Cuba: The End of the Party

Yunior García, one of the leaders of the Archipiélago, at the time he received the official response declaring the march of 15N “illegal”. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 30 October 2021 — The Cuban march on November 15 has been called by Archipiélago. This group is not a political party and does not intend to replace the communists in the country’s leadership. It takes its name from diversity. It is not true that Cuba is only an island. It is a large island – larger than the Netherlands and Belgium combined – and with many habitable islets, and also the Isle of Pines and the abundant keys.

Nor are the members of Archipiélago are at the service of the “Americans” or, specifically, of the CIA. This is the classic infamy with which the regime tries to discredit and disqualify those who oppose its forced unanimity. What the many members and supporters of Archipiélago want is to express themselves and tell their truths under the Constitution’s protection.

The Constitution guarantees freedom of thought, but, simultaneously, it subjects what is said to the socialist goals designed by the institutional order of the text itself. It is deliberately ambiguous since its model is the Stalin’s 1936 Constitution and its derivatives. On one side, it establishes the fundamental rights. On the other, it suppresses them.

In the Cuban case, when Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, on behalf of the ‘Christian Liberation Movement,’ presented more than the ten thousand signatures (in fact, more than 14,000) that were required to submit to a vote a referendum on a constitutional amendment that would authorize the multiparty system, the Cuban Parliament (the ‘National Assembly of People’s Power’) did not bother to answer him.

In 2012, he was murdered along with Harold Cepero. They were too bothersome. Human Rights Watch tells it: after a confusing incident, in which only the Cubans died, despite the fact that both had got out of the car on their own feet, unaided. This was told to me by Ángel Carromero, a young Spanish man who was driving the car on the day of the crime.

Previously, the Constitution, the communist aims of Cuban society and the role of the Party had been “armored,” so that it was highly unlikely to modify the course of Cuban events. However, it is practically impossible to prevent such changes towards openness. When will they happen? Once there is a critical mass that demands them or, otherwise, when certain people with effective power have the political will to carry them out.

Both forces converge in Cuba. On July 11, it became clear that young people want to expand society’s participation margins, but, at the same time, there are thousands of cadres from the Communist Party itself who call themselves “reformists” and are eager to initiate a substantial change that allows them to abandon collectivist and authoritarian superstitions forever. It has been 62 years of continuous failures.

In this sense, the cases of Leo Brouwer, Pablo Milanés, and Silvio Rodríguez, despite being different, are very significant. They repeated the “we have come this far” of José Saramago, when three young black men were executed in Havana on April 11, 2003. Brouwer sharply distanced himself from the Cuban regime due to the repression exercised against civil society on July 11 of this year. Hundreds of peaceful people were beaten and imprisoned, which was intolerable to this great-nephew of Ernesto Lecuona, a great guitarist and a great composer.

Pablo Milanés has lived in Spain since 1992, so his clear break with the regime, expressed in previous circumstances and now reiterated, is not surprising. More significant was the position taken by Silvio Rodríguez. He talked for more than an hour with the young playwright Yunior García Aguilera, an animator from Archipiélago, and with his wife, Dayana, a filmmaker, after García Aguilera’s arbitrary arrest. From that meeting came out a formal request from the singer-songwriter to the dictatorship to release the hundreds of detainees who had not used violence.

Silvio Rodríguez said on Facebook, “The meeting with Yunior and Dayana was good, I am not exaggerating if I say fraternal; there was dialogue, exchange, we listened to each other with attention and respect. The most painful thing for me was hearing that they, as a generation, no longer felt part of the Cuban process but something else. They explained their arguments, their frustrations to me. I tried to make them understand that at my age everything was also much slower than we expected it to be.

Silvio Rodríguez has taught Miguel Díaz-Canel a lesson on how to deal with the opposition. But he has received another quite obvious lesson – he has heard that Yunior and Dayana “do not feel part of the Cuban process.” The story of the Sierra Maestra is so old that it’s not possible for young people to bond emotionally with those stories. Silvio was born in the 1940s. Yunior in the eighties. If Silvio were as rational as he appears he would tell Díaz-Canel to get ready for the end of the party. It’s just around the corner.


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