The Monopoly on Political Truth in Cuba / Somos+

Somos+, Evangelical Pastor Raúl Macías López, M.D., 23 February 2016 —  Across the broad spectrum of Cuban reality, certain aspects stand out quite markedly. All around us we see contrasts and inequalities that give rise to fear over what the future holds in store and civic immobility in the present, with a tendency toward indifference (on the part of the people) and seizure of the truth (by the government). The combination of those factors keeps the radically transformative changes the country needs from taking place.

The prevailing single-party ideology has tried to monopolize political truth for the nearly fifty-eight years of its “irreversible”* existence. I want to emphasize “has tried” because, fortunately, in Cuba today there are as many ways of thinking as there are people who think. The voices of more and more citizens are raised to express an unstoppable and absolutely necessary diversity of opinions. This is clearly inevitable. continue reading

The philosophy of “here we all think alike” almost succeeded in banishing the resounding truth that “it is utopian to pretend everyone thinks alike,” in its attempt to enshrine a lie that was believed as if it were true. In reality, to really understand each other, we cannot separate this fatal pair: monopoly – single-party regime.

For far too long, power has basically been in the hands of the same people and families, and has been used only as a means of enforcing their illegitimate control. The Castro top management (the term I find the most polite) controls the media in the name of socialism and uses that control to disseminate its own “truths,” all of them aimed at maintaining a monolithic economic, political and social order that is unjust because it damages the nation through its now questionable irreversibility.

And that “injustice” —since I’ve mentioned the word— also has to do with the fact that behind the scenes almost everyone questions the official discourse. But interestingly, most Cubans have chosen to devote themselves to their domestic concerns, be it cuentapropismo (self-employment), professional aspirations, or religious beliefs, in order to distance themselves as far as possible, etc… And meanwhile we all just let “them” take care of the nation’s political future.

Therefore if we want to appeal to justice, we have to admit that we ourselves have contributed to the current situation by putting the rope around our own neck (or allowing it to be put there), thereby unwittingly collaborating in the monolithic single-party system’s monopoly on truth. We’ve readily accepted our defeat, without even needing to be convinced or seduced beforehand, without demanding that reasons for it be given. If someone says such and such thing, the rest of us blindly, unanimously, and dogmatically accept it as the truest truth ever spoken.

It is as if the ability to ask questions had been excised by a collective scalpel, by a kind of intellectual surgery, with the aggravating factor that the scalpel was in the wrong hands. When were we mutilated? When was our crucial need to engage in fair, open argument and debate whenever and with whomever necessary taken from us?

The single-party government’s monopoly on truth has this distinctive feature: it appeals neither to people’s intelligence nor to their ability to take the initiative. Instead the authorities veto individual liberty and subliminally control people’s ability to decide for themselves. As if they were robots, people are forced to make decisions that favor the authorities’ interests.

For how much longer are we going to remain in this limbo, trapped in other peoples’ schemes? What more will it take before we wake up and begin to march forward as a nation? By what right do a few people claim to be the only ones free to decide what is true and what isn’t?

Cubans: let’s defend our truths with respect, but let’s defend them! It’s not fair for anyone to monopolize the truth.

Collective truth is made up of the greatest number of individual truths. Let’s embrace inclusivity.

“To hide the truth is a crime; to hide part of the truth—the part that compels and encourages us—is a crime; to hide what is not in an adversary’s interests, and say only what is, is a crime” —Martí, Obras completas, Vol. 1, p. 291.

The greatest human who ever walked the earth said: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” —John 8:32.

*Translator’s note: In response calls for democratic reforms and human rights in Cuba, the regime modified the constitution to make the current system “irreversible.”

Translated by Steven Aguirre, Diego Alvarado, Yulieth Galindo, Jemilcia Garcia, Iuliana Mazheika, Carlos Mojica, Clarissa Polanco, Gabriela Ramirez