The Mathematics of Dictators / Angel Santiesteban

Photo: AP

What mystique surrounds “power” for tyrants, that the obsession of keeping it leads to sacrificing their people, their family and their own lives? They disguise their obstinacy with ideals, which require constant sacrifices, with those whom they have betrayed and they pursue no other real intention except continuing to “command” the nation. All dictators create totalitarian government structures, where democracy is stifled so that fair elections are not even remembered, which undoubtedly would cause the loss of their regimes.

When the riots started in Libya, I realized what the final result would be for the dictator Muammar Gaddafi, although I imagined the legal variation with which the absolutist Saddam Hussein was condemned. The leaders, after appropriating power, executed those who opposed them, and determined to do everything to keep in power.

History has shown that you can not hold a people in rebellion. You do not get to lie and frighten several generations without being punished for that. No political machinery and repressive, even Cuban, which I consider the most effective of the many that have existed, can contain the right to freedom for all Cubans.

Fidel Castro has lived like a king who demands that his subjects the sacrifice their lives. Several generations in the twentieth century have dedicated their existence as ritual human sacrifices offered to the supreme god. Lives lost that did not receive anything in return. not even their children and grandchildren have understood what they were offering. They understand that they were deceived, martyrs in vain who did not manage to change or improve the present nor the future.

Fidel Castro knows that time of life left to him is no longer “important”, if we estimate what he has accomplished in his years of full and vital life, it has not been enough to recall it as a happy past (meaning “important,” given his proven incapacity to contribute to the ailing economy or to democracy). Nothing of what he promised my grandfather, then my father, as he also tried to do with me, with my children, and if we let him right now with my grandchildren, has been achieved. Ideals are to empower people, not vice versa. Ideologies can not devour a country. And that great forgery of Fidel Castro, his big scam.

His brother Raul Castro, now President of the nation by appointment of the dynasty, who realizes that his presence is like a bus stop along a route where the bus will soon continue on its route after half a century of dictatorship, tries to delay as much as possible a natural evolution of the society which will oust him from power. He tries to fool us with the unattainable carrot, false political strategies, which are nothing more than dikes that try to contain the force of water beating against the iron gate that blocks our way to the future, to social, intellectual and economic development. His political inexperience leaves a bad taste making us feel undervalued.

What is sad is that it is probable that lives will be lost. The amazing thing is that the Castro brothers know it, as Hussein and Gaddafi knew it, and they do nothing to avoid it. They came to power violently, and will leave it in a bloodbath similar to the one they committed in 1959. Disgracefully the color red will stain the streets and the history of their country will be, in their departure, as it was in their arrival.

I still have a hope, that they will listen to reason and think of their descendants. They say they love their grandchildren more than their children. Fidel has never been affectionate not even with his children even (they say so themselves), then why is he going to be with his grandchildren? His egotism leaves no space to think of another being that is not himself. But Raul Castro is known for his filial attachment. We know that somehow he has managed to situate his offspring in several countries. It could be interpreted as a choice of flight, or at least an attempt to save his offspring, which is why I suspect they also expect a revolt.

We must make the Castro brothers and the rest of their lineage aware that, if they definitely decide to cling to power and provoke a civil war, they will expose the lives of their descendents. They will leave a rancor on this earth that will not allow sharing anything with their offspring. Their bank accounts and property will be frozen and returned to the coffers of the State, whose leaders, by then, will be democratically elected.

Of the expressions delivered by Fidel Castro himself, I remember one very clearly, when the dictator Pinochet was arrested in England. At that moment he revealed that he always traveled with a grenade to avoid being captured alive. It’s known that when the time come, usually they shake hands (and not just because of Alzheimer’s), as we already saw with Hussein and Gaddafi, influenced by cultures more prone to suicide, who didn’t have the courage to shoot themselves, nor even to chew a cyanide capsule; we can suppose that Fidel Castro will not have the courage to pull the pin on the grenade; and perhaps, after avoiding a popular lynching, the brothers will face a legal process, overseen and assisted by an International Court, where their final days will not be dignified. Paraphrasing Jose Marti, it’s worth noting that “men don’t look at on which side it is better to live, but on which side it is better to die.”

As we’ve heard since childhood: informed war doesn’t kill soldiers; it’s high time for the Castro rulers and their entourage, after resigning from power, to sense and weigh the intelligent possibilities of a peaceful outcome; so that in the end, aided by the Great Architect of the Universe, all we Cubans will have, for the first time and forever, a republic with progressive civic and democratic development.

God help us and support us in this endeavor.

November 9 2011