Thoughts on the Kind of Change Cuba Needs

Havana photo by Juan Suarez

By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez

HAVANA TIMES – Every country is different because they have different conditions and characteristics, as well as their history. This is where they get their strengths and weaknesses from. We can’t free ourselves of this, whether we like it or not. Luckily, we don’t need to, we just need to be aware of it, recognize it and bear it in mind so we can “make” the most of what we have: the best country possible. 

We can’t dream about being that country of indigenous people which – regardless of the fact that it has been idealized by some -, was also ridden with conflict and all kinds of injustice, interrupted by the Spanish Conquest. Nor can we turn back the hands of Time and stay with the English when they conquered Havana, just because former British colonies have ended up better off than the Iberian ones.

Nor can we go back to the time when we could reject the independence movement, knowing now that royalist Spain ended up richer and more liberal than Cuba, and remaining European would have been a great advantage for us; or knowing that Cubans today are fighting harder to be US citizens more than anything else, patriotic veterans from independence wars wouldn’t have fought so much for the Republic in 1902, when we were already in the US pocket.

Not to mention the hope our grandparents had with the bearded fighters in the Sierra Maestra, or their euphoria when they overthrew Batista and made promises of justice and democracy.

Imagining that the wealth that was taken away (stolen) from national and foreign business owners, as well as the ethics of this which were trampled all over, needed their incentive, skill and sense of belonging, nobody would have wasted their joy, but would have rather been overcome with sadness and panic, because factories and sugar mills ended up rusting and fields that made us rich and fed us are now full of marabu bush weeds. 

But History is a path we can’t tread again. We are what we are, and we must come up with a vision of the future based on this. The reality is that, today, 64 years after the 1959 hurricane (the Revolution led by Fidel that became radical socialism), continues to make the difference. It has been governing the country this entire time and this leaves all kinds of marks. Unfortunately, these have more to do with hardship and ruin, than achievements. Not even those “social achievements” that were praised in the past.

But when we think about and plan the changes that Cuba needs, we must ask ourselves: can we ignore the ideological impact of the Cuban Revolution and the imaginary or real socialism we’ve had? What should the New Cuba be like if we want it to be better?

It’s a very important point and it has to do with recognizing the “objective” reality (paraphrasing Marxist lexicon). This is something that has been missing on both sides of Cuba’s political spectrum: authoritarian pro-government forces vs. the democratic opposition.

While the main problem NOW continues to be HOW we manage to bring about the change Cuba needs, we have to emphasize that the way the New Cuba is outlined is essential to win support. The way the opposition proposes this may or may not inspire trust, followers and also activists. People who can make this Cuba possible, real. Change will only come in Cuba if people fall in love with “an alternative that suits them.”

Without this alternative proposal/country that is in keeping with what most Cubans what or are aware we need, we won’t move forward enough to achieve this Better Cuba; if it’s just hollow rhetoric with pretentious words, based more on a script than on our people’s real expectations and needs, then we’ll still need to wait for a miracle, which could take 62,000 millennia.

Let’s hope we’re able to step up to the plate and do what this moment is asking from us. Lamenting this direction won’t do us any good in the future, because we’ll have the results of what we’re working for today. We don’t make mistakes in the past, the failed present doesn’t allow us to glorify our past decisions or sketch a brighter future. It is the duty of today’s generations of Cubans living right now to fix this.

Read more from diary of Osmel Ramírez here.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Kind of Change Cuba Needs

  • Osmel always comes up with workable and pragmatic ideas.

    Neither the recalcitrance in Havana nor the ideological extremism in Miami are the way forward.

    Cuban Governments since since 1959 have ultimately not produced a better society.
    There is clearly a democratic shortfall in Cuba.
    But the extreme wing in Miami, who claim to be in favor of democracy, slobber so subserviently up the butthole of the blatantly anti-democratic trump.
    How can anyone possibly claim to be in favor of democracy then suck up to an individual such as trump??
    It simply doesn’t play.
    It’s like someone claiming to be a vegan whilst sitting there devouring an entire roast suckling pig.

    It would be an utter shame if these extreme Cuban-American individuals ever got anywhere near power in a Cuba that they are no longer even familiar with and no longer understand.

    What Cuba would perhaps benefit from is neither one extreme nor the other.

    As Osmel states. Cuba doesn’t need any more ideology.
    Cuba doesn’t need any kind of Pyrrhic victory for one deluded side or the other.

    Cuba needs some plain old, sensible, sober pragmatism.

  • Osmel is right. No point lamenting past choices and also pointless to put all of the blame on US efforts at regime change. Pragmatic choices are necessary and Cuba needs less focus on ideology and more on organizing society and human enterprise to achieve the potential that should be possible in Cuba. Capitalism and socialism both have elements that are important for a successful society. There are many examples of both that Cubans can adopt to shape the Cuba and the quality of life that they deserve.

  • The dictatorship has anthropological damage the Cuban people than would take years to recover. The picture that ilústrate this article said loud and clear Cubans lives and Dante’s circle surrounded by destruction in Ochre Havana the once Paris of the Caribbean is not even the shadow of what it was. Cuba is lost everyday more depopulated and with an aging population Cuban is a theme park for dated leftists. There are Not solutions.

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