Cuba Isn’t What We Wanted it To Be

What We Need in Cuba is a Truly Fair Society (II)

Hired. Photo: Juan Suarez

By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez

HAVANA TIMES — In order to build a truly fair society you have to inevitably “put up a fight”. This won’t be a violent fight like we used to think it had to be in the past; on the contrary, it should be peaceful and civil like Gandhi once advised us and what Mandela ended up putting into practice. It’s no longer about having socialism in one corner of the ring and capitalism in the other, hating each other mutually, wanting to destroy the other. It’s about taking the best of both worlds and looking for the social balance that leads to peace, governability and justice which we need in an ever more globalized world in need of good judgement.

It sounds like an impossible dream but it is possible and we don’t have to invent anything new. We have all the pieces, right underneath our noses; but we’re unable to see them because of our fundamentalism, out of our habit of dividing into extremes and for observing the world in black and white. In China they already have market socialism and look at how much better off they are! What would happen if they had democratic socialism and market socialism? Surely, their success would be much greater.

But let’s not get carried away with euphoria: if a USA-style democratic model (that is to say, plutocratic) was implemented in China, with the sheer size of its economic market, the medicine would be much worse off than the disease. Such democracy can only appear (and even become) a fair and operational complement to the market as cohesive powers of multinational companies who multiply their capital due to their operations in other countries; where they capitalize their riches thanks to their technological, financial and cultural leadership. China is on its way to becoming a great leader in this respect, however, it behaves like a third world country in how it treats its over 1.2 billion inhabitants.

On any given day. Photo: Juan Suarez

What they need is a democracy where the interests of capital don’t superimpose themselves over the interests of the majority. And this is not impossible to do. This is the most important task we have of building a truly fair society, a truly “real” socialism, I’d say: not to destroy democracy, nor capital, but to prevent capital from corrupting democracy. Of course, without impairing us from achieving a more social and equal justice. One thing is inextricably linked with the other. From this perspective, I believe Denmark, to maybe cite the best example, is a lot more “socialist” than Cuba.

Where democracy doesn’t exist, socialism can’t exist; where real equality doesn’t exist, socialism doesn’t exist; where progress isn’t made, socialism doesn’t exist; where sustainable social justice doesn’t exist, socialism doesn’t exist. Socialism isn’t handing out poverty fairly amongst us all, nor a one-party State, nor is it a leftist democracy. Socialism is about creating wealth that is then distributed amongst the people as equally as possible, which doesn’t mean it will be exactly the same for everyone. It’s not about destroying capital, it’s about preventing a dictatorship; even the one that hides behind the democracy founded on capital and which tempts many good Cubans; (just like they were seduced by the Marxism-Leninism communist dream a long time ago).

Let’s take Cuba for example: we have an orthodox socialist dictatorship reluctant to make real changes even in the economy. Not to mention politics, this is a sanctuary they defend with their lives. Do you want to destroy their power completely? Forget it! That’s a fight that generations and generations of dissidents and nearly 15 US presidencies have lost. It’s their vision that has prevailed. The only way to get rid of the system we have here is by a nuclear attack on the island, because a conventional war would be lengthy; or if the people took to the streets en masse, paralyzing the city and making it an unsustainable chaos for them. The first is inconceivable for obvious reasons and the second is almost impossible due to the social control we have and the absence of a leader who can attract the people with his/her proposals.

Solving the problem. Photo: Juan Suarez

It’s therefore easy to discern that the Cuban government is strong, they have their alleged legal institutionalization and recognition from almost every country in the world.  Their support doesn’t come from the people because they don’t depend on our vote. They depend greatly on the international support and recognition they receive. Nobody can survive without it in this globalized world. That’s why they spend so much on their foreign policy.

If we really want to be successful in “pushing” for positive change for all Cubans, first we have to learn to understand what our reality is. Cuba isn’t what we wanted it to be, it’s how it is; the revolution passed through Cuba and it’s still there; radical socialism passed through Cuba and it’s still there. Our people haven’t been able to escape their influence, especially if they’ve lived most of their lives within this reality, exchanging their dreams and hopes for disappointment and despair, but with their feelings torn between what they want to achieve and what they don’t want to lose.

To be continued…

3 thoughts on “Cuba Isn’t What We Wanted it To Be

  • The best written line: “I’d say: not to destroy democracy, nor capital, but to prevent capital from corrupting democracy.” That says it all! As an older norte americano; I see daily the destruction of our young kids trying to make it in this super competitive world we’ve created here. Don’t go down that same bumpy, bumpy road; please. Jim

  • Sadly Osmel Ramirez Alvarez makes an underlying assumption that at some time in the future when in the fairly near future, the Castro brothers are both dead, that their successors and the Communist Party of Cuba will see reason and permit true democracy.
    Osmel correctly defines the current regime in Cuba as: ”an orthodox socialist dictatorship”.
    As such the regime is successfully designed to be an immovable entity and the only way to move it will be by an irresistible force.
    It is my opinion that no country is going to make the nuclear attack he mentions. There is however one other irresistible force and that is the people themselves – in the form of an ‘orange’ revolution.
    There is a possibility perhaps even a probability that following the deaths of Fidel and Raul Castro there will be a power struggle between on the one hand Raul Castro’s direct family of Alejandro Castro Espin and General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Callejas and on the other hand the ‘troika’ of Miguel Diaz-Canel, Marino Murillo and Bruno Rodriguez.
    In a dictatorship and as Osmel points out, Cuba is a dictatorship, only one person can hold ultimate power. That lust for power is present in more than one of the five I have mentioned. It is possible that although by that time, there will have been over sixty years of communist indoctrination through the educational system. the Propaganda Department of the PCC, the regime controlled media and the insidious presence of the CDR, that as illustrated by Osmel, the thinking people of Cuba will demand their freedom and the right to determine their own future.
    Those of us privileged to live in the free world can only wish the people of Cuba well in the inevitable struggle to achieve freedom and human rights. As one who lives in both Cuba and the free world, I recognize that longing for freedom which Osmel describes

  • Im 67 years old i saw La Havana in its full esplendor when it was like Paris, when this Cheap Folklor was not in every Corner trying to make a dollar. When I see Havana now I always cry.

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