Miguel Diaz-Canel is expected to take the reins in Cuba this Thursday. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luis Tornes Aguililla, Bordeaux, 16 April 2018 — As we already know what is going happen, it matters not if the date of this article is earlier than the date of the appointment of el señor presidente.

Miguel Diaz-Canel already knows that he was handpicked and perhaps suspects, because he has no other choice, that ultimately, the system improvised by Fidel Castro is a failure in all respects no matter how many billions in debt the capitalists of the Paris Club or the London Club have conceded to Cuba, to mention only two significant examples of the last three years.

The dilemma is simple: to pay a debt you have to work and produce, or steal. It was the Cuban people who paid, between executions and temper tantrums, for the deliriums that Fidel Castro promised, more or less, to make real their pipe dreams. continue reading

A lot of money was needed and that’s how colossal debt amply financed political irresponsibility. It is important that Cubans know that the dramatic story of these last 60 years has mortgaged, because of financial debts – and not just the financial ones – the future of several generations.

So, thus, the question: How can a future democratic government in Cuba confront the reality of the people? Diaz-Canel may know the answer but cannot express it.

Ordinary Cubans live in a black misery with the dual currencies, indecent wages and an unprecedented social disaster because the retractors of the dogma do not want to release the exponential creativity of the Cuban people. Let nobody be mistaken. The Holy Office will watch, with particular interest, the praxis of Diaz-Canel around this issue of freedom of self-empowerment, not so much for philosophical reasons but to avoid any slippage of Cuba towards a society where individuals do not have to depend on the regime.

The Castro regime artifice has been lacking for many years in its terrifying obligatory reality, a reality that the involutionists* will leave to those who come later.

That reality is the cause of the maintenance of the liturgy and the paraphernalia of everything in life, without which, the comrades would find themselves naked before public opinion.

Will Diaz-Canel be left holding the bag once Raúl Castro leaves this world?

Fortunately, in today’s Cuba there is not that massive ignorance of the codes of the world, which is a problem for any candidate for dictator. This is the first reason why Diaz-Canel, and the guards who are watching him, will have to walk a fine line with Cubans who, apart from the usual rowdiness, know what is happening beyond the seas.

A man handpicked cannot pretend to deal with a fed up people who want to abandon their country en masse even if they have to do it by way of Alaska. One can feel the grudge against what people have had to endure. Little by little, millions of Cubans have come to realize that they irremediably lost their youth and their lives in a spasmodic drunkenness paid for, for a very long time, by themselves. When the time comes, perhaps Diaz-Canel will rebel.

*Translator’s note: Involutionists predict the persistence of the worst features of state socialism in a condition of permanent underdevelopment. (See “Post Socialist Pathways,” David Stark and Laszlo Bruszt, 1998)


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Cuban Regime Can Sleep Peacefully / 14ymedio, Luis Tornes Aguililla

The elected US president, Donald Trump, Raul Castro and Barack Obama. (Social networks montage)
The elected US president, Donald Trump, Raul Castro and Barack Obama. (Social networks montage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luis Tornes Aguililla, Bordeaux France, 14 November 2016 – Trump plus Cuba, let us say, will not even be a low intensity conflict. Rather, Cuba is this place where those who manage La Pasta thanks to tourist activity along with other perks must have arrived, at this point, at a de facto commitment to the current system in that part of the world, a commitment that surely includes maintaining the normal activity of a peanut seller with its miserable street-vendor-capitalism until the time comes when death overcomes him in bed without having to render accounts to the Pol Pot Plan or anything like that. This is what happens when the enemy doesn’t have oil, gas or rare metals.

And I am reminded of a story from an old Frenchman who, in 1944, saw an armored division of the US Army pass in front of German soldiers who only wanted to surrender. The old man told me that the Germans were waving wildly to the Americans who continued on their way without acknowledging them. In the end, tired of wanting to surrender, the Germans presented themselves to the mayor of a neighboring village and remained there about a month until the US command did them the favor of going to look for trucks. They were enemies, but conquered and insignificant. continue reading

One of the responses to the financial crisis of 1929 envisioned by President Herbert Hoover’s administration was the repatriation to the United States of all the American funds contributed to Germany and indirectly to Europe to help them recover from the ravages of World War One. There was talk of 14 billion dollars repatriated, which led to an unsustainable economic and social reality in a Germany militarily occupied, under the vindictive Treaty of Versailles. Germans reacted to Hoover’s financial operation with xenophobic, racist and exclusionary opposition, a kind of “short circuited” life that progressively plunged them into the abyss of the Second World War. Since then, Americans have learned to control the hornets’ nests, so Trump will be soft on Cuba.

Eighty-seven years later, we are living with the consequences of another global crisis, that of April 2008 which, far from a systemic credit crisis is more akin to a new phase of financial capitalism, something unexpectedly huge that the American electorate base just interpreted in its way by seating Donald Trump as president of the United States, where drugs, the undocumented and widespread insecurity are the visible part of the problem, while the underlying reality is the precariousness in which millions of Americans find themselves in places like West Virginia and in remote places like Orderville (Utah), where I had the opportunity to speak this year with a married couple of unemployed civil engineers selling stones for lack of work.

Today, real or latent peripheral conflicts in Ukraine, Libya, Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan, whose apparent causes are the need for affirmation of a cultural or ethnic identity, have deep causes whose roots lie in the strategic interests of the great powers. The Cuban regime can sleep peacefully.

Their Congress / 14ymedio, Luis Tornés Aguililla

The discussions in committees of the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party are guided by members of the Politburo. (MINREX)
The discussions in committees of the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party are guided by members of the Politburo. (MINREX)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio Luis Tornés Aguililla, San Sebastien, 20 April 2016 – As the priests of old used to say: Ite, missa est, that is: Go out there and tell them what I said, this mess is over now.

They closed the circle, this Communist Party Congress in Cuba that was, as always, a conclave of The Family, ending with its slogans, with its disciplined creeping things who applaud while verifying out of the corners of their eyes whether the compañero sitting next to them dared to not applaud.

It was a formality, a sort of cloister where they proclaimed the dogmatic incantations of a whole life which they themselves don’t believe in, because in Cuba as elsewhere, reality flees from artifice. Those assembled (rolling their eyes at the passion) know very well, as does Raul Castro: that’s it. continue reading

The opening speech of the sub-boss showed a real lack of respect for the Cuban people, especially when the general-president justified the existence of a single party in the political spectrum of the island; he said it with a cruel sarcasm, with that irony old men have when they know they are facing the abyss. It was a mocking self-assurance that we Cubans must not forget because it allows us to measure the enormous ideological fragility in which the regime finds itself.

We know perfectly well that if, at his age, the administrator for the Elder Idiot is amused by such antics, it is simply because the new status quo with the United States permits it. Right now, Castroism is a political circumstance under American control, a control arising from the financial accords with the Paris Club, the exchanges of every kind with the enemy, as if Havana is well worth all the senile tantrums and all the appearances of other times.

It is true that no one wants a civil conflict in Cuba, which would amount to (we have to admit it) three times the horror of the war in Syria given the grisly string of hatred and rancor accumulated since 1959. In that eventuality, the United States “apparatus” would prefer a million times and freedom-killing management of the current stiffs on tenterhooks.

The only viable option for Cuba to not cease to exist as a national entity appears to be the heroic struggle of the opposition on the island, a peaceful struggle whose vector is convincing the people that life is possible without repression, without political exiles, with decent wages and without fear. In the end, Cubans will win the battle, but the road to freedom is long.