Lessons for Cuba from protests in Venezuela and Nicaragua

By Repatriado

Protest against the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. Foto EFE/ Miguel Gutierrez

HAVANA TIMES – As a result of recent protests in Venezuela and Nicaragua, we have seen that these governments (like many others) are willing to do whatever they need to in order to hold onto power. They are not afraid to repress and kill like any of the dictatorships that ravaged South America over the past two centuries did. Does anyone really think this would be any different in Cuba?

In Cuba, we should learn a lesson from these protests which inevitably end up in violent clashes, whether that is spontaneous

1- A widespread movement can only be organized via information and communications technologies (TICs).
– TICs are still deeply rooted in Cuba, similar to those in Nicaragua or Venezuela.
– Access points are still monitored by the only company that provides this service, which is owned by the government.

2- Independent media (TV, Radio, written press) are essential for popular debate.
– Governments in Nicaragua and Venezuela have made great headway in their controls of the media, but they are still lightyears away from the Cuba government’s ironclad, absolute control of the media.

3- Labor strikes of a political nature only work if businessmen and workers come together.
– Cuba doesn’t have a labor movement. The things we call unions here are the Cuban Communist Party’s arms to exercise control over the labor force.
– There isn’t a business class in Cuba, the Revolution wiped it out and has stood in the way of its rebirth. Cuban “businessmen” are party members and respond to the PCC’s own interests.
– Any associationism outside of government “unions” is illegal and immediately repressed.

Student led protest in Managua. Foto: lapremsa.com

4- The student movement is key as a catalyst for protests.
– Cuban student organizations are tied to political power, they lack any enthusiasm and are docile to the State’s power.
– There aren’t any independent organizations as an alternative to state-led ones as they are forbidden.
– Unlike in Venezuela or Nicaragua, education has been completely nationalized.

5- It doesn’t matter how much such governments repress their people, they will always have a legion of unconditional intellectuals and social movements standing by their side to justify them.
– Anti-Imperialist mysticism continues to exist, which is completely false, and serves to put these governments in tune with anti-establishment or anti-capitalist movements.
– The Cuban Institute for Friendship with the People provides money for trips, holidays, congresses, demonstrations, political campaigns both on and outside the island for foreigners who are loyal to the Cuban system.
– A part of the international Left sacrifices human rights with pleasure and burdens people living under these “progressive” governments with poverty so as to uphold the revolutionary myth.

6- Repression doesn’t matter, governments in developed nations will not intervene to help an oppressed people.
– Both the United States and European governments will refrain from interfering, only muttering a few rhetorical phrases which serve to give the oppressors reason, who will adduce the right of national sovereignty.

With these disadvantages, I believe that the Cuban people shouldn’t imitate the social protests we have seen in Nicaragua and Venezuela. Our conditions to come out victorious by this means are infinitely worse than those of people in these countries.

The Ladies in White during one of their Havana marches. Photo: alongthemalecon.com

Undemocratic governments carry the seed of destruction in their very being. It doesn’t matter what the FSLN, PSUV or PCC does, the social and economic situation under them will always tend to get worse, until things collapse internally under the leadership of some of these bureaucrats who applaud enthusiastically today because this process has already begun in Cuba.

As our future doesn’t depend on who is sitting in the Palace of the Revolution but on who is sitting in the Palace of Miraflores in Caracas, aggravating social tensions in Cuba with a popular revolt would only lead to social trauma which we will pass down to our children, like what happened in Chile, Guatemala, Argentina, Paraguay or so many others.

The only thing that this violence will ensure is suffering and blood today, tears and resentment tomorrow. I don’t want this for the Cuban people.

Let’s educate ourselves in tolerance, humanism and civic responsibility. It’s time to create the values we need to not make the mistakes we made in the Republican (pre-Revolution) era, with the biggest one being allowing ourselves to be tricked by a great swindler.

One thought on “Lessons for Cuba from protests in Venezuela and Nicaragua

  • Unfortunately, as spoken by the great abolitionist and former slave, Frederick Douglass (my avatar)….”Power concedes nothing without demand”. The Castro dictatorship took Cuba by violence. It is not unreasonable to assume that they will not concede power without resorting to violence again.

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