Why Doesn't the Cuban Regime Dialogue With the Dissidence? / Ivan Garcia
Posted on April 19, 2014
Luis, retired military and supporter of the regime, has a few arguments
to debate with several neighbors playing dominoes in the doorway of a
bodega in the Havana neighborhood of Lawton.
The theme of the day is the dialog between the opposition and Nicolas
Maduro's government, broadcast on Thursday night on TeleSur. Among the
players were professionals, unemployed, ex prisoners and retirees.
"When we see this type of face-to-face debate, one realizes we are
living in total feudalism. Cuba hurts. Here we have a ton of problems
that have accumulated over these 55 years. The government has no
respect. The solution is to carry on: more taxes, prohibitions on
private work, and raising the price of powdered milk. Why don't they
follow the example of Venezuela and sit down to talk with the
dissidence," asks Joel, a former teacher who now survives selling
fritters on Calzada 10 de Octubre.
The ex-soldier Luis feels dislocated by the several ideological
pirouettes of the Castros. Unrelentingly sexist and homophobic, these
new times are an undecipherable code.
"Even I have my doubts. I fought in Angola. We were trained in Che's
theories not to cede an inch to the enemy (and he signs with his
fingers). But now everything is a mess. The old faggots, that we used to
censure, walk around kissing on every corner. The self-employed earn
five times more than a state worker. And the worms are called señor. If
the government is on the wrong path, say so loud and clear. We
supporters have a few reasonable arguments to fire back," says Luis,
The dialogue table between the opposition and the government in
Venezuela was a success for many in Cuba. Arnaldo, manager of a hard
currency store, continued the debate until around two in the morning.
"I was amazed. I don't not know if it was a blunder of the official
censorship. But the next day on the street, people wondered why dissent
in Cuba remains a stigma. As for me, the discourse of the Venezuelan
opposition was striking. They spoke without shouting, with statistics
showing that the failure of the economic model and highly critical of
Cuban interference in Venezuela," said the manager.
Noel, a private taxi driver, believes that "if the pretension was to
ridicule the Democratic Unity Table (MUD) with the discourse of the
Chavistas. it backfired. Capriles and company had a deeper analysis and
objectives than the government. Like in Cuba, the PSUV (United Socialist
Party of Venezuela) defended themselves by attacking and speaking ill of
the capitalist past. They do not realize that what it's about is the
chaos of the present and how to try to solve it in the future."
In a quick survey of the 11 people watching who watched the debate, 10
thought the opposition was superior. The best comments were for
Guillermo Aveledo and Henrique Capriles.
"Those on the other side seemed like fascists. Frayed, with a mechanical
discourse filled with dogmas like those of the Cuban Communist Party
Talibans. The worst among the Chavista was the deputy Blanca Eekhout.
She's more fanatical and incoherent than Esteban Lazo, and that's saying
a lot," commented a university student.
Although institutions and democracy in Venezuela have been taken by
assault, with under-the-table privileges, populism and political
cronyism among the PSUV comrades, in full retreat, the fact is that
there is a legal opposition allowed to do battle in the political field.
Cuba is something else. Despite the efforts of CELAC (Central and Latin
American Community) and the European Union patting the old leader on the
back and seducing him with the red carpet treatment, it continues as the
only country in the western hemisphere where dissidence is a state crime.
The opposition on the island is repressed with beatings and verbal
lynchings. A law currently in effect, Law 88, allows the regime to
imprison a dissident or free journalist for 20 years or more for writing
a note the authorities deem harmful to their interests.
For Ana Maria, a professional who applauded Fidel Castro's speeches for
year, seeing a political dialogue like that in Venezuela on Telesur,
allowed her to analyze things from a different perspective.
"It's a dictatorship. No better or worse. It's hard to accept that many
of us Cubans have been wrong for too long. I lost my youth deluded,
repeating slogans and accepting that others, without asking me my
opinion, manipulated us at their will," she confessed.
Eleven U.S. administrations, with controversial programs or others of
dubious effectiveness such as Zunzuneo, have been unable to spread an
original message and change the opinions of ordinary citizens, like the
enduring repression, economic nonsense, rampant corruption, prohibitions
of 3D movie rooms and the sale of cars at Ferrari prices, among others.
In these autocratic societies, you never know if an apparent reform will
produce benefits or it will begin digging its own grave. It's like
walking on a minefield.
Photo: Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela, shaking hands with
Henrique Capriles, secretary-general of the Democratic Unity Roundtable
(MUD). Madura greeted him without looking at his face, though Capriles
looked at his, demonstrating and more correct and better behavior than
the successor to Chavez. Taken from Noticias de Montreal.
15 April 2014
Source: Why Doesn't the Cuban Regime Dialogue With the Dissidence? /
Ivan Garcia | Translating Cuba -