Díaz-Canel: Imaginary Dialogue and State Cynicism / Miriam Celaya

palospHAVANA, Cuba, November 2013, www.cubanet.org – It is known that cynicism is one of the handiest tools for dictatorial regimes, where democracy and demagoguery become synonymous terms to legitimize the interests of the authorities. It is a policy that could well be defined as “State cynicism”. While this aberration tends to increase towards the final stages of the system in question, in truth it becomes progressively ineffective when it appeals excessively to the feelings and emotions of the masses, even when it is evident that that leaders have lost the popular support.

The deep dichotomy between the official doctrine, the intentions of the ruling class, the social environs, the lack of rights and the alienation of ordinary people regarding politics emphasize the absurd, as evidenced by the words of Miguel Díaz-Canel, First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers, during his recent visit to the province of Las Tunas on Friday November 1st, where he met with members of the Associación Hermanos Saiz, university students and media workers.

An article published in the libel Granma (“Diaz-Canel Appeals for Promoting Dialogue,” Saturday November 2nd, 2013, front page), sketches Castro’s emissary in his visit to the province as something that led to “deep reflection as to how much can and should be done even in the whole country, in order to defend the true Cuban culture, confront social indiscipline, alien to the values of the Revolution, and productively address the best experiences…”

Diaz-Canel urged his audience to work together to “end the banality, vulgarity and indecency present in certain items as the expression of the pseudo-culture that the enemy is looking to impose through their programs of political and ideological subversion against Cuba”.

The government’s favorite ventriloquist did not offer any examples in this regard, but they can be inferred: There is concern and fear on the part of the upper echelons of power about new cultural trends being manifested in Cuba, especially in the capital, such as recent and spontaneous Halloween celebrations with costumes and candy, and the proliferation of 3-D movies and videogame screenings, which have spread among private businesses, escaping government censorship controls. Up until their recent direct ban and shutdowns, they were among the most accepted recreational options by Cubans.

The government, creator of vulgar repudiation rallies and the most indecent slogans, is repulsed by any influence of U.S. origin that filters through to Cubans, including holiday celebrations, which are difficult to avoid, given the steadily increasing number of Cubans living in that country with family ties in Cuba, as well as the taste of these peoples for that nation’s cultural goods, such as music, TV shows, movies, etc.

Since society’s growing discontent is known, in the presence of the permanent general crisis and the government’s inability to deliver solutions, Díaz-Canel seems to have been commissioned by the conclave of olive-green caste of elders to provide an image of democracy, strength and control. To that end, “he called on to generate an ongoing dialogue that will generate proposals” (a redundancy of Granma’s writer) and — something worthy of occupying the place of honor among the phrases generated by State cynicism — he urged to further tap “the broad potential of social networks and new technology to bring the Cuban reality to the world from all social and productive sectors”. All this was stated in one of the most backward provinces, and with the least connectivity, in a country already sharply disconnected from the world.

On the other hand, in Cuba, where there are only two completely unrelated parallel monologues – that of the elitist in power and the other one of the millions of dispossessed Cubans — dialogue has always been notably absent in the relations among both extremes, and recent events around countermeasures applied to the emerging private sector indicate that there is no real intention of dialogue by the authorities, not even with those sectors making financial contributions to the State.

In the midst of the transition to state capitalism XXI century style – a true sign of Raulism — official discourse distorts the image of the real Cuba. The un-government and the un-governed continue marching in opposite directions: the one, to the absolute monopoly of all the wealth and power; the other, to the greatest poverty and hopelessness with fewer rights. What about the “dialogue”? Just another euphemism in a channel of control that only works in one direction… forever downward.

Translated by Norma Whiting

Cubanet, 12 November 2013