30 November 2017 ~ 5 Comentarios

One year without Fidel

By Carlos A. Montaner

It has been one year since Fidel’s death was announced. It seems like a century ago. For more than a decade, from July 26, 2006 to Nov. 25, 2016, he lived with one foot in the grave. That slow-motion agony was very useful to his brother Raúl. It served to fasten him to the presidential chair and allowed Cubans to adapt to his control while he gained power and surrounded himself with people he trusted.

Raúl is president because that’s what Fidel decided. He may have seemed a mediocre person to Fidel, without savvy and without charisma, but he was absolutely loyal, a virtue that paranoid people value far above all the others, so Fidel fabricated a biography for him to turn him into his shield bearer. He dragged him into the revolution. Made him commander. Made him defense minister. Made him vice president, and finally bequeathed to him the power, initiating the Castro dynasty.

Since then, Raúl has governed with his familial retinue. With his daughter Mariela, a restless and plain-speaking sexologist. With his son, Col. Alejandro Castro Espín, educated in the KGB’s intelligence schools. With his grandson and bodyguard Raúl Guillermo Rodríguez Castro, son of Deborah. With his son-in-law or former son-in-law (nobody knows if he’s still married to Deborah or if they divorced), Gen. Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja, head of GAESA, the main holding of the Cuban chiefs of staff.

Those are the people who govern with Raúl, but they have three very serious problems. The most important is that very few believers in the system remain in Cuba. Sixty years of disaster are too many to stay faithful to that folly. Raúl himself lost his confidence in the system in the 1980s, when he sent many army officers to European centers to learn management and marketing techniques.

Why should the Cuban brass learn those disciplines well? To implement the “Military Capitalism of State,” Cuba’s only and devastating intellectual contribution to post-communism. The State reserves to itself the 2,500 midsize and major enterprises of the productive apparatus (hotels, banks, rum distilleries, breweries, cement factories, steel plants, ports and airports, etc.) directed by high-ranking military or former military officers. When these people cannot directly exploit an industry for lack of capital or expertise, they bring in a foreign partner to whom they promise ample profits, all the while watching him as if he were the worst of enemies.

Simultaneously, ordinary Cubans are barred from creating major businesses. They must limit themselves to running small places of service (restaurants), baking pizzas, frying croquettes or frying themselves driving taxis. They are forbidden to accumulate wealth or invest in new businesses, because the objective is not for entrepreneurial individuals to display their talent and keep the profits but to come up with the manual labor that the State cannot provide. In contrast with China, making money is a crime in Cuba. In other words, the worst of both worlds: statism controlled by the army brass and microcapitalism bound hands and feet.

The second problem is that the Communist Party means nothing to almost no one in Cuba. In theory, communist parties are segregated by a doctrine (Marxism) that, after losing all meaning, turns the CP into a purely ritual affair. That’s what happened in the Soviet Union. Because nobody believed in the system, the CP was terminated by decree and 20 million people went home without shedding a tear.

The third is that Raúl is a very old man (86) who has promised to retire from the presidency on Feb. 24 next year, although he will probably remain ensconced in the party. In any case, how long can he live? Fidel lasted 90 years, but all you need to do is read his final screeds to understand that he had lost many of his faculties. The oldest Castro sibling, Ramón, died at age 91 but had spent many years crippled by senile dementia.

The sum of those three factors foretell a violent ending for Castroism, maybe at the hands of some army officer, unless Raúl Castro’s heir (officially Miguel Díaz Canel, the first vice president, but it could be someone else) opts for a true political opening and dismantles the system in an organized manner, to prevent a collapse that will destroy that fragile power structure.

That’s what the electoral process is supposed to do, but the Raulists have already barred the way to a hundred or so oppositionists who are willing to participate in the next election, while rejecting the referendum proposed by Rosa María Payá, daughter of Oswaldo Payá, a leader assassinated for asking the same as the girl, bravely, is pleading for today.

In other words, Raúl will bequeath to his successor a terrible jolt. The dynasty will die with him.

5 Responses to “One year without Fidel”

  1. MANUEL 1 December 2017 at 8:33 am Permalink

    Los viejos sólo me hablaban extremadamente bien de Fidel y la Revolución. Yo quería hacerle bien a esos portentos, pero los malos tratos gratuítos, me hicieron desconfiar de ellos 4: mis viejos, fidel, la “revolución.
    Es el secuestro castrense de un pueblo muy noble. Es “aquí se hace lo que yo digo”, “estudia pero no pienses”, “piensa pero no hables, no hagas”, “del país no sales”, “esta prensa, los libros, los cines, la televisión y todo lo demás son mios (“nuestros”) y se hace con ellos lo que sea “necesario” (desaparecerlos, es lo que hacen), aquí se te trata como lo que eres: un servidor de la revolución y fidel: (un esclavo sin derecho a nada más).
    Esto es vivir en el totalitarismo. Los cobardes lo justifican y defienden, y caen con fueria contra el q se cansa o desencanta “ante una frustración”. No entienden q el secuestrado de un proyecto absurdo vive inconcientemente a la espera de un mundo mejor y vive desesperado, porque eso no es vivir, y escapa por la primera ventana que se abre, sin mirar atrás los que aman la libertad y no saben vivir sin ella cueste lo que cueste

    • Julian Perez 2 December 2017 at 6:03 pm Permalink

      >>Los viejos sólo me hablaban extremadamente bien de Fidel y la Revolución.

      Tuviste mala suerte, Manuel. En mi casa todos eran gusanos 🙂

      • MANUEL 11 December 2017 at 1:18 pm Permalink

        Ojalá todo hubiera sido sólo que me “hablaran”, las cosas fueron muy lejos sobre todo en los útimos 10 años.
        Es muy lamentable lo q hemos padecido Julián, ojalá sólo hubieran sido un chorro de palabras y nada más. Las cosas q han pasado no son contables, no ahora, porq no hay mente q pueda soportarlo. Estos invésimes del extremismo, no tienen límites, cono hitler y sus acólitos, se llevan por delante lo q sea y a quien sea. Son lo peor.

  2. MANUEL CARBAJAL BRUZON 7 December 2017 at 10:51 am Permalink

    Hombre empecinado en cambiarlo todo. primero quiso cambiarnos a todos, se dio cuenta que no podía, que se había quedado solo, y que cada experimento de transformación se volvía sal y agua.
    Experimento con el mismo, se sometía a cirugías sin anestesia, a un traje y barbas siempre pestilentes e incomodos que amarraban su pensamiento y accionar y no le permitieron volver a ser el hombre aquel que movió a toda Cuba antes de 1960. Tuvo entonces que armarse y amedrentar a todos para llegar con vida y tranquilo a los 90 anos. Pobre bestia. El que nace pa maton…

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