Cuba and its Tropical Pol Pot

By Fernando Ravsberg

The blog of singer Silvio Rodriguez.

HAVANA TIMES — For a few weeks now, the Segunda Cita blog, by singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez, has become a place for debate, where Cuban intellectuals face-off with an extremist political group, who has been defaming nearly everyone for several years.

Cuba Posible, La Joven Cuba, Periodismo de Barrio, Cartas desde Cuba, OnCuba, the Estornudo and many other media platforms, have been at the heart of their attacks. They believe that they all form part of an “enemy” plan and that they are the visionaries who will save the “naive” Cuban people.

Insults make up a large part of their campaigns. One of these “visionaries” sent a comment to Segunda Cita and its first sentence was: “Silvio, I’m sorry to see something that I have been witnessing for some time now again, that old age hasn’t made you wiser.”

Silvio’s response came swiftly: “I am an old man who has seen the same thing over and over again and I know where your super-revolutionary thinking is leading us.”  “This outbreak of extremism, these attempts to defame and persecute people or groups, are the reflection of Cuba’s powerful sectors who didn’t agree with the rapprochement process with the US.”

Cuba’s Pol Pot followers apply pressure but don’t have the power their Asian counterparts had to “reeducate” all those “ideologically deviant” intellectuals, who, acccording to them, would exist in Cuba.

The singer-songwriter added: “there are people here, like there are in the US, who want to keep this conflict in place (even though) the Cuban people, their people, continue to suffer a confrontation that has lasted for over half a century, tearing families apart and ripping Cuba to shreds.”

Silvio’s opinions were backed up by opinions from renowned Cuban intellectuals from all currents: Aurelio Alonso, Pedro Monreal, Arturo Lopez Levy, Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Alzugaray, Julio Carranza, Victor Casaus, Vicente Feliu, Felix Sautie, Jorge Gomez Barata, Israel Rojas, Humberto Perez Julio Cesar Gaunche or Jesus Arboleya, among others.

The debate has revealed an overwhelming rejection of smear campaigns published in two or three Cuban blogs, where half a dozen gloomy officials self-promote themselves as the ideological guides of all Cuban revolutionaries.

An example of this kind of rude campaign was the publication – in the middle of the debate with Silvio – of a text by Jose Marti, written in 1889, criticizing a Rodriguez because even though “he loves his country”, he is going to hand it over to the US “guided by faith”.

Silvio Rodriguez (r) waiting in line to pay tribute to Fidel Castro. In spite of their revolutionary credentials, extremists accuse him of being naive or openly counter-revolutionary.  Photo: Raquel  Perez Diaz

It’s ironic that while some important intellectuals are not able to publish in the Cuban press, this group of attackers has extensive access to national media, something which is impossible without the green light from those pulling the strings and deciding the national media agenda down to the finest details.

From a broad communication platform, they are accusing some people of receiving funding from abroad, some of being “moderates” (which makes them traitors to the Homeland in their eyes), inventing categories such as “neo-counterrevolution”, and defame journalists who create alternative media platforms.

They pressure the government to close down online magazines, they threaten journalists who work for them, they ask for foreign correspondents to be fired, they look to break relations with moderate sectors among the exile community and they are trying to get State Security to take action against all of them.

In one of their blogs, the person claims: “I’m not happy with Cuban State Security it is too conservative, it must know things and it doesn’t say anything and we need them to speak, because a lot of these guys are confusing people with how they act, passing themselves off as “revolutionaries.”

Cuban extremist spend their lives attacking ideological ghosts, without putting a single idea forward about how they can resolve daily problems that affect ordinary Cubans.

Their range of attack is so wide, their style is so aggressive and their methods so dirty that Christian Democrats, Marxists, Communists, Democratic Socialists, reporters, economists, lawyers, professors, bloggers and artists have all managed to take a united front against their campaigns, which can be seen when you read through the comments made on Segunda Cita.

They are like Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge but the comedy version, because they lack the power to massacre intellectuals. They see themselves as crusaders, called upon by the Divine Providence to fight evil, embodied by heretics, the converted and the simple-minded.

In reality, they resemble those Guardians of Faith who, protected by the shadow of the Holy Inquisition, fought intelligence with terror. They are the ones who keep the bonfire constantly burning as a warning to those who might dare to think that there is something else that exists beyond their dogma.

Che Guevara warned us about the danger of these “wage-earners who obey official ideology”, who he defined as “apprentices who live under this budget.” However, he didn’t ever imagine that these same apprentices could one day have a life of their own and harm the government that finances them.

10 thoughts on “Cuba and its Tropical Pol Pot

  • A lot of failure to be explained.

  • Ouch!!

  • Moses, Elio sure as hell gets some amazing unwanted PR! Reminds me of who thinks more about God than anyone else in the world, atheists and the clergy.

  • The dogmatic style of these people insulting the great singer/songwriter Silvio, reminds me very much of some of the purely dogmatic comments posted by certain contributors to this comments forum!

  • Where in Canada is this library?

  • I did not say that “All leftists” are intellectually bereft. Some of my best friends are leftists. I do believe that Fidelistas like Elio are intellectually bereft. Hating the Castro dictatorship is actually quite simple.

  • Quite right Eden. I take part in a discussion group at the library in our city, but although the group includes teachers, doctors, a veteranarian and even a poet, I have never heard any of them claim to be “intellectuals”.

  • What a lame comment.
    Saying that all leftists are ‘ideologically bereft’ is just as lame as saying all capitalists are ‘ideologically bereft’.
    You’re are clearly ‘in denial’ of life’s realities Mr P.
    And it must be so difficult to be constantly weighed down by the hatred you always carry with you.

  • No one cares about these nutbars. They’re just arguing amongst themselves. The average Cuban doesn’t know, or care, who any of these people are.

  • Sounds like a family squabble to me. A dysfunctional, incestuous and intellectually bereft family of failed ideologues, but a family just the same.

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