The communist Castro dictatorship has convinced many Cubans that as bad as they think they have it, the rest of the world has it much worse.
Cuba: marching in place as the world moves on
The idea that the world is a very, very bad place has been implanted in Cubans’ minds to make them believe that a planned economy and the one-party model are the solutions for the future of the planet
“The world is something different,” someone told me 30 years ago in the kitchen of my house in Havana. He had returned from seeing his brother in New Jersey, in the United States. He was no intellectual, but rather an upright farm worker endowed with a natural wisdom. The world, he repeated several times, is not how they imagine and portray it here. One of us asked him why he said that. He was silent for a few seconds, and said: “people in Cuba continue to believe that the world hasn’t changed, that everything’s remained the same, and that’s not true.”
Those were the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and, with it, all the Communist dictatorships of Eastern Europe. Real Marxist-Leninist socialism, with a centralized economy and a single party, was dying of productive and ideological starvation. The so-called “Special Period” was beginning on the island, in a time of peace.
Many, including him, planned to sell what little they had left and head for the cold Garden State, as New Jersey is also known, without speaking English, but with the certainty that a different world was out there; he was not going to be trapped in another “special period” like in 1970, when he had to sell everything, even his goat, because he had nowhere to tie it up.
In recent times I have asked myself, after reading the regime’s official paper, what lies behind its insistence on keeping its readers captive, mentally trapped in the years prior to the collapse of the Communist bloc, the end of the Cold War, the criminal Chernobyl scandal, and the Tiananmen massacre.
After reading the paper, overflowing with agitation and propaganda, one feels almost as if time were frozen in Cuba: the same slogans, the same harassment of those who think differently, imperialism as the source of all evils, the same promises and rants, always pointing to a horizon the people are supposed to keep walking towards, an imaginary line that is never reached.
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