Home > Miguel Iturria Savón, Translator: Mari Mesa Contreras > Neither Tough Guys Nor Cowards

Neither Tough Guys Nor Cowards

February 10, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

An Argentine tourist commented to some bloggers in Havana that Cubans don’t fight against the communist dictatorship.  “They don’t fight, they don’t unite for their demands, I haven’t seen signs, strikes, or banging on pots and pans against the government, like what happened in Argentina, Chile or Uruguay during the military regimes.”

The perception has its own logic.  The tourists who interact with some of the opposition describe the problems of the island, smelling of repression and police impunity.  Almost all end up asking, “Where is the courage of the Cubans?  Why don’t they fight for their freedom?”

In principle, they are right, what they can’t understand is that the socialist regime, contrary to the traditional dictatorships, leaves the citizens totally helpless. The group that owns the power also owns the media, the press and the productive forces, which allows them to control the economy, the culture, and the teachings through a party that excludes the rest of the political forces and imposes the ideology of the ruling government.

To this characteristics you add the proclaimed “Social conquests” (Education, health and social security), the supposed fight against the imperialism, the economic embargo and the propaganda about the exceptional Cuban revolution, principal pill of the speech that legitimizes the regime, whose ideologists make their own the most beautiful ideals to justify the violation of the fundamental freedoms of the citizens.

The proclaimed “exceptionality” of Cuba is a myth as deceitful as the Cuban courage. The history shows that systematic repression keeps our people in check. There is a terror incorporated since the 1960s. The massive firing squads, and the exaggerated jail terms against those who dared to dissent still paralyze the citizens. Perhaps this is the reason that the simulation — people faking what they think — the treating of everything as a joke, and the tendency to emigrate instead of facing the dictatorship, confused people of good will who worry about the situation of the island.

Cubans are neither tough nor cowards.  Those who compare us with East Germans, Czechs, Poles, and Romanians, do not know or forget that these nations endured communist totalitarianism that the Soviet Union imposed on them at the end of the Second World War until it fell into a crisis in the mid-eighties.

The Island regime no longer counts on the resources and cooperation of the old Soviet Union, but it receives help from other governments and maintains totalitarian control intact despite the ineffectiveness of its  system of domination.  It is logical to think of the union of the opposition forces in massive demonstrations — like what worked in Argentina or Chile — but this does not work in Cuba.  Here there is a transmutation of values.  We are so saturated with slogans and enemies that people turn the page when they hear talk of bravery and patriotism.

Translated by: Mari Mesa

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