Cuba: You Must Be Having a Laugh Diaz-Canel… / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 5 May 2023 — How was it possible, after the worst plane crash in our recent history, [Cubana de Aviación Flight 972 crashed in May 2018  at Santiago de las Vegas with loss of 112 lives], after the fatal collapse of the balconies that took the lives of three girls in a ruined Havana – and the subsequent collapse of several other buildings – as well as the appalling neglect to which the neighbourhoods devastated by that fatal tornado [January 2019 in Havana, 3 died] were condemned? After the extremely painful Hotel Saratoga disaster; after we saw the storage tanks at the Matanzas supertanker base burn to the ground – all tragedies that had as a common denominator the carelessness and irresponsibility of the Cuban authorities?

How was this possible after repressing marches of homosexuals demanding genuine respect outside Mariela Castro’s opportunism, and even after sinking up to his neck in shamelessness when setting his dogs on millions of unarmed Cubans on that historic day of protest 11 July 2021 when half a hundred cities across the country made clear their disgust and weariness? How can this “re-election” be at least minimally credible after the return of the hated hard currency stores – with the evident apartheid that this implies – and the daily blackouts; how after killing off the supposed monetary unification and each and every one of the vaunted points of a “reordering task” that only further deepened the previously prevailing chaos and has plunged us into a galloping inflation that breaks new records every day?

These are the mysteries and miracles that can only be worked in mediocracies – if they are authentic, of course – such as ours. The answer to all these questions lies behind a by no means fortuitous fact, which explains why five years ago Raúl Castro pointed his all-powerful finger at the anointed Díaz-Canel and not at any other among dozens of obsequious flunkies, and it was for something very simple: because he always knew that he had before him an anodyne type, the typical grey, cowardly guerilla type of being, so lacking in swing that in the eyes of ordinary Cubans he would go unnoticed even if he were dancing the hula hoop in a thong at noon at the intersection of 23rd and 12th in Havana; precisely for that reason the hardliners, the real Taliban of Castroism, set their sights on someone so colourless and lacking in charisma: those who really pull the strings always knew that this ductile amalgam was the right bet, safe and comfortable in order not to take any unnecessary risks – or what is the same, said in Castro jargon – to “change” everything that needs to be changed… without changing anything.

The leadership of Castroism needed someone sufficiently insipid and lacking in character, someone whose lack of magnetism would guarantee an absolute lack of leadership and whose genuflection – which we have witnessed during the “government” farce of the last five years – would ensure smooth sailing through the calm waters of obedience without casting any shadow whatsoever; The rascals in Havana’s La Plaza de la Revolucion knew full well that such a wimp would never pose any danger to their clan which, behind the scenes, has continued to pull the strings of royal power without a fuss.

And so, to conclude, let it be said in plain language: Díaz-Canel was re-elected because he has governed very well so far! Such a statement should come as a surprise to no one because, as always, anyone who wants to find the right answer only has to ask the right question: for whose benefit was Díaz-Canel supposed to govern, what was and still is his real mission, was he elected and then re-elected “by the pointing of a finger” to promote, foster and stimulate the prosperity of the Cuban people? In the face of such rhetorical questions, superfluous answers are superfluous: it is enough to go out into the street and look at the harshest face of our poverty to conclude, after such obvious evidence, the clearest and simplest of truths: this puppet was brought on stage to “govern” for and on behalf of the Castro regime, never for the benefit of the Cuban people, and so far he has done it very well!

And consider if that is what has happened: there are our more than a thousand political prisoners of July 11 as clear proof of their servility to the chosen way forward, the most abject continuity; there is the most bestial repression against our authentic civil society; there is the most painful and massive exodus in Cuban history, the result of the post July 11 repression, which long ago made the total number of emigrants from Camarioca in 1965, the Mariel exodus in 1980 and the one that followed the rafter crisis of 1994 pale in comparison; there is your “government” at the bottom of all world standards of freedom of the press, its enviable indexes of repression and of common and political prisoners per number of inhabitants; there are still the laws in force that under their disastrous management have turned the Cuban legal system into one of the most repressive in the world and further criminalised our civil rights, including laws that continue to restrict the right of emigrants to return and invest with due guarantees in their own country, that continue to stifle the national economy in every possible way – the true and only origin of our poverty – while the cynical mourners continue to blame it on the external embargo. In the meantime, the money has continued to flow unceasingly into the dictatorship’s coffers thanks to the effective management of our current shit in office.

This gentleman will go down in history for all this; his most profound legacy will be to have made lemonade the basis of everything, for having played the saddest role in this circus: that of the clown who, from above or from below, nobody respects, condemned as he is to be remembered forever, renamed in all the ends of the earth – and for this, people, you do have to be laughing like Díaz-Canel

Translated by GH