Yenisel Perez Rodriguez

Foto: Irina Echarry

HAVANA TIMES — Why limit the debate on the political situation in Cuba to the confrontation between the state and civil society. Any confrontation that goes beyond this is often interpreted simplistically.

Those are views that portray the Cuban government as a ferocious and almighty wolf, with the people depicted as the victims of dreadful international communism. It’s something like Little Red Riding Hood bundled up in her torturous little red hood.

If the democratization of access by Cuban society to cyberspace means winning substantial shares of popular political power, rigidity in a linear and narrow critique of state centralism and authoritarianism will restrict such shares of power.

Some people justify themselves citing psychological distress:

– “What do you expect if we’re bound hand and foot.”

– “People are tired and are doing anything they can to change the situation in Cuba.”

“Anything”? That’s the argument that most threatens the political effectiveness of Cuban civic debate over a democratized internet.

I don’t think that those who distance themselves from one or another bloc in the current international cold war can manage to break with their allies when certain democratic goals are achieved in Cuba.

Bilateralism will be fertile political ground for those who want to ensure the political success of their particular interests.

The Cuban right (that bloc that some describe as adherents of the “Cuban liberalism”) is allying with the US government’s international agenda in the same way the government supports are allying with the agendas of the ruling Russian and Chinese governments.

It’s this curse of the midwife, the go-between or the fifth column that has negatively marked Cuba’s political history.

As for the middle, the real interests of Cuban civil society, it is once again finding itself abandoned and left to its fate when faced with the excuse of facilities offered by alliances with the powerful enemy of your oppressor.

But today this legionary strategy of the Cuban right is anchoring itself in an unprecedented level of provincialism.

It is this well-rooted naivety that allows them to adopt the demagoguery of the imperial US-Israeli-EU blockade.

In this way the Cuban political opposition arrives to the Internet, unaware of the struggles of those people who face the same injustices as they do, behaving like sensual cheerleaders for foreign authoritarianism.

In the end we know that these Little Red Riding Hoods end up allowing all kinds of abuse by the government against the woodcutter who kills their wolf, without really caring about the fates of the others.

The right, however, encourages us by announcing that there’s nothing worse than this game of feigning, with the wolf dressed up like the grandma.

Standing before them it might seem impossible to get out of the game without putting a price on this virginity that many of us want to preserve under any government.


Yenisel Rodriguez

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

24 thoughts on “Cuba’s Opposition and Political Provincialism

  • Whoa, there is no way this can take precedence over Canadian citizens’ rightful claims to land confiscated by the Americans during their so-called ‘revolution’, aka the War of Separation in 1776!

    A bill was introduced in the Canadian Parliament – the Godfrey-Milliken Bill – in 1996, demanding that British citizens who fled the country after the revolution, known as Loyalists, be able to reclaim land and property that was confiscated by the American government.

    The bill called for the Canadian government to exclude corporate officers, or controlling shareholders of companies that possess property formerly owned by Loyalists, as well as the spouse and minor child of such persons from entering Canada.

    Three million Canadians are descendants of the Loyalists, including the bill’s sponsors, Milliken and Godfrey. The current value of the land and property seized during the American Revolution is many billions of dollars.

    As a Canadian, I DEMAND COMPENSATION!

    Yeah, well the Godfrey-Milliken Bill was a parody of the provisions in the American Helms-Burton Act.

    Sorry, ‘Griffin’, the demands for compensation for confiscated properties in Cuba are equally a joke that you ridiculously take seriously – to support your continuing demonisation of Cuba’s government.

    And you claim to be Canadian. For shame.

  • The Bacardi saga…

    In Griffin’s narrative, there is an abrupt gap:

    “The Bacardi’s even helped Castro’s rebels, funneling money & weapons to them in the Sierra Maestra”.

    Followed by:

    “Then when the revolution seized power, Castro seized their distilleries and breweries and the beautiful art deco Bacardi building in Havana.”

    ‘Griffin’ doesn’t seem to care about why there was a falling out, making it seem it was due to when the revolution “seized power” but there was no question the revolution was going to seize power as the Batista regime was not going to give it up voluntarily. Bacardi, or more specifically, José ‘Pepín’ Bosch, the head of Bacardi, would know that when he helped the rebels.

    It appears the story has not been told in detail why Bosch turned against the Revolution – there isn’t even a Wikipedia entry for Bosch – but there are pieces of the story that fit a well-known scenario. Bosch seemed to go with whatever power was in the ascendancy at the time.

    His NY Times obituary, in 1994, when he died at the age of 95, provides interesting background information and a clue to the ‘falling out’. Bosch came from the 1%, the son of a Spanish banker and sugar mill owner. When sugar prices plunged in the early 1920’s, he ‘changed careers’, taking a bookkeeper’s job at the Havana branch of the First National City Bank of New York.

    Then, he “married well”, as they used to say, wedding Enriqueta Schueg Bacardi.

    The aforementioned clue in the obit is this: “After Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista regime in 1959, Mr. Bosch maintained close ties to the Cuban exile community in Miami.” This was before Bacardi’s assets were seized. The exiles, of course, were the privileged class under Batista, fierce enemies of the Revolution.

    The Wikipedia entry for Bacardi indicates Bacardi support turned to opposition when the socialist aspect of the Revolution “began to dominate” and as Castro turned against ‘American interests’.

    After that, the Bacardi story turns quite ugly. “The Bacardí family (and hence the company) maintained a fierce opposition to Fidel Castro’s revolution. Embittered Bacardi helmsman José Pepín Bosch bought a surplus B-26 bomber with the hopes of bombing Cuban oil refineries.

    He was also allegedly involved in a CIA plot to assassinate Fidel. Documents uncovered during congressional investigations into John F Kennedy’s death brought to light a message outlining how he had plans to assassinate Castro, his brother Raúl, and Che Guevara. [Wikipedia]

    Does ‘Griffin’ want to hear the Havana Club story?

    ‘Griffin’ asks, “In your morality, it’s OK to rob wealthy corporations, especially American ones”? Actually it is, but I’ll get into that more in my next post.

  • Oh ho ho, you believe in the Forbes magazine who ‘estimated’ Fidel’s supposed fortune by summing up the net value of several Cuban state-owned companies and put into his account?

    That’s beyond reasonable.

  • An interesting study of the issue of property claims and compensation, including several possible processes for resolution.

    OUTSTANDING CLAIMS TO EXPROPRIATED PROPERTY IN CUBA
    http://www.ascecuba.org/publications/proceedings/volume21/pdfs/anillo.pdf

    “CONCLUSIONS

    There is little doubt that the Cuban government will
    need to provide a remedy to those whose property
    was seized by the revolutionary government after
    1959 and have not yet received compensation for the
    takings. Such an assumption is based on the requirements
    of international and Cuban law, fundamental
    notions of fairness, and the evident political necessity
    to settle property disputes before Cuba can achieve
    stability.

    There will come a time when the United States and
    Cuba will sit down to negotiate a settlement of the
    expropriation claims of U.S. nationals in Cuba. The
    expected conditions under which the settlement will
    be negotiated will greatly restrict the remedies that
    Cuba will be able to offer to the US claimants.
    Therefore, both the Cuban government and the U.S.
    claimants should be prepared to exhibit flexibility in
    working toward as fair and reasonable a resolution of
    the claims.”

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