Is Diaz-Canel the politician we need?

By Repatriado

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” JFK (I completely disagree)

MIguel Diaz Canel, the new Cuban president. Photo: granma.cu

HAVANA TIMES —Will Diaz Canel be another great waste of time like Raul Castro? Will he perhaps be an Adolfo Suarez or a Joaquin Balaguer? Suarez led the transition from Franco to freedom in Spain and he democratically turned over power when the voting results demanded he do so. Balaguer did the same after the dictator Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, although he never left politics and perpetuated himself in power through questionable methods. This held back the DR from establishing a true democratic system.

Will a better Cuba start with Diaz Canel? While time makes this clear, I can either wish or flee. Eros or Thanatos.

Eros:

I wish for a radical politician who takes political analyses to the very end, concluding that democracy is our greatest need because we need democracy before urban transport, painted hospitals, dignified wages or productive farming, in order for all this to be sustainable.

I wish for a politician who cultivates freedom to knock down dogmas and to constantly replace ideas with better ones, who understands the process of building, deconstructing and reconstructing in an infinite, continuous and plural way.

I wish for a politician who leads small changes in a coherent manner, changing things gradually so that corrections can be made as they develop, who doesn’t demand huge social sacrifices, the awful sum of millions of sacrificed individuals for the sake of tomorrow’s society, sacrifices which even they aren’t willing to suffer a lot of the time.

I wish for a politician who is able to walk hand-in-hand with uncertainty. A centralized planned economy leads to political centralization as only a single concentrated, authoritarian and totalitarian power can react efficiently (and only for so long) to the infinity of diversions that social plurality impose on any attempt of closed planning.

I wish for a politician who plans so as to get his bearings, as a tool not an objective, who is open to changing his plans in view of how individual initiatives emerge in realty, not standing in their way so that it suits their fancies, no matter how scientific they want to be, because this will always fail, even if they try it for 60 years or more.

I wish for a politician who seeks consensus, who exposes themselves to criticism, who boasts about their ability to take a step back and tolerate differences, who is an expert handling contradictions, being a prism where individual rays of light filter into a great beam of light, not a black hole which devours everything without a second thought.

Thanatos:

I run away from the arrogant revolutionary and his “great idea” about how we should be, wanting us to adjust to their preconceived fantasies via cloudy theories which never resemble society’s great diversity and has more mysticism than science, more faith than reason.

I run away from those who want to change everything, immediately and definitively, using a great state machinery that joins individuals together into a shapeless mass, an excessive ego which makes him think that he is history’s architect, the driver of peoples, visionary or shaman.

I run away from those who don’t want or demand critique, they crush it just like they trample on reason, their personality creates a gravitational force which crushes any kind of creative thought, dissidence, thereby being out of touch with this distant reality.

I run away from those who promise paradises, abstract goals which only they can envisage, the Lenins and Fidels who have imposed dictatorships based on collective hypnosis, induced by the shiny pendulum watch of an abstract illusion which only shines in their demagogic invocations.

I run away from those who put off results and enthrone the means as such, not defending their revolution’s objectives as this is the only place where they justify their existence.

Many times, great transitioning moments in history have depended on the character or the stamp of the leader of the hour, so whether we want him or not, Diaz-Canel is the person who embodies this leader right now and our present and future depend on him a great deal.

Even though I don’t know how to be optimistic right now, I am clinging onto thinking logically and I tell myself that the fact that Diaz-Canel was imposed on us doesn’t exactly mean that he can’t still surprise us, so I’m crossing my fingers for the Cuba I wish for, which might resemble the Cuba you wish for too.


21 thoughts on “Is Diaz-Canel the politician we need?

  • June 17, 2018 at 6:55 am
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    Well said.

  • June 16, 2018 at 7:01 pm
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    Mikki, I have a couple of suggestions to enable you to comprehend why repatriado made his comment about a “white-European”.
    Cuba has a particularly hideous record of racism.
    Firstly, the current official regime statistic for blacks in Cuba is 9.9%. That figure is used to limit the opportunities for blacks to hold positions of authority – managerial etc. If you have been to Cuba, do you believe that only 9.9% of the population are black?
    Secondly, as a possession of Catholic Spain, slaves were imported to do the hard physical work. However there was a repeated concern that the number of blacks did not exceed the number of white Catholics. That was first raised by the Marques de casa Penalver in 1796. He suggested:

    “maintaining equilibrium by limiting introduction of negroes and by importing whites.”

    He suggested from the Canary Islands and Indians from Vera Cruz.
    The agent of the municipality of Havana said:

    “We tolerate and always have tolerated the entry of negro infidels, many of whom die infidels, but we cannot suffer the entry of white Catholics unless they be Spaniards.”

    In 1791, severe police regulations were introduced to prevent slave uprisings.
    In 1814, there was a plot by a free black Jose Antonio Aponte, to free slaves. The leaders were executed,
    In 1815, Spain introduced a policy of encouraging white immigrants:
    “Foreigners of the Catholic faith willing to take the oath of allegience to be allowed 4 and two seventh faregas (1.59 acres) for each member of the family and HALF AS MUCH FOR EACH SLAVE IMPORTED and exempt from tax for fifteen years.
    In 1817 Britain extracted a treaty from Spain for termination of the slave trade.
    Between 1818 and 1821, 56,000 slaves landed in Havana.
    In 1835, Britain extracted a second treaty.
    In 1835, spain adopted a policy of further promotion of white colonization.
    By 1843, Cuba had a population of 660,000 of whom 498,000 were slaves. There was a petition by 93 white planters to import more.
    In 1868, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes declared independence for Cuba having liberated the slaves on his family’s small estate one day earlier. That started a ten year war, with Cespedes being shot by the Spanish in 1874.
    Slavery eventually ended in Cuba in 1886 – the last country to do so.
    But, following the so-called Spanish American war of 1898, when Cubans had already been fighting for three years, a puppet Cuban Government was installed. It duly pursued the policies of importing and subsidizing white Spanish Catholic immigrants mainly from Galicia. The black Cubans were not offered anything, but because slaves were not available, indentured Chinese ‘coolies’ were imported.
    Fidel and Raul Castro’s father immigrated from Galicia and although married, had children by a servant woman including Fidel and Raul.
    The 1959 revolution was initially welcomed by the black population as at least the permuta provided food, but the racism continued with the State police and the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) complicit. I know because having my home in Cuba and having a black wife, we get stopped in the street by the State Police when in Havana.
    So I hope Mikki that you now understand repatriado’s comment!
    Incidentally, take a look at Cuba’s athletes and sports people and their colour!

  • June 15, 2018 at 12:12 am
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    I agree with you Bob that China only acts in its own interests. Hence my comment “whether China will be as benevolent remains to be seen. Certainly it is extremely doubtful whether China will ever get its money back.
    If the cash flow from China drys up, the PCC/Castro successor regime may well impose another “special period”, but it is doubtful whether the populace would as easily accept it the second time around.

  • June 13, 2018 at 3:07 am
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    It is an excellent comment, I subscribe it completely with only one exception, an important one, Cuban problem is first of all political, Cuban economy is centralized and planned by politicians serving first politicians needs and just later economic needs.

    As Carlyle always says, Cuban regime can be only beaten by their own incompetence, so far they have being very incompetent but very lucky finding a sponsor, but the last sponsor, Venezuela, is suffering exactly the same that us, the use of economy to satisfice politician’s needs.

    China won´t play that role and Putin´s Russia can´t.

  • June 13, 2018 at 2:49 am
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    ‘He is white’?Goddamn?? So what?

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