Why Isn’t the New Cuban Government Collapsing?

By Frank Simon

Canada, Cuba and Che.  Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES – The fixed nature of Cuba’s new government is becoming clear during the transition period this same prevailing system is undergoing on the island. Aside from opening up a debate about same-sex marriage, the island’s new Constitution and the new government and its cabinet are not reviewing any other aspects of Cuban life.

Widespread poverty of the masses and a select few with all of the country’s wealth in their pockets, tyranny, lies, a one-party system; these are just some of the evils that they even try to pass off as virtues in official media.

All of this chaos should be incentive for the Cuban people to stand up once and for all against the reigning mess, but, what’s going on? Nothing is happening, and the masses are just using copies of the new draft Constitution to wrap up fish in. It would seem that the Reich established by the Castros is going to last the thousand years that Nazism wanted to.

There are several factors to bear in mind. Cuba’s One-Party dictatorship was never Leftist, in fact, its morals (or lack of morals) is based upon the harshest of Stalinism’s requirements, especially intolerance. If we were to simplify the regime’s ideology to one word, we could call it “totalitarian”. In fact, the new Constitution has abolished Communism as an attainable goal for members of this party.

The first reason for this system’s permanence can be found in the island’s military power. The dictatorship has built an army that exceeds the people in force. The weakness of the Armed Forces because of their obsolescence is well-known, but, at the end of the day, they still continue to rule over the economy and over every aspect of life as a result. Hotels, beaches, restaurants, chains of businesses, specialized companies, corporations, etc., they are all a part of a scheme to suck up hard currency while the opposition and Cuban people only have remittances from abroad as a way to improve their lives or to survive in misery.

Help! Photo: Juan Suarez

Political power is another factor, which has no democratic legitimacy, but has de facto recognition from the majority of the International community. While History has given us ample evidence to prove the criminal and incompetent nature of this kind of government in different countries, some of the United Nations’ organizations take note of statistics that the dictatorship gives them and leave out the situation of dissident groups. Meanwhile, the national political landscape suffers from a uniformity of ideas, which stunts the human mind from accepting another ideology from unofficial partisan groups.

There isn’t even a Supreme Court that ensures constitutional guarantees in Cuban Jurisdiction, which leads us to deduce that these don’t in actual fact exist or are just hollow guarantees. This transforms the advantages of having a Constitution into a fantasy and the document itself into a bluff which has been made as a theater show for the world, but not as a cornerstone of civil rights.

Political crimes continue to be punishable, while the regime refuses to recognize the existence of prisoners of conscience. This reality, inherited from Soviet law, gags courts as it paralyzes the law and converts it into a weapon that favors the ruling elite and works against the people they govern.

As an annex, the new Constitution collects experiences from Nicolas Maduro and Daniel Ortega’s authoritarian governments and establishes the use of armed means to defend the status quo as the people’s “right”. They are giving a green light to the organization of paramilitary groups and to a future civil war. This proves that the Cuban dictatorship knows full well how unhappy the masses are and that they won’t think twice about using armed civilians (or soldiers dressed up as civilians).

The economic order continues to ensure submission as the Cuban people depend on this political system to distribute food items. The State is the main employer and main beneficiary of this system, the highest authority for both private sector workers as well as those who continue to receive miserly public sector wages. Products at hard-currency stores continue to have high VAT rates. There is still no set date for the end of Cuba’s dual-currency system and the already stifling situation it has created, and it hasn’t even been mentioned once in the new draft Constitution, it only talks about building a “sustainable” economy.

New concepts such as private property are being introduced making it clear to ordinary folk that they should start getting used to the financial inequality that has been imposed by the ruling elite and their system of privileges.

At least there is rum. Photo: Juan Suarez

Without any lights whatsoever, the tunnel in Cuba offers an even more oppressive end, with a poorer population who might be unemployed or underemployed, in a country that can no longer feed them and treat them like scum. The Welfare State is collapsing amidst laws which, in the medium-term, justify and legitimize this future that belongs to only a few, a very select few.

Regarding the media, every time the subject of freedom of expression doesn’t come up, the Fourth Estate is expected to cease to exist, leaving the Constitution pretty much untouched in this regard. Alternative media (based in Havana at least) are heading on their way to extinction in true old fashion style. Maybe we’ll have to watch a funeral for “OnCuba” along the entire Malecon, like in the past with “Diario de la Marina”.

From official blogs to obstinate media platforms, a campaign has been launched against any voice that dissents. This has been accompanied by institutional pressure to put a stop to “OnCuba” collaborators’ work. Many of them have lost their jobs, others have had to face labor suits. Fear in society disables new journalists, as things are becoming more and more violent. At the last national congress of government journalist’s association, radio director Alexander Jimenez from Villa Clara asked for criminal measures against independent reporters.

With the dictatorship holding all four powers of State, Cuba’s new administration hopes to give continuity to the status quo, doing whatever is necessary to ensure this. This leaves leaders of change very little margin for independence and empowerment. In spite of the unfeasible nature of a system that doesn’t even aspire to be Communist anymore, but to remain the same, its collapse in the future will prove very costly for the entire country.

17 thoughts on “Why Isn’t the New Cuban Government Collapsing?

  • For once Dani I concur with your view. The Brexit decision was a divisive poison pill, which has made sensible government impossible as which ever policy it proposes, half the population are virulently opposed to it and the potential election of the Marxist Jeremy Corbyn could turn the British State into another Venezuela within two years.
    Those who will suffer most will be the very sections of society which voted “Leave”.

  • It is. I give the government less than 1 year. The British State less than 2 years.

  • Why isnt the British Government collapsing ? What a God awful pace this is.

  • You forgot to add Venezuela.

  • I liked your comments. I know you can’t help to feel the way you do, but it’s very naive on your part. Still as I said I like your comments and partly agree with you because of this statement by Karen S. Magee that I’m coincidentally reading from a wall at Shands Hospital in Jacksonville Florida, and it goes like this, ‘Happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.” Cuba is the land of contradictions.

  • The Cuban government is and always has been a specialized mafia (La cosa nostra). Those at the top also known as the elite have all of the control and reak all of the profits. The only way this will change is for the People to rise in protest, which is when they’ll be surrounded by the army and if they refuse to fire on their own people and support the uprising instead, then change will come. As it stands Cubans are contempt in their own misery and expect nothing will change. Family life is very strong/rewarding, food is scarce and they do live from day to day. Overall I would say that amazingly enough, they’re a happy people. I personally think of this the country of my birth as ‘the island of contradiction’.

  • Why isn’t the Cuban Government collapsing?
    Good Question.
    Why isn’t the Chinese Government collapsing?
    Why isn’t the US Government collapsing?
    Equally good Questions.

  • As an African-American, I have long been amazed by the complacency of the Cuban people. Living under the boot of Castro tyranny for nearly 60 years with seemingly no end in sight. Then I realize how long African-Americans suffered under slavery, then Jim Crow oppression and even up to this day under the Trump administration. I don’t think that Cubans don’t care. On the contrary, if asked, most Cubans want a free Cuba. The problem is how? By armed struggle? Through civil disobedience? Simply waiting for the historic generation to die out? The Castros, have wisely maintained their dictatorship with an iron fist in a velvet glove. While there are indeed food shortages, few people go hungry. While what is allowed to be read on the island is limited, education is universal. Even after hurricanes, when building supplies are scarce to restore roofs, there is never a shortage of rum to make waiting bearable. Finally, until only recently, the pressure cooker that was Cuban life always had a release valve in the wet foot/dry foot immigration policy of the US. Rather than stay and force changes in Cuba, the island’s most desperate escaped to the US. I think Cubans want change. But wanting something is one thing. Finding a way to get it? That’s the problem.

  • Thank you jimmie. As I have said previously, the requirements for Cubans seeking to have a quiet (peaceful) life is:
    “Don’t challenge the system, accept it, stay mute and exist.”
    In the outside world jimmie, freedom rates above peace and many have died for it.
    There are lots of alternatives to communism, and hundreds of millions are grateful that they have a different form of government.

  • jimmy, I am married to a Cuban and my home is in Cuba and my friends are Cubans. Have you visited any free democratic countries? Are you able from such experience to define the differences, or are you merely repeating what your communist government has told you through the media which they control, through education the purpose of which is defined in Article 43 of their Constitution?
    The roofs of many of the casas that I know, are far from secure, far too many are only shacks.
    I am glad for you jimmie that you are content. But that doesn’t apply to those Cuban students whom I meet daily when at home and for whom the only hope for a better life where they can seek a good future is to leave Cuba.
    I hope to see a Cuba where the people are free to criticize their government openly, where they can have access to information and where they can use their talents and abilities to make a better future for their children.
    Whereas you quite properly question the views and opinions of others, do not assume that you know the reality of the alternatives to communist dictatorship.
    As I wrote in disagreement with Bob, I do not agree that: “the Cuban people really don’t care”.
    I know that they care deeply are tired and weary of being the controlled proletariat and that they hope for a better future in freedom.

  • I don’t know, but does all this sound like something Fidel, the rebel, would have said to the masses before the Revolution? Who is to take the place of Fidel, the rebel? In fact, where are the “rebels”? The best that I have seen is a group of old women dressed in white, who appear to have the only spine-bone in Cuba. I don’t see how Cuban men can stand idly by, and push these old women into harms way. There are no armed revolutionaries in the mountains fighting for the freedom of the Cuban people. You need to find another Fidel, the rebel, or maybe import another Che. Someone just needs to take his old AK, go to the mountains, and wait. Maybe a few will join him. Maybe 50,000 will join him. Who knows?

  • I love it, it is wonder full that you still travel back to our beautiful Island and support your family. God bless you. Most of us Cubans do not care about politics, we care about our family to be healthy and living in peace.

  • Cubans do not care?…Of course we do, the majority of us: workers, students, professionals, the people in general prefer this system, why do we have to rebel against our government?, come on look what is going on in the rest of the world, my Cuba is music, my country is one of the most secure place to visit, its a pour country but people get by daily, our health is good, our education is super, we have a secure roof on top of our head, come on guys do you think you both are experts on Cuba issues?, came to our country and see it for yourself, stay with a Cuban family for a couple of days, go freely and ask opinions to ordinary people, you will find different of them, but I guarantee you that the majority will support our system, I don’t care what you call it, authoritarian or communist, I call it the right system for our country. CUBA VA, NO MATTER WHAT

  • Enjoy Carla, you make me realize how fortunate I am to spend so much of my time at home in Cuba.
    On the 7th September I shall be there.

  • Thank you for putting this so perfectly, Bob. I will be in Cardenas this coming Friday with my second family for one precious week.

    We will not be talking about the Castro’s or the economy, we will be enjoying each other.

  • Bob, I do not agree that “the Cuban people really don’t care”. Unlike those who as you put it “sit at our keyboards and pontificate”, Cubans have to daily struggle to exist under a repressive totalitarian regime which has all the power. You reflect that which I wrote when describing the requirements for Cubans seeking to have a quiet life:
    “Don’t challenge the system, accept it, stay mute and exist.”
    However there are many Cubans who seek more than just existing. The introduction of the cell-phone in particular has vastly extended the spread of information – which previously was denied. The recent purge following Diaz-Canel Bermudez being appointed by Raul Castro as puppet President, was a recognition that there is an ever-increasing level of discontent.
    Your view could well have been used to describe the populations of those 13 Eastern European countries which were under the heel of the USSR, but look what happened when chinks of freedom appeared and the USSR rotted from within. The rigid control of the PCC in Cuba ensures that a physical uprising is impossible, but there is opportunity for dissent when Raul burns to ashes and the struggle for power takes place.
    i obviously have more faith in the people of Cuba than you, but somehow feel that you would like to share my hope.

  • Frank Simon’s article omits one key fact, the Cuban people really don’t care. At least not enough to do anything. While everyone says they really want a better economic situation, their action is to work harder to get ahead and not devote any energy or resources toward changing the government which is the underlying cause.

    One strong attribute of Cuban culture is their ability to not dwell on those things they believe they cannot change, simply accept them, and move on while focusing on the more positive attributes of life. That is the critical factor at play here.

    Maybe there is a major gap between those of us who have the liberty and time to sit at our keyboards and pontificate government changes and those Cuban people who work full time just to survive on a daily basis and devote the free time they have to enjoying life.

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