Sunday, December 27, 2015

Everything Changes, So That Nothing Changes in the Cuban Armed Forces

Everything Changes, So That Nothing Changes in the Cuban Armed Forces /
Juan Juan Almeida
Posted on December 25, 2015

Juan Juan Almeida, 14 December 2015 — For the Cuban government, December
is a month of notable events and anniversaries. And, although it
tramples on the right of people to support Human Rights Day, it is worth
repeating; it allows people to celebrate the anniversary of the landing
of the yacht Granma, the Revolutionary Armed Forces' birthday, the
jubilee of the Battle of Ideas, the anniversary of the Battle of Alegria
de Pio, and praising the fact that, since 1977, following a historic
manoeuvre of calculated ambiguity, it also permits the celebration of
Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Strange, cruel, and unusual, because partying is what is important and
because, as my grandmother, who didn't need to study to gain wisdom,
said, "All believers think that their religion is better than their
neighbour's one."

Nevertheless, right now, when the phantasmagorical menace of an
imperialist invasion has ceased to exist, when the fable which describes
the subversive presence of the enemy in the north has lost all its
efficacy, when it looks like Raúl's reforms are going to last, and when
we shouldn't say that Cuba is a dictatorship, but an "authority" which,
without doubt, continues to commit ignominious excesses in pursuit of
the interests of the state, the Cuban idealogues should abandon the
"poetry of '59", and work hard at developing an institutional make-up
which crystallises, I am not saying makes transparent, Cuba's vision to
the world.

What I am talking about is, obviously, a psycho-political veneer. For
example, the Union of Military Troops could change its name in order to
change the facade, and in this way the new recruits to Military Service
will emerge a little more agreeable than when they went in.

"To change everything so that nothing changes"; well-known paradox of
the novel The Ocelot, by the Italian writer Giuseppe Tomasi di
Lampedusa, is the sophistry of the Cuban government. What was once
called the Rebel Army, and then the Ministry of Defence, and later
MINFAR; can now be called PATRIGAL, which is a bit closer to the
present-day business reality, which is a mix of "patrimony" and
"national", and which is led by a General.

The uniform and soldiers' ranks, which still belong to the dead
structure of the non-existent Warsaw Pact, could also be redesigned. Get
rid of the uncomfortable, ghastly and rather undignified and hot
olive-green uniform, and turn to a more symbolic, indigenous and airy
one, like the ones used by the Mambisas in the struggle for liberty. The
difficult bit will be in equalising the distinguished, cultured and
recognised Camagueyan strategist, Major General Ignacio Agramonte y
Loynaz with Brigadier General Lázaro Pichs Sobrino, Director of the
Ministry of FAR, without adjectives to set them apart, and to know that
the only war he has seen is Fast and Furious (Part II), on the small screen.

I am not suggesting the Adidas sweat-suit should be the national
uniform, because that has become the preferred get-up of the ex-leader,
and that would be a complication. Quite apart from the recent corruption
scandal, of volcanic proportions, which involved a representative of the
famous German company and unscrupulous directors of the Cuban sports

Lastly, and only from eagerness to attract sympathy, as an additional
measure, they could transform the military barracks into motels, just as
they did one day with lodgings number 222, in order to convert it into
the garrison which now includes Mr. President's house.

To end now, as the Chinese proverb says about China, "BIG SOULS HAVE

Translated by GH

Source: Everything Changes, So That Nothing Changes in the Cuban Armed
Forces / Juan Juan Almeida | Translating Cuba -

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