Is a Fraudulent Change Brewing Up in Cuba? / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Ciudadano Cero, Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 7 June 2021 [Readers, note date, this is a delayed translation] — In a memorable scene from Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather”, the old Corleone hands over the family command to Michael, while warning him of the imminent danger of betrayal. The Don is a profound connoisseur of human nature, which is why his intuition takes on a degree of certainty; he knows that in every war the enemy obeys the relentless and simple logic of destroying you, an inescapable instinct that will persist even when he pretends to want conciliation. Hence Corleone’s stony sentence when he warns his son: “…whoever tells you about the Barzini meeting is the traitor.”

I recall this scene as a result of the debate in fashion today that focuses the attention of the Cuban opposition on the widespread suspicion that the late Castro regime is plotting to stage a scene to simulate an alleged dialogue with the dissidents, which would be nothing more than a bluff aimed at the Biden administration and a sullen Europe that do not compromise on the issue of Human Rights. Considering the modus operandi of the regime, we can assume that this would be one of its planned tactics, since it would represent nothing new in its strategy of generating a controlled dissent – a familiar tactic of similar regimes since the last century.

The controversial response of Tania Bruguera, one of the most prominent voices of the emerging 27N Movement, to a question by Eliecer Avila on the hypothetical way she would address the current visible face of the dictatorship, may have generated suspicion. That Miguel Díaz-Canel does not decide anything in Cuba is an open secret: nothing has changed under a handpicked president who does not disguise his loyalty to the Castros; the visible puppet of that oligarchy which behind the scenes wields real power has done nothing but boast of his unconditional adherence to the stalest kind of continuity. continue reading

That is why when this new Tania, whom nobody has appointed – although, to be fair, she does not declare herself an “official” interlocutor either- now addresses Díaz-Canel calling him Mr. President in a tone too honeyed for the Creole palate, and almost begs him for that reconciliation that the blunt Castroism has always denied us, alarm bells go off within the Cuban opposition, not by chance more radicalized. As almost always, it is usually that group which is most vehemently opposed to the upstart proponents of dialog, not because of wounded pride or gratuitous rancor, but because a greater maturity has given it the healthy habit of objectively analyzing situations without sweetening them, and holding on to the protection of the confrontational logic to which the reiterated waves of repression have forced it.

This opposition with its feet on the ground does not rule out the possibility that the regime has planned to set up a controlled stage on which to play out its own theater and thus evade real questions. Hence, when Tania arrives hand in hand with Eliecer Avila in this hushed kind of way, it cannot help sounding to many people like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Let’s remember that Eliecer, the “boy from the ICU”,( University of Information Sciences) rose to stardom with a famous video that went viral in a Cuba without Internet, which gave him unusual visibility, where he questioned several government policies before Ricardo Alarcón. That video, which was not recorded surreptitiously but with several professional cameras on sturdy tripods – something clear from the correct framing, the stable posture and several shooting angles- somehow mysteriously circumvented the infallible censorship of the political police, and the rest is known history.

Here I am saying nothing and proving nothing, but perhaps that inexplicable event still reverberates in our imaginary subconscious and emerges now, just when we get, by way of Eliecer, this “reformed” Bruguera, so candid, hinting at rapprochements with a counterpart which has never been inclined to abandon its intransigence, and that, on the contrary, continues to break records of house arrests, detentions, acts of repudiation,  and vandalistic raids. This is happening at a time when it is essential to have an overall perception in order to avoid costly distractions. Let us not expect obvious evidence; there never was and there never will be under Castroism, which is why all reading here must be done between the lines, from a panoramic perspective that guides us in the midst of a complex context always subordinated, don’t forget, to the enormous work of penetration of the Cuban opposition., maintained for more than half a century, by the State Security.

My introduction to this post is not gratuitous. Let us keep hold of the certainty that the Cuban State has always maintained a mafia-like approach in its relationship with its people: this bunch of no-goods commit crimes, break their own laws, steal with full hands and profits from our misery, extorts us inside and outside Cuba when we pay unjustified and expensive extensions, when it monopolizes exorbitant prices in its network of commerce; it makes use of force if you complain to it, it abuses its power when it makes generalisations about its lousy management, it traffics in influences in its public functions and restricts the division of powers when it sets itself up as judge and jury; it blackmails millions of Cubans when it denies them entry or exit to their own country because of political biases, in short, pure Mafia in the strictest sense of the term, and it is with these people that the dialogue partners hope to reach agreements.

If the prediction comes true and the regime agrees to “dialogue”, the most consistent opponents will never be invited to its assembly: Antonio Rodiles on behalf of Estado de Sats, José Daniel Ferrer on behalf of UNPACU, Coco Fariñas speaking for FANTU, Berta Soler for the Ladies in White, and the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights, will be among those not invited. Nor would the most vocal voices of the Cuban Independent Press be invited, from Yoani Sanchez to the dozens of activists inside and outside Cuba who would deserve to be there for having exercised, against all the odds, their legitimate right to disseminate truthful information, and have been the nail in the regime’s shoe.

No, this would not be the opposition they would invite to “dialogue”. Castroism has a different plan that would not expose it to real dangers: it would set it up according to its prepared pre-established script, and that is why it plants and equips its agents with credible profiles, to keep the door ajar and for everything to flow smoothly when the time comes. At that table, they would play a rigged deck, Castroism would bet on its cards and would invite only lightweight interlocutors and the occasional small-time voice so it could impose its usual monologue.  And it wouldn’t matter that at that precise minute its repressive apparatus would be continuing in the streets doing its business. Another dirty trick, comparable to the tomfoolery when Fidel Castro used to call “cordial” meetings in Havana to “normalize” his relationship with the emigrants.

What would happen next is obvious. the diplomatic and publicity offensive would follow, where he would employ his media figureheads, collect outstanding favors, pressure his extensive network of international accomplices,,squeeze the balls of his blackmail victims, and activate his agents in the US and Europe to pave the way for reopening the door to this Biden who until yesterday was trying to reactivate Obama’s freebies. That would be the ultimate purpose of the trap. With all this, Castroism would try to calm tempers while silencing the most critical voices and demoralizing the most radical opposition, but above all, it would gain precious time in the midst of this chaos generated by its absolute lack of cash flow and its pathetic political isolation, sinking every day deeper into an irreversible crisis that is leading it to a potential social upheaval.

A completely different scenario, however much it may resemble it, would result from an authentic step-by-step negotiation, in the style proposed in ADN. In that case, clearly, each step forward would be dependent on previous concrete measures, leading to real and progressive openings -you give me, I give you; you don’t give me, I don’t give you- that is to say, verifiable changes would be demanded a priori, which is, in essence, exactly what the opposition is demanding. This could lead to the irreversible implementation of democratic mechanisms that would lead to a negotiated exit from the abyss. A utopia? Definitely yes, in light of current events, but also a door that we should leave ajar to avoid bloodshed in the future.  It would be a supreme folly to refuse a negotiated solution that would lead us to real freedom and full democracy.

The danger exposed here does not come from the kind of negotiation I have outlined above, no. Processes of this type have previously resulted in the liberation of peoples in South Africa and India and were even decisive in the Spanish transition, among other happy examples, but the prevailing conditions in Cuba at the moment are very different: in our case the opposition has not managed to cohere and show enough muscle to put pressure on its counterpart. As long as this essential condition is not met, such a negotiation will be impossible in the Cuban context, and the dictatorship knows it, that is why it is now preparing a new trap to offer us, once again, its cup of hemlock.

Listen to me, Cubans! If Castroism succeeds in pulling off such a trick, it would be able to reposition itself on its throne and then we could live under terror for another 62,000 years. From these facts an undeniable evidence emerges: whoever accepts a “dialogue” under such rules of the despotic government of Diaz-Canel would actually negotiate with the hidden power behind him, would be an accomplice and participant in the dictatorship’s game and would be guilty of an unforgivable act of betrayal of the homeland. At that moment, Corleone’s premonition would be valid: if that day comes, we will see who participates in the deception and we will know who is the traitor.

Translated by GH

Proposal for Introduction of Decree Law 35 / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 18 August 2021 [Correct date, translation delayed]  — Well, what was always a very high possibility is now a crude certainty: the Gag Law for the Internet in Cuba has just come into force!  Decree-Law 35, which has recently been published in the Official Gazette, has as its declared aim the silencing of the Cuban people on social networks, and making any criticism of Castroism on the Internet, a crime, because the Cuban regime knows that it was there that the spark went off that set the streets of Cuba ablaze on 11 July 2021 (’11J’)

Freedom of thought and opinion is a luxury forbidden to my people under old-school tropical Stalinism. On this absolute principle, this ominous dictatorship has built an overwhelming information monopoly that takes up absolutely all the available national space through which it systematically spreads lies left and right, defames opponents and arranges as many media lynchings as it wants, without ever granting the right of reply. But today, that is not enough; it also wants to break into your house uninvited.

It turns out that these gentlemen, who are used to their infamous monologue, now come to us with this vulgarity – which is inadmissable in continue reading

the terms of the current Constitution, which they promulgated in a fit of demagogy – and with their now customary cynicism they included in the objectives of their nonsense “… to protect the interests of citizens… to ensure access to telecommunications services… and the rights to equality, privacy and secrecy in communications…”, as if millions of Cubans, massive victims of the digital blackout perpetrated on 11 July, were not already long accustomed to the systematic censorship by ETECSA’s servants, and had not witnessed the innumerable pressures in the weeks following ’11J’ – threats of dismissal from work or study centres for repeating information about the protests or showing support in any way for the victims of the repression – throughout the entire country.

But even if I am not willing to abide by it, to begin with I propose that this decree be applied to the President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez himself – and this time I omit his second forename to avoid confusion – since we can all remember how this gentleman made an irresponsible call to violence through his social media account last July 11; a call that the Cuban people will never forget, inciting his communist hordes to repress my people -something he did not do from a park bench, but on national television and social networks, from his position as President of the nation!

We all clearly heard this scoundrel shout “…the combat order is given…!” after which, together with the usual repressive hordes of the MININT, the army’s elite pack – whose only mission, presumably, should be to defend the people from external aggressions and never to turn against them – was unleashed to crush the cry in the only way it knows how: with beatings, imprisonment and summary trials without any right to defense.

No one would dispute the direct responsibility that Díaz-Canel had in that massacre, as well as the media clowns who have incited hatred from those same social networks that today they want to constrain for years, and who also comprehensively defamed the defenseless opposition, and threatened them in a thousand ways – read the Humberticos  and the Serranos, the Randy and the Froilanes, followed by a shameful etc.

That is why I also propose to apply Decree-Law 35 to them, because all of them, with a greater or lesser degree of responsibility, have thousands of times, with millions of Cubans as witnesses, carried out acts clearly catalogued in the three subcategories of this Royal Decree as crimes of a high level of danger: repeating false news in the media – every time that they deliberately lied to our people; blocking millions of accounts in social networks – when this miserable wimp perpetrated the cowardly digital blackout of July 11; and spreading harmful information with total bad faith – lies intended to delegitimize the opposition by presenting them as mercenaries at the service of a foreign power.

Of course, after July 11, you could hardly leave out from the decree the pearl that represents the call to insubordination – section (category 3, subcategory 3) – as a “…disturbance of public order…” and a “…promotion of social indiscipline…” catalogued with a very high level of danger, and for which the regime will of course have reserved its most refined resolutions of condemnation.

But as self-defense is the most basic of rights, millions of false profiles will be opened from where my people will go into that kind of digital hiding that many will opt for. That is why from the exact minute this post is published, I wish to make public that Jeovany Jimenez Vega – el Chino, to my friends – will never hide behind a false profile: I never did it and am very proud to say I certainly will not do it after 11 July.

Anyone who does not want to know what I think is perfectly entitled not to visit my wall and to ignore my tweets, but I will always show and defend my love for my homeland, in accordance with principles written in stone, that I did not learn in any party manual, but are influenced by the sacred thoughts of José Julián Martí – which will never be questioned.

My freedom of thought and opinion is an inalienable right that I will never entrust to the mercies of any despot! If from now on my words are not more incisive or aggressive against those who subjugate my people, it will only be because of my lack of talent, or because I cannot find the exact words to portray all their crudeness and the deepest contempt they arouse among my people.

The cowards who still oppress my beloved Cuba are warned: do not expect any indulgence from me, and I will not expect any from you! If you do not want to be called dictators and murderers, you will have to stop acting like them;  this is a war to the death between my people who fight for freedom and the tyrants who destroy it, and I am willing to leave my soul, my skin and my life outside or inside Cuba in that war.

I say this to make things clear.

Translated by GH

Economic Disorder, Castroism’s Vocation / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 15 Dec 2020 (Readers note: This article is more than three years old, but has just been translated for this site]We are so accustomed to Castroism’s autocratic punches that we end up reacting in the same way every time the Cuban authorities announce with suspicious solemnity some “set of new measures”, so that, without being able to help it, the ordinary Cuban in the street puts his hands to his head and enters into the same state of anxiety as when an arrogant hurricane arrives. It is a basic conditioned reflex that time has turned into an inevitable sensation, and so as not to break his old habit, Raúl Castro has just left us his farewell gift: a combo designed in the galleys of the Council of State with the connivance of the politburo that blackens the horizon and our Dantesque future.

The year that is ending had already witnessed how the Castro technocracy closed the doors to the private sector that supplied the informal market by means of mules importing clothes, footwear and other supplies, and we saw how, full of malice, it imposed the onerous MLC shops – operated by magnetic cards that can only be recharged abroad – to hoard all the currency in its coffers and limit as much as possible its circulation on the island. The result? An exchange rate devaluation of the CUC and the CUP that broke historical records at the year end. This measure revived the passport-only shops of the 1980s and only paved the way for the second step of a plan euphemistically called “monetary unification”, postponed since 2011 and aimed at remedying an evil that kept business management inoperative with its serious distortion for almost three decades.

“Unification” is a euphemism because when the devalued CUC says goodbye in January 2021, the country will again be left, in practical terms, with two currencies, given that the CUP/DIVISA duo will replace the CUP/CUC pair in force until now – quite apart from the certainty that the virtual currency MLC shops, even if precariously, will be the only ones with supplies. In other words, the supposed “unification” will be more fictitious than real and will solve nothing, just as it will be useless to abandon the disastrous practice up til now of equalising only in business transactions the 1 CUC/1 CUP ratio because the new rate of 24 CUP/1 USD will not be realistic either, but just one more arbitrary measure that will continue to distort production indices. continue reading

But as if that were not enough, Raúl Castro closes this grey year with a flourish and launches a final shit decision to fuck up the lives of 95% of Cubans. Because that is the only way a pensioner could look at it, even if his monthly chequebook is quintupled, if he still sees his electricity tariff quintupled and the cost of every food item in his shopping basket increased in the same proportion. It is pointless  throwing into circulation millions of pesos if they are going to be devalued on the spot: without properly addressing demand we will have our hands full of fake currency, volatile paper, and we will be faced with a useless attempt to weather the storm without really solving any problem.

Hopelessly doomed to failure, and coming at the wrong time, a policy that does not even mention measures to emancipate SME activity, to stimulate and protect small entrepreneurs or agricultural producers, or the product of their work, or to provide them with a legal personality that would make it possible to legalise orderly trade and provide for a universal, egalitarian, fair and sensible system of taxation; then, and only then, would another cock crow.

This pig´s breakfast calls for another comment, for being an arbitrary immorality, the icing on the cake for Cuban emigrants: the obligation to pay to Havana 4% of the gross monthly income earned from their work abroad while they hold the status of permanent resident in Cuba, even if they do not permanently reside in the country. The measure, which has been contemplated in Law 113 since 2013 (an ugly tale) would come into force from January 2021, a decision that has been received with open hostility by our emigrants wherever they live and their families in Cuba.

This unfair imposition is an armed robbery and will be very difficult to deal with for those who do not physically reside on the island, but who visit their family for a few days each year and are permanent residents only in the migratory sense – which is, of course, pure semantics – and who therefore have not made effective use of public services on the island for years, or decades, but only from time to time, Cubans who also work their asses off abroad under different circumstances to support their families inside and outside Cuba, but who above all – and this is the big issue – already pay taxes in those respective countries, where of course they pay social security and make effective use of public services. This double taxation now demanded by the regime in Havana is unacceptable, and will never be logical for an emigrant who must also pay double taxes to the same shameful regime that forced him to leave his homeland.

There are of course other, less radical measures that could be considered to cover the expenses of Cubans who do not wish to change their migratory status because they eventually visit the island while living abroad – there is travel insurance, possible differentiated rates during their visits for certain services, to cite just a few examples – but something very different presupposes putting one’s hand in the pockets of emigrants every month, because in this case we are dealing with an excessive abuse, a real armed robbery, and evidence of the bad faith of those who are once again blackmailing with the idea of prohibiting emigrants from entering their own country – for such will be the punishment of the insubordinate – and taking millions of families in Cuba hostage as a bargaining chip in this dirty game of late-Castro Stalinism.

Although calling this blunder an unauthorised decision would only make sense in the light of the Creole joke, because evidently we are facing a package of measures as draconian as they are well premeditated. Something so comprehensive and complex to implement can only be the deliberate perversity of some opportunistic son of a bitch. Something like this implies an intentional decision to fuck up our lives, and is the tacit answer to those who still do not understand why Raúl Castro left unratified those Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that in a fit of puerile boasting and waste of consummate demagogy was signed by Fidel Castro in February 2012.

Will these measures solve the Cuban problem? Raúl Castro’s secretary himself, his wimp Díaz-Canel, made it clear to all of us that they will not. Will they alleviate the shortages on our table, or will they fill some basic basket of goods? Even pre-school kids in Cuba know the answer to that. Or will they only aggravate the public debt and further jeopardise the already astronomical budget deficit? This is something that even the stupidest person  understands. Isn’t increasing wages without an increase in production and without a proportional increase in supply the same as filling a bottomless bucket and will only devalue the current currency even more brutally? This is something that even the least gifted student learns from his first class in any economics faculty, even at the University of Havana.

It is obvious that the most stubbornly uncooperative Castroism has opted to continue ploughing the sea. The clique of opportunist henchmen in power know perfectly well that this is just another mental straw, and they know this because they also know very well what could be done to get the country out of the quagmire. Of course they know it perfectly well, but the alternative of giving up their class privileges and giving the people back their real rights would be to the detriment of their selfish and bourgeois way of looking at things.

Although nothing more could be expected of Castroism than for it to persist to the end in its anthological parasitism. But these delusions may be its final death rattle, the definitive confession of an agonising regime that knows it has failed, that recognises it is incapable of generating wealth and therefore goes out to steal it from the world. In the event, they only have in mind Louis XV’s maxim which the octogenarian minor military man seems to repeat when he throws everything into the shit while thinking – if he still thinks – after me the deluge!… and the Cubans can go fuck themselves!

Translated by GH

Cuba: You Must Be Having a Laugh Diaz-Canel… / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 5 May 2023 — How was it possible, after the worst plane crash in our recent history, [Cubana de Aviación Flight 972 crashed in May 2018  at Santiago de las Vegas with loss of 112 lives], after the fatal collapse of the balconies that took the lives of three girls in a ruined Havana – and the subsequent collapse of several other buildings – as well as the appalling neglect to which the neighbourhoods devastated by that fatal tornado [January 2019 in Havana, 3 died] were condemned? After the extremely painful Hotel Saratoga disaster; after we saw the storage tanks at the Matanzas supertanker base burn to the ground – all tragedies that had as a common denominator the carelessness and irresponsibility of the Cuban authorities?

How was this possible after repressing marches of homosexuals demanding genuine respect outside Mariela Castro’s opportunism, and even after sinking up to his neck in shamelessness when setting his dogs on millions of unarmed Cubans on that historic day of protest 11 July 2021 when half a hundred cities across the country made clear their disgust and weariness? How can this “re-election” be at least minimally credible after the return of the hated hard currency stores – with the evident apartheid that this implies – and the daily blackouts; how after killing off the supposed monetary unification and each and every one of the vaunted points of a “reordering task” that only further deepened the previously prevailing chaos and has plunged us into a galloping inflation that breaks new records every day?

These are the mysteries and miracles that can only be worked in mediocracies – if they are authentic, of course – such as ours. The answer to all these questions lies behind a by no means fortuitous fact, which explains why five years ago Raúl Castro pointed his all-powerful finger at the anointed Díaz-Canel and not at any other among dozens of obsequious flunkies, and it was for something very simple: because he always knew that he had before him an anodyne type, the typical grey, cowardly guerilla type of being, so lacking in swing that in the eyes of ordinary Cubans he would go unnoticed even if he were dancing the hula hoop in a thong at noon at the intersection of 23rd and 12th in Havana; precisely for that reason the hardliners, the real Taliban of Castroism, set their sights on someone so colourless and lacking in charisma: those who really pull the strings always knew that this ductile amalgam was the right bet, safe and comfortable in order not to take any unnecessary risks – or what is the same, said in Castro jargon – to “change” everything that needs to be changed… without changing anything. continue reading

The leadership of Castroism needed someone sufficiently insipid and lacking in character, someone whose lack of magnetism would guarantee an absolute lack of leadership and whose genuflection – which we have witnessed during the “government” farce of the last five years – would ensure smooth sailing through the calm waters of obedience without casting any shadow whatsoever; The rascals in Havana’s La Plaza de la Revolucion knew full well that such a wimp would never pose any danger to their clan which, behind the scenes, has continued to pull the strings of royal power without a fuss.

And so, to conclude, let it be said in plain language: Díaz-Canel was re-elected because he has governed very well so far! Such a statement should come as a surprise to no one because, as always, anyone who wants to find the right answer only has to ask the right question: for whose benefit was Díaz-Canel supposed to govern, what was and still is his real mission, was he elected and then re-elected “by the pointing of a finger” to promote, foster and stimulate the prosperity of the Cuban people? In the face of such rhetorical questions, superfluous answers are superfluous: it is enough to go out into the street and look at the harshest face of our poverty to conclude, after such obvious evidence, the clearest and simplest of truths: this puppet was brought on stage to “govern” for and on behalf of the Castro regime, never for the benefit of the Cuban people, and so far he has done it very well!

And consider if that is what has happened: there are our more than a thousand political prisoners of July 11 as clear proof of their servility to the chosen way forward, the most abject continuity; there is the most bestial repression against our authentic civil society; there is the most painful and massive exodus in Cuban history, the result of the post July 11 repression, which long ago made the total number of emigrants from Camarioca in 1965, the Mariel exodus in 1980 and the one that followed the rafter crisis of 1994 pale in comparison; there is your “government” at the bottom of all world standards of freedom of the press, its enviable indexes of repression and of common and political prisoners per number of inhabitants; there are still the laws in force that under their disastrous management have turned the Cuban legal system into one of the most repressive in the world and further criminalised our civil rights, including laws that continue to restrict the right of emigrants to return and invest with due guarantees in their own country, that continue to stifle the national economy in every possible way – the true and only origin of our poverty – while the cynical mourners continue to blame it on the external embargo. In the meantime, the money has continued to flow unceasingly into the dictatorship’s coffers thanks to the effective management of our current shit in office.

This gentleman will go down in history for all this; his most profound legacy will be to have made lemonade the basis of everything, for having played the saddest role in this circus: that of the clown who, from above or from below, nobody respects, condemned as he is to be remembered forever, renamed in all the ends of the earth – and for this, people, you do have to be laughing like Díaz-Canel

Translated by GH

Abstention, a Fearsome Weapon Against Castroism / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

14ymedio biggerJeovany Jimenez Vega, 29 March 2023 — The regime’s most embellished figures on turnout in the last parliamentary elections put voting abstention at between 25 and 30 per cent of the voting population. Beyond the certain statistical adulteration and the lies accepted a priori, the rising and active trend of non-participation during the last elections has been striking, something that surely provokes a strong nervous tension in the Castro leadership.

If the officially accepted fact — I personally infer that the actual abstention rate was around 50% — that one in four voters was insubordinate has ended up drawing attention to our evident social anger, just imagine what a hot potato we would leave the Communist Party technocrats if in some future farce we get a picture of a majority of empty polling stations. That landscape would leave the satraps with their despicable mantras about “massive turnout as proof of the unshakable confidence of the people in their leaders” — which would imply a tacit acceptance of the governed to remain subservient to the ruler even as the ruler strives every day of this world to keep them in the most insulting poverty.

Because that’s all you do, candid ’Liborio’, [a traditional caricature of a middle aged Cuban peasant] every time you attend that clown show, when you report to your polling place to mark with a pencil a bland ballot and as if by naivety or inertia you deposit it in the ballot box guarded by cute pioneers, all in the knowledge that the final count will be inexorably adulterated and that you consented to be part of that pantomime without external observers mounted by the same ruffians who ruin your country.

Now, after several days have passed and the liars have already been going on about the “new victory of the people”, perhaps you will understand once and for all that with these people there is no point in cancelling cards. You will remember that it has always been the same: someone with a nondescript face and an eraser at hand pointed out your name in the register, you signed it and went on to mark — always with a pencil, of course, a card that you cancelled, you remember having written DOWN WITH THE DICTATORSHIP across the whole width of the page — and lo and behold, at the end of the day, as if by magic it still ended up marked with a resounding “yes” by this luminous socialism that has us eating dirt. continue reading

No, Cubans! with this scum there is no room for half-measures: abstaining completely and not making any appearance in the murky tent of their circus is the only thing that can do them any harm under such circumstances; this would be the only way to hinder, in no small measure, their cynical set-up. You must know that as soon as you enter a polling station and sign the register you will have voted “yes” in the dictatorship’s statistics and therefore don’t attend this farce, full stop. They will inflate the figures anyway, yes, most certainly. Would they dare to forge the signature of an absentee voter, perhaps, they are unscrupulous enough for that and more, especially when they feel so unpunishable. But at least let’s not make it easy for them: faced with hundreds or thousands of empty polling stations, they would have to polish it and it would undoubtedly be exponentially more complicated for them to set up their own mess.

Even in the twenty or so countries where voting is compulsory by law, there will always be those who prefer to pay the fine in exchange for their abstention from punishment, but never forget, ’Liborio’, that in Cuba voting is still a right and not an obligation and therefore it is up to no one else but yourself to exercise it; after all, you have little to lose.

That is precisely where the main battle of the dictatorship is fought, where it wins or loses, within ourselves, and by this I am not saying that it is easy, nor as simple as it seems at first glance. Let’s leave naivety for the motivational catharsis of Facebook, for those who push from the outside without having a fucking idea of what it is like to live in the heat of the moment under a totalitarian state. No, no one says it’s easy, but that essential first step, I hope you understand, is the only really essential and necessary one: once you have made the light, believe me, there will be no turning back: you will see how your tormentor grows smaller and smaller, and not because he is less perfidious or less evil, no, but because it will be you who will have grown up and risen with dignity, no longer contemplating him on your knees.

But that miracle does not fall from the sky my friend, that inner rebirth is only achieved after a relentless search for truth and constant inner growth, after a titanic battle waged within yourself, and when the hatching has taken place, once the chakras are aligned with your authentic dignity you will feel emancipated, you will look at fear in its right emotional dimension but without its irrational paralysing capacity and that, at last, will distance you from the lies that have ruled your life.

When you have the courage to defy the informer who dares to pressure you to vote for something you don’t believe in; when you have the personal courage not to give in to the fear that four sons of bitches have planted in your bones; when it becomes morally unacceptable for you to wave flags in a parade and then mumble your grudges alone, or attend a meeting where you know that a delegate will talk shit and then vote on your behalf in parliaments that decide nothing; when it stops being acceptable for you to applaud in the assembly with the same hands that then steal in your company and you get tired of begging for handouts, when that dormant dignity awakens in you and you cry out “enough, Cuba has endured enough humiliation! and you make your family, your friend, your neighbour understand it, on that day and not before, Liborio, we will leave the parades and the dictatorship’s schools empty and we will be screwing the oligarchs who have traded so much with our poverty. That historic rant will be a new July 11 (July 11, 2021, day of protest marches in Cuba) — and hopefully the definitive one — that the Cuban people will explode in the face of Castroism.

Translated by GH


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Fidel Castro: Bury the Myth With the Ashes / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Fidel Castro photographed in front of a portrait of José Martí.

Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 25 November 2022 — Now in the middle of my life, a little older, perhaps a little wiser, I reread with new eyes that sight. If it was ever otherwise, I have already forgotten it, but now, with the mists of the past gone, behind those eyes I see only a coward. Much has been written about the traits necessary for someone to impose himself over millions of fellow countrymen who, having had a choice, have ended up fatally following him, only to pay dearly for it later. Rivers of ink have flowed in an attempt to explain what to a large extent continues to be an elusive matter, but in the specific case of Fidel Castro, we Cubans can draw modest conclusions.

Did Fidel Castro prevail because he was the most intelligent? No; pre-revolutionary Cuba was abundant in spirits of the highest caliber that shone at the continental and world level in almost all areas of knowledge and letters — just naming them would make this post endless — without any of them having nested in such a twisted mind. Did he impose himself then because he was the most audacious, perhaps the bravest? It is hard to believe it when it is known that during the Moncada action he did not even have the courage to get out of the car while the advanced group did have enough courage and paid for it with their lives.

If we are going to talk about audacity and daring, Cuban history is rich in examples, and we would not have to go that far and remember the Generalissimo who, fighting in the front line, had two horsed killed in the same battle, since machete in hand, he used to fight hand to hand like any other soldier; or the Bronze Titan who was killed after being shot 27 times.

To speak of daring and courage it would be enough to recall that group of the Directorio with Echevarría at the head executing the most audacious coup of the Cuban Revolution in the heart of bloody Havana where the most rabid dogs of the Batistato [Batista dictatorship] were roaming; that’s what I call having balls and not giving orders from the rear as Fidel Castro always did, posing with his little rifle in the Sierra or later jumping from a tank at Girón in front of Korda’s opportune lens, always after the cease-fire, always so photogenic and so light, so safe. continue reading

Did he stay in power for more than half a century because he was a brilliant economist who developed the country? A look at our desolate poverty after 30 years of squandered subsidies is enough as a definitive answer. Or was it thanks to his extraordinary eloquence, facing solid reasons and arguments before a free parliament? Never, not once! Was he ever exposed to a real popular scrutiny, regardless of pressures, where Liborio did not risk his job, the expulsion of a son from the campus “of the revolutionaries” or his own freedom? He never had the guts for so much!

All that unnatural and sickly power was exercised in the most vile way by a coward behind a totalitarianism designed to suit him, and it is here where our questions lead to the simplest answer: It was enough with the mixture of a textbook narcissism, of a total unscrupulousness that allowed him to betray without keeping loyalties and of an ambition without limits, added to a complete disregard for the suffering of others, to explain the success of Fidel Castro, in short, the typical signs of a full-fledged psychopath who arrived at the exact moment to the candid world of the 60’s resulting in that fatal mixture that still keeps alive to some extent the unfounded myth of the bearded avenger.

Does Fidel live? Yes, undoubtedly, as the manager of the incomprehensible hatred that still encourages the imbecile fanatic to perpetrate the repudiation rally ordered by others who fill their pockets in the shadows, the idiot turned into a non-thinking being, into a spearhead that perpetuates his own misery and in spite of everything does not realize that he is only the guardian of the Birán estate.

Yes, Fidel Castro still lives in our ruin, at our empty table, in our prisoners, because each political prisoner is a slap in the face of my people and a knock on the door that reminds every honest man in the world that Cuba lives in a state of disgrace, and that the order of combat heard from the mouth of the clown on duty that glorious July 11, 2021 was actually issued by the same Fidel Castro who, even in death, continues to fuck up our lives.

It has been 6 years since the monster descended into hell, but his legacy, his brutal and nefarious legacy of indignity that buries our rights under a heavy mantra of cynicism and terror, the definitive cardinal signs of the most refined and perfidious dictatorship known to this America of ours, so prodigal in phony tyrants, has been left behind.

Today, Fidel Castro continues to be the unburied corpse that roams the streets of Cuba, contaminating them with the stench of sulfur, and to bury him it will not be enough to grind him up and hide the dust behind the powder that stains the sacred soil of Santa Iphigenia: to definitively bury Fidel Castro it will be necessary to bury along with his ashes his myths, so that one day not far away any Cuban will be able to shout without fear loudly inside and outside Cuba that that man was, above all things a traitor and as such he will be described as such in the books that tomorrow’s children will read in a Cuba without tyrants.

Translated by: Hombre de Paz

November 15: Chronicle of a War Foretold / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Translator’s Note: The screenshot above is taken from a social media post in 2021 by the Archipelago Collective. The essay below by Jeovany Jiménez Vega appeared on his blog on November 9, 2021, six days before the originally-scheduled date of a protest planned by the organization. 

15 November 2021
Civic March for Change

The regime’s response shows once again that the rule of law does not exist in Cuba, that they are unwilling to respect even their own constitution, and that they violate the human rights of the Cuban people. The regime’s response has made a mockery of the very chief justice Supreme Tribunal, who declared that Cuba would respect the right of protest. The regime’s response is filled with falsehoods, defamations, and lies. The regime’s response constitutes a crime. On 15 November our personal decision will be to march civically and peacefully. In the face of authoritarianism, we will respond with civility and more civility.


Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 9 November 2021 — Just a few days remain until D-Day, but for several weeks now every Cuban has been fairly certain about where and how he will observe November 15 this year: whether he will be content to water his daisies and swallow the usual swill served up by “Humbertico”* on Cubavisión, or whether, for variety’s sake — just to humanly do something different — he will heed that deep voice of his conscience that demands he defy his fear and take to the streets against the Thousand-Headed Hydra.

Unlike others, the Archipelago announcement was not launched from abroad by some émigré safe from the repressive police baton, but from Havana and other Cuban provinces by young people assuming that tremendous risk on their home turfs. This time the call did not go unheeded but rather found resonance inside and outside of Cuba to the point of mobilizing thousands of émigrés who, in more than fifty cities, will support the initiative on several continents that day. Feeling challenged, the regime unsheathed its sword and made full use of its machinery of propaganda, coercion, and terror, before which Archipelago, with admirable nobility, has not backed down and stands by its proposal, so the die is cast.

When the sun rises above the horizon next Monday [November 15, 2021] over this Island imprisoned by Castroism, it will do so over one of three distinct scenarios, the first of which is what I consider the most probable:

Some 24 or 48 hours prior to the protest, ETECSA will have perpetrated its usual digital blackout — due to a certain “unexpected” rupture caused by some solar flare, no doubt — which, along with selective cuts to key phone lines, will render various centers of insubordination incommunicado. Already by that time, the principal organizers will have been detained or confined to their homes, and the mobs of thugs and hooligans assembled from whichever barracks or military academies can join in the parade convened by the “cultural” authorities to fill the streets on precisely that Monday (what better day for festivities than a Monday?) will have been “spontaneously” organized with all that revolutionary tastiness that so typifies the regime’s moments of great unease.

The second scenario would be somewhat less likely: somehow the organizers would have foreseen the first scenario, managed to evade the repressors, and gone into the street without being stopped at the first corner by the political police. Since they would know in advance that they would be incommunicado, they would have agreed on an independent action that would not require feedback between the parties and each one would proceed according to a previously agreed protocol — of which their repressors would also very likely be aware — which would significantly reduce the chances of success. In both cases, there would be several sources of protest, but the lack of coordination would quickly take its toll with a net result of dozens of new prisoners.

Most improbable of all — it pains me to say — would be the third scenario, something more epic: the Cuban people, aware of their rights and willing to defend them tooth and nail, being definitively fed up with the brutal and unjustified poverty to which late-stage Castroism subjects them, massively support the call; they do not give in to whatever threat the henchmen have hurled, and once the confusion of that first moment has been overcome, they resist with courage in the streets. continue reading

Against all odds, the flood is diverted from the regime’s control, this time growing bigger than on July 11, and after the first attack by the hordes of repressors, the neighborhoods entrench themselves, resisting for days that turn into weeks and months; the protest evolves into organized resistance that eventually paralyzes the country to the point of making it ungovernable; the oligarchs of Castroism quickly lose the support of a large part of the army officer corps who are aware of the abuses committed against their people and of which they disapprove; the first units rebel, others quickly second the uprising, the situation worsens and only then does the world take the Cuban problem seriously. All the major international organizations speak out and the rejection of Castroism becomes universal, Havana is completely diplomatically isolated and more and more regular troops join the uprising until the main squares are taken. This is when the Castro clan and their henchmen try to flee but are arrested and handed over to popular Justice, a civilian/military junta forms the transitional government, and a free nation emerges in Cuba.

Although this would be the happy ending dreamed of by all, it would be better that we were pinched and awakened, because with autocracies as consolidated as Castroism, things don’t work that way. The Cuban dictatorship has invested too much time, and too many resources and malicious instruction manuals to have it all come crashing down after a mere couple of quakes. It would be naive to expect that the number of Cubans taking to the streets would surpass that of 11 July, given the impunity with which the rights of millions were trampled, and after the thousands of detainees and victims of battery, and the more than 500 prisoners whose individual sentences exceed a quarter century.

If this dictatorship knows our fears so well, it is for having been their patient gardener, planting them one by one, and, fertilizing them with cold cruelty, it has grown fat on them, and on them it has pinned all its hopes. Today, Castroism reaps the fruits of the terror that it fermented in our brain, and the harvest seems too bloody for us to suddenly uproot the deeply implanted evil. It is at times like these that we as a people pay the high price rendered to tyrants every time we join their ranks out of inertia: when we apathetically cast a vote, when we parade on May 1st, or wave innocent banners on some “glorious” July 26th; every time we go on a work mission abroad knowing that we would legitimize their cynical discourse; when we keep complicit silence in the face of an oppressed colleague, an unjustly condemned opponent, a decent neighbor who with dignity resisted that rally of repudiation. When this would happen — you, Cuban who now suffers — we would do nothing but issue a license to tyrants and dig our own grave.

Recklessness is worth as much as the reasons that prompt it, even anger is worthy, but what is worthless is the naivety of supposing that Castroism has been exhausted when it still has ample resources within its reach — paralyzing tendrils from which to reactivate conditioned fears — at a time when the democratic world seems to have turned its back on our drama. Hence, this hand-picked monstrosity continues to mock the norms of decency with surprising success, and on the permissive world podiums — along with analogous regimes — even manages to reserve for Havana a comfortable seat on the Human Rights Council of the indifferent United Nations, which knows nothing.

Archipiélago’s call to action has generated wide controversy among those who support it and those who, for the time being, opt for more conservative tactics. The former group responds to an irrefutable argument: we suffer from an unsustainable economic and social situation in a country that has collapsed under not only a health emergency but, above all, due to decades of government ineptitude that stiffen our entire productive fabric; Cuba is a country paralyzed by the same backward “fortress under siege” discourse**, where poverty and hopelessness have reached unfathomable levels. Therefore, these brave people have enough with this list of very justifiable reasons to launch a protest which, by the way, is their right as legitimately endorsed in the current Constitution.

On the other hand, those who disagree over the prudence of this launch also do so from an irrefutable position: lacking logistical guarantees and without a previous organization centered around visible leaders who can summon the people from clear and credible assumptions, with achievable goals, and under the protection of minimally effective foreign support from the Cuban diaspora and the international community, it will be extremely difficult to put the dictatorship in such a compromising situation as to extract lasting concessions or ultimately remove it from power.

These are not less courageous nor worse patriots than the others, no — I am personally aware of this — but they speak from the certainty granted by the experience of suffering in their own flesh the consequences of mistakes they are sensing today in this new call; they do nothing more than warn against repeating mistakes so that everything may end up redounding in benefits for the regime and in popular frustration set off, rather than foster, faith in future calls. The reiteration of frustrated calls would be fatal in terms of negative conditioning as it would generate a predictable erosion that would bog down the social psyche. The regime knows this and will play its best notes on that string, knowing that it would not be able to brutalize a rampant people and will first bet on exhausting our capacity of resistance – something also foreseen by this “skeptical” opposition that these days has been unafraid to play the role of spoilsport.

The incontestable evidence of facts supports this undoubtedly correct strategic approach. In practical terms, the reckless exits of UNPACU [Patriotic Union of Cuba] during several decades or the activism of other groups such as the United Anti-Totalitarian Front (FANTU) have been of little use, as were the multiple initiatives of the Estado de Sats or the exemplary resistance of the Ladies in White once their undisputed victory was consummated in 2010, among other laudable and even inspiring examples, but all of which have something in common: none has managed to erode the regime in its deepest foundations. From all this, one certainty can be drawn: any opposition initiative or strategy in Cuba seems doomed to failure as long as it does not achieve enough convening power to bring the country to a standstill in an indefinite general strike or something similar in scope.

Courage is not reprehensible, nor even is recklessness, when the warrior goes into battle armed with reasons to fight. But even the most just ones are of little use when a long war is launched from false assumptions, ignoring the real scale of the challenge, or from the unfounded naivety of underestimating the means and cruelty of the enemy, if a realistic vision of the whole is not achieved or when, with supreme naivety, one hopes to dialogue with a counterpart who has never buried the hatchet of war. Let us hope that on Tuesday, November 16, we will have finally learned this.

Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison 

Translator’s Notes:
* “Humbertico” – A diminutive version of the name Humberto. Cubans express affection or disdain for somebody by diminutizing their name. In this case, Jeovany is expressing his disdain for Humberto López, a presenter on Cuban Television and member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

** “the same backward ‘fortress under siege’ discourse” – A reference to a motto, “In a besieged fortress, all dissent is treason,” adopted by the Castro regime shortly after the 1959 Revolution from Jesuit founder Ignacio de Loyola. Fidel and Raul Castro were educated by Jesuits in Cuba. 

Why Can Cuba Keep Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara Locked Up? / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Jeovany Jiminez Vega in Havana’s Calixto Garcia Hospital.

Jeovany Jiminez Vega, 30 May 2021 — It was nearly a month ago that Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara was arrested in this home and taken by force to Calixto García hospital in Havana, where he has been kept by Cuban State Security. The lying officials have published various manipulated videos showing a disoriented and confused Luis Manuel who seems not to know why he is staying in that place, and there even circulated an anonymous complaint from a supposed worker in that centre, claiming that Luis Manuel is being subjected to  — for which read tortured by — electroconvulsive procedures, which presumably would explain his evident deterioration.

Up to now, even Luis Manuel´s closest family are prevented from visiting, as well as any members of the Movimiento San Isidro, who are also victims of this onslaught, including all sorts of threats and retaliations, ranging from the typical police warnings up to house arrests lasting for weeks. Meanwhile, according to the official version, the activist has abandoned his hunger strike and presents normal vital signs.

Nevertheless, up to the moment of writing the leader of San Isidro remains a prisoner, an obvious contradiction which presents the obvious question: if Luis Manuel is presumably sane, and has abandoned his protest, why is he still being detained in isolation from his family and friends? Why, taking into account the seriousness of this outrage, similar to the imprisonment of the activists detained in the  Obispo Street protests  — against imprisonment of the artist, in 2021 has this not produced a more energetic reaction from the San Isidro Movement and 27 N Movement, and why the relative silence in the rest of the opposition on these scandalous cases? continue reading

On a superficial view of the matter, there are the immediate demands from Luis Manuel — that is, the ending of the hostility towards the activists and the return of their works – but this would be too partial a view which leaves some important factors out of the equation. For the government it could be convenient in tactical terms to accede to Luis Manuel´s demands; It would mean little to return his works to the activist in the face of the connotation that such a “compassionate” gesture would have for a Biden who, after sending strong signals, has now hit the brakes and is observing in standby — something that has Castroism on tenterhooks, even when it claims the contrary — because it would be prudent to resolve the case if only not to stoke the fire.

We should bear in mind that before this Havana had to deal with more serious crises, like Coco Fariña´s  hunger strike, following the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo in 2010; then the international press focussed its attention on the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White) resulting in the demand for the freeing of the Black Spring protesters. That crisis had to be managed during Obama´s first term, under pressure of a European Union Common Position which closed off Havana from Europe.

In contrast, today, the government of Díaz-Canel is not being watched by international media,  and although it is sinking in an irreversible economic crisis, it is not under attack from the political point of view — in fact, since six months ago, the Cuban government is a member of the UN Council of Human Rights!¡¡??!

Today the world is not showing much interest in Cuba; other topics, such as the conflict in Palestine, the Belorusian situation, the increasing tension between the US and Russia and the trade war with China, as well as the the crisis in Colombia, are drawing its attention, and it is just in this inattention toward things Cuban where we find one of the keys to the current wave of repression by the Cuban dictatorship.

We can add another most important factor to this evidence:  the dictatorship´s continuing potential for repression. If we take objectivity as the starting point for our argument, free from catharsis and deceitful triumphalism which often portend imminent  breakdowns, we can note that up to this moment the dictatorship has not even had to arrange extreme measures — grand displays of special troops and the use of riot squads or regular military units — to control brief bouts of insubordination.

We cannot forget that this huge repressive apparatus which eagerly waits to spring into action — ignorant cannon-fodder, indoctrinated and blind — is the same one that advised and participated in the direct carrying out of violent repressive escalation during the grave crisis which, in 2017, shed blood on the streets in Venezuela: which served as a great laboratory and rehearsal where Castroism could try out its tactics of repression and extreme control, and, don´t be in any doubt, took careful note of it.

When we put these scenarios into perspective, we realise that, in spite of the unsustainable economic situation, today´s Cuba is still far-removed from the premonitory climate for a such a social explosion, which is hard for somebody to understand who takes a bird´s eye view of our reality and who has not lived beneath a Stalinist totalitarianism. The Castroism has had plenty of time to crystallise, and has been very aggressive and systematic in its indoctrination which now appear absorbed into the very genes of entire generations of Cubans, so that, until now, it has been enough for the murderous thugs to activate these conditioned reflexes by appealing with relative success to their supreme resource: the learned helplessness, that philosopher’s stone of every absolutist regime, which has become the best weapon of Castroism.

That is why it is not against Luis Manuel, nor against the activists of Obispo Street, that this battle is being waged today, but against 14 million Cubans. The dictatorship knows that this war is won or lost in the collective psyche, that is why it is towards that unfathomable and total fear that this pristine message is directed: don’t even try, it will never be worth the trouble of opposing it, you can do nothing against Big Brother. Dilute yourself in your condition of flag-waver in the shapeless mass, settle for that, your place and your destiny, where you will be the standard raised in my parades, my basic medium, that malleable statistic always useless when you think, the impersonal rag that I undo and reuse, just insect, protoplasm, gob that I spit out when I want. Do not claim anything, demand nothing, with you I will always do whatever the hell I feel like, and anyone stupid enough to oppose it will be made to pay dearly.

This aberrant and despotic handling of the Alcántara case in full view of all should be understood as a fully-fledged declaration of principles, with which the dictatorship lectures us and pursues humiliating us, delighted in its arrogance. It seems orgasmic to Castroism to perceive how its poison paralyzes us and it pleases it to see us curled up in our comfort zone while it tears another Cuban to pieces like one more line is drawn on the tiger’s skin. This impudent kidnapping is an open challenge to civil society and a challenge to the opposition to test how far they dare at this precise moment when social networks are just imposing their dynamics despite the low penetration of the Internet and systematic censorship, granting greater immediacy and visibility to increasingly numerous and daring complaints and citizen initiatives, something the regime warned against with great nervousness.

But it has never been the same to summon a demon as to see it arrive. Although it is true that the regime maintains police fences, that it has kept more than one activist in house arrest and carried out numerous arrests, I do not believe that it has dealt with all of them from time to time to the point of rendering inoperative that network which, to a greater or lesser extent, has spoken out publicly before and after November 27, and yet now, almost a month after the San Isidro leader was detained and in the midst of an insulting official silence, he has not achieved a sufficiently energetic projection that favours the release of Luis Manuel and the rest of the imprisoned activists.

Let us imagine with what orgiastic joy the executioners will at this precise moment look into the eyes of what remains of Luis Manuel after this torture, and ask him where are all those brothers of the cause who protested against Decree 349, or the group of rebels in front of the Ministry of Culture that day in November. Will the activists awaiting trial along with common prisoners since the Obispo protest not say anything either? How is it that the people of San Isidro, of Havana and of Cuba as a whole are not constantly asking the authorities wherever they are, or the medical management of “Calixto García”, or directly to the Minister of Public Health why that young man who fights for the usurped rights of all Cubans is kept imprisoned in a Havana hospital?

From all this it can be concluded that Cuba’s harsh fight for freedom cannot be undertaken with the passionate intensity of a sprint ending up in exhaustion after the first few meters, but rather as a long-distance race conceived in strategic terms, which can only be won with firmness and perseverance; it is a war that only the chosen ones can fight, those really willing to risk their skin and persevere til the end.

Once this wave of repression has passed, we will be taught how useless it will always be to try to build idyllic bridges between a subjugated people and their tyrants, we will have verified how little catharsis is worth and that dictatorships do not lie down with songs, but we will also be more mature and it will be more obvious to us that freedom will come only when this people vibrates in resonance with its dignity, assumes risks to conquer its rights and dares to jump into the void. When we have finally accepted that as the only way in which a people shakes off tyrants, only on that day – not one hour more, not one hour less – will we be able to sink the dagger in a definitive thrust to the heart of the beast. It will be just that day when you lose your fear, you Cubans who are listening to me, when the dictatorship collapses.

Artists and other protestors in front of the Ministry of Culture on 27 November.

Translated by GH

One Year After July 11: The Necessary Reminiscence / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 11 July 2022 — There are days in life that are never forgotten. Bright days, like when you are given a son, or as gloomy as the one that takes a loved one away from you; whether fateful or sublime these days will always be, like treasured jewels until the end of that steep road called life: blessed or fatal they will never be lived with indifference because after them, we will never be the same.

In the end, we all have had one of these days that marked us with impregnated fire under the skin as an indelible soul tattoo. One of those days was, for millions of Cubans, the past July 11th [shortened to “11J” by Cubans] a date that I cannot evoke in words without my chest knotting up and hundreds of reasons choking me. That Sunday the miracle took place and the dictatorship trembled in front of the cry of a jaded people.

That unstifled cry is still latent in millions of throats, although its echoes resonate as well from the depths of the jungle and from the volcanoes root that in Central America today are witness of the most dramatic exodus in Cuban history, the definitive condemnatory plebiscite that so many times were denied – 140,000 Cubans crossing the border since “11J” and more than 3,000 intercepted at sea should be an irrefutable proof.

Today the dictatorship fears the Cuban people more than ever. The proof is in the stubbornness with which they still opt for repression as the only alternative, although to honor the truth it must be recognized that they cannot offer anything else other than the hundreds of brutal convictions that since 11J raised our political prisoners to more than a thousand, with teenagers serving sentences that exceed their age – all under the worst cruelty aimed to punish families and neutralizing us all for terror – as well as the intensification of a Penal Code that has placed Castroism among the top of the most repressive of the world; an arrogance that has extrapolated the bad habits of the regime to the virtual media where the dictatorship dogs believe they have the egregious right to question you, outrage your dignity, and defame you exactly as they do on this side of their Matrix; also their cowardly beatings, their soldiers undercover in civilian clothes and their media assassins; in short, a year later we still have before us the same thousand-headed hydra thirsty for the same blood.

A day like today, I cannot write without feeling like a real coward in front of the testimonies of courage and integrity of that mother who does not allow herself to be blackmailed, who does not keep quiet even when she knows her son is in the arena with the beasts; of so many that from the bottom of a jail are today the most refined pride of the country. In the face of these stories, we cannot do anything other than leave our skin and take all the risks so that their voice is heard, so that the executioners cannot bury them alive, so that in the end it is worth so much pain and mourning.

I don’t want these lines turned into a sterile lament. Our long-suffering Cuba does not need cowards or mourners in this difficult hour, and it would be useless to implore mercy before the vile who despise us. What the country demands of us, a year after that sacred day, is that we keep the flame alive and that that burning cry of war never go out of our common throat.

Pride as a Philosophy; Brutality as a Currency / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Dr. Alexander Jesús Figueredo Izaguirre, disqualified from practicing Medicine in Cuba.

Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 3 December 2021 — Things are going very badly in a country where any citizen can be punished with impunity for exercising their right to speak freely, something contrary to the constitutional norms that have been pillars of democracy for the last 25 centuries. When this aberration becomes a frequent practice, we can be sure that we are facing a failed society and a lousy government; but when the abuse of power becomes a chronic habit that constantly threatens everyone, then we are in the presence of an aberrant dictatorship. This is, without a doubt, the case of Castroism.

But if such a country is doing very badly, how much sadder or more disturbing will it be if the most extreme sanction is applied to a doctor — disqualification from exercising his profession — for reasons unrelated to his professional performance, but also with the inexcusable aggravation of doing so in the midst of the worst health crisis in the country’s history. And I am no longer speaking in the abstract, I am now referring to a real case, which recently occurred under the late-Castro remnants of President Miguel Díaz-Canel.

A few days ago, Dr. Alexander Jesús Figueredo Izaguirre was disqualified from practicing medicine for issuing critical judgments on his social network against the misrule that ruins millions of fellow citizens. Some neophyte on the subject of Cuban could presuppose a misunderstanding here, but their doubts will be dispelled as soon as they know that something like this has already happened before: in 2006, two doctors from Artemisa were also definitively disqualified for something as natural and simple as submitting a salary demand signed by a group of colleagues to the then Minister of Public Health José Ramón Balaguer; of the case of Dr. Darsi Ferrer Ramírez, who died in 2017 in Florida under very strange circumstances; or when they learn that Dr. Eduardo Cardet, national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, served a three year sentence in Fidel Castro’s prisons.

There are also other renowned cases in this painful sequel to the dictatorship, such as that of Dr. Hilda Molina, exiled in Argentina, or that of other analogous although less well-known ones, counted by dozens, as well as thousands of other colleagues punished mercilessly for abandoning onerous work contracts in one of the official foreign Medical Missions maintained by the Cuban regime across half the planet which have have brought the regime hundreds of billions of those dirty, convertible and imperialist dollars that are both enemies and well tasty treats for the Castro palate.

For all this, on the Day of Latin American Medicine, it was so outrageous that the Cuban health authorities once again tried to hide with gilded tributes the harsh reality experienced 365 days a year by tens of thousands of workers and professionals from all medical branches in a Cuba that more than living are dying under the overwhelming boot of the dictatorship. continue reading

Empty talk will have been of no use if the same workers presented to the world as a saving panacea when they are exported as part of the Henry Reeve Brigade suddenly become irresponsible bums by the grace of a Prime Minister as soon as the regime tries to wash its hands to evade its obvious responsibility in the disastrous management of the COVID crisis – so scandalous was the reaction of the authorities to the brave denunciation of dozens of Holguin doctors – and meanwhile the Cuban doctor assigned to a ‘mission’ abroad continues to be treated like a true modern slave.

To bury this outrageous truth, the regime in Havana has worked hard during the reign of Raúl Castro before, and during Díaz-Canel’s pathetic buffoonery afterwards – since Fidel Castro did not even try – to export an image of change and renewal that has never been either sincere nor effective, nor in any sense real, since it has always sought to cover up its crime, gain time and delay as much as possible the arrival of authentic reforms that would shake the foundations of a totalitarianism of proven efficacy.

It is demonstrated that under Castroism any announcement of change must be understood as part of a broad spectrum of simulation, one more cynical delaying maneuver; pure showcase effect. Fifteen years have passed since that disturbing experience that fractured my life, but even before and throughout these five years, the intolerant and petty nature of a miserable regime that has not changed its tyrannical essence has remained an unalterable continuous line.

What changes are they talking about when new visible faces wear their masquerade and other hitmen carry out the same dirty work, when new dogs threaten these prisoners with the same arrogance and brutality as a backdrop? Let these recent examples serve as definitive proof, these broken lives as collateral damage that will hardly keep tyrants awake at night. After all, what will one more scratch on the tiger’s bloodied skin matter? Nothing, according to the superb logic of Caesar.

Yunior Garcia and Archipielago: Between Messianism and the Wall / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 22 November 2021 — Yunior García Aguilera was showered with caustic criticism once his departure for Spain was confirmed. These scathing accusations find their foundation, I believe, in that mental conditioning imposed by decades of Castroism according to which any departure from the country will necessarily be potentially final.

In a country where hundreds of thousands have left never to return, such reasoning implies for many the unfounded conclusion that his trip to Spain meant an irreversible abandonment of the Cuban political arena, even though he himself has clarified that he traveled on a tourist visa, that he has not applied for asylum and explicitly insists on his intention to return home.

That the young man from the Archipiélago platform did not stay in Cuba to risk it is a coward for that? Discounting the fact that he was absolutely prevented from doing so by the police siege, a good question for you who judge him would be: have you perhaps accompanied a Lady in White or the UNPACU in any of their recklessness when in those same streets they have defied the dictatorship?

It is true, Yunior did not immolate himself in front of his house against that mob to keep his word, but again I would ask you: have you witnessed, or been the victim of any act of repudiation? Do you know what it feels like? Did you ever come out in defense of your good opponent neighbor, decent people, against the mob to share in the retaliation like someone who shares a good cup of bitter coffee? If the answer to those questions is a presumable no…

Listening to the admirable clarity of Yunior’s convincing speech, the successful way in which he delved into the sores that hurt the dictatorship the most in his press conference in Madrid, I have ended up wondering if his activism will not be ultimately more useful to Cuba by his offering these devastating denunciations — amplified by this unusual media focus recovered after the relative oblivion that followed July 11 (11J) – silenced behind the bars of Castroism. continue reading

In this regard, I have few doubts, although his point of view regarding the US embargo on Havana deserves a separate comment: its lifting would not result in greater well-being for the people of Cuba because the embargo is not the cause of their poverty, rather the cause is Castroism. If the sanctions are lifted, it would only happen that the thieves would steal more and the policemen would be better armed, nothing more. On this point I consider myself unyielding.

The battle raised by Archipiélago is not part of a new war. In no way was the political opposition against Castroism born recently in San Isidro, nor last November 27 in front of the Ministry of Culture: this has been a long struggle that began in the mid-1980s, passed through the subsequent initiative of the Cuban Council, and has known a long trail of atrocities that the most notable voices of these emerging platforms, Archipiélago included, seem unaware of when they omit the most relevant names in their speeches.

Names of militants or opposition organizations that for decades have left their skin in the streets and prisons of Cuba — and to ignore that is something that can be read as an act of puerile arrogance, but also as an unhealthy intention to shift media attention to the frequencies of the dial less hostile to the regime — all of which raises justified suspicions, especially when later some light dialoguers prudently distanced from that frontal opposition propose with presumed candor the lifting of sanctions against Castroism.

One week from November 15 (15N), all that remains is to extract lessons and make a dispassionate balance of costs and benefits. Let’s start from the criterion that when someone makes a call to action that reaches a resonance like this, they must also be willing to assume the consequences of their act.  I think that once a war cry has been raised, one should return from battle with the shield or on the shield. My convictions dictate that once the ships are burned, Samson must burn on board with all the Philistines because a war, when it is authentic, must be launched irreversibly and totally or not be launched.

Before challenging a Stalinist-style totalitarianism such as Castroism, you must properly calibrate the monster you are facing. You should know that when you get in the way of a train it will be the crushing impact of a train that will hit you and never a bouquet of white flowers.

An absolute gain of 15N? Having confirmed that with Castroism the possibilities of an authentic dialogue are buried in stone, and furthermore that if the regime managed to frustrate the march it was only by resorting to the total militarization of the country — when not even the diva on duty, Humberto López, managed to evade the police siege — all of which reflects the state of ungovernability generated by the late-Castro gerontocracy. Today the political credibility of the dictatorship is wallowing with historic lows in the quagmire of discredit and if 11J was its final plebiscite of disapproval, the coup de grace that was missing was this 15N.

However, when I see Yunior calling to dismantle the romantic myth of the bearded vigilante that, from the stands of the outdated left, still harms millions of Cubans so much, while emphasizing that he does not aspire to become an idealized bronze statue, I refer once again to the core of the Cuban problem: that damned messianism, our constant need for a savior who arrives on the back of a glorious white horse to serve us the freedom of Cuba on a silver platter, as if we Cubans deserved that providential twist of fate.

It must be that after so many ration cards we end up believing that freedom will come to us, also free of charge, by cosmic predestination. It will be that by expecting everything from state paternalism we also end up waiting for the arrival of some chosen one to unload on him this responsibility that must touch everyone, which will always be, in principle, doomed to failure.

No one can handle such a load. For this reason, let us not blame Yunior García for the fact that Castroism subsists against the will of the Cuban people, nor should we blame the next elected party just because our laziness or our cowardice so determine.

The true solution to the Cuban problem lies in assuming our common responsibility, and it will come only when as a people we gain a mature awareness of our civic duty to the country, assuming all the pertinent risks and paying in advance, at the fair price, for each freedom conquered.


The Lifting of the Cuban Embargo: A Necessary Commentary / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 9 August 2021 — Sandalio, in your diatribe against the embargo, there are a couple of points which aren’t logical – nor ethical either, but let’s stay with logical – because they have been  definitively refuted by events.

The embargo is not all that inviolable when the Cuban government has never stopped trading or receiving tourists from more than half the world, including all of Europe, Russia, China, most of America and a very long etc.  But where you keep getting it wrong – and where your error is the most inexcusable and fundamental – is when you say again and again that “to go against the Cuban people is a terrible thing”, when you refer to the patriots who are opposed to the lifting of the sanctions against Castroism.

Sandalio, you need to get the message: Castroism and the Cuban people will never be the same thing. Please don’t mix up completely opposed concepts; forget your idea that those of us who oppose the indulgences of the the dictatorship, do it because we don’t love our people and we wish them ill, when it is totally the opposite. That is a typical Castroist argument, Sandalio. Don’t make me suspicious!

These patriots, among whom I am proud to be included, support the embargo and whatever sanctions are applied against the dictatorship which is oppressing us, because of their clear conviction that any resource which might enter Cuba resulting from international concessions will never be applied, NEVER! for the good of my people. continue reading

Instead of that, they will inevitably be controlled by the stupid Castroist oligarchy which, you mention, squandered, robbed and diverted to fatten up their secret accounts in tax havens, and ultimately, only used to strengthen even further its lethal repressive apparatus.

That is written in the Bible, Sandalio, and to close your eyes to something so logical and predictable makes one doubt a person’s intelligence and good faith, and makes me suspect their complicity with the regime, above all after the ample historic evidence displayed last July 11th (a day of mass protests in Cuba).

What more do people like you need, Sandalio,  than a July 11th, to make you understand that the hatred and grudge are not fed by my people but by those who beat them during those historic days??!! How many more people detained or dead do you need before you understand that there is an irreconcilable conflict between Castroism and my people, and that it is not the fault of the Cubans, whether inside or outside Cuba? When will you understand that Castroism always passed, passes, and will pass through the triumphal arch,  however many bridges of love are laid out to it because it is not interested in any authentic dialogue, which it will always be opposed to, by nature and essence.

Who were the miserable people, Sandalio, who hit and subjected to summary justice hundreds of semi-adolescents just for protesting, not giving a shit about their own current constitution, ratifying it as a dead letter.  None of this has anything at all to do with the embargo, and it would continue to happen, and worse things too, if this very day all the sanctions were cancelled and the regime felt more secure and legitimate because of it. To doubt that offends the intelligence and sensitivity of millions of Cubans, Sandalio!

Nothing suggests that changing this strategy, maintained “without obtaining any results in decades”, will stop the dictatorship easily adapting to new circumstances and, in the face of every new proposal, bringing up new excuses and never granting us the rights we claim, above all because experience predicts the exact opposite: if it accepts new sources of finance from unwary creditors, Castroism will reposition itself and there will be nothing for Cuba but more repression every day, more poverty and less liberty.

It is not “the Americans”, nor any exiles, Sandalio, who stoke resentments and keep the majority of the diaspora totally angered with the Cuban government. No!! Those doing that are precisely the same Castroists for whom you are pleading forgiveness every time they mistreat, neglect and defraud us in every consulate; when they blatantly help themselves to part of every remittance; when they prevent us from freely entering and leaving our own country because of political bias, in fact, for the thousands of accumulated reasons counted up by this people during over six decades of absolutism, peasant! It is Castroism, and nothing else, that ruins our lives, and keeps our families as hostages in Cuba, Sandalio!

How dare you try to pass that most serious responsibility to people other than those who hold us up at the Cuban customs?  Just to insinuate such an idea is an aberration and frankly immoral, when you, like millions of Cubans, know that the only people guilty of this abomination are in Havana, not in Washington! It will be impossible to achieve this “brilliant future vision” that you invent in your mental masturbation, Sandalio, while every peaceful proposal from the Cuban civic opposition is received by the Communist Party/State Security duo as a provocation and ends up coming to blows.

Please don’t bang on any more about the idea that supporting the well-deserved sanctions against those who tyrranise us, they tease and shit in all this “good tone and optimism”, which outdated people like you hallucinate in your alienation is an act of treason, when the real traitors are in the Plaza de la Robolución (**play on words between Plaza de la Revolucion, a large square in Havana, where the seat of government is, and “robo”, meaning theft) waiting for people like you to do their dirty work.

Please, have some self-respect, Sandalio, it’s always a good idea to preserve a little dignity if you don’t want to remain a traitor to yourself … no matter how angry you paint yourself!

Translated by GH

Are There Any Apolitical Cubans? / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Yordenis Ugás, Cuban professional boxer.

Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 20 August 2021 — I have always thought it is a lie that there are apolitical Cubans. When I hear a fellow countryman say, whether on the island, or in exile, that that politics are not their thing, and that when they send money back home and guarantee food on their family’s table in Cuba, they take for granted the universal order, I can’t avoid feeling I want to throw up. I always try to hide my feelings if I hear someone like that and try to avoid the topic in internet forums, because, if  I am confronted with it, any words I come up with end up being borderline offensive.

Life has taught me not to be too ready to judge; up to now my experiences have persuaded me in a thousand ways — sometimes quite bloody ways — that, at the end of the day, every person has his reasons for behaving in one way or another, but, above all, I have have come to the wise conclusion that I am not God to judge anybody; but even so, I can’t control the nausea. Really, I do not believe that within such a polarised reality such as in Cuba, living under the most despotic absolutism, that you can vegetate so that it doesn’t matter to you that four senile old men and their group of satraps decide everything in your life.

I could believe that a Swedish or Dutch person, or someone in Switzerland can take no interest in politics, but if you are a Cuban and some handpicked government moronic idiots decide what you can or cannot eat — and as a result what you can shit — and whether today you will or won’t have any soap to clean the one thing, or toilet paper to clean the other, if you can or cannot sell avocados from your garden or bring four fish back to your house, what music may or may not be broadcast by your radio station, what book you may read, what opinions you may or may not express in your Facebook wall and whether or not you are permitted to enter or leave your own country; that is, when you live in in a country where absolutely everything that happens in your life is decided by four thieves who matter nothing to you, I seriously cannot understand how something like that cannot matter to you.

It would be more elegant if you silent Cubans would just recognise that you are afraid. There is nothing bad in being afraid: it’s the most basic and necessary emotion; with good reason the first one we learn in life, and although I will always excuse fear, I will never understand cowardice, because the first continue reading

is an understandable vital reflex, but on the other hand the second needs to be assumed and understood as a philosophy of life which can end up destroying human dignity.

But it is completely shameful to recognise yourself as a coward! It follows that a Cuban who calls himself apolitical is in reality paying his tribute of fear to the dictator, while he shelters in his blanket of egotism, hiding from human misery within his comfort zone; converted into a non-person, giving up his self-respect and, with no dignity to defend, reduces the world to a plate of lentils, as if all that was needed to make life worthwhile was just to eat and to shit. In essence, there is no difference between such a vegetative existence and the scarcely organic routine of a pig or an insect.

I don’t know how they manage that, but there are plenty of them who do not even trouble themselves over the hundreds of young people who, since July 11th, are stuck, with cowardly convictions, in Cuban jails  — after all, when all’s said and done, they aren’t your family! — and don’t care either about the imposition of a diktat like Decree 35, [a decree penalising “ethical and social harm, or incidents of aggression” in social networks], among other gems of dim-witted Castroism. No, I simply don’t believe it is possible to be so insensitive, everything in me refuses to accept that it is enough just to down a Coca Cola of oblivion in order to live like that; it would be like listening to an Afghan woman who was unaware of the return of the Taliban, and that the reimposition of fundamentalism was just like water off a duck’s back. No! That is not ethically or practically possible!

That’s why I bite my tongue in the face of these unfeeling nonentities, but on the other hand my soul revives when I hear young people like Yordenis Ugás [Cuban professional boxer]  — a completely accomplished Cuban, an acclaimed sportsman, who entered world professional boxing history independently of the result of his next match with the star Pacquiao [Filipino  professional boxer] — who does not forget his valiant people and who, at the peak of his career, devotes the fight of his life to the humble Cuban people fighting for their liberty. The outcome of his match this Saturday in Las Vegas hardly matters: Cuba has already chosen its champion and awarded the prize to his proud son — the belt of dignity! [Ugás won.]

Examples like this move me, I recover my faith in the human race and can only feel full of pride. It’s impossible to avoid the contrast with the clown Cesar La Cruz [Cuban amateur boxer], set up as the Castroism front-man during his final in Tokyo: a miserable tambourine who betrayed his people when he attempted to legitimise some assassins who only a few days before had massacred their own people, to the same opportunists who one day not far from now will be thrown away like kitchen rags when they are no longer useful, as happened before with hundreds of our champions who now are dying of hunger in Cuba, abandoned in their faded glory.

There are definitely no apolitical Cubans: there are only decent Cubans, ready to place their grain of sand and pay the fair price for it, just as there are cowards who prefer to keep quiet because they are afraid, and  make out they don’t see the bottomless abyss into which the land where they were born is sinking. That’s all; there are no other pages to turn here. To the Cuban who reads this, you have to choose in  which of these two groups you will live your life; in a barbarism like Castroism, there are no other options. If you are offended by what I am saying, I don’t care any more — those are the bad habits that come with age, or perhaps the hangover from July 11th, I don’t know; but, do you know what? … it doesn’t bother me too much either way!

Translated by GH

Cristina Escobar’s Stupid Performance Before Cuban President Diaz-Canel / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Jeovany Jimenez Vega, Ciudadano Cero, 31 August 2021 — Prefabricated speeches, like the one from Cristina Escobar to Mr. Handpicked [Cuban president Díaz-Canel] on August 19th — in a delayed transmission prudently edited by Cuban TV —  always drip the same deceit: the minutes fly by and you only hear the nonsense surrounding the edges of the wound, without ever getting to the centre of the ulcer, always carefully avoiding key ideas and words.

That is precisely the pathognomonic sign which points them out and exposes them as vulgar stupidities, and so we listened to this brand new “social communicator” say “government” instead of “regime,”  for example, or use the euphemistic “construction of omissions” to refer to the dreadful censorship imposed since forever by Castroism: bread should be called bread, and dictatorship dictatorship!

The pathetic nerve of a Miss Escobar making out it is all the plain truth when she then goes off on tangents, and not calling things by their proper names. Although there were other speeches, Escobar’s contained some real gems, for example, when she recognised that in Castroism’s Cuba “… any nobody can run the press …” and that the Communist Party leaders have always been “… deciding how to say things…”  continue reading

To put it more simply; she recognised that the official press in Cuba has as its ultimate aim washing the dirty laundry of its lying political demagogues — what a sacrilege to say that in this land of spotless leaders! — and ultimately to promote that “… place under siege mentality …”, that perpetual justification for the regime’s repressive practice sadly displayed in all its cruelty during a historic 11th of July [a day of protests against the Cuban government] which, as Escobar recognises, was Olympically ignored by the stupid press.

Miss Escobar will know that if her tambourine journalism didn’t bother to cover 11th of July, it was because it preferred to give in to its masters and turn its back on the people at the precise moment when they most needed it. At the exact minute when her “journalists” accepted, as the most natural thing, to guard the ICRT building (Cuban Institute of Radio & TV) from a hypothetical attack which never happened — since the people didn’t start any violence —  another much rougher building called the Cuban Nation collapsed under the seismic shock of its people across the whole length of this ruined country. Therefore, when those “communication professionals”, displaying their proverbial cowardice, buried their heads in the sand to avoid having to report the unpublished protests of the people demonstrating their contempt for the tyrants, they betrayed the very essence of their profession and renounced the opportunity of their lives to vindicate themselves after such disloyalty.

But no-one can deny our legitimate right to defence so, there, where the official press didn’t dare to go, the people’s reporting did go and recorded its priceless testimony in thousands of photos and videos which bore witness to the energy of this sea of humanity and also the brutality with which they were opposed, to smother their cry. Hence the indignation at the sugar-coatings of this naive lady when she called them “…terrible images…” — another euphemism to avoid saying brutal repression — to the disturbing repression: the heartbreaking cry of impotence and pain of a people who resisted solely with reason and naked fists against the brutality unleashed by the hordes. But her cynicism reached its lowest point when this chameleonic diva purported, with total unscrupulousness, to make out to be heroes the cowards who maliciously beat with impunity, who kicked, tortured and locked up the tens of thousands of young people that memorable 11th of July.

Such subservience is scandalous. When even the ones who should, in theory, denounce and condemn those who were guilty of the massacre, settle for complicity by appearing as fools in the farce, they completely confirm a couple of certainties: that the Day of National Dignity was, for the history of Cuba, the point of no return which closed once and for all any possibility of an authentic dialogue with the dictatorship, and which, in its fight for freedom, our people can only count on the one authentic journalism in Cuba today, the independent journalists, who every day risk their skin, their liberty, and their life in the street struggling through wind and rain, in an unfair fight, in order that the truth may come out into the light against the defamations of these circus bootlickers whose faces the people will remember tomorrow.

This grotesque mise-en-scene saw the irreconcilable antagonism between the rights of my people and the dirty interests of the dictatorship; in the end it was clear that the Havana establishment will only “enter a dialogue”  if they can choose whom they talk to, decide what topics they fancy, and up to what point the conversation can go, always on their own terms and so long as their position of power is not brought into question. This is a valuable definitive lesson for all those last-minute upstart “dialoguers” who, inside and outside Cuba, still dream of the impossible from Castroism.

Translated by GH

Cuba: Following July 11th, Now What? / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty. ~Thomas Jefferson

Jeovany Jiminez Vega, 24 July 2021 — “Our enemy follows one plan: to anger us, scatter us, divide us, drown us. That’s why we must follow another plan: to demonstrate our greatness, to come together, join each other, outwit them, to finally make our homeland free. Plan against plan.”

What did July 11th mean for the dictatorship?

The popular uprising of July 11th in Cuba made things very clear. It will be impossible for the dictatorship to hide its most blunt political defeat in more than 60 years, no matter how much it wants to. The Cuban people took the streets en masse on that historic day, shouting “Libertad“. Hundreds of videos are circulating online and this time, there were millions of witnesses. It is impossible to hide evidence of such magnitude, as well as the brutal repressive response of the regime to crush, at any cost, this vibrant national clamor.

What strategy will the dictatorship follow? 

In light of overwhelming evidence, knowing that it is going through its lowest credibility in history, and understanding its psychology, I believe the regime will channel its brutality through the following strategies:

APPEAL TO THE CONDITIONED SOCIAL REFLEX TO WHICH PEOPLE ARE ACCUSTOMED, WHICH UNTIL NOW HAS BEEN SUBMISSION THROUGH FEAR: Intensifying all the modalities of its repressive standards of practice, keeping the militarization of large cities through the constant mobilization of operating resources to perpetuate the terror, arresting or issuing subpoenas to as many protestors as possible to intimidate everyone, imposing excessive sanctions and long prison sentences, threatening anyone who has participated directly or indirectly in the protests or who has supported them in any way — including any social media posts — with expulsion from work or school.

LAUNCHING A DIPLOMATIC OFFENSIVE TO MINIMIZE INTERNATIONAL BACKLASH: Putting at maximum pressure through its extensive network of pro-Castro activism, organized and financed by Cuban embassies and consular offices, directing its vast espionage network to thwart new initiatives from the Cuban community in exile, promoting declarations from important personalities (ideological figureheads) to legitimize its repressive practices as much as possible; bribing, calling in old favors or blackmailing continue reading

key positions at global institutions.

RAMPING UP PROPAGANDA OFFENSIVE INSIDE CUBA: Increasing attacks  by its henchmen of dissidents through the state-run media and orchestrating character assassinations, distorting the spirit of the protests through disinformation and the constant broadcasting of its media theater: false crimes, false arrests, and any kind of fictitious atrocity will later be denied as fake news and allegedly promoted by the “mercenary opposition” — or acts of vandalism ordered from their own State Security — later attributed to real protestors — to belittle the credibility of the thousands of real complaints triggered by their abuses.

FIND AND SACRIFICE SOMEONE TO BLAME: Insisting that the popular discontent is due solely to the serious health situation and not to the people’s massive rejection of an imposed political regime; intensifying its background discourse that blames the US “blockade” as the only cause of our ruin; and lastly, sacrificing its expendable piece, Díaz-Canel, as a scapegoat, just to promote another unelected figure more inclined to the sycophancy required by the Castro’s oligarchy.

INITIATE A SERIES OF COSMETIC REFORMS: Implementing insubstantial changes, though potentially reversible in some areas, mostly directed at the independent sector (those who are self-employed); diminishing the rigor of, or eliminating, measures that are known to be the least popular — such as the limits on non-comercial imports imposed by customs; calling meetings with the lightest “negotiators,” etc. Anyway, small concessions, for the purpose of creating small delays without questioning the permanence of the Castroism in power.

Which strategy should the Cuban people, within and outside of Cuba, follow?

PASSIVE RESISTANCE; DO NOT COOPERATE IN ANY WAY WITH THE DICTATORSHIP: If you no longer believe in this falsity, don’t accept the simple inertia of government organizations: solicit the firing of the Communist Party, its unions, the Women’s Federation and its despicable CDR [Committees for the Defense of the Revolution]; never again participate in the useless accountability meetings of the People’s Power where nothing is decided and absolutely abstain from participating in fake elections; never again attend an official demonstration during key dates for Castroism (January 1st, May 1st and July 26th) stay home: empty streets will be evidence that your people have definitively declared themselves July 11th!

THE ORGANIZATION OF A NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT IN SUPPORT OF FREEDOM FOR THOSE DETAINED ON JULY 11TH: One essential issue. The regime knows that the punishing the brave detainees that day will be a determining factor in its ability to perpetuate its state of terror; it knows the tremendous deterring effect of unjust sentences, which is why they impose long prison sentences, from there we must organize in support of the families of the imprisoned, constantly support them and periodically protest in massive sit-ins of neighbors in front of police stations, the seat of government and the Communist Party, in each municipality where they held, to constantly pressure, to demand their unconditional release –l et us remember the Ladies in White who in 2010 bent the dictatorship in a moment of great strength, while it was still under the direct leadership of Fidel Castro. Do not allow, Cuban descendent, another act of repudiation against that neighbor who fights for your freedom: may the neighborhood barricades defend your neighbor’s dignity, and yours.

ADAPT OUR RESPONSES TO EACH SPECIFIC SITUATION: A potentially prolonged struggle should not be considered as something which will be resolved in a few outings, as a result we should always take into account the opponents’ superior resources. For unarmed people confronting a regular army, it will not always be appropriate to face them head on: all civil demonstrations should tactically seek specific objectives, but always adapting themselves with resilience to a fundamental strategy, and be launched at the most opportune and favorable moment. When it is most prudent to step back, one must step back — which does not imply defeat, rather the contrary: this will force the regime to mobilize constantly and the people will be less frequently exposed unnecessarily and would be more unpredictable.

COUNTERING THE FALSEHOODS OF THE REGIME THROUGH ACTIVISM ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Its importance, as well as that of Youtubers and influencers, was shown to be an effective counterpoint to the information monopoly of the Castro regime; it will be very important to continue disseminating the videos and pictures of July 11th, as well as encouraging each attempt to unify and disseminate every new civil initiative or action of political opposition on every forum.

COUNTERING THE PROSELYTISM OF THE CASTRO REGIME: Wherever you find yourself abroad, worthy Cuban, do not allow an exile to easily pay tribute to the Castro regime while enjoying the bounties of a democracy they deny us in Cuba: confront that fallacy with determination; organize and join committees that support freedom in Cuba; generate initiatives that denounce the abuses of the dictatorship and put pressure on the government of your host country so it may condemn or withdraw its support for a regime that vandalizes its people. Support initiatives that empower our full access to uncensored Internet, which is interrupted indefinitely by the regime, so we may evade the censorship imposed by Havana.

DO NOT ACCEPT REFORMS THAT DO NOT INCLUDE THE DEPARTURE OF THE CASTROISTS OLIGARCHS IN POWER: Never allow the regime to present Díaz-Canel as the only guilty party and sacrifice its leader only be replaced with someone similar. We should demand as the only real solution to this irreversible crisis the Castrosim leave power.

The sum and coordination of these lines of action will allow the Cuban people to gain greater confidence each day, and thus become more aware of its immense power. Never cease raising awareness among your friends, your neighbors, your family that we, Cubans who desire the collapse of the Castroist regime, are an absolute majority. July 11th demonstrated millions of us are willing to take to the streets, and the dictatorship will be able to do very little when faced with another massive popular uprising like that National Day of Dignity, though better coordinated and with clearly defined immediate objectives. Accustomed to treating us as slaves, the dislodged dictatorship will be capable of nothing, when faced with millions of upstanding Cubans, because when tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes a duty.