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

    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

    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

    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

    Been there… seen that… you should get out more often

  • July 26, 2016 at 9:40 am

    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

    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

    No Olga, Port-au-Prince is the Port-au-Prince of the world. Wanna compare that w/ Havana ?

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