Some people in Cuba continue to stubbornly take part in the vulgar act of mixing up opposition management with an excessive dependence on a foreign government’s policy
By Alejandro Armengol (Cubaencuentro)
HAVANA TIMES — Ever since some Cuban dissidents gathered together years ago at the home of the then Head of the US Interests Section in Havana, and participated in a pretend vote to elect the US president, the elections that take place 90 miles away from the Cuban coast, and their results, have been an easy temptation for the opposition on the island to fall into a farce, celebrations and mistakes which only end up highlighting the image of a Cuba depending on US dollars that come from Washington.
From the outset, it’s necessary to point out the fact that the money undertone runs throughout the video where a group of Cuban dissidents – Antonio G. Rodiles, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez (Antunez), Angel Moya, among others – celebrate the victory of the magnate Donald Trump and Cuban-American legislators in the US elections.
All of the statements made by the opposition recognizing Trump and his concern for human rights and political prisoners in Cuba are nothing more than a revelation of their ignorance – or in the best of cases – pure opportunism and interests to line their pockets.
Out of the majority of those who have openly voiced this way of thinking, it’s difficult to separate these statements from the benefits that a certain sector of the exile community and the Republican Party have given them for their cooperation.
This explains why the video was made. It wasn’t at all directed towards the Cuban people – who they have supposedly made their political commitment to -, but instead was rather made for those who live in Miami and Washington and finance them.
As a result, what these declarations and images have really underlined is not only the lack of connection between these dissidents and the reality of everyday Cuban life, but also the lack of interest – on their part – to widen their vision and extend their objectives, while they choose instead to seek refuge in Miami’s rhetoric.
They present an image which could please those on the other side of the Florida Strait, but with which it’s hard to win over supporters on the island. It gives the impression that the latter aren’t what they care about or what they are interested in.
If Cubans, many of them, have voiced their concerns for a setback in relations between Washington and Havana – and how that would affect their everyday lives -, these dissidents seem to live in a kind of “dissident bubble”, where these kinds of worries don’t reach them.
They respond with joy and even joke in the face of the fear that citizens on the street have.
This disregard for what is actually taking place in the country by those who are supposed to represent – at least somewhat – a step forward towards democracy, is truly worrying. And for more reason if it derives from the possibility of satisfying interests and objectives, personal and collective, and is put forth using demagogy.
“It was very frustrating to watch how the Obama administration allowed the regime to win over the political and economic space and leave the Cuban people and their demands to the side,” Rodiles said, according to El Nuevo Herald.
This old bad habit – which was probably inherited from the Castros – of disguising personal or group interest with a national theme, has been repeated here. It seems that the dissident considers himself a representative of what all Cuban people want and condemns Barack Obama’s government for failures that they had nothing to do with. The fact is that first of all the Castro regime owns the country’s entire political sphere, typical with the authoritarian system they’ve adopted. This is something that had nothing to do with Obama and existed before he came into the White House. Once again, the useful exercise of sharing out the blame among strangers and not talking about your own has come to light.
As if temporary memory loss was a virtue worth exploiting, these dissidents seem to be cheering for a return -which they dream about but don’t know what will happen – to the time of George W. Bush, where nothing was done in favor of democracy and steps forward in human rights in Cuba, apart from handing out a few medals and trophies.
The strange thing though is that these dissidents are copying a longing for the past, like US voters who support Trump – which in the US is not repeatable, but at the same time represents a privileged and “glorious” past -, and they recognize it as a step backwards in Cuba, which doesn’t mean some kind of improvement but the complete opposite.
In spite of the period of fear that Cuba’s own police State has created, the island is not living in a situation like that of the “Black Spring”. Back then they also seemed to believe in the promises – during the last weeks of the campaign – from a candidate (George W. Bush) with no background whatsoever in advocating for human rights. We have to add to all of the above the fact that dissidents like some of those in exile in Miami, have chosen to keep quiet in a conspiratorial silence about the ties between Trump and Vladimir Putin.
The slightest knowledge of politics, not only what is happening in the United States but in Cuba as well, would have led them to ask the key question which ordinary Cubans are asking with regard to the current US president: Is it better now or was it better before Obama?
It’s true that the answer to this question would stem from some material progress made, and that when it comes to greater political freedom, well there’s not a lot to be said, although the comparison wouldn’t find greater freedom during former Republican presidential terms, a more strict embargo and greater restrictions on travel and remittances. But no, they have found leagues of opponents who reject the leadership; or who feed off of this story while looking to the future.
Of course dissidents have every right to express their sympathies for Trump and it’s even possible that they are being sent the necessary tickets from Miami so they can watch the new President be sworn in, holding mini US flags in their hands. However, it’s one thing to want the benefits of a democratic system like that of the US – whose virtues and flaws place it way above the Cuban regime- to be adopted, and it’s entirely another thing to insist on opposition management with an excessive dependency on a foreign government’s policy.