Cuba: Marxism-Leninism vs. Hypocrisy

By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez

A Havana cocotaxi. Photo: Juan Suarez
A Havana cocotaxi. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — It’s a well-known fact that the Cuban Revolution’s official ideology is, and has always been, Marxism-Leninism. Up until the ‘90s, there was an ironclad commitment to this doctrine, which was extremely widespread in all aspects of Cuban life; however, the situation has changed gradually over time since then, for different reasons.

It was even a regular thing to use Marxist phrases in speeches or in any colloquial discourse: “Subjective and objective”; “dialetical or non-dialectical”; “contradictions create development”; and such. These kinds of things were said in many philosophy courses across the world and everywhere else. Even though philosophy is a tedious subject for the majority of people, nobody refused because of the real risk of being labeled somebody with “ideological problems”.

However, that doctrinal euphoria has decreased greatly and a first sign of this is that the Marxist phrases have disappeared from everyday slang. They no longer make an appropriate impression like they did before and it seems that they’re no longer demanded. Even the commonplace habit of torturing the Cuban people with longwinded and repetitive speeches has remained in the past, not just at the highest level of Government, but at the lowest too.

If all the Communist Party (PCC) activists were given a test about Marxism-Leninism right now, without warning, it would be interesting to see just how many would pass: very few, I’m sure. It’s a shame that we can’t do this and prove their farce. They are communists that don’t have the slightest idea about what kind of socialism they support and defend.

You can see this in a narrow context, talking to people, searching for their more intimate discourse. The majority of managers, administrators and politicians are communists by inertia, out of self-interest and even out of impotence. If tomorrow freedom of political association was allowed in Cuba and democracy was established, many PCC activists would desert and join other organizations.

On the corner. Photo: Juan Suarez
On the corner. Photo: Juan Suarez

This is why we can confirm that the Revolution’s official ideology remains to be Marxism, but only formally speaking. In practice, it’s been quite a while since this has been exchanged for “something else” which has become widespread and taken root in the behavior of every social actor in Cuba: I’m talking about hypocrisy.

Although this is clearly not an ideology in itself, it acts as such, and it pains many Cubans to see that such a negative attitude can overpower our behavior in such a way. It’s the consequence of our need to survive in an authoritarian and suffocating system like the one we have. It is indeed something truly aberrant and twisted, within the scope of the loss of values that our modern society is suffering.

This is evident in every moment of our daily lives, however, it is certainly more prominent in some instances and it’s worth mentioning them:

  • In the compulsory political morning meetings that are held in workplaces. Everybody loathes them but they still go, and they don’t even listen to the news or comments; not to mention ideological talks.
  • In voluntary jobs, where you don’t work and you don’t go voluntarily.
  • In the Neighborhood Defense Committee (CDR) affiliation, where they automatically include you when you’re 14 years old and in order to disassociate yourself you have to make a request and mark yourself as somebody hostile to the system. An out-dated organization that hasn’t worked for decades and they insist on keeping it.
  • In the business sector, where it’s difficult to find a manager who believes in the way that our economy works and has to pretend and work to support it.
  • In the extremely well-known salary paradox: workers pretend to work while the government, the great employer, pretends to pay them. Robbing and influence peddling do the rest.
  • In the custom of our people to march en masse, for example on May 1st, in support of the Revolution supposedly and the next day you see the same faces lining up at a consulate, begging for a visa to leave this country that has no future.
  • In the unsupported proclamation given by our leaders, who still dare to say that this system is the fairest in the world, while our people live in the most humiliating misery and flee en mass to capitalism, overseas and through jungles, risking their lives and subjecting themselves to humiliation.
Cuban women. Photo: Juan Suarez
Cuban women. Photo: Juan Suarez

There are countless examples and the list is never-ending. The great hypocrisy of the Cuban political system is evident everywhere: the double talk, the double image and the double standards. The profound Marti concept that affirms: “a man who hides what he thinks isn’t honorable” has remained in the past. In revolutionary Cuba whoever says what they think doesn’t even have a platform to say it. It’s almost impossible to be honorable.

“Only the most capable survive” and the most capable in Cuba aren’t the most intelligent or the most pragmatic: “they’re the most hypocritical.” Between the more you pretend and the more astute you are “to bathe and put away your clothes”, the higher you rise. There’s no doubt that Marxism has been set to the side and hypocrisy stands up proud on top of it; instead of being a Marxist today you’re a hypocrite, because taking on a different ideology is still dangerous and the majority don’t dare to.

Another stain on this dark national file that could rather be called: “the Cuban Revolution’s negative accomplishments.”

4 thoughts on “Cuba: Marxism-Leninism vs. Hypocrisy

  • Two words – Animal Farm

  • The old model failed. We are yet to see the replacement in full bloom. If it does not have more leg, this one fails as well. A country needs to be able to feed itself.

  • The Cuban revolution has never been solely Marxist-Leninist in ideology. It has always consisted of different trends, including the teachings of Jose Marti and third world nationalism. Though it veered towards Soviet orthodoxy at one point, it was never completely subsumed with that model.

  • Cuba does not need Marxist-Leninism, a failed hypocritical system, nor extreme capitalism. A social / Christian democracy where those that are better accept helping those that are worse off out of “social respônsibility” is the way out. that is true, not imposed, solidarity. That Castro’s Stalinism can never achieve as the elite shows. While people of hurricane Sandy still wait for help to rebuild their houses and while 90% of houses in Baracoa are destroyed or heavily damaged Raúl’s daughter Mariela remodels her mansion.
    It is “animal farm” all over again.

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