Cuba: Coronavirus vs. Coronacastro
It’s not more of the same and it’s not a “Special Period”: Cuban society is accelerating towards a crisis of immeasurable magnitude.
Cuban society is accelerating towards a crisis of immeasurable magnitude. A genuine cataclysm is appearing on the horizon. It’s not more of the same. It’s not a “Special Period.” That is what was coming before coronavirus. This time the system, as we know it today, is facing an existential crisis.
Historians and analysts tend to employ a “black swan” concept when a new unexpected and influential factor appears on the scene. Something whose appearance was always “possible” but “too improbable” to be able to warrant preparing for its eventuality. Havana has been impacted by two black swans in less than four years: the presidency of Donald Trump and the coronavirus pandemic. They can also be seen as two Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and it seems a third is about to appear: the combination of the collapse of the national energy sector and a general famine.
Coronavirus accelerates the decadence and end of the Castro clan crown. But the end of the regime as we know it will not in the short term automatically bring about the desires for democracy, liberty, and prosperity. The result will likely be a lethal combination moving in several directions, none necessarily democratic.
One of them — ironically the most conservative — would be a radical transformation of the system or economic governance pushed by the civil bureaucratic and military sector directly compromised by a mafia economy. Their probable option would be to avoid a general collapse after the internal blockade is lifted on the private economy and markets. Eventually, they could add economic measures with other policies that may appear democratic but are quite restrictive.
Another outcome — the most radical — could be forced from the bottom by different societal groups until the system collapses along with the current government.
But while the gerontocracy continues attempting to prolong its hold on power, almost the entire population will remain poor and miserable since even having hard currency won’t ensure having the products and basic necessities a family needs to survive. Without gas, basic transportation services, water, and other services paralyzed, an urban landscape will transform into a medieval town.
It’s obvious there are an immeasurable number of combinations of possible outcomes to this crisis. Other outcomes can come about prompted by external forces. Until recently, that appeared to be another black swan, but more than ever feasible now in the current context of the conspiracy between the elites in power in Venezuela and Cuba and their criminal activities.
What has little to no potential in happening is the objective being promoted by the elite in power in Cuba who are using their machine of influence, propaganda, and disinformation: pushing on the Trump administration to lift sanctions on the Cuban government. The goal they want to reach today, in exchange for nothing, is the same one Fidel and Raul Castro failed at when an olive branch was extended by Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. The response by the Castros were wars in Angola, Ethiopia, the Mariel Exodus, the war in Central America, the shoot down of the Brothers to the Rescue planes, and the creation of Cubazuela, the first transnational mafia and terrorist state in the Western Hemisphere.
Those who allow themselves to be seduced by the farcical humanitarian siren song against the commercial embargo of a foreign country should first go the Plaza of the Revolution and demand the lifting of the internal blockade on the private economy.
Additionally, however, it is important to remember that the current circumstances of this crisis are completely different. The population not only suffers scarcity but also puts their lives in danger even if they avoid getting “involved in politics.” They cannot emigrate but can access information on 3 million of its cell phones. The historic leader has died and his brother has turned the inherited disaster into a genuine catastrophe. The handpicked apparatchiks are a gaggle of incompetents and mediocre with limited power and no historic or democratic legitimacy. The social pact of totalitarianism — provide public services of health and education in return for consenting to the suppression of political and civil rights — has collapsed.
Add now to that scene a pandemic with transportation, water, health, and sanitation services in collapse, the distribution of medicine and food in crisis, and a funeral system without resources. Dismal.
To solve Cuba’s problems is a matter that should be resolved by Cubans. The cause of the problem — as it has been demonstrated by history these last 60 years — lies in the mafiosi elite in power, the insensitive and incompetent entrenched in Havana. It is not in the current president in the White House.