Cuba’s Political Dilemma and HT Commenters

Vincent Morin Aguado

HAVANA TIMES — One central issue characterizes the comments added to the articles published in Havana Times. Some of them (actually most of the comments, in my opinion) express the desire to do away with socialism in Cuba (though, paradoxically, some of them even claim that such a system never existed in our country, they consider that what we have is a version of state monopoly capitalism).

The details of this are revealed day after day and occupy much space below the publication’s posts. This is the background of the issue being treated here.

Cubans debate two basic ideas: to continue trying what an advanced thinker named Aurelio Alonso describes as a “socialist experiment,” or to simply return to capitalism. I don’t know of any third option to this historical dilemma.

One key element identifies the latter pro-capitalist trend: any current government action is considered, de facto, as negative. Its actions are severely attacked with various epithets; and when they cannot be argued against, they’re at least looked down upon with mistrust, suspicion or by minimizing any positive impact.

This is a philosophy that aspires for disaster in Cuba. There’s no possibility of correcting the country’s path, these critics of socialism say – it’s too late. The worst thing is they want to see the situation in the country get worse, which would justify their hopes of returning to the past.

Incidentally, they extol whatever wrong that happens on any given day, taking advantage of the resulting catharsis, which is the equivalent of relief for the impotent.

If we read these types of comments carefully, we can appreciate the lack of arguments in most of them. They don’t discuss the essential points written about in the articles on which they commenting. They simply go in to their tireless repetitions of the evils of the past, the present and of the times ahead.

One example of this involves the government headed by Raul Castro eliminating some absurd prohibitions that applied to nationals, ones that were inexplicably present for many years. Such welcomed changes included allowing Cubans to rent rooms in tourist hotels, permitting them to buy and sell cars and houses, and most recently their right to freely travel abroad.

Obviously there’s no need to “thank” the government for these measures; it simply restored rights that should never have been taken away. In any case, the measures taken clearly indicate a positive path and show both the desire for change and the recognition of past mistakes. We have consensus in Cuba around what’s really important.

The commenters that I’m referring to — those who criticize the current changes being made in Cuba — immediately ignored this issue. Instead, they started talking about how there are two currencies in the country, how wages are insufficient, and how the measures taken are worthless.

We’re searching for the path, we’re continue to look for it. But we’re having a hard time finding it from within a failed form of socialism, a failed socialist model, as we seek to move towards a viable model of socialism.

This approach is expressed almost as a rule, though with many variations, when it comes to Havana Times comments. The cause of this form of opinion-giving is simple: those commenters vehemently wish to return to capitalism.

Therefore, if any current reform is successful, this would distance them for such an aim since it would help to gain popular consensus around the real possibility of continuing the socialist experiment.

The idea of this post is linked to the “blank slate theory,” an issue I dealt with in a previous post. I can sum it up as the notion that nothing of importance has happened in Cuba over the past fifty years and now everything positive that the current government can do is too late, hypocritical and ineffective.

I fully agree with an idea expressed a few weeks ago by Alonso when he said: “Technically, the abandonment of the socialist project represents the easy way out – it doesn’t even involve the complexity of design. It’s enough to simply put the entire society at the mercy of privatization.”

Much remains to be changed in Cuba in order to realize the ubiquitous imperative expressed by Fidel Castro and repeated so often in my country: “Change whatever needs to be changed.” I recognize that fortunately there’s a place for this comment: It’s called Havana Times. Here it’s possible for it to be posted, something that’s still missing in my country (to which we could add the issue of Internet access for everyone).

When speaking with a group of young artist members of the Asociacion Hermanos Saiz, Aurelio Alonso outlined an idea that I’ve fully shared over the years: “Our political challenge is democracy. One lesson we should not forget is that our project is socialism — not capitalism — and that socialism cannot exist without democracy.”

We’re searching for the path, we’re continue to look for it. But we’re having a hard time finding it from within a failed form of socialism, a failed socialist model, as we seek to move towards a viable model of socialism.
To contact Vincent Morin Aguado, write: [email protected]


29 thoughts on “Cuba’s Political Dilemma and HT Commenters

  • October 17, 2013 at 6:57 am

    The oddity, as I see it, is the imaginary antithesis that Vincent Morin Aguado presents between the pseudo-left anti-socialist discourse that typifies the site’s official contributors, on one hand, and the crudely reactionary anti-socialist discourse of the imperialist trolls infesting the comment section, on the other.

    He overdraws this distinction because he is focused on the pious intentions of the infantile pseudo-left and therefore neglects the pseudo-leftists’ effective unity with their fellow “anti-totalitarians” of the right, the unity that flows from their common reliance on the bourgeois liberal conceptual apparatus.

    So we shouldn’t really reproach the trolls for trolling away happily here. US imperialist trolls like Moses or Griffin have every right to feel at home in these pages. They naturally find the pseudo-progressive Havana Times as congenial a part of the anti-Cuban blogosphere as the more rantingly right wing and more avowedly imperialist sites such trolls more usually inhabit.

    If the official contributors and editors haven’t grasped that Havana Times is an anti-socialist site then the mistake is all theirs.

  • March 7, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Thank you for your support Grady. I come back to this page several months later and notice that the usual anti-socialist (by his own admission) commentator totally ignores my question about the inability of the capitalist countries or governments to deal effectively with the threat of Catastrophic Climate Change. Note my logo, which says “Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change, C3” I woke up one morning in 2006 and realized there was no real effort of consequence to “prevent” or Stop C3. I read Fidel’s many remarks in this regard, but of course the primary polluters have ignored his warning. Prevention in 2006 would have been an easier goal than today and today would be more obtainable than in years to come. Lately the world’s scientists are “surprised” at how quickly the environment is unfolding – and they can hardly predict accurately the tipping point when the ice and snow cover melting and the release of huge amounts of methane can geometrically escalate the climate disaster. Will we humans come up with a solution in time? Not if we continue to procrastinate and live in denial. It is like we are looking for a gas leak with a lit match. So I thank Fidel for his many intelligent gifts and I mourn the loss of so many brave and caring people.Who? Chavez, Ho, Che, Zinn, and my love who died two years ago. It is disease of growing old, you get to see many good people gone.

  • January 17, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    They’ve “ruled out political change,” as you put it, because they are victims of the secular religion of Marxism. Like the victims of any cult, their minds are locked into an absurd idea–state monopoly ownership of all the instruments of production–which is unnatural and needs both massive bureaucracy and political absolutism in order to limp along for a few decades before the clock runs out.

    You’ve ridiculed me in the past, Griffin, for my beliefs regarding Marx and Marxism, but the obvious truth is that Marxism is the best friend and ally that capitalism could ever have.

    And, yes, the bourgeois agents of capitalism did “trick” the socialist movement into a false concept of socialism, on the lie that it is “scientific.” This non-scientific, self-defeating concept has undercut and discredited socialism ever since. Examples: Soviet Union, Cuba.

  • January 17, 2013 at 6:38 am

    I say that is the direction they are headed, not that they have arrived …yet. Ignore the Party rhetoric. Look at the evidence, in policy and style. See how political and economic power works in Cuba. Consider the models which inspired Raul’s reforms. Rember they have ruled out any political change.

  • January 16, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Drawing a parallel between Cuba and Fascism shows how far you are from reality. The most relevant “short window of opportunity” is what humankind has in which to get rid of world monopoly capitalism and reverse environmental and military self-destruction.

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