Four generations, no changes
Four generations, no changes
HILDEBRANDO CHAVIANO MONTES | La Habana | 18 Mayo 2016 – 11:15 am.
According to the Cuban regime’s Granma newspaper Cuba closed out 2015
with a population of 11,239,004 citizens, of which 19.4% were born in or
before 1955, or 2,180,366 Cubans, many of whom were children or
adolescents in January, 1959. If to these we add those born between 1956
and 1959, we realize that there remain just a few hundred thousand
infirm, frustrated and sulky Cuban retirees who in January 1959
supported Fidel’s revolution.
If we subtract, of course, the children (now with grey hair) who
witnessed the triumphal entry of the rebel army in Havana, whether
amidst excitement or fear, the number of Cubans who supported the
Revolution in 1959, and later socialism, in 1961, does not even reach
20%. And concluding that all these seniors continue to support the
“Revolution” defies common sense.
So what explains Castroism’s ability to endure, generation after
generation? It duped some and bought off others, but to an extent, it
was the undeniable charisma of Fidel Castro. His spirited diatribes,
full of bluster, promises and apocalyptic musings, helped to imbue him
with the aura of a legendary hero who, despite his many failures and
unfulfilled prophecies, remained part of Cubans’ life, like a chronic
condition that only now, as his ailing image personifies the
deterioration of the Revolution itself, seems to be winding to an end.
And it wasn’t attacks, or allied regimes fallen from grace, or
invasions. The strongman sullied his image all by himself, by retiring
too late, by living too long, and by repeatedly failing to deliver as
promised. His posturing has ceased to impress, such that everyone has
begun to see him for what he is: a tired, sick old man responsible for
the suffering of his people, with an ego that impedes him from
recognizing it. Now he indulges himself by receiving curious visitors
and repeating the same anti-capitalist rhetoric that nobody wants to hear.
The Revolution, which has grown old along with its leader, has lost its
capacity to renew itself, as apathy and dissimulation replace the
revolutionary fervor able to turn setbacks into victories, or at least
to believe. Those born after the Revolution, 80% of the island’s
population, do not identify with the bearded heroes of the Sierra
Maestra, and the Bay of Pigs and Missile Crisis are distant allusions to
them. The intervention by Cuban troops in Angola’s war, and the export
of guerrilla fighters to Latin America, make no sense to a young
population that has trouble singing the national anthem, prefers soccer
to baseball, and has no interest in being like Che.
An ageing population, but at the same time a new one, deserves an
opportunity to choose the kind of country it prefers, and not to
slavishly accept what was imposed almost 60 years ago, when most of them
had not even been born. Neither should they be obliged to follow a
political party that has failed to serve its purpose, yet stands as a
self-appointed supreme and eternal authority determining Cubans’ destinies.
The Cubans of 2016 don’t even remember the nuclear Soviet Union, with
its profligate and Utopian leaders. Rather, they live in a world in
which Russia, China and Vietnam are capitalist countries. The once-
impoverished Latin America sends us aid, and buys our medical services;
the Holy Father of the Roman Catholic Church is an Argentine; the
president of the most powerful nation on earth is black and, moreover,
declares himself a friend of Cuba, reaching out to shake the hand of the
dictator who turned defeating the US into his raison d’etre, even
resorting to atomic threats.
In short, the Cuban government and its political and economic system are
totally out of touch with current realities and the 21st-century Cuban
people. Once again, Cuba is lagging behind; it was the last country in
the Americas to shake off Spanish colonialism, and now it struggles,
along with North Korea, to be very the last bastion of Communism.
A constitution upholding the UN Covenant on Civil, Political and
Economic Rights and the enactment of additional, complementary laws
would be the first thing Cuba’s rulers ought to do to open the country
up to the world and the vast majority of Cubans, who do not believe in
the virtues of Communism, whose benefits nobody ever enjoyed.
Source: Four generations, no changes | Diario de Cuba –