By Frank Simon
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.
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.
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.