"We change or we sink"
written by Domingo Amuchastegui 26 July 2021
published by La Joven Cuba
"We change or we sink," a sentence that heralded profound transformations, was uttered by Raul more than a decade ago. A little later, Fidel Castro said when referring to socialism: «This does not serve us or us...». Such statements — in addition to being indisputable truths — seemed to promise significant changes. false. Quite the opposite has happened.
Today we are looking at a reality that painfully hints at a marked setback. July 11 and subsequent incidents mark the sinking of the old model on which he wanted to perpetuate an exhausted experience.
Let's examine some key points:
1. I do not give credit to the United States; to Cuban Miami; to the paid opposition (as I have always characterized it) that has been trying for more than six decades to blow up the country like a pressure cooker (a thesis advocated since 1960); nor to the criminals who always accompany such social outbursts, of being the managers and inspirers of 7/11/21.
In particular, let us stop blaming all our ills on the empire. From Washington to Calle 8, and to the wage earners on the island; they were all taken by surprise by the events of that day, as also happened with the Cuban rulers. Obviously, hostile factors immediately try to capitalize on what happened through their media scaffolding.
2. I support the view that what happened is typically a spontaneous social explosion of considerable extent, encompassing numerous provinces and cities and involving thousands of people. It shows a social composition where areas and neighborhoods of recognized poverty are distinguished and in which blacks and young people stand out, pillars of the revolution in past decades.
There has been no lack of expressions of a kind of neo-annexationism, with many symbols of the United States flying, while in the streets of Miami, time and again, intervention by Washington was called for, which is the absolute sum of all solutions.
3. On the other hand, both parties claim a monopoly of the term people. Big mistake. Large segments of village are located on both sides. There are thousands of Cubans protesting and thousands still on the side of the government; a scenario reminiscent of "masses against masses". Such polarization stems from the current situation of hardship, extreme shortages, total lack of incentives (both material and socio-cultural), dollarization (beyond what is usual in the Cuban context) and, in particular, the reaction to the effects of the so-called "Ordering".
I attach particular importance to the latter. For thirty years it was said and repeated that the Cuban leadership would never apply a "shock therapy", but, in practice, the "Ordering" resulted precisely in a monumental "shock therapy" that left the vast majority of the population in a situation in which prices and wages became antagonistic categories, fueled by hyperinflation.
4. Computerization and social networks introduced an unprecedented multiplier and sudden dynamic, which was attempted to be silenced by the state's cyber monopolies. This was a futile act of political cowardice.
Who benefits from shutting down the Internet and other services? The Cuban government? Certainly not. It benefits opponents and discredits the one who does.
5. The essential responsibility for all this lies in the institutionalized resistance to any significant change, with a comprehensive approach and that supposes a comprehensive redesign of the proven inoperative model that has rested on a set of absolutist-ist dogmas such as Party-State, Party of the Cuban Nation, totally inadequate and overcome after sixty-two years of the revolutionary triumph.
The urgency of such changes became apparent in 1980 with the Mariel episode. Nothing was done, it was a case of dismissing everyone as 'scum', and the rigidity of the system was reinforced. The so-called Rectification of Errors of 1986 gave rise to hopes of change, but without providing anything effective. In 1991, prior to the Fourth Party Congress, a wave of proposals for radical changes arose at the time of the discussion of the Call to the Fourth Congress.
The response of the Party leadership was one of total rejection and severe recriminations and warnings. Once again, this leadership liquidated any possibility of change, including the expansion of the process of Economic Improvement promoted by them and that was advocated by the FAR since the early eighties.
6. With the collapse of real socialism and the Soviet Union (1989-1991), the ideal juncture arose to promote a comprehensive remodeling; however, nothing was done, but the absolutist mechanisms, the buckling, were deepened. The adoption of some patches, here or there, achieved little in the already urgent need for profound transformations.
The argument that 'if we loosen up, the situation gets out of hand', prevailed again and again. Meanwhile, the corruption and enrichment of many leaders, their children and grandchildren — including accounts and trips abroad — and, with it, a marked erosion of the moral authority that must distinguish any leader, became increasingly visible — becoming a popular talk.
7. Cuban leaders began to live with their backs to reality, refusing to perceive that the eras and values had changed, that the younger generations were no longer the enthusiastic revolutionaries of the sixties or the obedient militants of other decades; that sixty years do not pass for pleasure and that the mechanisms of communication and interconnection from one generation to another are fundamentally modified. For these leaders, time inside the country seemed to have stopped.
8. At the height of the SIXTH Party Congress, winds of change seemed to blow, but without culminating in anything real. The Seventh Congress would result in the suppression of such possibilities and a strong countercurrent to some of the measures or patches Once again the reverse was imposed.
9. Then came the VIII Congress (April 2021) without building broad debates and preliminary consensus, despite the fact that the levels of poverty and deprivation reached unsuspected levels and of an almost impossible to imagine severity, worsened by Trump's economic war and the pandemic. The VIII Congress could represent the milestone or turn towards a path of profound transformations. But it wasn't.