Vicente Morin Aguado
HAVANA TIMES — We have been witnessing an unusual increase in the number of dissidents who are temporarily detained in Cuba, sometimes as part of violent arrests that the authorities cannot conceal. For the most part, the victims of these actions are returned home, so that something we could well define as a vicious circle can begin anew.
The authorities also continue to stage so-called “repudiation rallies”, perhaps less frequently than before, and other “countermeasures”. Significantly, these do no awaken the enthusiasm that was their major strength in the past, when those identified as dissidents were actually isolated from society.
Cuban society in general still has a long way to go before being able to openly debate such incidents, silenced by the government, on the one hand, and blown out of proportion by alternative media, on the other, as befits the logic of the social straightjacket.
Many things have changed and continue to change in the country. The same holds for the world in general. These new times demand that the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) develop new ideas, up-to-date responses to its opponents. I say “responses”, not “repression”. Only the violation of the law justifies the exceptional use of force by the authorities.
The generation that grew up in the post-1990 Special Period and witnessed the dollarization of the domestic market, the massive emigration of Cubans, the arrival of remittances, cellular phones and the Internet is a social sector made up of young people who think and act very differently from those of us who are today over fifty.
However, the average age of PCC leaders at all levels, particularly the highest levels where decisions are made, is, however, over sixty, and these people, as is to be expected, tend to react in conservative ways to the country’s changing reality and the direction it is inevitably heading in.
The facts show that they haven’t reached an agreement regarding what to do. A telling symptom of this is the frequent desertions by high Party and State leaders and especially their relatives.
The reform process, referred to as “updating” by the PCC, its architect, must continue. Likewise it is senseless to try and limit the impact that new communication technologies have on the country’s political life. Putting an end to the sending of remittances is unthinkable – these are, today, the very lifeblood of Cuba’s domestic market.
We’ve seen the emergence of the nouveaux riches, desertions in sectors that ought to be examples of loyalty to the country’s leaders, corruption scandals rearing their ugly heads at all levels – in short, we are going through agitated political times that prompt justified expressions of discontent among the people.
It is logical to expect a change of mindset among Cubans, who are increasingly critical of the revolutionary leadership, whose long years in power have made the many mistakes made over time more evident. The historic memory of the younger generations finds no references that can act as a counterbalance to the dramatic reality we are all experiencing today.
Much of the blame for today’s unbalanced opinions is to be laid on Cuba’s official, monopolistic press, which continues to shield itself with the false consensus created in the absence of contradictory opinions that can be conveyed to the population through similar channels.
Expressing dissatisfaction is part of being human, particularly being young. If such dissent is expressly peaceful, there is little or no room for police intervention.
I don’t believe the repressive measures that are coming back into style are a solution to the inevitable political contradictions of the present or future. The Cuban Communist Party, as Cuba’s one party, faces the dilemma of having to find new answers to current problems.
Vicente Morín Aguado: [email protected]