, based on freedom and demonizing altruism.
Of course, it’s not hard to find arguments to defend both stances. But if we focus on the opposition, which should be the social subject of changes in our society, the most revolutionary, it has to be said that there is an exaggerated or biased description of our reality, which is an awful communications strategy, at least in the political period we’re living in. Mainly looking inward, where over 80% of Cubans are still living here.
Psychologists know about this, about the way the human brain acts and reacts. Discrediting an adversary without knowing a single virtue or doubt at least, speaks volumes about the person doing this instead. It proves low social values, and this isn’t grasped consciously, but in an unconscious way and it prevents unwavering empathy. Unless you control information, like in North Korea. Fidel Castro would hurl out a string of insults about the US, but he always said he admired the US people.
Secondly, the political battle is skewed in its focus of a clean sweep of the PCC, turning it into a glass door for fertile and real change and maybe our political and social view, not what some people dreamed. This imbalance with reality leads us to overestimate one-off moments of the civil struggle, but unable to take advantage of them. This provides an advantage to the PCC, which is a lot more adept and better organized.
Thirdly, solutions that are just as geared towards what lies beyond its borders than they are to what’s going on the island, don’t answer to this national reality. They are more emotional than pragmatic; they are more idyllic than realistic; almost as unfeasible as the Government’s own because they don’t take the Cuban people’s real situation into account. Then, the Cuban people’s despondency, hyper criticism and premature undervaluing come into play.
These are Cuba’s shackles, amidst radical and antagonistic positions, of an ideological battle to the death, of a crossfire that burns bright on both sides and is just as friendly as it is distant. Ordinary citizens watch both sides with disdain, with small pieces of approval for both, but without either satisfying them really. For it seems more like self-satisfaction rather than an interpretation of the Cuban people and country’s desires and needs.
This is why the Communists (the Communist Party in power) call any Cuban who doesn’t follow them in their heart or with their actions “ungrateful”, “confused by the enemy” or “mercenaries” (in case a more drastic line is overstepped). Many impotent opposition members, when they fail to “win over” the Cuban people with their formulas, calls and approaches, call them “sheep”, “to blame them for their disgrace” or “accomplices of the dictatorship”. It’s pretty much the same in both cases, and it’s just political mediocrity at the end of the day.
The best road forward for Cuba is the most pragmatic one, that guarantees a political democracy with economic freedom and full human rights as soon as possible; that takes us in this direction gradually or all of a sudden. That doesn’t underestimate the PCC and makes us move forward. A path that the Cuban people understand and sympathize with; and where individual efforts or minority groups don’t come out on top, but where the majority of Cubans embrace the idea.
To be continued…