Cuba’s Castro dictatorship and its 60 years of permanent war

Ariel Hidalgo writes in 14yMedio (translation by Translating Cuba):

60 Years of Permanent War

Fidel Castro entering Havana on January 8, 1959

A group of men — not a generation, but the so-called “historical leadership” along with their hand-picked successors — is celebrating 60 years in power this week,  without ever giving the Cuban people the right to choose another option.

They celebrate it without any modesty, when they should rather be ashamed. In their own official ’History’ program they insulted a president of the 1930s because he tried to extend his term for three or four more years, a president who industrialized the country, embellished the cities with beautiful buildings and roads, and who, when he left, he left behind — in what had been a country in foreign hands with sugar factories worked by semi-slaves — a modern and prosperous country that excited the admiration of all the foreigners who visited it, and that in many respects was at the head of all Latin America.

That president had been democratically elected, while those who today celebrate six decades of uninterrupted power came to it by violence, executing, without guarantees of due process, hundreds of soldiers, and perpetrating a vile betrayal of the ideals of many of their own comrades who had given their blood to restore the Constitution abolished after the 1952 military coup, in addition to celebrating the free elections that that coup had prevented. The caudillo himself had slammed the door on all those martyrs when he asked, during a public rally: “Elections, what for?”

This group has done the opposite of what that president from the 1930s did. It has turned its people into one of the poorest of the continent, as if we had just emerged from a devastating war, with ruins everywhere, including those of most of the sugar mills, after having been the first country in the world in that industry. Today the Cuban people must stand in long lines for a piece of bread and crowd the streets struggling to access any vehicle that moves, because public transport has almost disappeared.

The money obtained from the high prices of sugar in the 1970s and that paid by the inflated prices paid by the Soviet Union — tens of millions, hundreds, thousands of millions — were squandered in wars on other continents to the satisfaction of that leader’s narcissism, while his people suffered precariousness of all kinds.

Was it all the fault of the enemy of the North and its blockade? What kind of blockade is this that, despite itself, Cuba has maintained trade relations with almost every country in the world, and today, even with the farmers of the United States itself? The US embargo only served as an alibi to justify all the disasters provoked by the whims of an omnipotent ruler.

What war is that? What enemy confronts this people? Because he spent his life in an indefinite state of siege, in perpetual suspension of constitutional guarantees, and in a call to ’action stations’, one after the other, waiting for a foreign invasion that supposedly would arrive to ravage the country and seize our homeland. He warned that, if it happened, that enemy would only collect “the dust of our soil drowned in blood.”

Did that invasion ever happen? For almost the whole world it never came to pass. But I say yes, this invasion has been ongoing since the first of these 720 months, and still, to this day, continues to devastate the country.

Because the enemy of this nation is that group in power. The real blockade against this people is imposed by that group with all its bureaucratic obstacles, its prohibitions, its censorship, its persecutions and expropriations of hundreds of thousands of independent workers, and even the semi-slave exploitation of tens of thousands of employees and professionals from whom it takes more than 80% of their salaries.

Everything has been done in the name of “the Revolution.” During these 60 years there has been constant talk of “defending the Revolution,” the Revolution is alive, the Revolution first of all, “within the Revolution, everything, outside the Revolution, nothing,” and so on.

According to the most in vogue definition of that word — “violent change in the political institutions of a nation” — that revolution occurred in Cuba in the first nine years.

That is to say, more than 50 years ago it was over, despite the fact that it is still spoken of in the present, something that no longer exists — or never existed if we consider that it was the result of a betrayal — a ghost that presents itself everywhere like an embalmed corpse that is intended to be believed to still alive, as when Juana La Loca dragged the remains of her beloved Felipe el Hermoso throughout the kingdom of Spain.

It’s time to lay bare the lie once and for all. Here there is nothing revolutionary and much less an elite in power, only a group of reactionaries in a dictatorial cupula trying to perpetuate an unsustainable model that even the caudillo himself, shortly before dying, recognized was unviable: “This model doesn’t even work for Cubans,” he said.

The real war that has ravaged this nation is the one that this group has maintained against its own people for six decades with its insane decrees. And if it continues in power, the aforementioned warning will probably come true and our country will have nothing left but that: the dust of our soil drowned in blood.