Havana Cuba.- Yesterday I discussed with two septuagenarian former teachers who, after seeing a video on Facebook of the protest on the night of July 14 at Los Palacios, Pinar del Río, scandalized by the swear words shouted by the protesters and by “their bad appearance”, affirmed that “before that mob takes power, it is preferable that the communists continue, who at least maintain order.”
I have heard similar comments after the social outbreak of July 11 and 12 of last year, every time a protest against the regime occurs somewhere in the national geography. Generally, these opinions, reinforced by the official narrative that presents those who protest as criminals, antisocial and vandals, come from white people, over 60 years of age, with a university education, and with a moderate to comfortable economic situation.
And of course the bourgeois elite of the socialism of post-Fidelista continuity, which does not queue, does not ride in buses and does not stray far from its mansions in Miramar, Siboney and Nuevo Vedado, is horrified by “the bad appearance, the indecency and gossip” of the participants in the protests, shirtless, in flip-flops, ragged and shouting insults against Díaz-Canel.
In that horror there is a lot of racism. Let us remember that in the 19th century, the fear of blacks, the fear that they would rise up and turn Cuba into a new Haiti, delayed the struggle for independence for several decades. Today, one hears, in addition to the well-to-do, the resigned and the undecided, expressing their fear of “black people” who take to the streets to protest.
One of the former teachers with whom I was arguing yesterday, not at all sympathetic to the regime, told me that he will not believe in the effectiveness of these protests “until the whites of Vedado are the ones who throw themselves into the street to shout and sound the cauldrons.”
In such attitudes, in addition to racism and elitism, there is fear of change. Six decades of dictatorship have made many Cubans fear freedom, like birds that have always lived in cages. They are terrified, after having always delegated all their responsibilities to Papa State, the moment when it is up to them to decide for themselves and be absolutely responsible for their actions. The blackmailing official propaganda has made them believe that they will be unable to fend for themselves and that it is better to resign themselves and settle for the little and less and worse that the socialist State gives them because “under capitalism it would be worse.”
Still, despite the anti-capitalism instilled in them from school, many Cubans, especially the younger ones, flee the country towards capitalism. They do not have the courage to confront the regime, they are terrified of repression, but they do not hesitate to plunge into the turbulent and shark-filled waters of the Straits of Florida or face the dangers of crossing Central America to cross borders to reach the United States.
There are people, paralyzed by fear of reprisals from the regime, who justify their inaction and apathy, which is more like cowardice, criticizing the exile and the internal opposition both for what they do and what they do not do. They complain about the absence of convincing leaders and the lack of coherent government programs for the future, the same as those illiterate in politics, stupefied by the indoctrination and disinformation of the official media, ignorant of what democracy and the rule of law are. They tell you that they are saturated with politics and ideology and that they don’t want to hear jokes about topics that are too abstract for them.
And there are also the pessimists who believe that if there is a transition, inevitably directed “from above”, it will not be towards democracy but towards another type of dictatorial regime, as happened in Russia with Putin.
For those who say they are scared of what could happen if “this” collapses, it is as if the post-Fidelista continuity, disastrous as it is turning out, could be eternal and mean the end of Cuba’s history.
Before all those pusillanimous, apathetic and resigned but who think they are superior, I prefer those who have the courage that they lack to claim their rights and a better life, no matter if they are uneducated and foul-mouthed. What’s more, for the confrontation with the Castro scoundrel, to even out the fight, I prefer them that way.
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