HAVANA, Cuba.- One year after the social outbreak of July 11, the Castro dictatorship continues to deny it. That day of massive nationwide protests was, according to the official narrative, a handful of acts of vandalism incited and financed by Cuba’s enemies; a “manual” provocation, an attempt at a “soft blow”. In addition to the violent repression, the thousands of people imprisoned after the demonstrations, the abuses committed and the tearful demands of the opprobrium foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, to the Biden administration to make the sanctions imposed by Donald Trump more flexible, July 11 shook so much to Castroism that political-ideological work in every corner of the island has experienced a regression to the 1970s.
It is not an effective strategy, of course, because all the ideological fuss comes undone in the face of the hardships suffered by Cubans, the life of sheikhs that the generals and their families give themselves, and the blackouts that punish the provinces of the East without officials understand that the country’s old and neglected thermoelectric plants are more likely to explode than to function.
The regime is tied hand and foot, forced to insist on the only thing it has, even if it barely works: propaganda, demagoguery and repression. Thus, on the day we were free for the first time since 1959, the police presence in the streets multiplies, the Internet cuts, the acts of reaffirmation for increasingly scarce packages of chicken, the tiresome chatter about a continuity that is pure misery, and the attempts to revive the revolutionary doctrine in neighborhoods that are falling from poverty.
The dictatorship has wanted so much to deny or misrepresent what happened on July 11, 2021, that it has ended up giving it an unprecedented symbolic force. All of Cuba feels the energy of these immediate hours upon awakening that began in San Antonio de los Baños and spread throughout the island thanks to the mobile phone of a brave young manto whom that gesture would cost 8 months of unjust prison.
Fed up with the Castro family, with the stupidity of Díaz-Canel and the insensitivity of his wife, with the ruin that grows every minute and suffocates them, Cubans have not stopped expressing their discontent. For months, the concern of the ruling party has been perceived, which can no longer boast of that Moncada that Fidel Castro, as cowardly as he was cunning, never reached. The insurrection of July 11 tarnished forever the commemoration of the rebel act of 1953, which has only served to show that no matter how ruthless Fulgencio Batista was, he was more benevolent than the dictator of Birán and the continuators of his legacy, capable of imposing 20 years in prison for adolescents for having shouted “freedom”.
Since July 11, Castroism has not stopped tottering. The fear of falling has taken him to a level of ridiculousness and abuse that not even his protectors in the international arena have been able to sugarcoat as they used to. There is no longer any moral capital to preach anything, nor to ask for a penny. Cuba has entered into liquidation, and with each auction that is made behind the backs of the Cuban people, the myth of sovereignty is losing consistency.
That explosion precipitated today’s debacle, by scratching the mask of humanism and justice with which they have tried to cover the true face of the revolution. The final blow has been given by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has forced the regime to side with its great ally and sugar daddy so as not to have to auction off the Island, or sell it directly to the Kremlin.
In these days of apparent calm, memories return and the impetus of that day in which the Cubans said “Enough” and they took to the streets crying out for freedom, rights, food, medicine. Cuba was shaken from one end to the other and that sensation, as alive today as it was a year ago, is a thousand times more powerful than the outdated Moncada, as full of blunders as any Cuban history book written after 1959.
The young, smiling and defiant faces of July 11 stir in Cubans what Ramiro Valdés cannot, a useless and capricious old man who has the power to silence Miguel Díaz-Canel with a wave of his hand, more handpicked than ever. After July 11, political power only generates disgust and hatred. Clothing, champions, ephemeris; everything has been swept away from the altar of the Cuban people that once revered the military leadership in the figure of Fidel Castro.
Those at the top fear July 11 because they know that people are waiting for a tiny spark to turn around again in pursuit of freedom. They fear what Cubans think and feel inside their homes, the force that inspires them, the irreversible break with the Communist Party. They fear the impossibility of showing popular support that is not motivated by threats or privilege.
The month of July is no longer owned by a handful of criminals. It is a piece of dignity recovered by the Cuban people at a very high price; a pain that crosses thousands of homes; an infinite pride and a shining mirror, which gives us back the image of the Cuba that we want to be.
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