Small-Minded Political Discourse in Cuba and Miami

The Havana malecon seawall. Photo: cubaencuentro.com

Paralysis of the Cuban government’s leadership, and the most obstinate of the exile community being the only influence in US policy towards Cuba.

By Alejandro Armengol (Cubaencuentro)

HAVANA TIMES – If we think about the statement that the Cuban clock has two hands, one in Havana and the other in Miami, then we need to ask whether they are still determined to go in the direction: moving counter-clockwise with a tenacity that can embitter the most optimistic.  

For many years, it has seemed like a tacit agreement was reached on both sides of the Florida Strait to carry on in this regression. It’s as if there were a conspiracy from both political extremes to set this clock to tick depending on their own interests.

The absolute power of going back, time and time again, to repair an outdated system and opposition model and to carry on regressing. It’s the same mission on Calle Ocho in Miami and in Plaza de la Revolucion, Havana: stay in a futile struggle, without giving up a single inch of ground.

Cuba continues to be an exception. It is still the example of something never-ending. It is characterized by its vague nature, which it has undeniably held onto throughout history: coming in last or first so it is never arrives on time.

Half-hearted statements. It doesn’t fall, nor does it stand on its feet.

On the personal side of things, success has accompanied those who haven’t diverged from this old path. Paralysis of the Cuban government’s leadership vs. the most obstinate exile community being the only influence in US policy towards Cuba. Checkmate.

With Donald Trump in the White House in the US, a line of alleged confrontation has made a comeback, which only stands out for its lack of effectiveness. As well as a strategy to isolate Cuba which does nothing but complicate the lives of those who live on the island or have relatives living there.

There have also been signs of a greater hard line approach which, in spite of coming under different political stripes, are nothing but a reflection of the totalitarian ideal: it isn’t a matter of refuting an idea but crushing it.

Using the argument of respecting the opposition and exile community, and the need to not “play” the Cuban government’s “game”, certain figures have tried to impose an alleged anti-Castro course of action.

Nevertheless, no matter how much they declare themselves to be the opposition to the Cuban regime, they display a similar attitude to the one that prevails in Plaza de la Revolucion: “your either with us or against us”.

Contrary opinions and information to their views are considered an attack and not a diverging opinion. They are doing the exact same thing as those on the island who organize and participate in acts of repudiation. They don’t accept any opinion that differs from their own, but they say they aspire for a democratic Cuba.

We need to fight to overcome this business of being frightened by those who try to impose their beliefs by resorting to insults and personal attacks.

Practicing moderation and good sense in our political discussions doesn’t free us from going into exile. It doesn’t contribute, in any significant way, to the end of totalitarianism that reigns in Cuba or to improving living conditions on the island. It doesn’t help the regime stay in power either. It just helps us to understand one another better.

Intimidation, threats and coercive acts shouldn’t have any space within the exile community, whether that’s in Miami or any other part of the world. If the Cuban regime uses these methods, it should be condemned for doing so, not imitated.

In any debate about Cuba, the same resources are used over and over again: harassment as a weapon; spreading lies, which is sometimes based on some elements of truth, but paint a deceiving picture nonetheless; the narrow-minded focus, which prevents a comprehensive view and demonizes the enemy.

Many discussions, articles, opinions, and comments that appeared in exile after the Havana City Historian, Eusebio Leal, passed away, exhibited the small-minded attitude that set the tone of any positive or negative view about this public official.

In addition to using repression, the Cuban regime has also used other means to stop Cuban citizens from rebelling. With the lack of hope on the horizon for a better future, envy and resentment have grown among the population as everyday practices.

For decades now, these habits have been exported to Miami. It is very hard for us to free ourselves from them, because we are so used to having one foot in hell and the other in purgatory.


10 thoughts on “Small-Minded Political Discourse in Cuba and Miami

  • August 25, 2020 at 8:12 am
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    The problem will never be resolved as long as those in power in Havana (and the supporters of castrismo in the US) continue to behave as if Fidel were still alive! Time to move on!

  • August 22, 2020 at 7:05 pm
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    The article as well as a few of the comments present the argument that the struggle between Miami and Havana is a balanced one. It is not. While the old guard in both Miami and Havana are dying off and with them, their old grievances, the younger generation in Miami is prospering. Subsequent generations in Havana are suffering more each year. As Miami debates whether or not to invest in 5G technology, Havana struggles to maintain its 2G infrastructure. Cubans in Miami must decide between living in 1500 sq. ft. apartments close to downtown or accept an hours commute from the suburbs to live in a split level with a pool. Cubans in Havana worry that their buildings may fall down on them after a drenching rain. Time is on the side of Miami. Conditions, economic, social and physical, in Havana will not sustain the old ideas from the Castros. Not for very much longer.

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