Bastion 2013 and the Ghost of the Enemy /Orlando Delgado

A soldier during the Bastión-2013 maneuvers. (JUVENTUD REBELDE)

It happened in the early morning hours of Monday, 19 November: suddenly the usual transmissions were cut and all the official TV channels were linked. Many thought it might be news of great impact: the death of Fidel Castro or something like that. The image of Raul Castro raised the expectation. But it was all a big fiasco. Castro II announced the beginning of the military exercises all over the country. Perhaps war is coming, many wondered.

We all know how far the country is from participating with its men in any of the conflicts that plague the planet. The regime doesn’t have the will nor the resources for it. The words of the General were clear: “With the engagement in this exercise we propose top continue raising the level of preparation and cohesion of the organs of leadership and control of the troops (…) to confront the different actions of the enemy.”

It remains doubtful what actions they’re thinking of resisting, because any moderately informed person knows that “the enemy” is not planning any military actions. It’s a great blunder to believe that the United States (a country with which we have ties of all kinds) is thinking of a military attack on Cuba. This is the strange idea that the regime constantly tries to sell to justify huge and unnecessary military expenditure in a bankrupt economy, as well as for maintaining internal repression.

Bastion 2013 — as these maneuvers are called — are simply intended to remind Cubans about “our eternal struggle against the empire,” in line with the Castro ideal that “as long as imperialism exists, the Party, the State and the people will offer themselves to the greatest defense. The Revolutionary guard will never be neglected.”

It’s well known that, lacking enemies, totalitarian systems invent them, their livelihood depends on confrontation with an external rival that supposedly tries to “colonize” or “invade” the national territory. Such an archaic idea in the 21st century, with an economic interconnected at the planetary scale, and where borders tend to disappear, is obvious to the least of the analysts.

The Cuban leaders live in another epoch, disconnected from reality. They force citizens into a condition of western pariahs in the era of the Internet and smartphones.

One of the collateral objectives of these useless efforts in which university students and other sectors of society participate, is the constant glorification of violence as the only method to resolve the differences that exist in any modern community, to the detriment of the peaceful way.

Reconciliation and open dialog among all Cubans (living where they live and thinking how they think) should be the fundamental premise for the rebirth of the country, leaving being once and for all the ballast of Castro’s totalitarianism that today oppresses is. Cube is not a bastion and the vast majority of its people just want to live in peace. The speeches of the barricade have died and the only Stalinist dictator of the West — without a doubt — also has an expiration date.

Orlando Delgado

From Diario de Cuba, 25 November 2013