The ‘Committee for the Defense of the Revolution’, a Parapolice Organization Lacking Empathy With Cuba’s Crisis

A sign in Yoani Sánchez’s building in Havana asking for ‘from a clove of garlic’ to support the upcoming celebration.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Generation Y, Havana, 26 September 2023 —  “From a clove of garlic,” says the poster that has been placed on the ground floor of our building in Havana to call for donations of resources for the celebration of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR). The parapolice organization, which is experiencing its lowest moments, plans to celebrate its 63rd anniversary in the midst of a deep crisis that especially affects access to the most basic foods. The commemoration of its birth also comes accompanied by its tenth congress, which will be held starting this Wednesday despite the red numbers of the Cuban economy.

While measures are dictated to shorten working hours, disconnect refrigerators and air conditioning devices during certain hours of the day, the CDR spares no resources to bring together its managers, show off its political muscle and celebrate birthdays and a congress in the same week. It would be very annoying if it weren’t for the fact that the organization that was created to monitor and control Cubans at the neighborhood level does not enjoy any popularity these days and few give it even a thought. Like an unburied corpse, it stumbles around waiting for the last shovelfuls of dirt to be thrown on it from above.

A resident looks with curiosity on the sign posted by the CDR. (14ymedio)

Aware of the death of the once giant of family and domestic espionage, many of its former defenders have slowly withdrawn from the responsibilities at the head of the CDR. Those who a few years ago, in our building, knocked on our door with enthusiasm asking for some yuccas, some malangas or some onions for the watered-down soup – renamed “caldosa” [stew] in the official language – no longer even appear. They have their own personal dramas to endure and they know that the CDR will not be there to help them stretch their pension, convince vendors to lower the price of their food or arrange medications for them.

However, in my house we are going to offer more than a clove of garlic for the occasion. We are willing to get rid of a complete head that will stave off an organization that has only brought division and fear to the lives of Cubans. Like a vampire thirsty for other people’s intimacy and that feeds on anyone who has ideas of their own, we are going to hang a complete string on the door… to scare it away.


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