Change in Cuba?

There isnt a week that goes by when someone doesnt ask me when I think things will change in Cuba. “Until Cubans take to the streets,” I always say. “Nothing will change.”

Ninety percet of the time people get mad at me for saying that. They give me the laundry list of why Cubans cant take to the streets in protest. They’re too oppressed, theyre too weak, they’re hungry, they have no weapons, they will be beaten, arrested, killed, etc…

Sounds a lot like the situation in Iran, except, of course, that in Iran, Iranians take to the streets in protest.

25 thoughts on “Change in Cuba?”

  1. Dittos Val, and thanks for the link. Sadly, many of our countrymen have it arsebackwards-they will take to the streets to support the very dictatorship to which they are subjected!-and a few of us outside the country are quick to do likewise albeit in different ways. This has been going on for way too long.

  2. Val,

    I agree with you that things will not change until people inside Cuba take to the streets, but in all fairness, Iran is not a good comparison. While there is repression in Iran, Iran is an example of an authoritarian country, while Cuba is a totalitarian country. That is to say, Cuba has the repression of an authoritarian country ratcheted up 2 or 3 times.

    For instance, an Iranian has free enterprise, he can create wealth and therefore have leisure time which is important to any would-be revolutionary, he does not have to spend every last second of his free time trying to procure sustenance for his family, he can travel in and out of his country, and although Iran probably has spy networks, I doubt that they have a committee for the defense of the revolution on every street corner.

    That said, one of the most horrible things about the castro’s is that besides taking over our country for 51 years now and exiling us and throwing our families, friends and loved ones in prison and impoverishing our country and slandering us to the world [i.e. Cuba was nothing more than a country of prostitutes], he has made us look like a bunch of cowards to the world, cowards who don’t have the fortitude to fight for our freedom.

    In NYC, where I live, our dear, “Latino” brothers and sisters often call into radio programs to laugh at Cubans for not having the “coj..nes” to free our country.

    Sadly, that’s the way that we appear to the world.

  3. Until those in Cuba believe that freedom is worth their dieing for they will never see freedom. Not unlike most others in the world they live based on whats in it for the 1st person without any consideration for the implications for future generations. I have spoken to several in Cuba who have stated their “disdain” for violence and war yet want to come to the US and enjoy our freedoms. Many are not willing to die for a cause yet they are willing to live in the freedom that was paid for with other men’s blood. The ONLY reason Cuba is not free is because of Cubans. Say what you will, but the price of freedom has always been and will always be blood. Lack of finances, weapons, freedom of movement, etc are no excuse. Freedom doesn’t come because of its’ ease of getting it. Freedom comes from the sacrfices and passion to obtain it.

  4. Iran is a bad example? Then how about Poland, Czechoslavakia, Hungary, Romania, East Germany…heck even Russia when they jailed Gorby. Have a class of Cuban people, not individual heroes, dissidents and freedom fighters…but an actual class of people ever had half the cojones to do what the students in Beijing did? Castro did not make Cubans look like cowards, we did it to ourselves. For every Biscet there is a 1000 Cubans willing to go along and get along.

  5. Pototo:

    “Say what you will, but the price of freedom has always been and will always be blood.”

    Pototo, if you are referring to what I said, I agree with everything that you said, 100%, I was just stating that perhaps Iran is not the best example, because Iran is freer than Cuba, so that its easier for Iranians to mobilize opposition.

    That said, you statement which I have taken the liberty of posting in quotation marks above is the biggest truth in the world and that is why, the regime and its parrots in the outside world [read this as the mainstream media] keep on harping on a peaceful transition to democracy, because they know DAM WELL that it doesn’t exist. There will never be a peaceful transition to democracy because it’s a falsehood.

  6. Rayarena,
    Its was not directed to any one person in particular, but to a way of thinking in general. We agree that there is no such thing as a peaceful transition to democracy. Its amazing that our failure in Chief has forgotten that America’s freedoms did not come from a peaceful transition.

  7. Cardinal, you are right, sadly, for every Biscet there are 1000 Cubans who will go along with the regime. Nobody is debating that, and, yes, you are right, we have made ourselves look bad. All that I am saying is that its easier for some people to rebel than others. What happened to the Czechs when they rebelled? They were squashed. Just like the Cubans who rose up in the Escambray Mountains. And the Poles had a very strong church to protect them. They had a Pope who told the Russians that if they invaded Poland, he would go to Poland and they would have to contend with him, meanwhile, he went to Cuba–and with his visit, intentionally or not—propped up the regime. And our Cardinal, Jaime Ortega? That bitch is our enemy. He’ll never do for us what the Pope did for his people.

    The world is against Iran, but much of it still supports Cuba. I believe it was Humberto who recently illustrated the duplicity of at least one important senator who wants relations with Cuba, but supports and embargo against Iran.

    It’s that much harder for Cubans. Am I giving them a free pass? No, but I’m just saying, our battle is up a steeper hill.

  8. The sheer number of people in the streets of Teheran is impressive; notice how young they are. Not to mention, how vociferous and unafraid the women are too.

  9. Rayarena,
    I’m with your first statement here.
    Everyone forgets the trinity that helped Eastern Europeans. Reagan called the Soviet Union the Evil Empire and won in Grenada. People mocked and vilified Reagan, but he did a great thing in winning that tiny war and another in that definition. Read Sharansky. In the gulag they knew he said that and it gave heart to enslaved Russians everywhere. In the whole communist empire when Grenada happened they realized “It can be reversed!” Thatcher and the Pope finish this threesome.
    Where is any loud voice in the free world today for the Cubans?
    Castro knew precisely what he was doing, I believe, when he allowed those 14,000 children to leave. Castro was destroying the morale of his entire middle class. Broken families, hunger and no freedom to leave or to go on the internet. Do not compare the Cubans to anyone else anywhere else. I am not Cuban. And perhaps I have no right to state my opinion on this. But if your family is gone, andyour power over your family that is left is gone, if you are hungry and it is easier to go along than to fight, then I understand why it is easier to rationalize that to fight is useless.

    It will come to an end, I believe. When the world economy is so bad and enough countries get burned by not being paid or by being swindled by these guys, it will be over. But the aftermath will be terrible anyway. And we all know why.
    Perhaps, 2010 will bring a more conservative congress than ever to overcome this most liberal of congresses ever. Then perhaps Cuba has hope.
    I am a huge pessimist as you see.
    It will take another Bay of Pigs, only this one will have to win. Then it will take a great reconstruction.

    Don’t brag about Iran, yet. Those brave people in the streets don’t have a president in this country who is sympathetic to freedom. This may end very badly for Iranis.
    Until the entire free world understands we are at war with people who don’t want freedom to succeed anywhere, Iranians, Cubans and even Americans don’t stand a chance. We must weaken this administration and replace it with Reagans everywhere. My liberal friends might puke at the thought. I will be glad to supply them with all of the barf bags they need. At least I will know we will be free again.

  10. I think the best example remains Romania in 1989. They hit the streets, and many died as the Communist regime responded forcefully, yet the people continued until they finally overcame. There are no more excuses. One of the problems is that we make all too easy for them to ‘jump ship’ and come over here – then watch them assist the regime with tons of money and goods for the compliant, complacent, and unfortunately, cowardly populace the remains. Sorry, but I’m sick and tired of the excuses…it’s pathetic.

  11. If 5,000 Cubans woke up tomorrow and were willing to take a bullet to storm the capitol, Cuba would be free.

    The problem I think some forget is that not everyone in Cuba lives badly. The upper 20 % of Commie cronies actually live pretty well and then the middle 30 % who get remittances from the US can live pretty well there as well. It’s the bottom 50 % without access to CUC’s that have it bad, but the other 50 % is happy enough the current arrangement not to want it to change. We have to stop thinking of Cuba as a place where the Castro brothers or a small group of 10 people run the island, and start thinking of it as a place where 5.5 million are happy to enjoy their standard of living while the other 5.5 million have nothing to eat. Yoani’s main complaints are centered on freedom … not food … as she lives in a fairly decent apartment. Freedom is limited for 100 % of the people, but access to basic goods is only limited to about 50 % of the people – and us exiles actually help the regime when we send US dollars to add comfort to those “imprisoned” on the island.

    I think the cause of freedom would be more effective if we argued in terms of freedom and not basic needs – as it allows the lefties to point out that most Cubans have minimal shelter, some food to eat, very minimal healthcare etc (all things that billions around the world don’t have) – and start focusing on the lack of freedom which even a starving kid in Bombay has.

  12. Moreover, Gandhi’s form of peaceful resistance is actually based on the assumption that you provoke a violent response by your oppressors and then over time make them question the legitimacy of their actions by violenting attacking someone who is not attempting to harm them. You make the attacker see the evil of his own actions. However, you have to have thousands of people willing to be beaten or shot in the streets to make this a reality.

  13. I think the Gandhi analogy is useless. If Gandhi had practiced satyagraha in a situation where the Nazis ruled India and not the British, his campaign would’ve been over in a week and he would have been another nameless faceless victim.

    Non-violent protest only works when your “oppressor” has a conscience. The Brits did. Many were against the Raj. fidel and raul DO NOT have any conscience or semblance thereof. They only understand violence and the gun.


  14. George, you made a very valid point. For all of its flaws as a imperialistic, colonialist power, Britain was a democracy. Just like South Africa that despite its Apartheid regime, had democratic underpinnings. That’s why Gandhi in India and Mandala in South Africa weren’t killed, or disappeared, and did what they did.

    In Cuba, Gandhi and Mandala would have become faceless victims.

  15. It’s young people who change things or try to (e.g. in Iran). In Cuba all the young people are putting their energies into getting off the island.

  16. ranavy, I also believe there are young people being trained to continue this system once the barbudos are all gone. 50 years is alot of time to prepare for the transition of power from one generation to the next. I am sure that the post-Fidel & Raul plan for the entire apparatus has been in place for the past 15 years. The only question is whether their replacements will be worst or better – I am not sure I have enough faith that they will be any better.

    As for Gandhi, I agree that his style of resistance would probably be ineffective. Just as with Batista, strong men have to be thrown out with force. The problem is that it might take as many as 20,000 armed fighters to overthrow the Cuban regime and the only place with those resources and man power to do it are in South Florida and even the US protects Cuba from any large scale attack from exiles. There are dozens of Brigadistas itching for one more shot and training in the everglades, but they will be stopped by the US as well.

  17. Val,

    I agree with you, but if they take to the streets, will Obama support them or turn his back on them, like he has done with Iran.
    I really don’t think that any president for the last almost 51 years has proved to me that he has the guts to take the Castro’s down. Now that would take some leadership, like someone once said, “the world belongs to those that have guts”.

  18. lots of good stuff said here. Rayarena – I don’t think I disagree with anything you said. I didn’t mention Escambray but it was in my mind when I wrote my first post. When I alluded to “freedom fighters” I had them in mind more than anyone else. Not to belabor, because I think we agree but my issue is that groups have formed in the past and individuals have spoken up but a mass movement has not stepped up. It is interesting that we discussed students because students were very much in the vanguard of trying to bring change to Cuba. Shutting down U de H did little to hold off the student efforts to knock off Batista. The vanguard is now the rear guard.

    Honey – We can’t expect Obama to inspire Iranians or Cubans but that isn’t necessary. Reagan was critical in inspiring and fomenting dissident movements but despite their failures Hungary in ’56 and Czechoslovakia in ’68 recieved tepid support from world leaders – specifically the Presidents serving at the time. Bush 41 was almost totally freaked out by the goings on in ’89 and even sought to keep Yugoslavia together and the Communist Party in power in Russia. The people, however, had different ideas. Having sympathetic leaders is important and helpful but not critical to the evolution of liberty in a closed society.

    Mambi – absolutely right, best example is Romania – a Stalinist state where the people from one day to the next said “Enough!” I’ve long said that the CAA is FC’s best friend. When the pressure gets too much – he just eases it a bit and lets people out.

    George – I wouldn’t short-sell the Gandhi approach entirely. 100% Gandhi would have failed against the Nazis and of course Stalin and Mao. He may have even failed against a younger Castro back in the day. Times are different now in that the mass killings by a state that offers nothing (as opposed to oil like Iran) will provoke a reaction. I don’t expect the Cuban Gov’t to grow a conscience but I would expect younger lackeys in a desperate attempt of self-preservation to force some form of change. E. Germany fell in a similar way. Krenz just wanted to save his ass but events had overtaken him and in the end the whole system fell.

  19. Rayarena – on His Excellency Ortega – one of the greatest disappointments in my life is that JP II put that clown there and allowed him to get away with being an auxiliary for the regime rather than a beacon of hope. I am convinced that the regime has something on him and I can hardly wait for the day to come so that the truth may revealed. I find it hard to believe that any man of faith could be so ignorant and pliant to a dictatorship.

  20. People,
    The US will NEVER get directly involved. If Cuba is to going to be free it is solely up to the Cuban people. And the thought that they need external support and weapons, etc? Well that dog won’t hunt. As has been said if several thousand Cubans would take to the streets many others would follow. But there would be great loss of life which would motivate more people. I do not believe that the average Cuban soldier gives a rip about the system as if you look at them they are half starved. My caution is that if there were a rebellion it would be over food and not freedom. In that case all Raul has to do is toss some bones and all will be fine. We cannot desire freedom for Cuba more than the people who live there. If they do not want it then any outside rebellion will not last. This is much like our current political situation here in the US. Until its about freedom then nothing can fix the problem. Hunger in Cuba is only a symptom. Oppression is the disease.

  21. the cardinal,
    Word out of Cuba is that the good Mr. ortega has a video against him showing him in a homosexual relationship. I believe the guy who left Cuba recently said that on some Miami TV show.

  22. Stalin had to kill his dissidents … Raul can just hand his a US Visa and wait for his 20 % cut in remittances.

  23. I interviewed many heroes who were in UMAP with Jaime Ortega……I wasn’t there–thanks to my parents! So it’s hard to judge.

    But that Ortega?…well, let’s just say, from all I’ve heard–he’s no Cardinal Mindszenty

Comments are closed.