Cuba: How to Recognize a Good Leader (II)

Veronica Vega

Illustration by Yasser Castellanos

HAVANA TIMES — The dynamics that every revolution puts in practice are too complex to be predictable, but in more established groups of thought, the mechanisms of empowerment begin articulating automatically. This is a natural law.

Among those who react to the status quo and lead social movements, there can be detected at least two types of individuals:

-The idealists (hungry for social justice but without ambition for power)

-The opportunists (power hungry and using that same discourse as the idealists). These, like good actors, manipulate popular discontent and become (as needed or possible) explicit tyrants or redeeming Messiahs.

What makes the crucial difference is their way of life, their evolution and their actions. But the latter will be interpreted differently according to who is benefited or harmed.

One more essential definition takes us to the core of the matter. Someone said that there are only two paths in life: one of security and the other of freedom. Those who choose the first will sell their soul to the devil in exchange for a bit of comfort and relative power. Those who choose the latter are very, very few. But these people are the basis for the empowerment of any nation.

Those who seek (need) freedom are not seduced so easily by a manipulator of dreams. They know that if someone turns neighbors against neighbors, they’re only looking to benefit from that division. They also know that these people encourage the moral corruption of society, since this is the fiber that unites citizens’ power. This can only be accomplished morally.

A good leader doesn’t ignore such a basic principle as violence breeding violence (a truth that is as mundane as has been demonstrated). Building a house on a foundation of resentment and on thoughts of revenge is like building on a swamp – sooner or later it will collapse.

We’re tired of empty discussions, words uttered to win some time, talk that doesn’t solve anything. But there are words that emancipate. And the difference is in the direction in which they lead us.

A good leader doesn’t ask us to follow them blindly; instead, they allow questioning. They don’t impose themself by force; rather, they win over people with logic. They don’t stand as the voice of our conscience; alternately, they urge us to search our individual consciences.

In gospels carefully excluded from the Bible, we find, for example, that Jesus — far from encouraging his followers to seek the truth in a book (how many Christians today would accept this?) — said: “Do not seek the law in the scriptures, for the law is life, whereas what is written is dead. (…) Wherever there is life, the Law is written. It is found in the plants and trees, the rivers, the mountains, the birds, the creatures of the forest and the fish of the sea; but above all, in yourselves.”

A good leader, like a good parent, will not make us dependent on them, but will use their knowledge and power to ensure our development and independence. They won’t ask us for eternal gratitude because such a need is indicative of – firstly, the weakness on the part of whoever grants it (needing to enslave in order to reign); and secondly, because of the undervaluation or contempt of those who receive.

A good leader doesn’t succumb to the temptation to control by force because they know that power resides in each and every human being, even though we’re influenced by an external and temporary power.

In short, a good leader is only the administrator of the interests of those who choose them.

It’s true that collective awakening can take decades and that each generation has a limited period of time of physical and intellectual splendor. This reality is so frightening that generations tear themselves apart seeking immediate alternatives for their realization. Cuba has suffered (and suffers) because of this, endless bleeding.

But even nations regenerate. We mustn’t forget that those who govern are also human and also subject to the same restrictions of time.

See: How to Recognize a Good Leader (Part 1)


Veronica Vega

Veronica Vega: I believe that truth has power and the word can and should be an extension of the truth. I think that is also the role of Art and the media. I consider myself an artist, but above all, a seeker and defender of the Truth as an essential element of what sustains human existence and consciousness. I believe that Cuba can and must change and that websites like Havana Times contribute to that necessary change.

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3 thoughts on “Cuba: How to Recognize a Good Leader (II)

  • Fortunately, Moses, we have you to tell us what HT writers really mean.

  • To be fair, Moses, the Castro brothers haven’t much time to work out the details. In another 55 years, or so, they should be able to figure out any remaining problems and it’ll be smooth sailing from then on. Probably.

  • Now having read parts I and II, I am convinced that the writer, either from a conscious fear of repercussions from the State or the subconscious survival reflex of self-editing shared by many Cuban writers, is choosing to obsure the real point of her essay. That point being that the Castros are not good leaders. There, I said it for her.

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