09 April 2021 ~ 0 Comentarios

“It’s Over.” How Do Collectivist Regimes End?

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

“Patria y Vida” (Homeland and Life) is a protest song created in Cuba. The chorus assures that the regime is “over,” but it doesn’t say how. It is a tribute to the popular San Isidro Movement, formed by artists and musicians, that emerged in a poor neighborhood in Havana. It has several million views on YouTube. It was heard for the first time this year, in mid-February. It has suddenly become the anthem of Cuban youth. It was written, sung, and recorded, with great emotion, by Yotuel, Gente de Zona and Descemer Bueno.

“Patria y Vida” opposes the uncomfortable proposal of “Patria o Muerte” (Homeland or Death.) Cubans are tired of being uselessly summoned to sacrifice. They have been under the revolution for 62 years. Each day that passes, the goal of happiness is further away. This last generation of Cubans don’t want to choose. They are tired. There is a change in sensitivity. They don’t want to hear about collectivism or the State as a solution to common problems. For 62 years, the bureaucratic machinery has grown, including the political police, and with it the abuses. In the 1950s, heroism was summoned through poets and reciters. Poet Israel Rodríguez, a friend of José Antonio Echeverría, asked God for a very special favor (“Lord, give me your ‘password’ to go into combat”). If he lived in our days, he would speak of love, non-violence and respect to being different because young people place tolerance at the forefront of their values. Those are now the identity traits of the true democrat. Israel was a true democrat, only the times were different.

It is amazing that the leadership of what in Cuba was pompously called the “revolutionary process” doesn’t notice the change of mentality. When they examine the environment, young people don’t feel the smell of gunpowder with which Batista was defeated, nor they feel Yankee anti-imperialism, but rather the naphthalene of old ideas. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, elected by Raúl Castro and then dutifully endorsed by the National Assembly of People’s Power, is younger than the revolution. He is only 60 years old. Manuel Marrero, the Prime Minister, is barely 57. He is the “kid” that runs the errands. The generation that made the revolution, led by Raúl Castro, is almost in their nineties.

Everyone knows that they can control power, but by violating the laws and repressing the people increasingly. Until the day when the military get tired of suffering the system’s incompetence, evict the leadership and give sovereignty back to the whole of society. Something similar to what happened in Peru during the leftist dictatorship of General Juan Velasco Alvarado (1968-1975), who was replaced by General Francisco Morales Bermúdez. Not because the new coup plotters have discovered the values ​​of democracy, but because it is well known that when the freedom to produce is greater, there is a corresponding higher degree of prosperity, although the growth of social inequity is also inevitable. In other words, everyone will have more resources, but the relative differences between the owners of production goods and those who lack them will increase.

Morales Bermúdez considered staying in power. The papers behind his coup (known as the “tacnaso” because the military rebelled in Tacna) speak of a “deepening of the revolutionary process.” The Cuban ambassador in Peru, Antonio Núñez Jiménez, “Ñico Cuevita” for the irreverent Cubans, supported the coup. He thought it was by and for the left. But Morales Bermúdez had second thoughts and went down in history for having made a genuinely liberating revolution, perhaps the first transition to democracy and market economy of the modern world. In 1978, pressured by street disorders, he summoned a Constituent Assembly to dismantle the legacy of Velasco Alvarado. Following the voters’ decision, it was presided over by Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, the founder and creator of APRA, who died a natural death the following year.

You cannot stay in power indefinitely, waiting for your luck to change. Today will always be better than tomorrow. Will someone dare to say it at the Eighth Congress of the Communist Party to be held in Havana in a few days? I don’t think so. They are willing to kill to defend ways of life in which they themselves don’t even believe. They are not mindless. They are heartless. Until the Cuban Morales Bermúdez emerges. I have several candidates, but I obviously won’t reveal their names.

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