Cuba’s GAE: A lie transformed into reality

Juan Juan Almeida in Translating Cuba:

The GAE, a Lie Transformed into Reality

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Before the Special Period, the financial capacity of the country had already been reduced to a minimum, so reforms were being instituted that supposedly would “help” the nation cope with the economic contingencies of the time.

And when the situation reached that almost invisible point at which point any action or oversight could hasten the death of a terminally ill patient, circumstances forced the Cuban military to become productive by generating income from agriculture, transportation, tourism, construction, finance and commerce.

The armed forces of the world are divided into three main services — army, navy, air force — plus aerial defense.

Among the things the fall of the Communist bloc brought to Cuba was the Special Period. No one can forget the famine, polyneuritis or dramatic increase in illegal emigration, much less the events of 1994.

I think it is worth remembering that the crisis did not only affect the civilian population. It also impacted the institutions of government, especially those that were not productive, such as the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), which were preparing for a cataclysm. They had already experienced their own catastrophe in 1989, when soldiers, officers and even a few generals (some of out of a sense of duty, some out of convenience) left the institution.

Even before the Special Period, the economic capacity of the country had already been reduced to a minimum, so reforms were instituted that would supposedly “help” the nation cope with the economic contingencies of the time.

No crisis in the world explodes without prior warning, or at least not without some sort of clue. If instability had arisen, MINFAR would have been facing the prospect of being in a weak defensive position. Therefore, at a meeting of the Military Council, a well-known advisor to Raul Castro suggested scrapping the traditional organizational structure of the armed forces and consolidating the troops under one roof. As a result, air defense — a force much more expensive than any army — was merged with the ground forces while the various military headquarters were centralized under a single command. Contrary to appearances, this was more than just a word game.

Due to lack of supplies and obsolete technology, military maneuvers came to an end and a period of invention began. On orders from Raul a group of innovators emerged who used the nation’s financial resources to develop a radar system that did not work and a grotesque Cuban-made aircraft that did eventually fly but ultimately crashed. As might be expected, the crew died with no funeral being held.

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