January 1, 2021: Cuba’s Communist Regime at the Crossroads

Fireworks in Havana 12 years ago for the 50th Anniversary of the Revolution. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

14ymedio biggerElías Amor Bravo, Economist, 1 January 2021 — The political heirs of the revolution’s first-generation leaders already have their own legend. After a speech by President Miguel Díaz-Canel, Cubans will henceforth associate January 1 with not one but two great failures in their nation’s recent history.

The results of the first — the triumph of the Revolution, which marked its 62nd anniversary at the beginning of the year — are so familiar that there is no point discussing them. The second, the beginning of the currency unification process, was announced with great fanfare by Raúl Castro himself after having written an article for Granma about the fall of Batista.

Seen from a historical perspective, this January 1 will represent the greatest accumulation of failures to befall a nation that, unfortunately, no longer knows in which direction it is moving. And while it is true that communists around the world still defend the Cuba’s revolutionary experiment, none to date have risked setting up residence in the paradise of the world’s poor, to live under the same conditions as the ordinary Cuban.

No, It’s much better to keep defending the “wonders” of the Castro regime from a comfortable office at a public relations firm in Madrid, collecting more than 5,000 euros a month for defending the indefensible.

And as it becomes increasingly difficult for these dreamers of the Cuban communist nightmare to find arguments to justify their defense of the regime, Cubans waste their time waiting in lines, unless they can pay someone else to do it for them. Those same Cubans, fed up with rationing and shortages, publicly defend pushcart vendors, whom Granma will later accuse of being speculators, against harassment by state security. They also worry about the salary or pension increases that they will not see until the middle of the month.

Added to these people’s misery is Covid-19, which continues on mercilessly, the absence of tourists in the middle of the busy season and the steady decrease in remittances that was already beginning to have a noticeable impact in November.

And now, amid messages of goodwill at year’s end, the leaders of this failed 62-year-old experiment have taken to promoting currency unification as the new national frontier. Prime Minister Manuel Marrero has been the most creative. On Twitter he expressed the conviction that “the People showed their spirit of resistance, demonstrating that YES WE COULD, YES WE CAN and YES WE ALWAYS WILL.” The question to Marrero should be: What could, can and will do we supposedly do? It is no surprise that messages like these contribute to an increasing uncertainty many Cubans have about their future.

Someone else who did not waste time was communist leader Ramiro Valdés, who rather than mentioning currency unification, returned to the basics, clearly demonstrating in which sector power lies. “We are marking the 62nd anniversary of the Revolution. It will continue to be a beacon in the fight against imperialism, oppression and injustice. That is why the people defend it and why it has many friends overseas.” That, I must to say, is open to debate. It is the kind of lighthouse whose lantern has become increasingly dim and distant. A beacon that, every time it tries to guide a ship, steers it to disaster. Just look at Venezuela.

2021 is going to be an important year for Cubans and the time for resolutions has come. Those of us who truly love Cuba, those of us who know how to distinguish between the island that gave us birth and the government that has been in power for sixty-two years, are not going to fall for its subterfuges. Though the government is a failure, it will not succeed in dragging down the nation. In Cuba there are many people outside of politics who feel, like me, that if democratic and pluralistic elections were held, they could really test the current government’s level of popular support. Ramiro Valdés knows this. That is why he talks about the people defending the Revolution. But what percentage? How many Cubans?

Equating Cuba with its regime is a ploy used by its cheerleaders when writing in support of Castroism but which should, at this point, no longer confuse us. Or allow us to fall for the regime’s propaganda traps. There are many Cuban alternatives to Castroism. Out there is a pluralistic, vigorous and competitive society, when the conditions are right for it.

This is the time for New Year’s resolutions.Cuba deserves a better future and this blog, which is celebrating its first decade, wishes all readers a VERY HAPPY 2021.


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