Thursday, November 25, 2021

Rafael Hernandez Essays from Cuba Post November 15


Antinomies and conflict in the Cuban political situation (I)

  by Rafael Hernandez

The so-called “March for Change” and its ups and downs have highlighted the spectrum of ideas in Cuba’s society today. That spectrum mirrors a civic consciousness of the common sense, with ranges and shades that are not so new.  As is typical in many other societies, the Cuban common sense personalises and sentimentalises political events, supporting them or criticizing them, agreeing or disagreeing, giving them labels, even when possibly not understanding them.

In the ranges of this spectrum we can find antinomies which leave a mark on the Cuban political situation. By discussing these antinomies I am not trying to show “what most Cubans believe,” but just intending to illustrate the complexities of our consensus.

That common sense is aware of the heavy burden the US blockade imposes on our life as a whole; and knows that the US has always sponsored the political opposition. But these truths tend to blur, especially when they are used constantly in official speeches as the explanation for almost everything.

The Cuban common sense highly supports all efforts to enforce law and order. But the very civic culture fostered by socialism makes people perceive violence as an abuse of power, even against those who break the law.

Cubans have always disapproved the usual practices of the political opposition and its ultimate goals, although they do not necessarily think that everything they say is false or disagree with everything they propose.

Even when Cuban citizens share the basic principles and goals of socialism, they may disagree with some of the methods and justifications on which the State bases its policies.

They know that security is key to the national interest. But when national security is used for dealing with political problems, they may not agree with its effectiveness.

These antinomies are nothing new. Some observers have mentioned these contradictions and some others. However, they don' t dissect the underlying problems that characterize the political situation. Their criticism thus remains within the same common sense box, particularly when they try to advise the government or the opposition "what they should do."

Instead of opinions and advises, the political implications of current and alternative policies should be considered, without losing the specific context of these problems, in the here and now. Doing so would help to gain clarity, and perhaps to foster a civic consciousness of good sense, as Antonio Gramsci would say.

By sketching out a map of our political situation, my sole intention is to facilitate analysis and fostering debate. I will focus on the three actors and their interaction, but also their own dynamic: the political opposition, the Cuban government policy and the US factor.

The opposition

The three main structural weaknesses of the opposition, over time, have been the feuds between groups; the lack of leaders with political experience and capacity; and its convergence with US hostility.

The armed organizations of the 1960s, especially the anti-communist dissidence within those who opposed the dictatorship, including the Catholic Youth (Juventud Católica), gathered tens of thousands of active militants, willing to follow its leaders and pay the cost of that struggle. That is not the case of the current organizations. Although the social networks and the media contribute to making them seem bigger than they are, the leadership capacity to mobilize active members and to drive coherent policies is much less effective.

Unlike the opposition in other countries, their leadership has not held positions of representation in large organizations, or in government functions. They lack a realistic notion about political problems and the exercise of power. Dissidents who were cadres of the State, the mass and political organizations, the Security or the Party apparatuses, do not stand out as opposition leaders, even less in the latest generations.

Leaving aside the opportunists and adventurers who join the opposition as a way of life, most of its leaders with some intellectual level and a real political conscience are academics, journalists, artists, writers, even former teachers of Marxism, who one day declared themselves activists for the anti-government cause. These are book-based political animals, who, in order to learn how to combat the system, organize 100-hour seminars on Hanna Arendt's works, and the like. In general, the organic intellectuals of the opposition, who view the "Party-State" as a single bloc, do not understand very much about politics, nor do they believe that it is worth wasting time seeking dialogue or negotiation.

Repeating as a mantra to justify their struggle the unpopularity and repressive nature of the system, the majority of that leadership convinces itself that the State is unable to regenerate consensus with its own resources. They do not realize that, in addition to the coercive force to deal with subversion, that State enjoys a political capital, which is not just ideological. It has political mechanisms to neutralize the opposition maneuvers, even when more creative and sophisticated.

One strategic error of the opposition has been to believe that the use of force, in any degree and form (including "non-violent"), triggers the ring of national security. That alarm-bell has counterproductive effects for their goal of breaking up consensus and legitimizing themselves as a viable option.

Taking advantage of a fragile economic situation and the weakening of the public consensus to wrestle with the government, to try to extract concessions, and capitalize on these concessions to swell their ranks, increase political polarization. That wrestling also contradicts their own call for dialogue, reconciliation, national unity, peace, etc., but above all it fuels a volatile situation. In this particular context, the government is much less likely to react with the same disposition for dialogue and conciliation as they would with other social, and even political, demands.

As we very well know, a situation of instability and its consequences would be more threatening than any economic crisis, not only for the system, but also for society and the national interest, beyond ideological differences.

Furthermore, even if Cuba is not risking a political crisis that really threatens the control of power, the impression that the situation may be getting out of hand is already risky enough. Indeed, the mere perception that the opposition can wrench concessions under pressure may be interpreted as an inability of the government to deal with the crisis at hand. We must remember that this opposition is preaching a dialogue that, under the pretense of peace and understanding, is demanding pluralism with the groups that have the least interest in dialogue, those in die-hard exile and their leading sponsors.

The evolution of the Cuban situation in recent years suggests that the promise of reconciliation is a beautiful idea, but that when it is taken to its limits, it is a voluntarist dream of reason. Calling for a national dialogue with no boundaries should be , at best, a utopian project. A viable and sustainable republic based on the coexistence of old and new opponents, with veteran communists and the new left, militants of the anti-communist youth and of reformed socialism, the American politicians Díaz-Balart and Marco Rubio and the representatives in the Cuban National Assembly, the electorate of Coral Gables and of Mantilla, is unlikely, however many Martí quotes are pronounced to invoke it.

At the end of the day, with that seven-headed interlocutor, the key pre-condition for negotiation is not met: trust in what the other side will do.

The political culture of this opposition is illustrated by what they understand as human rights. They assume that true freedom of expression is dictated by the American way. They believe that the right to demonstrate on the streets is the essence of political participation; that a plebiscite is the fullest expression of democracy; that preaching the autonomy of the judiciary is equivalent to "the separation of powers;" that democracy is equal to a party system such as those prevailing in the Western Hemisphere; that political freedom involves all types of organizations regardless of their ideology; or that artistic freedom without boundaries is the measure of a society’s civic culture.

Among the dissidents I have known (some very close), there are those who became fed up with the liturgies of real socialism, suffered the effects of sectarian or extremist policies, lost faith when the Berlin Wall collapsed, and went into retreat or exile. Some of them take socialism for what they have experienced since the Special Period, or they inspired by the rhetoric that saturates the Cuban press and television. They were no longer interested in changing things and decided to throw in the towel; or they never even tried. There are also those who deserve a place on the podium in a universal history of opportunism.

Could the case of Yunior García mean something different within the leadership of these groups? How do you explain that, in just a few months, he went from dissenter to dissident? Has he enjoyed a dialogue within the system conferred greater legitimacy on his public march? Did not coming from the organized opposition give Archipelago greater credibility? What do the meanderings of his project and its outcome reveal?

We would need more room than what we have here to discuss these questions. As does understanding the US factor in this landscape. Do their policies towards Cuba respond to their commitment to the opposition? To the promise made to "freedom fighters," from 1960 to 2021? Is it that the compass of the national security organs which have always guided the relationship with Cuba, has been skewed off-course by the Miami magnet? What mystery could explain that in their policy towards Cuba, a tail like this could wag a dog like that?

Finally, is it that Cuba’s policy towards the US, and its willingness to resume the normalization process, may now depend on how they perceive the threat regarding the opposition groups and their allies? What other lessons and experiences could inform that policy?

I would say that this is already a hefty load of problems for a first round.

Antinomies and Conflict in the Cuban Political Situation (II)

   by Rafael Hernandez

My grandmother, a first grade teacher in a public school in Cabaiguán, used to receive Bohemia magazine. I got used to reading it from back to front, starting with the graphic jokes. The only thing I skipped was the section where Jorge Mañach, Herminio Portell Vilá, and other prominent intellectuals wrote, because at my 10 years of age I did not understand nor was I interested in the topics they dealt with.

That intellectual journalism, which dealt with all topics, is not very frequent today among us. Every time someone tells me that the average reader or the average TV viewer does not understand or is not interested in those topics, that they are too complex or sensitive, or that they are not prepared for political analysis, I wonder if they are talking about an island and a world inhabited by 10-year-old children.

Analyzing the political situation is not the same as enunciating the Cuba that the very diverse Cubans imagine or would like. Although I also have one, I have limited myself here to commenting on the complexity of a consensus shared by those diverse Cubans, which does not consist of "almost unanimous support," but of a social base with contradictory common sense, tensions and disparities aggravated by the crisis, as would be normal anywhere. To confuse the scale of consensus with that of oxygen in the blood, such that a 97% support indicates a "healthy" state, and one of "barely 80% or 75%" indicates "critical," would be a joke anywhere.

From that mixed consensus that sustains the system right now, I try to examine the political situation, starting with three actors: the new political opposition, the new government, and the new US administration.

However new they may be, these actors and this conflict cannot be understood outside of history, without links to the past, to factors of power, structures, institutions, and without the interaction of opposing interests between two States, that of Cuba and that of the United States. However, it is essential to identify what these actors bring with them and differentiate them from their predecessors, their own problems, and especially, their particular context. To understand them with a sense of this historical moment, of the fundamental change of circumstance that characterizes it, instead of thinking of them as islands that repeat themselves, as a famous Caribbeanist would say. Without discerning those problems, in relation to the conflicts they face and to the current Cuban society, it is not possible to reason about the political field, beyond ideological antinomies -as common sense tends to do.

Criticizing some postulates of that common sense that circulate in the media and even in the intellectual discourse does not require getting philosophical or even having read Gramsci. It is enough to put them to the test.

As a sample button, here are the following. "This political system has no chance of change, because it is dominated by a Leninist scheme." "The Party-State is a block from top to bottom, immobile and immovable." "National reconciliation depends on the political will of the government to dialogue with the opposition." "The Catholic Church is a particularly gifted actor to mediate in that reconciliation." "We are living through black years for freedom of expression." "The dissidence of artists responds to the lack of freedom of the guild and the closure of cultural policies."  "Young people have deserted the camp of the Revolution, and want to go and live outside." "The disappointment of the poor and the blacks with socialism has turned them into the social base of the opposition and its new leadership."  Et cetera.

In the substratum of almost everyone is the question of democratic functioning and citizen participation. To address it, it would be necessary to consider not only the so-called mechanisms of direct democracy -street demonstration, plebiscite, etc.- or voting every five years, but above all, systematic participation in decision making, control of policies, channeling of public opinion, dialogue with the government. Is such participation possible without a more democratic system, including the Party itself?

A few days ago, in an open letter to the President of Cuba, a Spanish Jesuit reproached him for not recognizing the total failure of the Revolution and the system of dictatorship of the proletariat. Some have not noticed that in 2022 it will be 30 years since the reform of the Constitution which erased the concepts of dictatorship of the proletariat and vanguard of the working class. And that this current year marked three decades of the elimination of religious beliefs as contradictory to Marxist and Leninist ideology.

I wonder if anyone presumes that being a private businessman disqualifies to hold office or join the Party. And that publicly criticizing Party policies by any militant makes him commit a flagrant violation of democratic centralism.

All the concepts underlined above are in the decalogue of Leninism. To this list of heresies should be added others, considered incompatible with the ideology by the previous political education. For example, the end of the teaching of atheism in schools, the introduction of a constitutional article allowing families headed by same-sex couples, the dismantling of the system of compulsory work-study scholarships in secondary education, the freedom to reside abroad without losing one's citizenship rights, etc. Perhaps the current problems of the Party are not precisely those attributed to a certain Leninism.

On the contrary, some Bolshevik practices could inspire greater democracy in Cuba. For instance, the struggle of the rank and file militants, the soviets and the trade unions to control the bureaucracy; the legitimacy of discrepancies in their ranks, such as the Workers' Opposition; the application of a New Economic Policy (NEP) with market and mixed economy; the encouragement of systematic debate below and above; the possibility of exposing in Pravda the criteria of all the militants, not only of some.

To legitimize democratic changes in the Party, here and now, could consider what Raul Castro himself said almost ten years ago: "if we have sovereignly chosen the option of the single Party, what corresponds to us is to promote the greatest democracy in our society, starting by setting an example in the ranks of the Party." So the PCC is not above the reforms, nor is it only a leading subject in their implementation, but also the object of a policy that calls to "change everything that must be changed."

Although we know that politics is not contained in speeches, the struggle to turn those words into reality has today more support than ever. What, however, is the yardstick for measuring that democratization? Recognizing, dialoguing and negotiating with political organizations such as those that predominate in the Cuban opposition, on the Island and in exile? I think that a most suitable question, congruent with the very Constitution of the system, would be: is it desirable for a socialist system to make room for a "loyal opposition" (defined by its purpose of improving the system, not liquidating it)?

Interviewing seven years ago a group of subjects with institutional responsibilities, this same question produced dissimilar answers.1

A former president of the National Assembly supported "the "parliamentarization of society," the constant discussion, in factories and collectives, of problems and proposals to address them," not the "manipulation of dissent into more or less loyal 'oppositions.'"

An acting General Secretary of the UJC stated that "a dissent among revolutionaries is very necessary." "In Cuba we still don't know that [loyal] opposition, because people financed by a foreign government to overthrow the Revolution cannot be called anything but mercenaries." She added, "I don't believe either that we have reached the ideal democracy...I don't rule out any formula for more socialism."

A popular educator from a religious NGO opined, "It is necessary to make clear the points that do not enter into negotiation; that is, what to be loyal to...There is loyalty to the principles of social equity, personal and national dignity, sovereignty, socialization of power, of the economy and of happiness; loyalty to popular power exercised by the people. If the bet is on these [principles], loyalty to political forms becomes more flexible, since it would be to the government that enforces those principles."

An academic jurist defined it as "an opposition that complies with the law of all, that does not pretend, through intolerance, to demand tolerance to the State; that does not use flags of excluding and inhuman ideologies, that respects the public order and the rules that we have given ourselves in democracy, is loyal to the Rule of Law, and therefore itself is indispensable."

A delegate of the People's Power in Marianao responded, "We have to give possibilities to that kind of opposition; the one that does not agree with the things that are badly done, and that can propose how to solve them...If it is in good faith, opposing things that do not give results helps to improve the socialist system, which ultimately is the people...Sometimes we criticize those who speak the truths, and we consider that they have political problems, but those people what they want is to see results."

An acting president of a cultural institution considered it "an antinomy. Because the opposition is a real opposition if it shows a certain level of organization, if it constitutes an alternative to the established powers. A revolutionary who opposes" a particular policy "is not an opponent; he is just someone who disagrees."

The editor of a Catholic magazine said that "one should act to improve the established system by consensus and not to liquidate it...Those who possess other ideological preferences should accept it with humility, but without ceasing to contribute their criteria and projects, although subordinated to the realization of the interests of the people. Thus we could enjoy a socialism capable of integrating, even ideological diversity...An opposition would not be loyal order to achieve its political purposes,...allies itself with foreign powers,...that possesses organic links with national or foreign instances in charge of promoting subversion, that does not care for the sovereignty of the country nor for social concord."

In these interviews, not only is it possible to observe the difference in nuances within the institutions of the State and within civil society, but also, between their visions then and now, in some particular cases.

A dozen years ago, in an official Cuban media, I mentioned the question of loyal opposition: "Will Cuban socialism be able to admit in the future, together with a renewed democratic institutionality, a decentralized system, a non-state sector, also a loyal opposition, within the system itself? That is not a question for U.S. congressmen and Euro-parliamentarians, but for Cubans living their future on the Island."

Curiously, while the Catholic magazine Espacio Laical celebrated the concept some time later, to the point of convening an event in 2013 where it was debated, the editorialists of Cubaencuentro considered it a crude ploy, "a padlock," behind which peeked the hairy ear of officialdom disguised as "liberal loquacity," aimed at "refreshing" the totalitarian discourse.

They seemed to ignore that those who coined it, in the mid-nineteenth century, did not conceive it as a formula to "seize power" or change the British system, but to make it politically more effective and broaden its consensus. They did not seek precisely to "pander" to dissenters, but to incorporate them into the complex task of governing. This explains why the U.S. partycracy never assimilated it, given its two hundred years of staunch bipartisanship.

I have expanded on this point because it illustrates the gap of a national reconciliation that some dream of resolving in one leap. It also shows criteria within the Revolution, below and above, that support a realistic democratization. Reformulated seven years later, that question would be read today as follows: to what extent would a policy aimed at expanding consensus, integrating the loyal opposition into the political space, be congruent with the new style of government? And one could add: is it in the national interest that this loyal opposition within the system, in favor of a more democratic socialism, be an option for those who advocate change, instead of leaving them out, and that some would end up being dragged along by the anti-communist opposition?

I can guess a reader who is already asking: And what would the US do? It would take a third round to comment on that.


 1 "Making socialist politics: a symposium," interviewer Daniel Salas, Temas # 78, April-June, 2014.

Antinomies and conflict in Cuban political situation (III)

The unpostponable path towards a more democratic system and with greater civil liberties is made difficult thanks to that U.S. policy that gives itself permission to speak on behalf of the same Cuban civil society that it maintains under siege.

by  Rafael Hernández December 15, 2021in Columns

Among the heap of antinomies that have populated U.S. politics from Jefferson to Trump, probably the most florid of all consists of trying, at the same time, to isolate Cuba externally and influence its domestic processes.

The reason that has always governed it, and also throughout this last half-century, is geopolitical, rather than merely ideological, economic, or domestic. If it responded to ideological or doctrinal factors, the key to this policy could be found in its Cold War anti-communist discourses on human rights and democracy. If it were due to economic interests, it would be dictated by the corporations expropriated in 1959-60, seeking to pressure a Cuban state “reluctant to compensate them.” If Cuba were just “a topic of local Florida politics,” the continuity of the constituents in the Cuban-American enclave, and their antinomies, would explain the United States’ hostility against the island.

Geopolitical logic, on the other hand, bases the application of a recourse of force called a blockade (not embargo) on hot war manuals, aimed at asphyxiating the country, and dragging it by force to a breaking point, according to the jargon from those manuals. At the same time, this logic explains the attempt to interfere in the internal political process, and to push it in the direction of U.S. interests.

Both dimensions of this strategy take shape around the objective of imposing a regime change that suits the United States. Naturally, neither of the two dimensions responds to the plural interest of civil society, democracy or citizen freedom of Cubans, inside or outside the island, nor is it associated with a peaceful change, unless it is a change in that preset direction.

In fact, this combination of siege and internal political erosion has been part of the universal strategic arsenal from Sun Tzu and Attila the Hun to Napoleon and Heinrich Himmler, passing through Clausewitz, skilled in combining the military and ideological excellence of their armies, which we now call penetration, psychological and cultural warfare, in order to soften the enemy inside and out. In its basic format, it was designed and applied against the Cuban Revolution, especially by the JFK administration team. Since then, it became clear that, far from working, it was very counterproductive, as recognized by the members of that team, meeting in Havana three decades later.

In the military field, the forefathers of that so-called New Frontier only stopped before the use of their own troops and means, including the nuclear attack. To save themselves the very high cost of direct intervention, they Cubanized destabilization, taking advantage of the tens of thousands of discontent people, whom they made their allies. Since then, U.S. politicians became obsessed with finding dissidents in the Revolution camp. “Even Castro himself,” reads an egregious memo from McGeorge Bundy, the JFK National Security Advisor, who had hosted Castro when he visited Harvard in 1959.

 However, this refined strategy and formidable resources put into play against such a small country, have always suffered from a practical policy deficit: it is very difficult to close all the accesses, doors and windows to a house, and at the same time try to influence what happens inside. Like the wolf of the three little pigs, the U.S. state continued to blow nonstop, while the house became more difficult to knockdown. This has been the quintessential antinomy of U.S. policy towards the island.

Although it is not the only one. Since listing them all would be an abuse, I will comment on only two.

In a previous note, I have pointed out that the anti-Castro and anti-communist condition involves an impossible group. This alliance between the United States and “the Cuban nation” has ranged from the Batista followers and their families (say, the Díaz-Balart) to ex-revolutionaries of all stripes (old militants of the PSP, the Catholic Youth, the 2nd Front, the Directorate, the July 26th Movement, the ORI, the UJC, the PCC….). Also the military of the dictatorship and some insurgents to overthrow it, allied later against the Revolution; members of Brigade 2506 together with former FAR and MININT officers who have become dissidents; to Granma journalists, Marxism-Leninism professors, and many who chanted hymns in the Plaza, together with those who always execrated them, now gathered in the ranks of the Mambisa Vigil and the marches through the streets of Little Havana.

It is not surprising that such an incongruous group reveals a certain ineptitude to act as an opposition bloc, sharing a common platform and leadership. Its slogan could be “against the Revolution everything, within the Revolution, nothing.” Sponsored by different sectors within the established powers — the CIA, the State Department, factions within Congress, politicians in the local anti-Castro industry — the opponents bear the mark of that support. Even leaving aside the epithets that the Cuban media dedicate to them, this brand contradicts its legitimacy as opposition in the eyes of many Cuban people, including those who disagree with or do not support the government.

This peculiar relationship between the state apparatuses and the successive cohorts of anti-Castroism is more convoluted than it seems, and gives rise to a kind of antinomy of Dr. Frankenstein. In the past, believing the diagnoses of that sponsored opposition led it to let itself be embarked in operations as delusional as the Bay of Pigs. Right now, this antinomy is revealed in the most recent statement of the Secretary of State himself on Cuba, with phrases culled from anti-government media inside and outside the island, and from its most combative organic intellectuals.

This discourse attributes the origin of the sit-in in front of the Ministry of Culture a year ago, and the dialogue with its representatives on the night of N27, to the anti-government political activism initiative of some artists installed in Old Havana. It identifies this elite, mostly white middle class, as “the voice of the Cuban people.” It summons the government for “redoubling its bankrupt ideology and failed economic system.” “It congratulates the Cuban people for continuing to demand that the government listen to them.” And “it urges the regime to heed its call, and allow it to carve out its own future, free from the threat of government repression.” It calls all of the above “supporting dialogue in Cuba.”

Not a word about restarting the granting of visas to the Cuban people; facilitating remittances from their relatives; resuming exchanges with artists, academics, athletes; encouraging scientific cooperation in the field of health and the fight against the pandemic; allowing Cuban Americans to invest and associate with their relatives on the island; recognizing the reforms aimed at opening space to the private sector, the market, the use of the internet, etc. Not the slightest hint of an announcement about the relaxation of the blockade mechanisms for the benefit of civil society on both sides of the Straits of Florida.

The last antinomy of this policy that I will comment on is the one that manifests itself in its counterproductive effect.

As much as the Cuban government mentions it to explain everything, the siege of the island is not a Castro paranoia, but a real geopolitical siege. To appreciate its meticulous scope, it is enough to observe a Chinese bank refusing to open an account for a Cuban or read the message “you are in a country where you cannot access this service” sent by Google or Yahoo to a laptop on the island.

The syndrome of the besieged fortress interferes in a thousand ways in daily life, and it is a red light that flashes before each proposed change to be implemented in Cuba. “How will they (the Americans) take advantage of this change, to try to pull the rug out from under our feet?” There is no better vitamin than this incessant harassment for the group of those who do not want to change anything in Cuba.

The Cuban Armed Forces and State Security were founded and grew from the origin of revolutionary power, and have been perpetuated in their current form because they respond to harassment from the United States. Their cost and their role in the system, as well as the centralization and verticalism that characterize the functioning of Cuban socialism, are inseparable from this challenge. Perhaps the most scandalous antinomy of U.S. policy towards Cuba today lies precisely in continually reproducing the conditions that operate against a more democratic socialism and the conquest of greater social and individual freedoms.

To put it another way, without leaving room for misunderstandings: the unpostponable path towards a more democratic system and with greater civil liberties is made difficult thanks to that U.S. policy, which gives itself permission to speak on behalf of Cuban civil society itself. which it keeps under siege. Its official support for the anti-government opposition recharges the atmosphere against the recognition and normalization of a loyal opposition, which contributes to expressing true diversity and plurality within a renewed Cuban socialism.

How do these antinomies work in the current political context of bilateral relations?

After the short summer of normalization with Obama and the four fateful years with Trump, the prolongation of Trumpism under Biden is what was missing to dispel the illusions of a re-normalization within this new Cuban government, which is heading towards the closing of a very difficult third year in office. Even if many of the agreements and mutual trust measures achieved with Obama continue to exist formally, the awkwardness and disinterest of this administration has kept the tone of relations as low as ever. It would not be realistic (or “pragmatic,” as some say) for this young Cuban government to invest a penny in promoting a tango that the other does not want to dance. In terms of cost-benefit, it is clear that Cuba would not win in this scenario what it could have, if Biden had kept his campaign promises. However, for the U.S. interest in relation to the island, the cost of opportunity could be higher than what some political observers seem to warn.

Indeed, Cuba is not an asteroid gravitating alone in front of a massive planet called the United States, in the middle of nowhere. This space is inhabited by numerous bodies. The void that the U.S. ceases to fill in the environment of the Cuban transition is assumed by others. They are not only Russia, China, Vietnam, but the European Union and Canada, with economic and political interests in this transition, as well as a considerable number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Middle East, whose political orbit has not drifted away from Cuba, despite the omens of derailment that flooded 2021.

Paradoxically, when we look back in time, perhaps we can appreciate this dramatic year as a turning point, where the continuity and rhythm of changes began to stabilize, despite the antinomies of the U.S. policy towards the Island.

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