Cuba and the Prophets of Fear

Fernando Ravsberg*

The new generations are not as receptive to ideological speeches as were the old. Photo: Raquel Perez
The new generations are not as receptive to ideological speeches as were the old. Photo: Raquel Perez

HAVANA TIMES — Relations between Cuba and the United States are entering a new and more complex stage. It began with current peace negotiations, which still haven’t managed to secure a complete ceasefire. Havana continues to publicly condemn the “empire” and Washington is still imposing sanctions on those who have business dealings with the island.

Despite all this, the two countries are moving towards more civilized forms of confrontation. We are seeing the creation of a different stage, where most differences can be settled in the field of ideas and politics, in the minds and hearts of Cubans.

Some are afraid, because they have become accustomed to trench warfare and lack the skills needed for debate. Extremists at both ends are indeed concerned, feeling they could be deprived of their leading roles.

Their resistance to current changes is a pure survival instinct: after so many years of staging nothing but monologues, they are incapable of communicating with someone who refutes what they say. They may have learned how to give out orders, but they are incapable of persuading Cubans at either end of the Strait of Florida.

Some have become experts in harassing artists who visit Miami, threatening the more moderate émigrés, controlling the press, pocketing the greater part of the money taken in by dissidents and winning elections draped in the Cuban flag.

Imperialists, we are not afraid of you at all! Photo: Raquel Peerez

The others still nurture the “city-under-siege” mentality, defend unanimity in all things political and encourage a one-idea system, considering any dissenting opinion treachery. In order not to “play into the enemy’s hands,” they silence the press and nip all debate at the bud.

Some Cuban-American politicians and dissidents on the island consider Obama a traitor for taking these first steps towards rapprochement with Cuba. They feel their game is coming to an end and conspire to boycott negotiations from within Congress.

There is no shortage of fear on the island: the government’s most extremist sector warns people again and again about the dangers inherent to this new context. Rather than seek the national unity they like to proclaim so much, however, they work only to divide Cubans.

They deploy their cyberspace “hacks” to discredit some for the sin of being Catholic, others for having emigrated and revolutionaries for being “naïve.” They want to sow fear in people, accusing those who think differently of being the empire’s fifth column.

For a small country, being the good neighbor of an economic and cultural power as immense as the United States will never be free from danger, but the Cuban government has accepted the challenge and appears to be convinced about Cuba’s ability to handle the risks.

At any rate, it has no other choice. Average Cubans will not likely accept staying in the trenches just because some extremists are afraid to confront their adversaries in the field of ideas.

When relations with the United States have been full normalized, Cuba will not only confront significant risks; it will also be exposed to great opportunities. Foto: Raquel Pérez Díaz.

Relations with the United States also involve new opportunities. Overcome their fear of reprisals, many countries and institutions are now beginning to do business with Cuba. These new dealings could bring the wellbeing that Cubans deserve, after so many decades of sacrifice.

The new generations are not as receptive to ideological speeches as were the old. They expect concrete results in society and visible improvement to their lives. They were born with access to free healthcare, education and culture, but they also long for greater prosperity at the individual level.

Extremists fear such longings and believe they are the only ones that can save Cuba from the “candor” of Cubans. They regard themselves as the top vanguard of the struggle and even aim to expel from the Party those who have a different mindset.

A nation, however, is the sum total of the feelings of all citizens and it is impossible to develop it by imposing the criteria of an “enlightened” minority on the rest. They tried something similar with the Santeria religion and its traditions survived in the hearts and basements of people.

If Cuba leaves the definition of who is a patriot and who is a traitor in the hands of society’s most extremist members, the nation will lose many of its most talented people, and this will weaken its social, political and cultural potential, at a time when it needs it the most.
(*) Visit the website of Fernando Ravsberg.

14 thoughts on “Cuba and the Prophets of Fear

  • They are apparently all in the “mint” family, but I never actually gave it Amy thought before. Interesting. I’ll have to read up about it. However my palet probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

  • Hahahaha. Careful. It’s those pathetic cowards in Miami who send back the billions in Yuma dollars that are keeping your failed beggar government afloat.

  • The secret of a good mojito is the rum. You have my vote. Try it and get back to me.

  • I brought a bottle and my mojitos, contrary to the ones in US were using hierba buena, a cousin of menta which is used in the US….

  • Lots of bad rum around. Make your mojito with “Santiago de Cuba” “carta blanca” to get a good one.

  • And Mojitos! The best!

  • On the subject of Cuba …here is Well Known FACTS about Cubans Exiles living in Mia-Hialeah:

    The undisputed, confirmed and documented established true fact is most of the
    Medicaid Fraud in Florida is done by Cubans and the killing of Horses for their
    meat, stealing gasoline to sell in the black market ,the growing of marijuana
    in residential houses for illegal trafficking and credit card fraud, and auto
    insurance fraud and political corruption and escort service prostitution and ‘
    BOLITA ‘ illegal bookmaking and gambling, human smuggling across the US borders
    and drug money laundering all done and controlled exclusively more by Cubans
    than any other Latin nationalities. In Miami-Dade County, where 30 percent of
    the population was born in Cuba, immigrants from the island account for 75
    percent of arrests for health care fraud; 78 percent of arrests for cargo
    theft; 60 percent of arrests for marijuana trafficking; and half the arrests
    for credit-card and insurance fraud.

    The fact is
    Cuba before Fidel was very politically corrupted, racially segregated society
    were Blacks ,’ Mestizos ‘ and Mulatos were discriminated against by an upper
    class wealthy white minority and less than 1% of the population controlled most
    of the land and wealth just like in present day Miami-Hialeah and Tampa.

    While it is true that approx. 60% of the
    Pre-Castro Cuba’s population was white, a very small percentage of those
    controlled all the economy and the corrupted governments, there was a very high
    unemployment rate and most people living outside the capital were in fact ILLITERATE.

    Under Batista , the average cuban never saw
    none of these wealth, the US
    Mafia funded airline companies to export cocaine. So Pre-Castro Cuba
    was NOT an ‘ economic paradise’ like the Cuban Exiles LIE about it for decades
    ! In fact the corrupt Batista government gave the U.N. and the other news media
    a lot of distorted, manipulated and magnified economic data and statistics for
    the purpose of attracting more tourists and investors, all a big economic LIE.

    Most of the
    cuban Americans in Miami and Hialeah discriminate other South and Central
    Americans of Indian heritage, and African Americans , and Cubans in S. FL.
    always refer to the NW MIA Area as ‘ BARRIO de los NEGROS ‘ or ‘ Planet of the
    Apes ‘ , that is proof enough that racial discrimination existed in the island.
    In fact discrimination of black exists in the island today evident by the over
    hiring of white Cubans in the tourism industry. That is a well documented and
    undeniable fact and there are many witnesses including one that lived through
    it and confirmed these facts here in this forum.

    The new generation Cubans born in the US
    like to discriminate and look down upon other Cubans ‘Balseros’ and ‘Marielitos’
    that have an English language accent, while they themselves do not speak
    Spanish fluently and they are the only Latinos that do that ! they are very
    indifferent and ignorant about anything related to freedom in the island. That
    is why the Castro dictatorship has lasted for 50 years and is probably will last
    another 50 years, and this is why they are such UNPATRIOTIC PATHETIC

    Raul Castro
    is doing what everyone in the island expected, to stay firm in their
    revolutionary ideals and convictions and demand respect from the US
    . But the Cuban exiles are so narrow minded, dumb and ignorant that they cannot
    even accurately predict how the Castros are going to respond or react. The
    Castro gov is setting an example to other leftist South Americans Governments
    NOT to negotiate with or trust the US in any way or form, YOU DUMB F**KS !

    The Cubans
    in South FL are in a long time perpetual self serving delusion that they are
    going to return someday to a democratic US style Cuba when in fact they don’t
    even practice those ideals themselves in Miami-Hialeah but are corrupted to the
    bone and always deceiving the US public about their FALSE and FAKE patriotism,
    and they are in the illusion of recovering all the confiscated lands,
    properties and other assets taken by the Cuban government in the 1960s when in fact that will NEVER happen and is not even under current negotiations.

    They are in fact proven and confirmed PATHETIC COWARDS that SURRENDERED in 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and later became drug traffickers and the greedy wealthy Cubans in exile have not been willing to take arms and die for their island like Jose Marti did, he was a true genuine patriot that as an intellectual and poet with very little military experience and personal wealth went to Cuba and die fighting, that is what the greedy, selfish wealthy Cubans living the good life with their excessive obsession with material wealth in Miami-Hialeah, should have done since the failed COWARDLY invasion in 1961 ! instead of posting LIES, personal THREATS and FALSE information online and talking useless Jose MARTI poems for the last 50 years !

  • Leave it to the die hard communist! With nothing to hang your hat on you need to reach back over 55+ years for a boogie man. Listen…every Cuban was against Batista. The Revolution was initiated by the middle class inteligencia (of which Castro was one) and supported by rich Cubans like the Bacardi family.

  • Fernando: Castro’s Cuba is built on fear.

  • Thank you Fernando for a most informative piece of writing. My guess as to what’s about to come are major shifts from both sides of the extreme. Expect “off the terrorist” list complete. That should happen, according to my calculation, within days. Have you seen CUBA AIRBNB on the news via internet? Things happening rapidly and so much more to come. The deal, USA AND CUBA, is sealed and my guess is the middle ground will rule and some of the nicest
    folk I’ve ever met, and now thru marriage family, will thrive and show the world their greatness!

  • Recent polls I have read have Cuban’s in US supporting normalization with large margins. Outside of Florida, Cuban-American’s support for the Obama policy is 69%.

    The Fulgencio Batista era ended 56 years ago. The Cold War ended 25 years ago. The Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. Time has not stood still in Cuba. The early revolutionary period and the Cold War period are artifacts of history.

    For those with neocolonial fears, they need to wake and and smell the present. The last thing the US government wants is to take on economic basket cases. In 2015, trade is favored to invasion of countries to acquire resources. It is Putin’s Russia that has 1800 century expansionist tendencies. Obama’s America is a very different place.

  • They would do well to remember those days as the Americans will quickly bring them back once they get their foot in the door.

  • Fernando wrote, “It began with current peace negotiations, which still haven’t managed to secure a complete ceasefire.”

    Surely, you mean that as a joke, or at least, metaphorically? There is no state of war between Cuba and the USA. The recent talks have never been billed as “peace negotiations” nor the promised agreement a “ceasefire”.

    The Cuban nation has already lost many of its most talented people because the Revolution branded them traitors and gusanos. Now they want these same exiled Cubans to return, with their money, to help bail out the Castro regime.

    Analyser, Fernando has been called many things, but I have never heard anybody accuse him of loving the US and their propagandist. He must be shaking his head and laughing. By the way, what “Batista dynasty” are you referring to? There was Fulgencio and that was it. No sons of his ever succeed to power in Cuba. Perhaps you are confused and are thinking of that other dictatorial dynasty in Havana, the Castros? Rule of Cuba has passed from elder brother to younger, and a smattering of sons, daughters, nephews, nerves and sons-in-law are installed throughout the regime. That’s a dynasty.

  • Frankly Fernando, I found reading your article very insulting to any number of Cubans. You describe many of them as some sort of heathen, Neanderthal and unable to adjust.
    You really must love the US to write such biased propaganda.
    Perhaps a good number of Cubans can either remember or have considerable knowledge of the Batista dynasty and his cosy if somewhat obscene relationship with the US.

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