14ymedio, Karel J. Leyva, Montreal (Canada), 18 February 2024 — In the context of a totalitarian regime, an opportunist is that individual or group that seeks to benefit personally, socially, economically or politically by aligning themselves with the established system of power. They are characterized by prioritizing personal interests over ethical principles, showing remarkable flexibility in their loyalties, which they adapt according to what best serves their own advantages. The opportunists are distinguished by their indifference to the suffering of others and their total apathy to the negative implications of their support for the regime for society as a whole.
Throughout history, totalitarian regimes have repeatedly used opportunists. Citizens who denounce colleagues and neighbors, hoping to win the political favor of the regime; companies that collaborate enthusiastically with dictatorships taking advantage of the forced labor of concentration camps or prisons; members of the economic elites who do everything necessary to preserve their status; and a long etcetera. As these systems begin to show signs of weakness, opportunists show an amazing speed in changing sides, demonstrating the volatile nature of their ideologies.
This behavior not only reinforces the existing power structure but also perpetuates the division within Cuban society
The Cuban totalitarian regime is no exception. Here opportunism is manifested in an exemplary way in the attitude of government officials, members of the Armed Forces, businessmen, academics, artists and intellectuals, who receive privileges and recognition in exchange for their support or at least their silence, in the face of human rights violations, the repression of dissent and even forced exile. This behavior not only reinforces the existing power structure but also perpetuates the division within Cuban society, by contributing to the stability and legitimization of the regime through active or passive complicity.
Opportunists play a central role in the perpetuation of the misery of the Cuban people not only thanks to their macabre complicity but also to the extent that they contribute to projecting the illusion of “revolutionary” consensus. They call the dictatorship “revolutionary”; regression “progress”; helplessness “social justice; totalitarianism “democracy”; indoctrination “education”; exploitation “solidarity”; and the despotic whim of a tyrant “popular will”.
Such a mirage hinders the possibility of an organized opposition and weakens international pressure, presenting the world with a facade of stability and acceptance. The opportunists present themselves as the legitimate face of civil society while promoting a culture of conformism that directly undermines the consolidation of dissident voices. Their tolerance and support for the repressive practices of the Cuban communist regime against those who dare to disagree legitimizes the use of force and coercion as tools of social control while revealing a deep ethical and moral crisis within Cuban society.
The opportunists present themselves as the legitimate face of civil society while promoting a culture of conformism that directly undermines the consolidation of dissident voices
In this way, opportunism erodes social trust, weakens bonds of solidarity and undermines the ability to organize collective efforts for change. The opportunist encourages distrust and skepticism. In the process, he not only degrades his own (a)moral values but also facilitates the acceptance of corrupt practices and the abuse of power, with degrading consequences for the culture and societal values.
To prove the weight that opportunism has in the maintenance of totalitarianism, it is enough to imagine what would happen if, betraying their own vile nature, the opportunists decided to withdraw support for the regime. Such a change of loyalties would trigger a cascade of effects with vast implications for the legitimacy, stability and political future of Cuba.
The loss of legitimacy would be the first and most immediate repercussion, marking the regime as weakened before national and international opinion. This questioning of its viability could accelerate doubts about government authority, eroding its power base. Simultaneously, the emptiness left by the opportunists could energize and give new life to the opposition forces, giving them an unprecedented opportunity to galvanize popular discontent and articulate the pro-democratic struggle with a stronger and more unified voice.
Such a change of loyalty would trigger a cascade of effects with vast implications for the legitimacy, stability and political future of Cuba
At the socioeconomic level, the withdrawal of support could precipitate an unprecedented crisis, exacerbating the already unbearable difficulties that exist. The interruption in the management of resources and services, caused by the departure of key actors, would further highlight the deficiencies of the economic model controlled by the State. This situation of instability could generate unsustainable pressure on the regime to implement any emergency reform.
The political landscape of Cuba could immediately undergo a significant reconfiguration, with the emergence of new alliances and leaderships that reflect a diversity of perspectives and aspirations. The withdrawal of opportunists’ support for the Cuban regime would have the potential to initiate a profound transformation on the Island, marking the way for possible democratic advances and social improvements.
But let’s not kid ourselves. The possibility of opportunists in Cuba withdrawing their support for the regime is quite limited. This statement is based on the very essence of opportunism and how it is intertwined with the peculiarities of the Cuban totalitarian system. The decision of opportunists to maintain their support for the Government is deeply rooted in a calculation of risks and benefits, where the balance tilts in favor of the regime as long as the personal and group benefits perceived outweigh the risks associated with a withdrawal of support. To do so at a time when they perceive that the Government, however weak it is, can still control destinies is antithetical to the nature of opportunists.
Opportunists need to glimpse an alternative scenario in which their interests are equally or better safeguarded than under the current regime. Without a movement of opposition with the strength and promise to offer such guarantees, the probability of a significant change in support is minimal. In a word, the anticipation of possible negative consequences – from the loss of privileges to more severe repressive actions – ensures the loyalty of opportunists to the regime. This fear, combined with moral connivance and inertia in the face of a known system, reinforces its reluctance to change.
The decision of opportunists to maintain their support for the Government is deeply rooted in a calculation of risks and benefits
In addition, as long as the regime continues to enjoy a certain degree of support or tolerance at the international level and external pressures do not increase significantly, opportunists will not find reasons to rethink their position. This reality suggests that, when these opportunistic elements finally choose to leave the dark side, their contribution to the democratic cause will be not only superfluous but also undesirable.
Their support would be due to the fact that they will only contemplate a desertion when the structures of the regime begin to falter irretrievably. That is, they would join the fight against the dictatorship when they no longer need it. The undesirability of this change of loyalty lies in the fact that it results not from an authentic awareness or a sudden moral awakening but from a calculated maneuver to perpetuate their personal interests and survival, even if it implies continuing to shamefully reject the ethical principles that must support Cuba’s freedom.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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