By Pedro Pablo Morejon
HAVANA TIMES – There is no politician who would be more popular or get more votes than a totalitarian dictator. If you still have doubts, you just have to look back over History and we’ll see individuals like Mao, Stalin, Hitler or Mussolini, to give you a few examples.
Yep, it’s true, they also have many detractors, but you can’t refute the reality that they have quite a significant social base.
On the other hand, if we look at democracies, we’ll see that there is a high rate of abstentionism in most of these countries. Lots of people don’t go to the polls to choose a leader, and those that rise up to the highest position of the State often do so with just a small percentage of supporters.
There are exceptions, of course, just like there are in everything; yet, this tends to be the general rule.
But something different happens with totalitarian systems. The people under their yoke suffer a gigantic propaganda bomb. The party in power becomes the Homeland itself and has absolute control over mass media.
They use this propaganda to take on symbols and culture, which in turn produces a kind of robot, a docile sheep belonging to the flock that complies with and supports any decision without a trace of critical thinking.
For those that fall outside this flock, there is repression in its many forms. They control everything.
Cuba is living under a totalitarian system that has lasted for over 60 years. Yet, there are many supporters of the system here. Even in the age of globalization, of the Internet that allows journalists to sidestep censorship, there are many people who support Castrismo, whether it’s out of convenience, fear or belief.
They fall under three categories, and sometimes they overlap:
Some of these belong to the elite. They enjoy privileges that are only reserved for them. They call themselves the “vanguard of the proletariat” when they are nothing but an oligarchy who control the battered national economy. They own businesses abroad, have luxury mansions, private yachts, swollen bank accounts… in short, everything a millionaire would have.
Others are riffraff that live off crumbs: a car, cellphone, Internet access, bags of basics, a trip abroad, etc. Something that any middle-class citizen could earn with their hard work in a democratic country, without having to drag their morals through the mud.
There is a tiny group of fanatics too, who are brimming with hate, and are able to commit the most brutal acts against their fellow countrymen. They’re the ones that are always about, the ones that do the dirty work under their bosses’ command. These include snitches, repressors and murderers, that have always existed. It doesn’t matter if they are suffering the same hardship as their fellow citizens, they have a morbid vocation for heroism, sacrifice and a false sense of worth.
Those with double standards
These are the majority. They might have once had faith in the so-called Revolution, but they’ve understood, for some time now, that the system is a failure. They’ve decided to survive within the system. They avoid talking about political issues, and if they do, they defend Castrismo. Their only objective is to survive.
Many of them manage to emigrate, and once in exile, they take on a light-version of patriotism, all of a sudden. They condemn the regime, and even question why citizens remain passive and don’t rebel.
I pity these ones. They were born in the 1950s and 1960s, and they have been victims of indoctrination, for decades. They continue to trust the system just like the cheated in his wife/or unfaithful partner, even though the proof indicates betrayal. For they are the ones who were betrayed.
They are the ones who sacrificed themselves for a future that never came. The ones who spent their best years chasing after an ideal that turned out to be one big scam.
They don’t want to admit it. They can’t. So, they struggle with their contradictions, in a cruel struggle where they need to appeal to emotions and overlook logic, in order to hold onto their life’s meaning.
Like I wrote at the beginning, sometimes they overlap. Nothing is black and white. They can be evil and ignorant, or ignorant with double standards, or people with double standards and evil. Sometimes, they are all three.
But there are quite a few of them.
Don’t be fooled.