Cuba’s Old Chevy Needs Urgent Repairs

Osmel Ramirez Alvarez

Havana collective taxi. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — There was no need to put on this new show of “more crisis” within the “great crisis” of the Cuban Revolution’s radical orthodox socialist system as its failure has been more than obvious for a long time now.

The revolution is like a faulty car that has a lot of flaws which moves forward slowly, starting and stopping and is too much of a burden for all of us unlucky passengers. Getting off is a risky dream, but everything seems to point to the fact that it’s still the better option. We are all witnesses to the many Cubans who try to get off every day, risking of the lives.

In the arduous journey, we had a “good trajectory” when the car worked fine and was quite stable too (the 1980s). Before and after this, all of the small advances that have been made have been rocky and at the expense of all us passengers obligated to push it forward (something which is said to be voluntary but is in fact compulsory).

The driver we had before had a very special talent: that of being able to convince us. We used to push kilometers and kilometers on end because his hypnotizing talks used to give us strength and we even felt like pushing all the time was the normal thing to do; he even made us feel like “others” were to blame for the car not working properly. What’s more, and let’s admit it, we were even happy and proud to push that flawed car because he’d convinced us that it was on its way to heaven on Earth: Communism.

The clothes line. Photo: Juan Suarez

But we don’t believe any of that anymore and the new driver we have isn’t capable of convincing anybody. It’s been 10 years of timid change which of course have only brought about timid results. The “motor” of the Revolution won’t allow any more little changes. The only solution we have is to refurbish its engine and change both the driver and the mechanics.

Of course, this is decision that should involve all the passengers; it’s not the decision of a select few; even those who have got off this car should be consulted. If something doesn’t work properly, you have to fix it or change it; you can’t keep on hammering on with the same thing out of paternalism or stubbornness because that’s a crime. Especially if it implies the unnecessary sacrifice of millions of people.

An important step in “repairing the Motherland’s car” is exactly what the Christian Liberation Movement has put forward. They have handed in an electoral reform initiative to Cuba’s National Assembly; another similar reform initiative should be presented so as to gradually open the channels of freedom of speech in the media which already exist or which are being encouraged.

Nobody is stupid enough to believe that these unsucccessful drivers, who still hold onto the wheel with iron strength, will jump for joy with these initiatives. Of course not! However, we have to put forward these initiatives again and again so that they know that we are fighting for our rights and not just waiting around without putting up a fight until they give them to us. If a legal, peaceful and respectful battle is launched in order to rescue the human rights we have lost or that were destroyed by the Revolution, the world will show a lot more solidarity for our cause and will support us.

Resistance. Photo: Juan Suarez

On the other hand, the government itself has very few options to get us out of this economic crisis without us continuing to win ground with respect to our basic human rights. Only the Cuban people can carry the country forward and to do that, they need more freedom in every aspect of their lives. They can’t convince us to work voluntarily anymore in the name of a communist future, not with diplomas and not with medals.

Nobody wants to “push this car” anymore without receiving something tangible in return. Sacrifices, only if we come to believe that with a “short push”, the car will start again and this time with determination. How are we going to keep on pushing if we remain sure that everything will break down again in the future? This is what has happened up until now, and there’s no doubt that this failure will repeat itself again in the future.

We need to “see and believe” that the results of our efforts are serious and are able to last. Gone are the days of blind trust! Complete repairs or a replacement, that’s what we want. A new Motherland, real democracy, that our human rights and financial freedom are respected. This is how we will lift the country out of this crisis and put it back on track. It’s the fairest thing to do for everybody and it’s been made clear that anybody who puts the brakes on our future are Cuba’s real enemies.


15 thoughts on “Cuba’s Old Chevy Needs Urgent Repairs

  • August 8, 2016 at 12:22 am
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    Many groups in Canada are setting micro loans with small Cuban bussiness. I and other have worked with a food processor small scale and 10 small restaurants and almost 30 farmers . Sending seeds hand tools bikes. The Cuban goverment moves very slow on allowing imports. That is why there is a food shortage. [email protected]

  • August 1, 2016 at 6:10 pm
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    I guess your failure to respond answers the question George.Any experience or knowledge you have of Cuba is hearsay.

  • July 29, 2016 at 6:19 pm
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    George, you as a communist and I being democratic differ in our views of the world. But, I have to ask when you say in speaking of Cuba that: “It lives successfully within its means.”, is that a reflection of actual experience and knowledge of Cuba, or a reflection of your political beliefs?

  • July 26, 2016 at 7:48 pm
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    Been there… seen that… you should get out more often

  • July 26, 2016 at 9:40 am
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    I quoted Fidel Castro and some of the contradictions with which he lied to the people of Cuba – and to the world. it is evident from your reaction that you know little about your hero!
    Of course you are correct that to be a Marxist/Leninist is to be a communist and that is what Fidel Castro is. But in his endeavors to deceive, he lied about his beliefs and his intentions.
    Communism is an imposition upon the people because it permits no freedom of choice or of any other freedoms. Those who swallow the bait fail to examine the reality. Many of those who fall into the trap of admiration for the dictatorial policies of communism have never experienced its practice and for them it is a theory. A few years of actual experience of the system which removes all personal freedoms in favor of treating the population as a “mass” would enlighten them.
    When reading the articles in Havana Times, I suggest that you consider the pain of imprisonment and endeavors to have freedom of action and thought which most of them reflect. I use the word imprisonment deliberately because that is what is imposed upon their minds by denying freedom of expression.
    You ma y consider yourself a communist, but my advice is that you should immigrate to Cuba and actually experience it for yourself.
    Why did common people of thirteen countries imprisoned by the communist USSR reject it when given the opportunity for alternatives? Don’t just react, think about it!

  • July 26, 2016 at 7:55 am
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    A culture vulnerable to destruction because of the Internet is not a culture, it’s a fad. The internet is simply a door to information. How, when, and why you open that door depends on you. The Castros have resisted allowing Cubans to open the door to the Internet. As a consequence, Cubans have developed other means to gain access to information.

  • July 26, 2016 at 7:33 am
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    No Olga, Port-au-Prince is the Port-au-Prince of the world. Wanna compare that w/ Havana ?

  • July 26, 2016 at 6:22 am
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    Kennedy, I just wanted to clarify that in no way did I mean to suggest that just because the U.S. consumes five planets worth of resources, there is no poverty there. This is one of the most damning things about the U.S., despite being able to purchase whatever it wants, it does not even look after its own people. Cuba is not a poor country, it has a higher GDP per capita than China with more evenly spread wealth. It lives successfully within its means. There are other motivations besides accumulation of material wealth. Love, knowledge, understanding, culture, health, all these noble things that the Revolution made its focus. For the most part, Cubans who support the Revolution do not post on Havana Times. I believe Circles’ initial intention was to have such positive voices. However he set it up without sanction from the Revolutionary leadership. There are individual blogs by Revolutionary Cubans that you can find on the web, promoting the Revolution. Cuba is still trying to negotiate how best to get online. A Sri Lankan friend of mine bemoaned how the internet was destroying her country’s culture because they adopted it late, they did not go through the slow phases of development that happened in the West and adapt it to their needs. It appeared like an explosion with many harmful consequences. The internet is a wonderful resource, but it needs to be introduced sensibly. Circles’ should take note.

  • July 25, 2016 at 9:26 pm
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    My Bosom Friend Carlyle, Here you go again! ” I don’t agree with communism. We are a democracy. We are against all kinds of dictators.That is why we oppose communism. April 25,1959.” Now brother, contrast this to the statement that was made two (2) years later,” I have been a Marxist /Leninist all along and will remain one until I die.1961.” Doesn’t something sound wrong here? Because,to be a Marxist/ Leninist is to be a communist. Communism is the true democracy of the proletariat or the working class people who do not possess huge capital outflows to waste on elections as they are fully aware of those who work in their best interest.The so-called multiple parties of the West are the democracy of the oligarchs where huge sums of monies are wasted trying to woo voters to their side and, having cast their votes for the oligarchs, have to wait a full four years before they ever lay eyes on their representative again! Give me communism; I am a working class man and, if capitalism belongs to the rich people who possess huge capital outflows where does me, a working class man, fit into the cpitalist scheme of things?

  • July 25, 2016 at 8:58 pm
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    My good friend Olga, who are you to determine that the Castro’s should go? Look at the celebrations, the Love, The Appreciation, the reverence, the respect the admiration, the adoration that the people of Cuba who you say are subjugated under the Castro’s will shower to Fidel on his birthday coming up in August? Multiple parties? Did they ever exist under Batista? Why are you so hypocritical my friend? Why are you so deceitful my brother? Look for the eagle in you and soar! The Paris of the Caribbean with myriads of whore houses (brothels) and owned by the gangsters of America where young teen aged girls on their way to school, were abducted and put to work in these whore houses as prostitutes, where the people were illiterate and without access to good medical attention, where the inhabitants were degraded and robbed of their dignity and pride as human beings. A Real Paris! Give me Port-au- Prince!

  • July 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm
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    Osmel Ramirez Alvarez obviously being an intelligent analytical Cuban, has made a proper assessment of the current position in Cuba – and any thinking person who knows the reality of Cuba will recognize that. As he points out in his final paragraph, the country has to be lifted out of the crisis that has been developed by the Castro regime. The sacking of Marino Murillo as Minister of Economics will resolve nothing. It is the regime as a whole led by Raul Castro as dictator that has inexorably drawn the country down into the morass of failed ideas and a failed political system and the people have paid the price. It is evident taking a good look at the Cuban car (as Osmel describes the country) that the bodywork is rusty and has been patched up with assistance from adoptive parents (first the USSR and later Venezuela), but the first has died and the second is in its death throws. The rusting bodywork is visible, the crumbling chassis is not.

    Of course the supporters of communist repression will yowl at the very idea of Cubans being allowed the basic human rights and freedom which they themselves enjoy in the capitalist countries where they choose to live. A few quotations of Fidel Castro Ruz:

    “Power does not interest me and I will not take it.” January 1959

    “Revolution first, elections later.” February 16, 1959 upon appointing himself Prime Minister.

    “I don’t agree with communism. We are a democracy. We are against all kinds of dictators. That is why we oppose communism.” April 25, 1959

    “I have been a Marxist/Leninist all along and will remain one until I die.” 1961

    The sycophants may extol the virtues of Cuba’s universities – Fidel himself graduated from Havana University during the dictatorship of Batista, so can scarcely claim credit for educational establishments that existed long prior to 1959. The hotels being controlled by GAESA, provide an essential source of funding for the military. Talking about different countries having their fair share of dilapidated houses and slums (any share is too much), does not explain why in Cuba that share well exceeds 90% of dwellings.
    The sycophants fail to comprehend that Cuba and the people of Cuba are not synonymous with communism and the Castro family dictatorship. If one loves Cuba and has respect for the people of the country, it is impossible not to wish them freedom from the oppression they currently suffer.

  • July 25, 2016 at 3:35 pm
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    While there is no need to defend this blog from you, I will give it a shot just for giggles. You are quick to criticize but “where’s the beef”? Are the articles which give you such heartburn factually incorrect? Or is it that you don’t like to read criticism. What gutter politics are you referring to? Are you sure that you are using that phrase correctly? I’m not going to even mention the tangent you flew off on in mentioning young people becoming “anti-social”. Really? Watching Cuba circle the drain must be tough. Don’t take your frustrations out on Havana Times.

  • July 25, 2016 at 2:39 pm
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    Havana from the Paris of the Caribbean to the Port-au-Prince of the world The Castro should leave the country and let the cuban ppl select their future with multiple party elections.

  • July 25, 2016 at 12:08 pm
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    Those vehicles of the 1930’s and 1940’s are a marvel to behold. Air Planes are grounded because of failure to function and the safety of their passengers. Modern vehicles are taken to the mechanic shop. Car manufacturers have to recall their production, so what if one of those Chevy’s of yesteryear breaks down, why relate the Revolution to an old Chevy. Come on Havana Times come out of the gutter and show the good and the bad.I am so disappointed in your blog. Is it any wonder that the young people of the western world are becoming so anti-social? Their young impressive minds have been polluted by the atmosphere under which they live and the polluted oxygen that they are breathing in. Havana Times and those who spew out their drivel on its blog have failed to be filters for the polluted air that these youngster are breathing in. This is so because of the hypocrisy, the deceit, the propaganda, the gutter politics, the hatred, the lies, the double standards of Havana Times!

  • July 25, 2016 at 11:49 am
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    Havana Times, Why do you keep degrading the Revolution? Why don’t you show positive things about Cuba like its universities, like its hotels, like the improvements since the birth of the Revolution? Be fair minded man, be fair. There are two(2) types of birds: The yard fowl (which occupies the yard and sleeps in trees) and the eagle which soars high above and can enjoy the beautiful landscape while the yard fowl is grounded and can only scratch for worms and whatever else comes out of the earth; the yard fowl has no choices but to accept what comes out of the ground while the eagle has choices, It can pick out an animal to eat or it can soar over the ocean and pick out the choicest fish. Why be a yard fowl? Soar to the heavens! Show a balance. Every country has its poverty. I have been to England and England which ruled the whole world including America still has its full share of dilapidated houses and slums. Cuba was a colony until 1959. Stop being biased! Stop decrying the country and its people. Soar like an eagle. Soar!!

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