14ymedio, Ariel Hidalgo, Miami, 27 February 2019 — Almost two and a half million Cubans refused to support a constitutional project that perpetuates the condition of the country as a private fiefdom of group that has ruled its people with an iron fist for six decades. And there would have been many more, if the police had not repressed the opposition campaigning for a NO vote, if they had not exercised intimidation over the voters and over volunteer observers who had the courage to watch the vote counting, and, finally, if they had not delayed, without any justification and very suspiciously, the announcement of the results.
However, despite all these irregularities, this number of citizens who did not approve the proposal, and that the oppressors could not hide, clearly shows, in my opinion, two things: the existence of a not insignificant share of the population that disagrees with the current situation in the country, which, even if it is a minority, because of its sheer size cannot be ignored, not only by the rest of the population, but also by world public opinion, and it is a share whose rights must be respected. And, on the other hand, it shows a growing advance in awareness, not so much in all the people, as in a generation born when this sexagenarian dictatorship had already entrenched itself in power.
They can no longer say, speaking categorically, that the people of Cuba support what they call “Revolution,” as they did up until now, when their support at the polls exceeded 90%. The ‘others’ whom they labeled “anti-patriotic,” now make up almost a third of the people. Starting now, if they want to be precise, they would have to recognize, consistent with official data provided by themselves, that part of the people do not support them.
And this story does not end yet; later we will see who are the people who are truly “anti-patriotic.” Because if we talk about the majority who did support them by marking YES, they did so out of fear, because of that psychotic condition they’ve been infected with from above: the incoherence between thinking, speaking and acting.
Because if there were lie detectors in the polling places instead of ballot boxes, it would be a whole different story. The main chains around the people, they carry inside themselves. It is necessary to break them. What is missing among almost everyone in this electorate who voted Yes, is not an awareness of the illegitimacy and fateful operation of this regime – which almost everyone is already convinced of – but the willingness to change.
If, under a dictatorship, the citizens cease to idolize the rulers, if they stop believing in the invincibility of the oppressors, if they believe they can reach a better future, if they stop fearing that the power will excommunicate and repress them, if they perceive that they could prosper a lot better than they do from receiving the gifts of the oppressors, and if they become aware of their rights and perceive themselves as free people, that single conviction will set them free, because they will begin to act as such, and then there will be no tanks or armed squads that can stop them.
The governed have the ability to make the rulers change their way of ruling, because those who rule need those who obey and no one governs without the consent of the governed. If they stop obeying, they stop ruling. If the ruler is on one road and the governed are on another, governability is lost and the ruler is forced to rectify the course.
Who doesn’t remember when, despite the fact that paladares (private restaurants) and the US dollar were prohibited during the Special Period, there was a paladar in every neighborhood and a great share of the people had dollars, and the government was forced to legalize them? But if the rulers cling to their whims, the response will be non-compliance, and just like there are not enough prisons to arrest millions of people, the ruler no longer rules and the ruled become the ruler.
Thus, the oppressed can conquer freedom without hatred or violence. Because “the powerless,” united, are more powerful than the power.
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