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Cuba: Dissidence in “Normal Position”. By Iroel Sánche

It is said that the famous Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén used to tell groups of people who wanted to take a portrait with him to “put on a smart face.” and at the end, he would smile and tell them to “go back to the normal position”. The group photo of the so-called Cuban dissidence could imitate that joke but in something much less funny and innocent: A brief pose to simulate something that never was.

On April 15, 2009, Jonathan Farrar, then head of U.S. diplomatic corps in Cuba, wrote a cable that in 2011 would be declassified by Wikileaks. In it, the counterrevolution that Washington had been cultivating on the island since the mid-eighties of the twentieth century, with millionaire funding, international tours, and international media resonance, was exposed as corrupt, divided, and lacking in the program and popular scope. These were some of his statements:

– Many opposition groups are dominated by individuals with lofty egos who do not work well as a team.

-We see little evidence that mainstream dissident organizations have much impact on ordinary Cubans.

 – Informal surveys we have conducted among visa applicants and refugees show that dissident personalities or their agendas are virtually unknown.

 – Whether or not opposition organizations have agendas capable of attracting the attention of a wide range of interests on the island, they need to start by achieving some degree of unity of purpose as the opposition or at least stop expending so much energy sawing at each other’s throats.

 –  Despite their claims that they represent “thousands of Cubans,” we see very little evidence of such support, at least from our limited vantage point in Havana.

– When we question dissident leaders about their programs, we do not see platforms designed to reach broad sectors of Cuban society, but rather they direct their greatest efforts to obtain sufficient resources to meet the day-to-day needs of the main organizers and their key supporters.

-While the search for resources is their primary concern, their second most important concern appears to be to limit or marginalize the activities of their former allies in order to reserve power and access to scarce resources.

-Those on the island accuse the exiles in Miami and Madrid of trying to organize their actions from afar and of not presenting their views fully to policymakers in Washington.

– It is ironic that in many cases the “exile community” includes former dissidents who only recently left the island so that their close relations with the dissidents who remain in the country do not seem sufficient to keep them on good terms with the latter.

-There are very few, if any, dissidents with a political vision applicable to a future government.

-Although they would not admit it, dissidents are little known in Cuba outside the circle of foreign diplomats and the press.

Against this backdrop, Farrar proposed a “new generation of ‘non-traditional dissidents’” made up of “bloggers, musicians, and visual artists, (who) do not belong to dissident organizations” who, he said, adopted “much better the high-impact rebel positions”.

In the following years, and coinciding with the progressive increase of access to the Internet and its social networks, the 40 million dollars that the United States has been allocating on an annual average to the “promotion of democracy” in Cuba, including the transfer to the Internet of the funds of the government radio station Radio Television Marti, went increasingly there.

The Obama administration broke the record of those funds and supported them and other sources like George Soros’ Open Society, a large and articulated system of private media flourished, which hired and trained with courses, awards, and scholarships, not a few collaborators inside the island, among which the sectors mentioned by Farrar were represented.

With the arrival of Trump, machinery more associated with political agitation and media terror based on digital social networks emerged from Miami, which was complementary to the former. The bloggers mentioned by Farrar became leaders of “independent media”, the musicians became “reguetoneros” awarded in the Latino Grammies and more than one political provocateur had his “work” promoted in the international art circuits.

The increase of sanctions by Trump, adding 243 new measures to the already existing ones of the sixty-year-old blockade, that was added to the impact of the pandemic of the new coronavirus on the economy, particularly on tourism, created the basis for the discourse of overthrowing of the government combined with the power cuts, the shortage of supplies and the pandemic peak of covid-19, boosted support of the dissidents it never had before. So the protests of July 11 and 12, and not their rapid extinction with the participation of organized revolutionaries, were wielded by the sectors associated with the communication and “democracy promotion” projects financed from the U.S. as proof that, at last, the Cuban Revolution’s hours were numbered.

That is the “analysis” that Joe Biden’s government bought in Miami to launch itself on its belly with the call for a “peaceful march” in Cuba in November, in which one of its trained students appeared as the tropical reincarnation of Vaclav Havel. With him, the entire global media machine fabricated non-existent support in reality, while the Cuban press was revealing step by step the connections of the martyr made in Facebook with the U.S. Embassy in Havana. His calls for a massive march were reduced to “walking alone”, and then to “applauding from home”, to end with a march…. to Madrid.

If that were the only damage, it would not be so serious, but the communicational, diplomatic, and political deployment in support of the supposed leader was of such magnitude that with his stampede, the entire workforce, which at the cost of more than half a billion dollars in twelve years Washington has sustained in Cuba, felt obliged to follow him… in failure. Dispersed now between Madrid and Miami, those who in 2021 would liberate Havana from communism step all over each other in search of money and sterile protagonism, while the leaders of their cause are throwing themselves into any lie that lasts less and less time.

The dream of a new intellectual counterrevolution, undivided, glamorous and honest, vanished with the “pacifist” intellectual, “of the left”, who today goes hand in hand with the right-wing Popular Party to accompany the fascist and violent Venezuelan Leopoldo Lopez. Groucho Marx’s classic phrase (These are my principles, if you don’t like them, I have others), has found in them -with much less talent- the perfect incarnation. Oh well, After all, they do nothing but imitate their bosses, who, when oil is scarce, forget their old belligerence towards Nicolás Maduro and try to make up with the one they once painted as the devil himself.

 Source: La Pupila Insomne

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