The Change to Democracy in Cuba Has Started

“Cuba’s communists have no remedy.”

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Elías Amor Bravo, Economist, 12 July 2021 — Cuba’s communists have no remedy. They destroy the economy and peaceful coexistence in the country, and instead of seeking a solution to the devastation they have created, they meet in their exclusive Sanhedrin, the Political Bureau of the party’s central committee, to analyze what they call “provocations orchestrated by counterrevolutionary elements, organized and financed from the United States with destabilizing purposes.”

On the other hand, and it could not be otherwise, they give the highest appraisal  to the “call from comrade Díaz Canel” which, in case someone does not remember it, was a plea to promote the civil confrontation. In this are the Cuban communists in their conclave, which according to official media included the participation of Raúl Castro. Ah! But did anyone think that the last of the Castros had left power?

The sudden call, the messages of support for Díaz Canel and the strange presence of Raúl Castro (strange because some information placed him in Venezuela), confirm what is already known. Cuban communism is in its lowest hours. It does not know what to do against popular movements very critical of the model. People don’t just want aid, medicine and food. People scream for freedom and an end to communism.

This time, the protests, broadcast in real time thanks to telephones and social networks, have not been anticipated by the organs of civil espionage and State Security Intelligence, and thus the communist conclave in which, at a minimum, some pegs are going to be tightened. That’s fine. To the extent that there are people who will receive punishment for not having been able to foresee what is happening, and even, for not repressing and punishing the mobilized people with the maximum force, the greater the number of people who will break with the official line and leave their communist militant membership card, and later, you already know. From one day to the next, Ceausescu in Romania, ended up executed by the participants of the same demonstration that he had called in his support.

The lessons that the communists should learn from Díaz Canel from what is happening in Cuba are several and some of them have been anticipated in this blog.

First, that the Cuban people are fed up with communism as an official and political doctrine. That the model of the 2019 constitution does not serve to make the country work, and that the experiments rarely go well, such as the Ordering Task (la Tarea Ordenamiento), and the stores that take payment only in freely convertible currency (MLC).

Second, for the same reason, the people want freedoms and a legal framework for coexistence of a democratic and plural nature. The people do not want a single party and neither do they want the dictatorship of the proletariat. People do not agree with Díaz Canel on many things, but perhaps the most important is that everyone believes that Cuba is a dictatorship, no matter how many rights the leaders list.

Third, that Díaz Canel has failed in just two years and so has his political project. And that before it gets worse, his fate would be to remove him from the presidency. The problem is who to propose, and above all, to do what? Because this is the important thing, regardless of the individuals. To know where Cuba is going.

Fourth, the propaganda of the regime is over. Despite the pressure exerted by this, at all levels, the popular demonstrations show that an discourse that is an alternative to the official Roundtable TV program and the state newspaper Granma has taken hold in the population, showing that the institutional communication policy has also failed.

Fifth, and as a second derivative of the previous one, one cannot be blaming the United States for everything bad, the blockade, the embargo, etc., etc. It is still curious that fewer than 15 days ago the regime obtained a political “victory” in the United Nations by obtaining a large majority against the United States for the embargo, and while that was happening and the official media did nothing but talk about this issue, in Cuba the machinery for social explosion was heating up.

Sixth, the economy is important. The social unrest caused by the popular uprising has much to do with the deterioration of the economy as a result of the Ordering Task that began to be applied on January 1. Last year, with the pandemic at its highest levels, people weathered the crisis and there were no protests. But this year, with the uncontrolled peso exchange rate, triple-digit inflation, nominal wages losing purchasing power, subsidies plummeting, and people distressed by the lack of food, all of them effects of Ordering Task, the situation has changed and the responsibility lies with the government and its stubbornness for implementing an unnecessary policy, poorly designed, poorly executed and lacking in rigor and credibility.

Seventh, to believe that this social outbreak can be controlled and eliminated through the repression of the state security apparatus. Big mistake. The protesters have clearly shouted “we are not afraid” and this message is essential to understanding what is taking place in Cuba, which is a breakdown of the framework of coexistence imposed by the communist regime. More repression will make it very difficult to get out of the hole, what they must do is open spaces or disappear. There is no alternative.

Eighth, international attention to Cuba is at a maximum. Unlike previous crises that could go more or less unnoticed, there is also a general understanding, support and adherence to the people who spontaneously participate in the demonstrations that spread throughout the country. The main world leaders have warned Cuba of the consequences of applying harsh repression against protesters. It will be necessary to see what happens to the disappeared and detained, who number in the hundreds.

Ninth, there is the impression that the institutionality of the regime does not serve to solve the underlying problems that hit the country, and that there is no replacement for it. Raúl Castro’s participation in the communist conclave confirms that there is no future, but that one lives in the past, a remote past that was thought to be surpassed, and that returns to the fore from the worst places in memory.

Tenth, Díaz Canel is wrong to believe that those who support him, the “revolutionaries,” are the owners of the street. He is wrong, because there are really many fewer of them. And if democratic elections were held at this time, the offer led by Díaz Canel could be extra-parliamentary. The communists, who feel supported by their leaders, will change their shirts tomorrow and are at the forefront of political change. It has happened in all dictatorships that have evolved to democracy. And it can happen in Cuba. Ending up alone is very sad.

The seed is in the ground and will bear fruit. As much as they want to achieve the opposite, the people have spoken and done so with first-rate clarity. The leaders, if they were responsible, would go to work. They are not, and for that reason, the worst awaits them, a long agony that can bring about the collapse. Recognizing that Cuba has begun a march towards freedom, political pluralism, democracy and respect for human rights, without the communists, is something more than evident. Trying to stop that process, crazy.


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