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 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.