Trump and the Dissident Euphoria

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)

Dissidents Antonio Rodiles and Ailer González (Photo: Luis Leonel León/Diario las Américas).
Dissidents Antonio Rodiles and Ailer González (Photo: Luis Leonel León/Diario las Américas).

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.

8 thoughts on “Trump and the Dissident Euphoria

  • November 26, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Tis true. USA would prefer to live in ignorance. Hopefully the glue will be ripped from the peoples eyes soon. OR…will they continue the complacency they have fallen into? Now that Trump has recommended that protestors be called domestic terrorists_what is next? I fear the US will only come to Cuba to rape her of her minerals and perhaps use her as another launch pad …in many forms.

  • November 24, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Although the position, subordination, lack of values and their For Profit Organizations was evident since they were created in Miami in 1990 with pompous names such as Independent Journalist, Independent Librarians and Independent everything else.

    The large cash flow, the possibility to accrue thousands of flying hours across the globe, to be recognized with fake titles and honors in European Capitals and the United States and to be able to live comfortably in Cuba, unleashed acrimonious internal fights, defamations and struggles for leaderships positions which left a handful of opportunists on top, who have allowed the world to see a full size image of a gang of unprincipled, mercenaries ready to be in bed with Donald Trump, notwithstanding his immoral offensives against every ethnic, social or gender during the most revolting presidential primary in the US history.

  • November 24, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Pro-Castro critics of Cuban dissidents try to make a big deal about the money some dissidents allegedly receive form US based charities, agencies and political organizations. Ironically, in the 1950’s Fidel Castro once toured the US and raised funds for his rebellion against the Batista dictatorship.

    Today, several so-called “Cuba experts” who energetically advocate lifting the embargo and normalizing relations with the Castro regime receive funding from political committees dedicated to those goals, long demanded by Raul & Fidel Castro.

    Julia Sweig, who reputedly played an advisory role in Obama’s opening to the Castro regime. A few years ago, Ms Sweig benefited from the access provided to her by the Cuban government which allowed her to research, write and publish books favourable to the regime.

    Phil Peters is a member of the Lexington Institute where he is employed as a “Cuba expert”. The Lexington Institute received funding from Sherritt International, the Canadian based mining corporation with extensive operations in Cuba (mining & energy). Not surprisingly, Peters has pushed a pro-business policy toward Cuba and has even gone to bat for the Castro regime in defending them against accusations of involvement in the death of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya.

    Peters has recently partnered with Swieg in promoting business in Cuba, through their consulting firm, D17 Strategies. Follow the money.

  • November 24, 2016 at 6:08 am

    Did you even bother to use the words ‘dissident’ or ‘Cuba’ even once in your comment? I don’t think so.

  • November 23, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    This is one of the best and most truthful articles I ever read in H.T. Alejandro is a very intelligent person and he is able to see both sides of the Cuba-USA situation.

  • November 23, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    So let me get this straight, the media, advertisors and sponsors, as well as the public at large would prefer to live in ignorance than address the true danger in tge world….the USA. Is that about right? I guess you’re the only one with the blunders off eh John? Only you know the real truth huh….

  • November 23, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    And your comment relates to the topic of Cuba and Cuban dissidents how?

  • November 23, 2016 at 11:15 am

    The U.S. is not a democracy in any sense of the word .
    It is an empire that enforces neo-liberal capitalism on the world’s weaker and poorer nations and has done so since emerging as a world power around WWI and its invasion , with a number of European nations, the just-born Soviet Union.
    It matters little whether it’s a Trump or a Clinton sitting in the White House as titular leader; the government will always be pro-neoliberal capitalist and pro-imperialist .

    Neither would have risen to the point that they could become presidential candidates of the twin parties of capitalism were they not absolutely in line with the status quo: a country run for the benefit of the wealthy as it was originally set up back around 1778.
    All else, the “popular ” issues of gay marriage, abortion rights, immigration etc. are cosmetic in nature; do not affect the rich-poor class war and that will be all we are allowed to vote about.

    The basic immorality of neo-liberal capitalism and U.S. imperial murder in the world are issues that are not allowed to be discussed by our elected leaders (even Bernie ) , by the corporate media because it would draw complaints and sponsor boycotts and sadly, by the general public who would much rather believe the comfortable lies that sustain their ( erroneous) worldview .

    A public subjected to over 100 years of increasingly effective propaganda and lies now finds the bitter truth appears to be the lies .
    The existential fear ( mortality salience) that drives the U.S. electorate cannot be overcome with fact and truth when the truth and facts conflict with what cognitive psychology refers to as Terror Management Theory and/or cognitive dissonance.

    In short, facts do not matter to a terrified public .

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