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Disobedience / Miriam Celaya

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    Disobedience / Miriam Celaya Miriam Celaya, Translator: Unstated Observing daily life in Cuba is becoming increasingly misleading. Under the supposed calm of a
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 19, 2012
      Disobedience / Miriam Celaya
      Miriam Celaya, Translator: Unstated

      Observing daily life in Cuba is becoming increasingly misleading. Under
      the supposed calm of a society where nothing seems to happen, the forces
      of different and often conflicting trends are moving. And these
      movements could potentially generate conflicts of different types and
      magnitudes. A brief and no doubt incomplete analysis reveals an
      undeniable reality: nothing is immutable, nothing is eternal, not even —
      who would have believed it — the totalitarian regime camouflaged under
      the generic euphemism of “revolution.”

      In recent weeks the unwillingness of the government to search for
      political solutions has become clear. The misguided declaration of the
      General-President telling us that no one should “have illusions” with
      regards to eventual political changes was terse, but it has the
      advantage of eliminating the prolonged wait for some negotiation with
      the regime. Then, a negotiated solution with the miniscule power group
      excludes possible scenarios, precisely because the will of that group.

      That is, the dictatorship has clearly exposed its reluctance, not only
      toward changes and inclusions, but even the pretense of a fictitious
      social pact. To put it briefly and bluntly, the gerontocracy and the
      acolytes of the generalship have barricaded themselves in their
      trenches. And that’s from a positive point of view, thus simplifying the
      march and justifying the search for alternative solutions in pursuit of
      democracy. Unwittingly, they have passed us the baton.

      At the same time, the picture is getting bleaker. Economic figures show
      an unstoppable increase in the cost of living, rampant impoverishment of
      large sectors of society, the inefficiency and inadequacy of government
      measures aimed at the so-called “renewal” of a model that remains on
      life support — that is, because of the existence of an also precarious
      Hugo Chavez in Venezuela — and the inability to overcome the crisis
      under current political conditions.

      Socially, the soaring delinquency and crime rate, the deterioration of
      the systems of health and education — practically on the verge of
      collapse — widespread discontent, frustration, lack of prospects,
      despair, the decapitalization of confidence in the system and
      despondency, are all components that could lead, in the relatively short
      term, to a crisis of governance, the implementation of large-scale
      repression, or a combination of both.

      On the other hand, never has there been a larger sector of dissatisfied
      protesters and the public will to exercise rights. The political
      challenge is manifested, beyond ideological tendencies, in resistance
      and the growth of larger and larger groups of independent civil society;
      in the rebellious attitude of new and old generations of dissidents; and
      in the speed with which these groups have been consolidating and linking
      to each other, despite the repression and surveillance of the servants
      of the regime.

      The strength of these independent groups lies mainly in their open and
      inclusive character and their stepping back from ideology, which makes
      them immune to penetration by agents of the regime. At the same time,
      access to new technologies has been a catalyst to allow the diffusion of
      ideas in a medium that is beyond the absolute control of the government,
      despite the low connectivity of Cubans to the Internet.

      The weakness of the regime lies in exactly the opposite characteristics:
      its closed and unchanging character, its secret and conspiratorial
      nature, its exclusions, its urgent need to control information and to
      hinder the free flow of ideas and opinions, and its need to appeal to
      repression as a desperate measure to slow its own inevitable end. An
      untenable position in the midst of a world ever more globalized and plural.

      The Cuba of today has the same government it had 53 years ago; however,
      is quite different from that of just five years ago. And this is not a
      conceptual blunder. Five years ago we were not even aware of the
      existence of so many outraged among us; we had not thoroughly understood
      that we are heirs to over half a century of repressed dissent and that
      it’s not required to fight guerrillas in a fratricidal struggle: it is
      enough just to disobey.

      Now Cubans increasingly understand that our bad leaders are there
      because we have allowed them to be, that political capital belongs to
      citizens, not governments, that a regime cannot sustain itself, and that
      the hope for our future lies precisely in the fact that this government
      has no future. As the civil resistance begins to move beyond its
      survival phase, the government adopts strategies to survive. The roles
      are changing imperceptibly. Now the most imminent danger is the expected
      response from the government. An escalation of repression from the base
      to try to prevent the dissidence from gaining strength.

      Today, the political apathy of a large mass of the population might seem
      an obstacle to achieving democracy. However, this apathy is also the
      prelude to the denial of support for the regime: something like the
      wisps of an old myth that has died. The revolution ended decades ago,
      Cuban socialism has never existed, false social achievements did not
      survive the spurious grants from foreign governments, and the corrupt
      regime has no moral capital to demand greater sacrifices. Without its
      permission and without its liking transformations have been building
      steadily from within the island, and the regime’s stubbornness only
      tends to accelerate its end: Cuba is changing and the future no longer
      depends on them, but on all of us.

      (Article originally published in Diario de Cuba on Monday, 13 February 2012)

      February 17 2012

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