Gone is “The Soul of the Revolution”

An image of the same old man in Centro Habana, the left on May 11, the one on the right, this Thursday. The billboard said ‘The Party is the soul of the Revolution’ (14ymedio)

By Juan Diego Rodríguez (14ymedio)

HAVANA TIMES – In a green plastic box, the kind used for bottles, and in another cardboard box, between colored paper and newspapers, the eighty-year-old man, with tobacco in his mouth and a resigned gesture, exhibited his items for sale: soap and cigarettes – purchased with the ration book – homemade tomato puree – of a dubious color – toothpaste, menstrual pads…

It was not a strange image in Cuba, where pension money is not enough for retirees and they have to make a living in order to survive. At worst, they dig through the garbage; at best, they resell what they buy in the regulated market, like this old man stationed with his chair on a corner of Centro Habana.

What was striking was the poster behind him, summoning the Eighth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, which was held between April 16 and 19, 2021, with the words: “The Party is the soul of the Revolution.” In the year that had passed since the sign had been put up, the official red color had turned pink.

This Thursday, the same old man returned to the same corner, with the same boxes and the same precarious resale products. But, this time, without the same billboard. Someone decided it was time to remove it. The Party no longer watches over the old man’s miserable business. Gone from his sight is “the soul of the Revolution.”

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

2 thoughts on “Gone is “The Soul of the Revolution”

  • Carlyle’s opening reference to Camilo Cienfuegos and Huber Matos is quite appropriate. They were the canaries in the coal mine that sent the early warning. One has to only look at Matos riding into Havana on 8 January 1959 sitting next to Fidel on top of at tank and then being arrested ten months later on 21 October when he tried to resign his position as Governor of Camaguey because of the Castro government becoming Communist. Matos’ arrest and being sent to prison for his anti-Communist views were a major factor that led to the invasion at Playa Giron, some 18 months later.

  • The soul of the revolution included patriots like Camilo Cienfuegos and Huber Matos who believed in freedom for the people of Cuba, as did Jose Marti.
    Fidel Castro himself knew what Cubans sought saying for example on March 16, 1959:

    “There can be no danger if we do what Cubans want, if we provide social practice and solve the substantial social problems of all Cubans of liberty, of respect for individual rights, of freedom of the press and thought, of democracy, of liberty to select their own government.

    Sixty three years later, ask the average Cuban whether those “social problems” have been resolved, whether liberty has been achieved, whether individual rights are respected, whether there is freedom of the press, whether they are permitted to openly express their individual thoughts, whether they have democracy and the liberty to select their own government? The inevitable answer to each question is a resounding “No”.

    By his own measures, Fidel Castro Ruz followed by Raul Castro Ruz and then Miguel Diaz-Canel, have been miserable failures!

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