The Revolution Is Leaking

The Cuban revolution is a piece of junk. It leaks. It has a sentimental value for those nostalgics on the Left, who, between their plans, watch the end days of the capitalist bourgeoisie and Yankee imperialism on TV.

Sadly for the radical Left, the times have changed. The workers of the first world, the principal material of Marxist theory, those kinds of guys loaded with cholesterol who in the 18th Century lived in rat-infested huts are now buying this year’s cars, Levis blue jeans, and invest part of their money in the stock market or their pension funds.

To hell with the dictatorship of the proletariat. Today’s common people of Europe, the United States, or any other of the thirty nations that work with sanity and coherence on the planet are betting on democracy and the three-part division of powers.

Socialism of the Marxist cut, with its clans of political ruffians who are in power until death — as happened in Eastern Europe or the USSR — said goodbye a while ago. It didn’t work. That ideology was implanted by Stalin’s tanks at the end of the Second World War.

And the fundamental reason was that it went against human nature. In Cuba, in the beginning, Fidel Castro sold the argument of a humanist, nationalist, and liberal revolution. But it was all a trap, a political fraud that seduced many of the world’s intellectuals, who thought that a new form of society was being born on the island.

Castro could bet on this formula. He had the support of 90 percent of the population. But he had to institute democratic rules of play. Elections, opposition parties, independent tribunals, respect for private property and other “necessities” in which El Comandante alone didn’t believe – not a bit. Since childhood, he always thought big… when he played with his toy soldiers, there on his father’s farm in Birán, or when his friend, the house cook, read him the reports of the Spanish Civil War.

The anxious young man, Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, wasn’t interested in British intellectuals, fat and well-dressed, who tried to demonstrate the benefits of liberalism. Those couch potatoes, he thought, wouldn’t have fired a shot. His heroes were the warriors — Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, or Simon Bolivar. Those of blade and hammer, those who impose respect by force.

Our aged commander doesn’t have democracy among his priorities. All he criticizes automatically is “Yankee, traitor, and mercenary.” But that isn’t a credible theory. In 51 years he’s gotten used to applause and unanimity.

He can’t understand that in his country every day more people dissent with their own heads, and neither the CIA nor the FBI are slipping a check under their doors. No. They simply disagree with the form in which the Castro brothers govern the destiny of their country. With their inveterate autocracy, they are violating the very Constitution they created in 1976, a vulgar copy of the Soviet Constitution.

The forecast for Cuba’s future is nothing optimistic. With that formula of crassness and abuse of power applied by the Castros, they may only have succeeded in polarizing the opinions of their political adversaries on the island.

Fidel Castro himself, right after the murder of a young dissident by the Batista dictatorship at the end of the 1950s, exclaimed it was “more than a crime, it was a stupidity.” That phrase fits to a tee in the recent death of the political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

In desperation, perhaps by having their hands tied, the Cuban opposition bets in large part on international support, in particular from the United States and Spain. And it is grateful for that support. But the opposition must roll up their sleeves and know that the criticisms in those countries against the Castro regime are arguments of smoke that the wind will carry away in a few days.

It is we, inside Cuba, who must demand the government take a turn toward democracy, we who must value our rights – protest that Raul Castro shouldn’t try to talk to the administration of Barack Obama, but rather with those Cubans who dissent.

Let Obama carry on with his own thing, which is enough, and let Shoemaker(*) concentrate on his shoes. The government of the Castros accuse all who oppose them of being mercenaries, except for a rare exercise of genuflection, they prefer negotiating with those whom they accuse of imperialism before negotiating with Cubans themselves, who in large percentage criticize their management.

I wonder who is playing such a miserly role. Time won’t stand still, as the Castro brothers would like. Whether those who govern like it or not, the state of things has to change. While this doesn’t happen, the forecast for the Cuban situation is unpredictable. Not hiring Houdini. Nor Walter Mercado.

Iván García


*Translator’s note: Zapatero means ‘shoemaker’, and is a play on words, referring to the current Prime Minister of Spain, José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero

Translated by: JT