Cuban Secret Services: Sticks and White Glove / Iván García

The problem is the street. General Raúl Castro will not permit an Arab Spring in Cuba. He will do whatever needs doing to detain irate opponents. He wants to isolate the potential short-circuit that could turn into a street protest.

The island is a petri dish for cultivation of popular anger. The logical erosion of 52 years of ineffective government, with a handful of absurd regulations in the political, migratory and economic spheres, incapable of putting on the table with any stability meat, vegetables, fruit, and other food and a glass of milk, at accessible prices, all provoke annoyances among the population of the heart of Cuba.

It converts the street of certain poor neighborhoods, marginal and primarily black, like San Leopoldo, Los Quemados, Palo Cagao, Zamora, Pocitos, Belen, Colon, Jesus Maria into ticking timebombs.

A sensitive abrasive surface of the matchbox. With the smallest scratch it can catch fire. If one analyzes the policy of Intelligence Services to dismantle, terrorize and silence the street dissidents, we see a worrisome scaling of violence the last few weeks.

Other than beatings and verbal abuse, they use official alternative media to inflame the anger of their sympathizers. The mobilization orchestrated by government bloggers under the label “Twitter #y no saldran a la calle” is condemnable.

It has always been profitable business for the Castro brothers to polarize civil society. Belittle those who think differently. The spent speechifying accusing dissenters of being “turncoats, mercenaries and annexationists” is old hat and puerile.

Fatherland is not synonymous with Socialism or Fidel Castro. Mercenaries, as defined in the United Nations statutes, are those outsiders that through the exchange of money are at the service of a foreign government.

It is not the case. All the street dissidents are Cuban born. Even the accusation by the regime that they pour onto the street for money is not compatible with mercenary behavior.

In any event, we could call them “salary men”. But I ask myself – what sensible person would risk beating and prison for 30 convertible pesos, as the government media claims?

It’s one or the other: either they are insane or they are desperate. Moreover, the theory that all opposition sells itself for a fistful of dollars is risible. Is there nobody honest enough to dissent for ideals?

State Security has never seized firearms or C-4 from opposition members. Not even a firecracker. The only things they have seized have been computers, telephones and books. Then, they are peaceful. And have a right to protest in public to show their disapproval of the government.

To speak of annexationism in the 21st century makes us laugh. Annexationism was an undercurrent of the 19th Century, that, by the way, was embraced by many of the fathers of Cuban independence.

Nobody in their right mind wants to raffle away the Fatherland nor tender it to any foreign power. It is only smoke and mirrors from the Castro regime media that seeks to discredit those who oppose them.

If anybody has allied themselves, dangerously, almost in an annexationist way, it has been Fidel Castro himself. Up to 1992, an article in the Constitution of the Cuban Republic recognized the alliance between Cuba and the USSR.

The island had Russian military bases like Study Center #11, or Finca Lourdes, devoted to electronic spying. And nobody in the Cuban parliament stood up to denounce it.

Yes, it is true, the Platt Amendment and the concession of a military base in sovereign territory in Guantanamo elicits repudiation. But the intelligentsia and the politicians of the era expressed their unhappiness in all forums, Congress included.

Beginning in 1959, Castro’s dictates could not, and still can’t be questioned. They are divine laws. Sacred. Absolute. With all its blemishes, the Dissidence is a mirror help up to today’s society and the ills suffered by the governing hierarchy.

There is an opposition sector, banal, corrupt and comfortable. There are also honest opposition members with initiatives of dialog and future.

Lately a certain academic racism has sprung between some of these newly minted dissidents. But not in all. There are valuable and talented citizens in the opposition spectrum. It doesn’t matter whether 30 or 70. Age is not a determinant.

What it is about is not letting one be carried away by excessive ego or craving for the limelight. To come together must be the goal. The carrot and stick strategy that State Security follows is on balance defensive.

On the one hand, they allow meetings, debates and even teaching to certain determined opposition groups, and on the other, they use paramilitaries for verbal lynchings and beatings against those that protest in the streets. They must know why they follow these tactics.

Opposition members, independent journalists and alternative bloggers must set aside conspiracy theories or apparent actions of secret services. They have no proofs in their hands. They are not mind readers either.

Those who publicly oppose the Castros, whether through a blog, web, opposition party or shouting in the streets, whatever their positions they are not enemies.

The enemies are the corrupt procreated by the regime itself and the clans that emerged during 52 years in totalitarian power.

Watch: Video of the clash between opposition members and government loyalist, this last September 24th, in Rio Verde, a suburb of Havanna.  Read: Tomakjian case changes last names of Castro regime in a power readjustment.

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Translated by: lapizcero

September 30 2011