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Nonardo Perea: I see myself as an observant person and I like to write with sincerity what I think and live first hand. I’m shy and of few words; thus it’s difficult for me to engage in conversation. For that reason, my best tool for communicating is writing. I live in Marianao, Havana and am 40 years old.

What the System in Cuba Teaches Us

July 3, 2017 |

Nonardo Perea

Black beans at the neighborhood ration book store.

HAVANA TIMES — When I was young kid and went to a rural boarding school, I remember that every time a visit from the municipal authorities was announced, the school’s directors would hurry to paint the school facade, get students to clear up the common areas, and in the blink of an eye. That is, everything that was a complete disaster was transformed into something wonderful.

I remember that during those visits, lunches and dinners were a lot more delicious and varied than normal, because most of the time all we were given was rice, chicharros (a type of peas) with worms included and a boiled egg, a dish we would call the “three musketeers”.

Our happiness didn’t last, and once the big shots were out of sight, everything went back to how it used to be, and the school was a disaster again. That’s where I learned the importance of lying, of making people see what isn’t real, of creating a fake reality in the eyes of others.

I was never a good student, I hardly ever studied, and when it came to the exams, I rarely knew the answers, but I wasn’t the only one, that’s why we were given a helping hand. The teachers would take us to a desk, we would sit down and we’d been given a test that had already been done so that we could copy it. We all passed with flying colors, in the end.

That’s how we made our parents happy at the end of the year, and how our teachers proved that they were doing their educational job well.

Today, after so many years, I suspect that lots of lies are told on the news and in the media, when features are made about abundant farm production, where everything is working miraculously well, and I know that’s not the case.

Lies have always been present because it’s something we’ve been taught to do ever since we were little. From a young age we are made aware not to tell the whole truth, because that could become a problem for you.

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  • Moses Patterson

    This post highlights a recurring theme present in authoritarian regimes. Lie, lie, lie.

    • dann

      Whereas Wester democracies, as we all know, are nothing but the truth, 24/7, right?!
      https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/23/opinion/trumps-lies.html

      • Moses Patterson

        No, not at all. As I have expressed many times en my comments here at HT, the difference is that in free societies, the public has a legal way to redress grievances. In Cuba when Granma prints a lie there is no way to correct the misinformation.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          “Cubans are denied what is perhaps the least recognized but possibly the most important right for those who live in the free world. That is simply the right to openly disagree with the opinions of others and especially with political viewpoints. The Castro communist regime rigidly demands conformity to their view, no other is permitted.”

          That you may recall Moses was the start of the second paragraph of the introduction of: ‘Cuba Lifting the Veil’.
          How many of the contributors to these pages, irrespective of their political view, can disagree with that statement. If so, how do they justify their participation in Havana Times where they can and do openly disagree?
          By contributing to discussions in these pages, we all contradict the view of Dr. Ernesto Guevara who said:
          “We must do away with all newspapers. A revolution cannot be accomplished with freedom of the press.”
          and with Fidel Castro Ruz who said when opposing the revolution of 1968 in Prague:
          “Certain measures were taken such as the establishment of a bourgeois form of freedom of the press. This means the counterrevolution and the exploiters, the very enemies of socialism, were granted the right to speak and write freely against socialism.”
          For anyone who supports those expressed views of Guevara and Castro, to write here, doing so is the very essence of hypocrisy.
          As one who when not in Cuba, enjoys freedom of speech and liberty, I recognize their value. Do others?

          • Moses Patterson

            Well said.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        The difference between Donald J. Trump(f) and Raul Castro Ruz, is that Trump(f)’s time in power is limited by the wishes of the people.

        • dann

          The majority of voters didn’t want Trump as president.
          So much for “the wishes of the people” limiting his “time in power.” http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/21/politics/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-popular-vote-final-count/index.html

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            It is not for me to defend the American Constitution dann. My personal view is that if I were an American citizen I would lobby for it to be brought up to date. For example, the ‘right to bear arms’ which results in over 12,000 people a year being shot dead. Obviously you would like to change the system of electing a ‘college’ to decide the Presidency. Trump(f)’s time in power however is limited by the people. Eight years is the maximum. No such restrictions are applied under Communism in Cuba. That is the difference, it has nothing to do with whether Trump(f) is a narcissistic bully boy, or whether Raul Castro is an executioner, although both descriptions are accurate.

          • dann

            It’s funny how we always get back to this, isn’t it? M. Patterson wants to present “Lie, lie, lie” as a characteristic of so-called “authoritarian regimes,” but when I point out that it’s hard to find a head of state who lies as much as the present leader of the so-called free world, lying stops being important.
            C. MacDuff wants to focus on something other than “Lie, lie, lie,” i.e. the widespread delusion that “the wishes of the people” are what made Trump president of the USA – in spite of the fact that a majority of voters didn’t want him to rule the USA. So much for the US American way of persuading the ‘will of the people’ to hand over power to a commander in chief, in this case billionaire and reality TV star Donald Trump.
            So “eight years is the maximum” in the USA? Yes, according to the US constitution it is, but so what? It isn’t in most other democracies, and it isn’t in my own constitutional monarchy (of which I’m no big fan), and I don’t see why it should be so in Cuba. It may come as a surprise to MacDuff and Patterson, but “the time in power” for heads of state is ALWAYS “limited by the people.” If enough Americans were to decide to put an end to Trump’s presidency, they could end it tomorrow – with or without the constitution. And so could Cubans if they wanted to dethrone Raúl Castro.
            That Cubans have decided to appoint their head of state in a way that makes it difficult for billionaires to buy presidencies is not something that seems to upset the Cubans I know, but I never met Macduff’s family, of course.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            You dann obviously deliberately distort what I wrote. I did not say that “the wishes of the people” elected him (Trump(f)). I did say that the wishes of the people limit his time in office.
            However, you become quite fatuous in suggesting that the people of Cuba could dethrone Raul Castro. That is as obviously fallacious. Raul Castro is a dictator and Head of the military. There has not been one single open election in Cuba since the Castros imposed communism.

  • Ronin

    That is the “system,” it’s the same in every country. Lies, or half truths, that’s how governments, big or small, keep the prying eyes of the public off their backs and the minimize criticism.

    At the very first sight of trouble or controversy, the first thing government officials do. is to come with the method to “spin” the facts in their own favor. This happens a lot more that you can even imagine in the U.S.

    • Moses Patterson

      Is your strategy to defend Cuba rooted in affirming that everyone does it? Really? Does that make it ok?

      • dann

        Is your strategy to attack Cuba by implying that “Lie, lie, lie” is something that is not an everyday occurrence in all so-called democracies (and in particular the USA)? Does that make it ok?

        • Moses Patterson

          Deception, with the excepción of surprise birthday parties, is never “ok”.

      • Ronin

        “Strategy to defend Cuba” ?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe you should read my post again. Where exactly does it say this was ok????

        if you were to draw a conclusion, it would be that corrupt politicians in government aren’t a “problem” particular to Cuba. Yeah, Really.