Cuba’s Youth and the Original Sin of the Opposition

Vicente Morín Aguado

Raul Castro affirmed: “This continues to be a revolution of the young.” Photo 26-7-2013. cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — On July 26, Raul Castro affirmed: “This continues to be a revolution of the young.” Today, when so-called Castroism lives on in his leadership, I feel that a debate on the origins of this political principle is worthwhile.

Without entering the domain of philosophy, Castroism can be understood as a political practice whose essential premise is that of achieving victory under any circumstance, particularly when confronting the most powerful of enemies. Faced with momentary defeat, one must “turn a setback into a victory.”

The speeches of Fidelistas aren’t very philosophical. Turning to the Soviet Union as an ally was simply a logical response to the fact Cuba was suddenly trading blows with a heavyweight called the United States.

I must stress that, in 1959, it was the Cuban people who won the war against Batista’s military. This isn’t propaganda, it’s a fact.

From a military perspective, that a handful of armed rebels should be able to take a city like Santa Clara seems an impossible feat. The fact of the matter was, quite simply, that all Cubans were sick and tired of Batista, and even his soldiers helped Che Guevara in his efforts.

Fidel Castro entered Havana followed by a sea of people, with Camilo Cienfuegos as his “banner.” The country become more and more polarized politically as the new, rebel leader started to put his ideas into practice.

Nixon, then the vice-president of the United States, labeled Havana’s new strong man as “a threat to the security of the United States.”

Claiming to be “non-aligned”, the young politician, surprisingly skillful at the young age of thirty-three, would begin to align himself rather clearly with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

The speeches of Fidelistas aren’t very philosophical. Turning to the Soviet Union as an ally was simply a logical response to the fact Cuba was suddenly trading blows with a heavyweight called the United States.

Fidel Castro had no shortage of opponents, some of whom had fought beside him, heroically, to topple the previous dictatorship: Chanes de Armas (who had participated in the attack on the Moncada Barracks), and Comandantes Hubert Matos and Gutierrez Menoyo. These and other political adversaries would grow old in Cuban prisons.

The so called “smart classes”, dead to me forever, set their hopes on the bayonets of the US Army and sat back to drink Bacardi rum in Miami and wait for the end of Castro. They never did manage to arrive at a consensus that would have united them, whose logical foundation would have been those prestigious dissidents within Cuba.

We saw acts of terrorism throughout the Escambray mountain range, disguised as an anti-communist resistance. In Florida, exiles continue to set their hopes on the Americans, giving form, this way, to what would become Cuba’s “original sin.”

After fifty years, they ended up calling themselves “Cuban-Americans.”

In my view, you’re either Cuban or American. If you swore allegiance to the star-spangled flag, then you don’t represent me, you’re a Yankee, even when you speak Spanish to conceal this fact, ever ready to reply in English if it’s to answer a question at the House of Representatives.

To make matters worse, following the Missile Crisis, Kennedy and his successors played the card of internal subversive operations, putting aside all plans of a direct invasion (in adherence to the promises made to the Soviets).

Such a decision would prove fatal for Castro’s opponents. Schemes to overthrow the revolutionary government had no more real repercussions than securing some air time in high-ranking US programs such as Florida’s Cristina talk-show.

It’s hot in Havana, where we hear the refrain of a popular song that tells us of a woman who parties here, with money earned over there, in the United States. Pure intellectual shamelessness.

Half a century means several generations of people. Many like me, born after the revolution, have no properties to inherit. Neither do our children or grandchildren. Those who continue to claim their properties live across the Gulf of Mexico and think their old titles mean something in a country that has experienced so many changes in the course of so many years.

Young Cubans, the bastion of the changes now underway and those that will inevitably come in Cuba, comprise a generation that has no ties to those who did not entrench themselves to fight the handful of rebels who attacked Santa Clara.

Young Cubans, the bastion of the changes now underway and those that will inevitably come in Cuba, comprise a generation that has no ties to those who did not entrench themselves to fight the handful of rebels who attacked Santa Clara.

These young Cubans struggle for a pair of Nike shoes, but they are deaf to the absurd demands of Ileana Ross Lehtinen. Not many of them, I should add, read the official Granma newspaper either.

We have a debt with history, so much in Cuba as abroad, and I see that many political pronouncements these days lack maturity.

Freedom of expression is a good means of preventing anyone from feeling they have impunity to act as they wish, regardless of the other’s opinions. But we mustn’t forget that wise, biblical expression that says “as you love, so shall you be loved,” that is, that we will be measured with the same yardstick we use to measure others.

If we set out to judge the forgers of the Cuban nation, looking to uncover the wrongs they did, we might end up changing all of the faces printed on our currency, suddenly ashamed at their shortcomings, which are either concealed or divulged very little. The same holds for the United States.

General Grant, leader of Union armies during the American Civil War, couldn’t hold his wine. On one occasion, some officials lashed at President Lincoln because of the conduct of this high-ranking military officer, to which Lincoln more or less replied: find out what kind of wine Grant drinks, it might help you become as good a general as he is.

If we were to judge the general for his drinking habits, Ulysses Simpson Grant would disappear from the 50 dollar bill. Americans, however, prefer to focus on his brilliant military victories during the Civil War, which put an end to the opprobrious system of slavery in the USA.

We Cubans must begin to reflect on our lot. It is time to reach agreements, to build bridges and roads, to put aside what is not important, without thereby renouncing our right to question one another. Even the great Jose Marti could be evicted from our parks, schools and even the Cuban peso, if we began to look for and judge him for his all-too-human shortcomings.

The opponents of Castroism are paying for their original sin, the debt with history they do not want to settle, stubbornly clinging to bygone times, oblivious to reality.

In Cuba, young people have distanced themselves completely from their past. Though they have not inherited the original sin, they are duty-bound to find answers to Cuba’s current problems, an effort which requires them to look back on the hard times we’ve gone through, and to the very origins of the Cuban nation.

Vicente Morín Aguado: [email protected]

 


20 thoughts on “Cuba’s Youth and the Original Sin of the Opposition

  • August 6, 2013 at 6:43 am
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    Castroism isn’t only a philosophy; but a religion in which Castro is the messiah, an old, archaic and xoly savior of the world.

  • August 6, 2013 at 6:38 am
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    Without
    entering the domain of philosophy, Castroism can be understood as a
    political practice whose essential premise is that of achieving victory
    under any circumstance, particularly when confronting the most powerful
    of enemies. Faced with momentary defeat, one must “turn a setback into a
    victory.” – See more at:
    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=97232#sthash.hCrXYeX6.dpuf

  • August 3, 2013 at 5:10 pm
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    Usufruct is the standard form of land ownership in the US and Canada. It permits the title-holder to conduct (permitted) improvements, borrow against this title, and transfer by sale or bequest. It normally covers only the surface (that is, not the several kinds of mineral rights beneath the surface). The state retains the ability to restrict land development and use by such as zoning and the creation of a variety of land reserves, to tax the land and adjacent improvements, to enter onto the land for such as noxious weed control, to seize (eminent domain) and to, otherwise, legislate land use and development. Cubans have a higher rate of homeownership (85%) than anywhere else in the world. Many small-holders retained ownership of their lands after 1959, and most of the rest of the land is in co-ops which guarantee wages and other benefits to their members.

  • August 3, 2013 at 11:15 am
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    Sorry to hear that “Galician” racism is so deeply entrenched; thank goodness the revolutionary government has worked so hard, and so successfully, to overcome it! No question that organic agriculture was, under the circumstances of the periodo especial, a no-choice choice (by the way, “Informed”, most traction is oxen, not mules), but it was a good one, and one that should be adopted universally. The large proportion of US citizens that are obese and raising fat kids is disturbing. As for the trains, Cuba is that last Caribbean nation with passenger rail service (also ecologically preferable). Given the hostility of south Florida voters to Amtrak subsidies, your trains will not only not run on time, but not at all.

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