Castro Military Counterintelligence: An Example of Cuba’s Internal Embargo/Blockade

The state apparatus of control and repression is among Cuba’s largest employers.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Elías Amor Bravo, Economist, November 6, 2022 — Cuban communists blame the embargo/blockade for all the ills that occur in Cuba, but they know that argument is not true. On the contrary, there is an internal blockade by the regime on the Cuban people that prevents them from reaching the levels of prosperity and well-being they want. A much more harmful and lethal internal blockade. There are many examples of this historical attrition. Interestingly, the information is offered by Granma, the Communist Party’s official newspaper, in the article entitled “The history of Military Counterintelligence is the history of the Revolution.”

Here we have a magnificent example of that internal blockade that grips the lives of Cubans: military counterintelligence, which has just turned 60 years old. It’s not surprising that Raúl Castro, through an emotional letter, has abandoned his golden retirement to preside over what Granma calls “the political act and military ceremony on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the founding of Military Counterintelligence, constituted on November 7, 1962, and whose history is, for many reasons, the history of the Revolution itself.”

Well, yes. The history of the revolution, the model of social, economic and political organization that has made Cuba in six decades one of the poorest countries in the world. And why is this counterintelligence an example of the internal blockade? For many reasons. Let’s start with the economic, organizational, functional cost of the thousands of chiefs, officers, non-commissioned officers, cadets, sergeants, soldiers and civil counterintelligence workers.

Thousands of people are engaged in unproductive and inefficient tasks, which respond only to the regime’s objectives of surveillance, control and repression. Unfortunately there are no data to back up this statement, but employment in the branch of public administration, defense and social security, including the state apparatus, reached a total of 31,500 people in 2021, 7% of the total, more than in construction and almost the same figure as in the manufacturing industry. In addition, since 2017, it registered a growth of 6% while total employment decreased by -0.8%.

What seems obvious is that these people occupied in the tasks of counterintelligence don’t produce food or manufacture products; their work is only reflected in being an instrument of the internal blockade, which is to report information to eliminate from the root any social initiative contrary to the objectives of the so-called “revolution.”

Raúl Castro’s letter confirmed the personal interest of the country’s ruling circle in the members of this body to continue to preserve, “with the professionalism and honesty that characterizes them, the security of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the work of the Revolution.” Let’s say that if that supposed professionalism and honesty were dedicated to more productive and necessary things for the well-being of ordinary Cubans, this argument could be justified, but giving security to the revolution is now getting old, and the effort dedicated to this task is so enormous, that much of the country’s energy is lost in this activity, which counterintelligence performs masterfully.

And apparently not only Raúl Castro wants this organization to continue working and blocking the Cuban people. The speech of some leader of the new generations of officers recognized that, even though much work has been done, the challenges ahead are even greater. And he added, “for revolutionaries there is no rest; we have to be united and work to continue consolidating the gains achieved”: a message that reinforces that unproductive character of counterintelligence, based more on the confidence that the direction of the revolution places in it than on the use of the work of those thousands of people in pursuit of the social good of all Cubans.

The 60 years of existence of this organization have depended on alleged attack plans of the internal and external enemy. Beliefs that, based on being repeated over and over again, end up becoming dogma; in reality, those attacks have never occurred. What usually happens is that the regime, to block the people, identifies a legitimate social protest, such as 11J, as an attack on national sovereignty, and imprisons thousands of people, with long sentences for exercising a widely recognized right in all countries of the world. That is, internally blockading the population.

Are there privileges to be part of this organization? In a general sense, possibly, but it doesn’t seem that employees who engage in these activities have, except in very few cases, better living conditions than average. They have lived with a non-existent creed for 60 years and curiously prepare for an uncertain future, in which, once the nation chooses the path to freedom and democracy, the internal blockade exercised by counterintelligence will disappear forever.

It will disappear as in the famous film, “The Lives of Others,” in which the protagonist, a spy with East German counterintelligence, is faced with a new reality alien to the one he had lived in the period of dictatorship. Most likely, democracy in Cuba will make the entire history of counterintelligence disappear, the history of its “founders, heroes and martyrs,” because unlike what Granma says, we will not inherit anything from them, except a lot of suffering, repression, destroyed lives and internal blockade, and this, of course, at incomprehensible costs for any state.

And as it doesn’t appear that this will happen, the communist regime that governs the destinies of Cubans, the same one that created counterintelligence 60 years ago, will not assume the historical responsibility of transforming the organization so that it really serves the interests of the people and ceases to be an internal blockade. They won’t. Not even with that critical reflection or analysis of what Granma says they do. Many of these actions help to understand the internal blockade that Cuban communists deny, although it exists and is especially serious, above all at this time when the people begin to wake up and realize what is being lost.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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