Nobody, except psychopaths, likes to be perceived as an inducer of terror. That changed abruptly on Sunday, July 11. Esteban Ventura and Conrado Carratalá, two famous murderers in the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, returned at full speed and mingled with the revolutionaries. The story was substantially modified. The revolutionaries went from being the protagonists of a gallant story of resistance in the face of adversity, to being perceived as abusers who beat and killed unarmed young men who demanded freedom.
The social outbreak was looming. The San Isidro Movement and the song Patria y Vida [Homeland and Life] were the turning points. Your government, Mr. President, didn’t know how to respond. As they have always done, they stuck to their guns without realizing that the circumstances are different. It was a mistake not to talk to those young people.
On July 11, 2021, everything began to change in Cuba. It’s not the end, but it is the beginning of the end. Very worried, Yoani Sánchez at 14yMedio, and the priest José Conrado Rodríguez, among others, said it before it happened to anyone willing to listen. This time it would be different. It was not a usual crisis.
Cubans have been undernourished for decades and living in ruined houses due to the negligence of their rulers. They often have to evacuate their homes because they collapse. Education and healthcare are from the third world (except for the big shots, of course). Clothes, shoes, and cell phones are so precious that some people might kill you to steal your tennis shoes or your cell phone. Transportation belongs to the fourth world. The Internet comes and goes at the discretion of the bosses. And yet nothing happened.
What happened on July 11? It happened that Fidel died in late 2016 and Raúl, apparently, had retired. It happened that food almost ran out. Society was fed up with the official manipulations of the currency because it was one scam after another. Nothing irritates workers more than to be paid in a currency without purchasing power while products are sold in a currency that is worth 20 or 30 times more than a worker’s meager salary. The heat of the terrible Cuban summer and the absence of electric fans, much less air conditioners, happened.
The Covid-19 pandemic happened. You, Mr. President, managed that crisis very badly. The “Abdala” vaccines don’t even have the approval of the Cuban or Venezuelan health authorities. They have only reached a tiny percentage of the island’s inhabitants, while 12 million vaccines have ended up in Venezuela. They have dared to say that the effectiveness of the vaccine is 92%, after three doses. Why 92%? To be no less than the Russian vaccine? You don’t gamble with people’s lives, Mr. President. Secrecy is not a virtue in these matters. We know, because José Martí said it, that a Republic is not ruled as if it were a military camp.
All of you lack credibility, Mr. President. Nobody believes you, neither inside nor outside the country. You can’t lie to people for that long. Fidel swore that he was not a communist at the beginning of the Revolution. Then he contradicted himself and claimed that he became a Marxist-Leninist at the university. He accused the United States of all the evils that affected Cuba, including the hurricanes. He called the “embargo” a “blockade”. The embargo was a series of measures that limited commercial transactions between the two countries, as a result of the confiscations of American companies without paying a penny of compensation.
These confiscations began during the Eisenhower administration and escalated in the thousand days of the Kennedy administration. But when Obama reestablished relations in 2014 and tried to pave the way between the two nations, he was accused of being an imperialist and of having hidden intentions to annex the Island, a trend that, supposedly, had been present in the United States since the beginning of the 19th century, since the presidency of Thomas Jefferson.
Mr. President, if you don’t want to provoke a military coup, you have to open up a dialogue with society. Thousands of people have already left. The most conspicuous are the artists we all know: Chucho Valdés, los Van-Van, Leo Brouwer (Ernesto Lecuona’s great-nephew) and Silvio Rodríguez (he’s thinking about it). But there is a general, a Vice Minister in the Ministry of the Interior, named Jesús Manuel Burón Tabit, who is very upset with the abuses in Cuba, according to Juan Juan Almeida and published in Madrid’s ABC. Although if he weren’t the person, someone else would replace him.
At ninety years old, Raúl is very old and has lived to please Fidel. He is hopeless. Even after the Commander is buried, he gravitates over all of you. What did you say in the meetings? You wondered what Fidel Castro would have done. But Fidel didn’t understand anything about today’s world, and he died devoted to the production of Moringa. He could win, but not convince. Democracy serves, among other things, President, to avoid violence. It is true that you may lose power, but what good is the government if you are universally repudiated? The Cuban Revolution was exemplary in its beginnings, but the process was gradually rejected. The last vestiges of freshness were lost on July 11. Since then, they have remained as murderers and thugs. No one likes that role, Mr. President. Desertions will continue.
Note: This translation is from Montaner’s own blog.
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