Is There Really An Opposition In Cuba?

Elio Delgado Legón

HAVANA TIMES, April 9 — From the very moment of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, obstacles began to be put in place so that it couldn’t advance. The US government directed its Central Intelligence Agency to carry out a plan to overthrow the nascent revolution in this country.

Utilizing supporters of the Batista dictatorship who remained in Cuba, and others who had fled to the north, armed bands of insurgents were trained to plant terror in the Cuban countryside.

At the same time, the US was training a military force that would land on the Cuban coast, take a beachhead and ask for the intervention of the US Marines to overthrow the revolutionary government by force.

While that mercenary army was receiving training in Nicaragua, with the complicity of the Somoza dictatorship, within Cuba insurgent bands were committing murders of farmers, literacy teachers and other humble citizens from the countryside. This was the Cuban Revolution’s first “opposition” – trained, armed and paid by the US government.

Everyone knows the story and the conclusion of the planned invasion. The people of Cuba, though poorly armed, defeated those forces within 72 hours.

This opposition tried to deceive the world by attacking the island with planes painted with the Cuban flag and the initials of the Revolutionary Armed Forces. They attacked the main air bases and succeeded in destroying the few aircraft that the country possessed for its defense.

Even in the UN General Assembly, the US representative to that organization presented photos of those aircraft. The effort was to deceive — as always — by lying to the world’s ambassadors gathered there.

Nevertheless, with the few old planes that were saved and with the heroism of their pilots, the revolutionary air force was able to provide support to battalions of militia who fought and defeated the Bay of Pigs invasion attempted by the “opposition.”

Deployed in the waters off the coast of the island were US warships, ready to spring into action had the invasion been successful.

Still, the failure of this operation was not the end of attempts to create an internal opposition.

The groups of guerrillas in the Escambray Mountains and elsewhere on the island continued to receive logistical support and money from the US government through the CIA.

Those forces continued to commit crimes and terrorist acts until the revolutionary militia captured or exterminated them. That was the end of that “opposition” made in the USA.

There exists a document* by a high official of the United States Department of State which recognizes that in Cuba there was no opposition. He made several recommendations to President Eisenhower, stating the following:

“The majority of Cubans support Castro. There is no effective political opposition (…) the only foreseeable means to alienate internal support is by creating disillusionment and discouragement based on lack of satisfaction and economic difficulties (…)

“If such a policy is adopted, it should be the result of a positive decision which would call forth a line of action which, while as adroit and inconspicuous as possible, makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”

This policy has been implemented since then and they have enacted increasingly harsh laws, ones even with an extraterritorial reach in order to achieve the objectives proposed in the document. Since these have not been as successful, they turned to manufacturing an internal opposition.

What we now call “opposition” in Cuba is another lie. These are individuals recruited by the CIA and receiving money for activities against the Cuban government. This has been repeatedly demonstrated and published on TV and in the press, featuring numerous pieces of evidence, documentaries and footage.

Those who receive money from a foreign power — one which is also the self-declared enemy of the Cuban Revolution — cannot be regarded as a simple opponents. They are mercenaries and counter-revolutionaries.

(*) Lester D. Mallory “Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Mallory) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rubottom),” Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/4-660, Secret, Drafted by Mallory, in Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba: (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1991), p. 885.

7 thoughts on “Is There Really An Opposition In Cuba?

  • the government is following the china model. that is, keep people happy with an increasing standard of living. the real china model is 10% growth, not 2%-3% growth. i was talking to a cuban in habana about there being few new industries, products and exports in cuba. there are a lot of imports from america, china, mexico etc. but without new exports more imports are not possible. tourism can´t pay for everything and tourism could be improved in many ways like backpacker hotels because backpackers spend more than any other group. he said “it´s the system.” as far as i can see, there is no system. no system of economic research, no system to start new industries, public or private. when chinese cars and motorbikes weren´t much good, and the chinese had little capital, the chinese invited in foreign car and motorbike companies then copied everything. ford and honda and with the profits bought MG and volvo. this can be done with agricultural industries but because of the past experience with united fruit the government would be afraid of foreign agricutural companies. it is not necessary to sell land. the chinese for example rent land to dutch cut flower companies. it wouldn´t surprise me if at some time in the future, once they have learned the business, the chinese take over most of the cut flower industry as the chinese have taken over so many other industries. china makes 80% more cars than amerca although chinese cars are smaller andlower quality on average SO FAR. toyotas were once considered cheap jap basura. the cuban government needs to make some decisions instead of coasting and paying debt by selling overpriced, not very luxurious products to cubans in the CUC economy. the luxury products on offer are of no interest to tourists. the tourist boutiques are full of cubans. i have seen it. tourists walk out without buying anything. some of the luxury products are complete overpriced basura. other stuff is very ordinary but not to cubans who can´t travel and don´t know the real value of things.i saw a $2 chinese watch selling for 83 CUCs. the shop owner claimed it was made in italy.

  • Those loyal socialists who seek to participate in the ongoing process of improving on imperfections, comrades like Pedro Campos, should not be put in the same category as counter-revolutionaries. They should be appreciated as the national treasure they are, and brought into the reform dynamic.

    Those who aspire to a neo-capitalist Cuba, as long as they do not work with foreign powers, should have their democratic and human rights respected by Cuban law and the PCC. The problem here of course is that the “foreign powers” (and we know who they are) are working full time to take advantage of any and all expressions of discontent, to undermine socialist state power. So, what is to be done?

    Let’s ask these foreign powers politely to stop their aggression, so that pro-capitalist Cubans can speak their minds openly. This might work . . . but probably not.

  • No one who cares about Cuba should accept money from the US government directly or indirectly. You should read the memo in the link above again. The US has never been interested in the wishes of the Cuban people. The years of sabotaging and economic sanctions as well as biological warfare and threatened invasions should be enough. Accepting money in those circumstances would be like someone accepting Al Qaeda money to promote moderate Islam in the US. The majority of the countries of the world don’t support aggression or the blockade against Cuba and believe in Cuban independence, so there are plenty of other options for support.

  • It is not the “outside agitators” (or, as Elio states, the “paid mercenaries,” who are the greatest threat to the Revolution, but the internal dry rot, as articuated by Moses. The very reason for the existence of this “dry rot,” however, is the failure of the Revolution to deal adequately with its economic problems, and to modify its actions. Obviously, this is caused by an economy of scarcity, by the workers not earning a living wage, hence making up for it where there is opportunity by “spontaneously redistributing the wealth” through stealing from their workplace. (However, can it really be considered stealing, if they are merely reappropriating the surplus profit they should have received anyway?) In any event, the Revolution has heretofore dealt with the problem “Bass Ackwards,” with predictable results. Will the Revolution learn from its failures? Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter of the longest running historic “telanovela” in history!

  • The article by Elio was quite true in every respect and so were the comments by Moses .

    They are not mutually exclusive .

    The defects mentioned by Moses are all based on people trying to add a few more pesos in their income to make life under the U.S war easier and perhaps as easy as it would be without a U.S embargo.

    The stated purpose of the embargo is to squeeze the Cuban people until they reject the revolution and that is exactly what it is doing and I can feel that embargo’s purpose working in many articles and responses I read here.

    With no more than ten years and more likely around 7-8 years before deteriorating economic conditions in the U.S. create the atmosphere for an end to the embargo (IMO) it is a race to see if Cubans will be willing to hang on until the collapse of the U.S economy and the end of the imperialist embargo .

  • The true opposition to the Revolution are not found in the blogoshere. The real oppositon lies in the managers of State restaurants who take a cut and then turn a blind eye when staff walk out the back door with boxes of chicken for private sale. Or State-run hotel managers who take theirs off the top while front desk staff redirect cash paying tourists to non-state pockets . The opposition lies in those Joven Club managers who sell internet access for 60cuc a month to private homes for personal gain. These state actors do far more harm to the economy and development of the Cuban model that all the bloggers and independent journalists combined. It appears that Elio would also prefer to turn a blind eye to these defects in the Revolution because it is easier to blame someone who happens to disagree with him.

  • What we call the opposition in Cuba today is no “lie”. It is a fact.
    Hundreds of activists, ten thousand people signing the Varela petition and political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Cuban jails.
    These are no CIA agents. If these” people were in in for the money” they would be better of getting a job as a barman: more money and less risk.
    The fact that in a country where the regime has a stranglehold on all aspects of life and can remove employment, education, housing and even food at will it is inevitable that human rights activists need help.
    They get that from the European Union, Sweden, Norway, NGO’s, … and US organizations both private and public. That does not make them agents in any way.

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