By Leduan Ramirez Perez
HAVANA TIMES – One of the Cuban government’s shortcomings is its inability to read the Cuban people. They sustain this ineptitude with a strong repressive system at its complete disposition and the safeguard of full immunity for repressors. However, these are also its Achilles’ heel.
While other governments learn to see social movements as legitimate forces in their favor by entering a dialogue, others such as the Cuban government; transform it into permanent conflict. This is where we see a point of no return.
Tired of always having to make sacrifices and seeing the incompetence of a system that fails to give them what they need, many Cubans have said enough is enough and have decided to stand up to repression, with legitimate power and public spirit. This is what reading the population is.
A good government is defined by its ability to serve the people. The greater its duty to the society it administrates, the greater the commitment to develop a Welfare State. However, the nature of the regime governing and its relationship to society is important in achieving this objective.
Governing is a constant dialogue between citizens, society, and public servants. Officials are the temporary servants of a political capital that is constantly being renewed. This is the natural order of things in the laws of biology and politics.
As a result, they should go to great lengths to get to know, listen and respond assertively to their people; and hold onto their positions in government. The contrary is synonimous with authoritarianism. However, beyond just listening, a ruler (president, Party and powers) needs to know how to read and understand their people.
Reading the population is quite possibly one of the most complex tasks any government has. It’s the way they tweak government decisions to society’s needs. Therefore, it isn’t strange for leaders to constantly call for this legitimacy that comes from the people to justify their actions and staying in their position of power. However, they rarely know how to listen to them and stick to their decisions.
The population is never just one person or institution. It is within this empirical contradiction that the essence of every government lies. One of these being a dictatorship or tyranny. A dictatorship is the kind of government that has its ability to read its people and adjust their decisions. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t actions targeted at containing any attempt of rebellion. In this situation, the government has no other strategy but to use force (symbolic, real, military, economic, social and cultural) to hold onto their position in power. This is what is happening in Cuba today.
Acts of repression in Cuba since the end of last year, reaching their peak in summer 2021, demonstrate the broken relationship of understanding between the government and the people. What we’re seeing in Cuba today is the representation of the inability to carry on governing a population that no longer legitimizes those in power. A country with over a thousand people in prison, arrested or taken to trial for having exercised their legitimate right to protest, exposes the clear nature of repression.
Calm on the streets is heavy and muscles are tense. Repression, arbitrary acts against citizens, punishments in summary trials in an attempt to govern with fear, are direct expressions of the government’s inability to listen to the people, who have reached the castle’s doors and are only asking for justice.
Within this context, the Cuban government has no choice but to start listening to the people’s voice and start moving towards a more open society without bloodshed. This is the danger in today’s Cuba, that the pride of a few translates into irredeemable vengeance on the part of the oppressed. The autocratic and tyrannical government is directly responsible for this.
This kind of government sustains itself with a Robespierre-style sense of terror. The Law does not matter and it is not respected. It’s a fearful government, not a lawful government. Dictatorship governments don’t think about the people because they don’t believe in the future or in a legacy later on. This is proof of autocratic hubris. However, the frightened population have no other way out.
Reading the population is a measure of accountability. Peoples who are able to ask for transparency from their government are the people who have a healthier relationship with their leaders. Leaders are aware of their needs and know how to enter a dialogue to deal with these problems and sometimes, they are able to prevent tyranny.
Above all else, reading the population is to be sensitive. Repression is the antonym of dialogue and sensitivity. Governments who don’t listen are destined to disappear. Tyrannies too. This will also happen in Cuba.