31 July 2021 ~ 0 Comentarios

Cuba again in the eyes of the world

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

Five Cuban generals had died in 10 days: Agustín Peña Porres, Marcelo Verdecia Perdomo, Manuel Eduardo Lastres Pacheco, Rubén Martínez Puente and the last (for now) Armando Choy Rodríguez, 87. Of them, only Agustín Peña Porres, 57, was active. He commanded the country’s Ejército de Oriente (Eastern Army). There is a sixth dead, Gilberto Antonio Cardero Sánchez, founder of the Second Eastern Front along with Raúl Castro, so he was also a retired octogenarian. In Cuba, life expectancy at birth is 78.73 years.

Is the hand of the State Security behind those deaths, coinciding with the popular unrest that occurred on July 11? I don’t think so, but who knows? The only obvious thing is that Raúl Castro, Ramiro Valdés and José Ramón Machado Ventura will soon die. They are between the ages of 89 and 91, enough to die of old age. They are already living on borrowed time.

Cuba is not the only country in the world that has had a suspicious mournful period. After Leonid Brezhnev, who died at 74, after 18 years of relentless rule, it was the turn of Yuri Andropov, former head of the KGB. He lasted 15 months in office. He died at the age of 70 in 1984. Then came Konstantin Chernenko. A few months later, in 1985, he went to a worse place. When he died, he was 74, like Brezhnev.

Accused of not doing his best to get along with the Soviet leaders, Ronald Reagan said, smiling as usual, “I try, but I can’t, they die on me. The Communist Party does not organize the Russian state; it organizes funerals.” The Soviets learned their lesson and chose the “young” Mikhail Gorbachev. He was only 54 years old. But he was not being poisoned by a long black hand. As far as it is known, the KGB reserved that method only for dissidents. Gorbachev is already 90 years old. He will die very soon from some kidney complication.

Part of the Cuban government’s problems stem from secrecy. The desire to hide everything, including Fidel’s wife and children until they were adults, has its advantages and its consequences. One of its advantages is that he didn’t have to be watching over his family. But among its consequences lies the inevitable rumor that all secrets awaken. Since Cuba, like the rest of the planet, faces Covid -9, the generals lost the battle against the virus, according to popular rumor.

For example, a usually reliable source told me there is a rumor in Cuba that Raúl Castro received 100 Pfizer vaccines against Covid-19. They were discreetly purchased in the United States for himself and his inner circle. Is it true? It’s very likely. Raúl has a reputation for being cunning. The “Abdala” vaccine did not pass the efficacy tests that the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines passed. It’s reasonable that Raúl doesn’t trust the Abdala vaccine.

This coronavirus (there are others) is the major cause of death on the island. The British news agency Reuters, which closely follows the official statistics of 240 countries, reports that about 70 people die daily in Cuba due to COVID-19, there are more than 514 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and the infection, which is at its “peak,” overwhelms hospitals, especially those in the province of Matanzas. The source they use is the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP), but they make clear, in all nations, that they must previously be diagnosed correctly.

Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel had to bring Raúl Castro out of his lethargic retirement because he found himself over a barrel. But how many times can you do that sleight of hand?

At some point Raúl will choose to die and Diaz-Canel will be alone in the face of danger. The danger, of course, comes from the “revolutionaries” themselves, people who are fed up with the absurd insistence on central planning that has terribly impoverished Cuba. The militants, like all of Cuba, want free market and democracy, and they verified on July 11 what they already suspected –Cuba and its young people are ready for a change. The insistence on asking for “freedom” proves it.

Then-President Barack Obama went to Cuba to ask for an opening. That was fine, but maybe he made too many concessions without asking for anything in return. In any case, the combination between Obama’s visit, that created many illusions, plus the Internet, to which the Covid-19 health disaster was added, had a very clear result in the July 11 demonstrations.

If the president of the United States Joe Biden puts the Internet at the service of Cubans, it will deliver the final blow against the dictatorship. Mr. Pompeo, former head of the CIA, says that it is something that, technically, is solved. If that’s possible, the Cubans hope Biden will do it. Otherwise, it will be a tragic mistake, equivalent to the one Kennedy made in April 1961 when he denied aid to the 2506 Brigade expedition members. It will be another “fiasco.”

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