Slavoj Žižek Has Given Us the Order
By Lynn Cruz
HAVANA TIMES – It’s been just over a year since Russia’s war against the Ukrainian people broke. The pretext Vladimir Putin is theoretically putting forward: “NATO’s too close,” which violates the 1990 agreement between Gorbachev and Bush.
I’m not going to say what other more influential thinkers than myself have said, but I am going to be a critical voice from within Cuba for a left-wing media platform such as Havana Times.
I’ll also leave you the texts that have driven me to write about this today. I believe it’s important at a time when war, the media and propaganda cloud the senses. I’m not saying I hold “the truth”, it would be impossible to understand everything that’s happening, but I’m sure that the only way to get to this knowledge, is to piece all the pieces together.
I’m going to go back to 1991, the year of “shock therapy” advised by the US in the USSR’s transition to “democracy”, the US’ idea of democracy, of course. At that time, the European Union considered the need to provide financial aid to the Soviet people, according to close sources.
Given the situation in Cuba today, with rice shortages, a digital currency (MLC), privatization of state-owned companies, insufficient financial freedoms, it’s not hard to detach yourself and understand that this situation is pretty much identical to the one in 1991 that banned the Communist Party, allowed Boris Yeltsin to rise to power, Vladimir Putin’s creator, with indirect help from the US, which is condemning Putin today in international courts for “war crimes”.
The Cuban documentary El caso Padilla by filmmaker Pavel Giroud is being screened at international festivals. The Left that once blindly supported Fidel Castro’s Revolution, is now clapping and condemning Fidel Castro’s actions against intellectuals and artists since the 1960’s. But at that time, people like the poet Heberto Padilla, who came out to the world and told their stories, were considered worms.
What’s changed? There is a lot of room to maneuver. We could say that Internet access now on cellphones, the distressing situation with the pandemic and well, now war, are some of the main reasons why Giroud isn’t being abused at BAFICI, Argentina, like Miguel Coyula was in Mar del Plata with Nadie (2017), in which I worked as an actress and producer. Dissident poet Rafael Alcides, from Padilla’s generation, is the protagonist.
Alcides questions the figure of Fidel Castro in Nadie. Even though they didn’t announce the movie would be cut from the program, after accepting it outside the official competition, people in Mar del Plata immediately cut communications with the Habanero Film Sales team, the movie’s representative. Then, a screening was canceled at the Argentinian Ministry of Foreign Trade, “for reasons still unknown.”
Thus, the simplest way to analyze what is happening in Cuba today is through the lens of what happened in the USSR in 1991, as the fate of that former socialist country’s satellite island is pretty much identical. With some distinctive features, of course, but I believe it’s worth understanding that Cuba is just an aftershock from that earthquake.
Could we say that Joe Biden is implementing his new form of shock therapy for Cubans? Will the US once again come stomping in like an elephant to finish sweeping up this collapse of Cuban socialism? Is their solution a “business tutorial”? Just like they did with the USSR? On the other hand, this would be a mirror effect of what the old and new Cuban oligarchies are doing, in their imitation of the Russians.
We know most Cubans won’t be able to get by on their own, in a country that is in complete and utter ruins. People just about have the minimum to eat badly. Those that have savings and are betting on keeping their small businesses going, will probably end up cleaned out by both the Cuban and US oligarchies.
European philosopher Slavoj Žižek, tells us Cubans that we “should kill Fidel Castro”, amidst this warmongering backdrop. Žižek overlooks the fact that Cuban writers and artists have been doing this in our work, generation after generation; and that we’ve only been able to do this symbolically while killing ourselves as citizens in the process.
Cuban intellectuals weren’t able to kill Fidel Castro on a political level, because the international Left chose him and his socialist Revolution; thereby contributing, with their support, to the creation of a system that doesn’t provide lasting freedom for art or the press and, as a result, to the Cuban people either.
It’s very easy to order us now to destroy what powerful nations have upheld. Worse still, knowing that it isn’t easy to kill something that has taken 64 years to be built. Russia’s experience proves this, now in the present.
It was irresponsible of the international community to trust that the USSR’s collapse would automatically give birth to democracy, in a place that never left feudalism. It’s twice as irresponsible now when History is repeating the exact same story in Cuba, 33 years later.
Ignoring all of this out of hypocrisy should also be punishable in international courts.