Cuba: The New Minority

Meeting of the Council of Ministers chaired by Miguel Díaz-Canel in 2022. (Studies Revolution)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 17 February 2024 — If it were possible to conduct a national survey without the participants being afraid to answer truthfully and with the guarantee that the results will not be manipulated, I dare to say that when asked, “Are you satisfied with the management of those who govern?”, we would see that the vast majority would mark the “no” box. If the question were more precise and investigated the popular will to carry out a profound change in the system, the same majority would mark the “yes” box.

I refuse to believe that all the people I talk to, those with who agree with me, in a bus, a taxi, a line or the privacy of their homes are lying when they show their disagreement with the rulers or when they project a new way of living in Cuba. In any case, if they were to lie, it would be to say that everything is fine and that socialism is the solution, but they would do it out of fear.

I have known many who believed in the project that was intended to build communism in Cuba and who today no longer believe in it, but I don’t know anyone who, having really been against it, have been convinced that the proposals of the only party allowed are the desired future for the country. There are many imposters among those who applaud, but the only ones who pretend are the State Security agents infiltrated into the opposition.

In any case, if they were to lie, it would be to say that everything is fine and that socialism is the solution, but they would do it out of fear

Communist Party militancy represents less than 9% of the Cuban population, but its presence in Parliament, in the Council of State and in the Council of Ministers exceeds 98%. These abysmal differences between a minority that rules and a majority that must obey are cemented in Cuba on apparent political differences, far from the entrenched divergences between Sunnis and Shiites that fractured Iraq or the ethnic conflicts between Tutsi and Hutu that ended with a genocide in Rwanda. Camagüey will never be separatist like Chechnya; the devotees of the Ocha Rule (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)* will not promote a massacre of Catholics; the war between blacks and whites that occurred in 1912** will not be repeated.

When those who occupy the seats in the spheres of power are a minority, they can only maintain their prevalence through force, expressed in the intimidating presence of repressive institutions, the political control of the judicial spheres and a network of collaborators dedicated to betraying and participating in acts of repudiation.

This structure can be corroded from below or from above.

Loyalty to historical nonagenarians is still the best currency to stay afloat

Here below you can see that, although many people continue to pay their fee as members of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), they only do it to keep appearances before a presumed “verification” to ascend at work, but no one is on night guard anymore, and the private businesses that pay better salaries than the State do not do verifications. The aspiration to emigrate, which entails the requirement to demonstrate a credible fear, far exceeds the ambition to be head of something in a State entity. The presidency of the CDR does not determine who is going to install a landline phone and, in short, with cell phones the communication issue is resolved.

“Up there” is where you can best see the masquerade dance. Loyalty to historical nonagenarians is still the best currency to stay afloat. But that minority that mostly occupies the positions in the chamber of power is composed of human beings who, no matter how cynical and opportunistic they are, realize that their commitment to those who rule is in contradiction to their responsibility to those they supposedly represent.

They are in the minority, and the majority realize it.

Translator’s notes:
*Resolution 46/182 and other resolutions affirm that UN humanitarian assistance must be provided in accordance with the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence from political motivations.  
**The “Little Race War” in 1912 was a series of protests and uprisings in Cuba, in which the Cuban armed forces put down a rebellion by black Cubans in the eastern part of the country

Translated by Regina Anavy


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