Yenisel Rodriguez Perez
HAVAN TIMES — Here’s yet another example of the absurd demagogy that characterizes Cuba’s current government: the official eighth grade Contemporary History textbook still contains the messianic phrase that crowned the introduction of its 1990 edition.
It is a quote by Lenin, which reads: “I am no prophet, but there is one thing that can be said with certainty: the old system [capitalism] is condemned to extinction.” Things like these are to be expected, I suppose, from a country that silences public opinion and prohibits freedom of the press.
The Cuban regime establishes its geopolitical alliances in such adventurous ways that it leaves behind a whole constellation of ideological inconsistencies in its wake, similar to the contradictions experienced by a child who sees a frequent change in step-fathers.
The government changes its political clothing from one day to next but does not feel obliged to rethink the decor of its ideological apparatus. Its power allows it to co-exist with dozens of demagogical Frankensteins. The regime contents itself with changing the drapes and leaving the rest in a dumpsite of hollow and decadent doctrines.
That is why, in 2014, Cuban teenagers still carry a textbook reeking of Cold War politics in their backpacks.
Today, when the Cuban government has approved a foreign investment law, turning to transnational capital in order to save Cuban socialism from economic collapse, Lenin’s phrase resurfaces tinted with morbid sarcasm. The Soviet leader was right to say, in the wise tone he used, that he was no prophet.
True, the capitalist system is sinking. The problem is that we (the champions of Leninist, Stalinist and 21st century socialism) are going down with it, thanks to a genetic affinity that has not allowed for many libertarian mutations.
It is important to stress that, even though the second edition of Cuba’s Contemporary History textbook was printed in 2005 and was reedited four years before, the “updating” did not incorporate any reference to the Stalinist genocide, an issue Cubans are aware of thanks to the informal distribution of TV documentaries aired by the History Channel (which has made dozens of documentaries on the subject).
Here’s yet another reason for Cuban students to disrespect their teachers even more: seeing that these conceal or disapprove of any reference to a past that has been turned into a kind of exotic legend in Cuba’s audiovisual imaginary.
This is akin to getting a bad grade for making a direct reference to the atrocities that take place in The Lord of the Rings.