THE TRANSITION THAT IS ABOUT NOT TO COME
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
The power of Castro’s dictatorship couldn’t rely only in the annihilation of all kind of opposition, despite the fact that, since January 1959, its governability depended on fear (out of pure terror) to reduce a plural society to military obedience, ideological hatred, and apartheid, whether geographical (in the case of the exiled for life) or uncivil (for those resisting as pariah on an Island turned into a labor camp behind The Iron Curtain). Detaching our homeland from its hemispheric context put us into orbit as a satellite of the totalitarian axis of the Cold War: the best alternative for the new class —now a gerontocracy elite in their eighties— to keep control in perpetuity, or at least for over a dozen of White House administrations.
The power of Castro’s dictatorship necessarily had to rely also on violence and, for so many —let’s say— people of good-will in the world, the beauty implicit in the narrative of The Revolution, with its ritual of burying a decadent past in order to resurrect it in a fertile future, as all revolutionary rhetorics promotes itself. To the image and likeness of those historical guerrillas, nowadays only octogenarians inside Cuba remember what presidential elections are all about. Such a legacy leaves a discouraging anthropological damage if we are ever to move forward from the Castrozoic Era.
Our citizenship was homogenized as soldiership, under the vertical rule of a personality cult, as a justification to survive against a foreign foe meant to last forever: nothing less than the first economy and war potency of the First World, an anthological archenemy called Imperialism. But nobody believes in this Fidelity fable anymore. And, after half a century of officially sequestering the sovereign will of our nation, it’s about time for Cubans to recover their own voice, since the Castros’ long-lasting regime is the one who should retire in silence.
Our historical circumstances are critical today for those determined to restore democracy in what was once called the Switzerland of The Americas. The long-sought transition is finally on its way, 25 years too late after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The demands of a peaceful civil society are being dealt with by the Cuban government not as inherent to human dignity, but as privileges and concessions for those who keep quiet, fostering even more the hypocrisy of our culture of simulation, without really respecting the fundamental rights of which Cubans remained deprived, while selectively targeting our truest leaders, those who wouldn’t compromise with the despotism of fraudulent changes, subjecting them to the abusive force of an intact intelligence apparatus based on private surveillance and social stigmatization, concealed coercion and cooption, and ultimately extra-judiciary execution, disguised as a sudden disease or a car-crash, as it criminally occurred to the winners of the European Parliament’s Andrei Sakharov Award for Freedom of Thought: Laura Pollán in October 2011 (founder of the Ladies In White) and to Oswaldo Payá in July 2012 (founder of the Christian Liberation Movement).
In the twilight of the first-generation Castros, everything is changing in Cuba so that nothing changes in the end, in a desperately slow transition from Power to Power, instead of from the Rule of Law to Rule of Law, as was constitutionally requested by more than 25,000 Cuban citizens, who publicly subscribed to the Varela Project, and who are still waiting for the answer due from the National Assembly of People’s Power; although it’s sadly known that the authorities’ response was silence in the mass media, a phony plebiscite in 2002, the massive trials of the Black Spring of 2003 and the deportations of 2010 (involving an insulting Catholic hierarchy), plus the barbaric bonus of the assassination not only of the reputation but of the precious lives of those who wouldn’t abide by our 21st century absolutism.
On one hand, a biological succession is underway in Cuba to a neo-Castroism without Castros, or given the case, with second-generation Castros, which are kindly invited to visit US: LGBT deputy Mariela Castro and baseball dandy Antonio Castro. Emphasized in their hardliner discourse of revolutionary intolerance, a State Capitalism is being implemented in Cuba, one that combines the worse lack of freedom from Communism with the worse corruption and captive markets of the underdeveloped democracies.
On the other hand, tired of waiting for an opening in the Island, complicit in today’s crimes with the promise that profits will prevent tomorrow’s crimes, the international community is already turning their backs on the remains of Cuban civil society, while compassionately patting them on their shoulders, and sometimes even supporting them with a petty percent of their investments with the State tycoons of Havana. The EU is making an approach, so US should hasten and hesitate no more. If Cuba is already doomed not to become a democracy, at least let it be a dictocracy, is the ridiculous rationale of such not so “hard choices”.
Consequently, the presidents of all chambers of commerce are ready to act, since their legitimate jobs are to trade no matters what, with no matters who. Many Cuban exiles are indolently or interestedly prêt-à-porter too, as conveniently-funded push-polls seem to prove, and as the age composition of Cuban emigration is radically renovated, especially after the 2013 migratory reform in the Island, that constitutes not only an escape valve for inner tensions, but also a coup de grâce to the once emblematic —now barely residual— Cuban Adjustment Act.
The overall impression is that the further from the Castros, the easier it is to become and behave pro-Castros, while anti-Castroism abroad is now practically considered “harassment” by the academics and the NGO’s from that once-despicable capitalism that deserved humiliation first and then inhumation from the proletarians of all over the world, united!
Many of the said universities and NGO’s (some located in the US capital) travel several times a year to Cuba only to accept blackmail from State Security agents, behaving according a Castro agenda that they would denounce as intolerable were it dictated by, for example, their own State Department or Congress. I have met them in person. In unfortunate cases, they have again labeled me with that pathetic epithet of “mercenary” (as if there were good dollars and bad dollars from the American tax-payer). In other cases, they have just advised me to repent, since even I can still be a useful variable in this Cuban equation with zero ethics.
If we are to lose the challenges imposed by global Castroism, or if we have already lost this struggle for redemption and haven’t realized it, I’m still proud of having had the unique opportunity of being in touch with so many Cubans of good will —as well as with foreigners’ solidarity— who keep alive the notion of being born with inalienable rights, and that still believe that only Life in Truth is worthy of being called human.
As with other biblical peoples, maybe we Cubans have lost Cuba, or are not going to recognize it any longer when we return there once the last of the Castros is gone, since Castroites will be waiting for us to make our lives much more miserable. But this doesn’t imply at all that Freedom was on the wrong side of History. Freedom will always be our right on the right side of History. Even if it’s a faithful failure over and over.
We Cubans are at risk that Evil might have prevailed too long among us for our Nation to reconcile with itself. The Government and the People of the United States of America, as in the 19th and 20th centuries, in 2014 have a debt with Cuban democrats and republicans and liberals and conservatives and the rest of our non-totalitarian subjects trapped in such an obsolete model: a debt not economical nor political nor military but of a moral nature.
It’s for the best interests of US not to abandon Cuban citizens in their Caribbean backyard under a rogue State, since the supposed stability of our region is only a time compass for the rogues to counterattack America, where a normalized climate will only allow the abnormality that Castroism represents to have a free hand to undermine —with felonies— the foundations of the United States.