Word Has It Change Is Coming
“My brother says this won’t last much longer,” Maria Elena told me a couple of weeks ago. She’s Tomasito’s sister, and Tomasito was a childhood friend of mine who left Cuba in 2001.
“The country is on the verge of a social uprising,” a young 28-year-old man living in Orlando, Florida, told me on social media. He left over 10 years ago, when he was a teenager.
“They know their days are numbered,” a certain Cuban influencer in Miami said.
Ever since Willy Chirino’s touching song, that became a national anthem in the ‘90s, I’ve been observing this phenomenon, a kind of false prophecy that has been doing the rounds since 1959, when this nightmare began.
These opinions all share a common denominator: their understanding of Cuban reality has become a little blurred due to distance and this bubble that enshrouds the exile community.
Seeing this fear from the belly of this beast, the disunity between Cubans fighting for change and the irreversible moral damage of today’s generations, I’ll venture an analysis about people’s views about the end of the dictatorship and Cuba’s transition towards a democracy.
An opinion based on facts, not emotions. An opinion that may not be error-free and completely objective, but that is more in keeping with reality in my view.
There are only two ways change can be brought about. Thinking that the regime will have the good will to steer the country towards a path of national reconciliation and democratic change is a pipe dream.
Around twenty years ago, the great figure of Oswaldo Paya with his Proyecto Varela revealed two truths, and the second one was very sad: the Cuban people’s longing for freedom and the dictatorship’s hard line.
More recently in November 2021, when playwright Yunior Garcia, leading a large group of Cuban society, went to request authorization for a nationwide and democratic peaceful protest, the Communist Party, the ruling oligarchy’s political instrument, showed again its hard line against change. We all know what happened.
Thus, the desire for change from a dialogue will always be like ploughing through the sea, a mere illusion. The bigwigs on the island today will never be willing to lose their privileges, plus they know that they might have to face the Law in the future, because of their countless crimes against the Cuban people.
Change won’t come from foreign sources. A foreign military intervention is very unlikely, much less an invasion led by emigres like what happened during the Bay of Pigs in 1961, however, a social uprising may occur if the national crisis continues to get worse.
The situation will need to get even worse for desperate Cubans to decide to take to the streets and this is when the social uprising will have to be huge and last for weeks even if it is brutally repressed, which will inevitably lead to hundreds, or maybe thousands of deaths, causing the world to condemn the Government and such a serious domestic crisis that the majority of the armed forces and police officers, under the leadership of medium-ranking officers, decide to join the protests and give them a civil-military revolutionary nature that puts the totalitarian regime in a checkmate, just like it did in Communist Romania in 1989.
Nobody wants a river of fatalities, but blood is often – and sadly – the price for freedom. It’s ironic that in this “peace”, there are still fatalities amidst shortages of medicines and ambulances, the climate of social violence made worse by the crisis, illegal migration, and the dictatorship’s abuse that is growing every day.
As the regime still has an effective repression apparatus and citizen control, even though this path is feasible, it probably won’t be very likely to happen if they manage to slightly reverse today’s situation.
After these old men, who really govern Cuba, pass away, the country will move towards a system similar to the one in Russia, with the family members and heirs of this oligarchy taking power. Cuba will be a prostitute, Russia and China’s satellite with state capitalism dressed up as socialism, with a formal multi-party system, where the PCC will always win thanks to a corrupt voting system.
Perhaps with some basic freedoms and a slightly better economy, why not? But it will still be a poor and closed country.
Since using interactions is the inevitable law of human society, Hegel was right about that, a reformist will later rise to power who is detached from this outdated conservative ideology and will push for a transition to democracy.
That’s when Cuba will finally be free, and it will rise from its ruins to become a prosperous nation.
This is the most likely course, although I hope I’m wrong. I’m just getting ready to survive while I cultivate this inner freedom that nobody can take from me.