“You will win because you have enough brute force. But you will not convince.” Miguel de Unamuno
HAVANA TIMES – Those of us who believe that Cuba is suffering at the hands of a perverse and corrupted totalitarian government, commonly say that the Cuban people have been too indifferent… In fact, I have dealt with the root cause of this passive attitude in other articles, suggesting that it is due to a concentration of power and civil society’s inability to objectively articulate and organize itself independently from the State and socialist ideology, the island’s only legal political doctrine.
However, this seemingly social indifference might actually be covering an attitude of individual resistance, which is what I want to talk about today: if it really is indifference or rather a resistance tailored to the very specific conditions that have been created here in Cuba by the Castro regime.
Just like I believe we are living under a totalitarian State, I believe that it has failed, not only because of the widespread unhappiness and misery inherent to every tyranny, but it has also failed at its main objective, its own ability to remain in power. There are overwhelming signs that this system is on the brink of collapse and it isn’t absurd to expect variations to this Soviet-type economic planning, which is the beginning of the end of political and social totalitarianism.
The failure of this model wasn’t predestined, it could have worked if a real majority had adopted and defended it, and this is the most essential point here: The system imposed by the Castros fails because it has fought against a minority’s active resistance, a minority who are consciously against a totalitarian attack on civil rights, as well as a vast majority who have unconsciously resisted any implication with a project which they haven’t felt is theirs for a long time now.
Therefore, it’s wrong to claim that the Communist Party has remained in power thanks to the population. It has rather remained in power in spite of popular resistance and this system’s greatest sign of weakness is their need to control individual freedoms, which have been violated in every possible way for the past 60 years.
Symptoms of this underground resistance, practiced by an entire population who have been isolated from political power and economic decisions are those actions, which wouldn’t transcend more than a few antisocials, if the socialist ideology enacted by the Castros had made an impression on the Cuban people.
The perverseness of vandalism (which Miguel Arias wrote about here on HT), which would be inexplicable from a socialist perspective where we would all share social property, suddenly starts making sense when we understand that nearly nobody feels like anything belonging to the government is theirs, because the government is the first thing they don’t feel is theirs.
Constant small thefts here and there which are bleeding an economy “meant to serve the people” is another suicidal activity from a socialist perspective. It only starts making sense when we understand that relations of production under the Castro system are just capitalism exacerbated by the existence of a single and absolute owner who is opposed to millions of alienated workers.
Indifferent work attitudes shouldn’t also be solely understood to be the response to miserable wages. Everyone is capable of sacrificing themselves a little so that an investment gives results later, as long as they believe that they are investing in something of interest to them. However, we stopped believing this when we discovered that we were the only ones constantly making sacrifices, the government wasn’t and their families weren’t either and we lost interest when we finally understood that our future would never arrive under this dictatorship.
The government’s resounding failure is then mostly the result of the Cuban people’s resistance, an inarticulate resistance of a people who are unconcious of this a lot of the time, a people who have been stripped of the information and education they need to be able to think for themselves, but still resistance at the end of the day.
This model and its particular strain of socialism never left a mark beyond the surface on the population, who turn up at hysterical anti-US protests, where they come together to then go home and try and put a meal together.
Even so, I don’t foresee any changes in our popular resistance. The government has used its symbolic power for too long to instill a fear of freedom and servile attitudes based on prefabricated historic acknowledgements, as well as using its monopoly of political, legal and repressive force to establish a network of interests and fears.
For a long time now the ruling elite’s greatest ambition isn’t prosperity for the nation, but to manage internal pressures. Their greatest and nearly only means of ensuring this was to colonize the Venezuelan government, receiving large resources from them without which the island would have economically imploded a long time ago or structural changes would have had to be made and the inevitable path towards changing our government would have begun.
This elite is playing a game of hot potato in order to keep their status, distributing power (which was concentrated in a single and bearded head before) among a group of bureaucrats made up of the still living historic revolutionary figures and those who have known how to latch onto them and hold important positions in the military/bureaucratic framework that rules the country.
This group doesn’t have the capacity to hold out another “Special Period” like we experienced in the ‘90s, and they know this. The only thing that is keeping us from this situation is the influx of resources from Venezuela. If this disappears, then we will see a deepening of Cuba’s financial collapse and then there definitely will be a considerable change in our forms of resistance.